September 20, 2021
September 20, 2021
Q: Here are some of the questions we would like addressed at tonight’s BOE meeting.
- Why are we not using dividers? If we use dividers can we lift the mask mandate?
- Who will be paying for the weekly Covid tests being imposed on school staff if they are not vaccinated?
- Who will be paying the person administering the tests to school staff? Will it be coming out of our tax dollars?
- Will the staff members be compensated for the time they lose while getting tested every week?
- If we have reached over 70% vaccinated why are we still mandating masks?
- When will these children be free of masks?
- Will you be mandating the vaccine once FDA approved for kids 5-18?
A #1 - In June 2021, the NYS Department of Health issued an Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction, on page 8 of that document, the CDC indicated that dividers were no longer recommended as a mitigation device. Masks, good hygiene, enhanced ventilation, and social distancing were the best mitigation measures schools should use as part of their overall COVID planning process. Therefore, desk dividers do not replace masks as an appropriate COVID mitigation measure; however, and where appropriate, for students who are exempt from wearing masks, we are using desk dividers in addition to the other mitigation measures.
A #2 - Currently, the weekly COVID screening process is being paid for by a grant from the State to the local County Department of Health, which in turn works with each local school district.
A #3 - See above.
A #4 - No. We are in the process of developing a district-wide comprehensive COVID testing process which will allow most of our staff to receive their COVID test within the confines of their school day and/or building. Based upon COVID screening observations, the entire process takes about 15 seconds as it is compromised by two nasal swabs, and not to the degree they were administered last year.
A #5 - Masks were mandated by the State during the month of August. It would appear, although it was never explicitly stated and/or communicated, that masks were mandated due to the fact that full time in-person instruction was the primary order of the day and although we had social distancing guidance, we were informed that no student should be deprived of in-person instruction solely due to difficulties with social distancing; therefore, masking becomes our main mitigation device, along with appropriate air flow and good hand hygiene practices.
A #6 - As of yet, we haven’t received any word on when the inside school mask mandate will be lifted by New York State, as there has not been a metric provided to schools to address this issue.
A #7 -The WCSD has not mandated vaccination for students in order to attend in-person instruction.
Q: We would like to enquire about enrichment programs in elementary schools. Based on our experience they simply don't exist. We understand that at one point WCSD had enrichment teachers so why did that program stop? What can the district offer to talented and gifted students during normal school hours? Also, why is there no policy on skipping grades? Traditional classroom enrichment is not enough for a gifted student.
The elementary schools use the workshop model to provide instruction to students. This format allows teachers to group students in the classroom and provide targeted instruction to students based on their academic level and needs. Classroom teachers are able to provide remediation or enrichment as needed using small group instruction. In some instances, where scheduling and staffing permits, students receive support/enrichment during a “skills period” which is in addition to the reading and/or math block of time. Elementary schools may also provide before school or after school enrichment opportunities for students. At the secondary level, students have the opportunity to take courses at various academic levels including, Honors, Advanced Placement, and college courses. The District will consider bringing this matter before the Policy Committee to discuss.