The message below was sent to parents via email on June 17.
Dear Parents and Guardians:
We would like to provide you with an update on our Extended School Year (ESY) program for students with disabilities. After careful consideration and out of an abundance of caution placing the health and welfare of our students and staff above all, we have made the difficult decision that the Questar III BOCES ESY program will be provided through remote learning. We believe this decision will still afford students an enriching summer experience, while keeping everyone safe, which must be our first priority.
As you know, the Governor advised in May that all summer school programs would be virtual, giving us time to organize and plan accordingly for virtual continuity of instruction for our students. Unexpectedly, on June 5th, the Governor announced that ESY programs may be offered onsite.
The Governor’s announcement was met with both excitement and trepidation. We were excited about the opportunity to provide programming for the population of students who have been most adversely impacted by our current remote instruction. At the same time, we were concerned about ensuring the safety of our students and being able to meet the Department of Health’s requirements.
Since the announcement on June 5th, our administrative team spent time reviewing the existing guidance and working towards developing a plan that could meet the unique needs of our students as well as ensure the health and safety of all students and staff. Specifically, we considered the recommended health and safety measures, program capacity with regards to staffing, as well as logistics related to class size and social distancing, Our team took into great consideration the unique needs of the students we serve, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and implementation of safety protocols.
We have worked with our component district leaders to determine availability of space, food service, and most importantly, the availability of staff to provide ongoing, decontamination of our locations to maintain safety for both students and staff. Additionally, we worked with our transportation supervisors in determining protocols for screening students prior to arrival to school. Instructionally, we worked closely with our principals and staff to determine whether we could ultimately ensure the health and safety of all students and staff given the circumstances. To date, the only guidance we have on reopening comes from a general guidance from the Center for Disease Control, and a supplemental guidance document issued on June 8th by the NYS Department of Health. Critically absent from the picture is key input on a range of educational issues, leaving a number of unresolved compliance questions related to IEP program and service implementation.
Through this review, we determined that we would not be able to safely offer in-person summer programming for our students. As always, the health and safety of our students is our first priority
Anthony J. Taibi
Chief Academic Officer
Questar III BOCES