May 27 Update

Posted by Daren Lolkema on 5/27/2020 5:00:00 PM

May 27, 2020 Update

Good Evening WCSD Community:

Updates From the NYS Governor’s Office

As per the Governor’s Order, the District has not received any modification to the ten-day waiver.  As indicated in the previous update, please be aware that the school calendar may still be subject to change.  

Meal distribution will continue and we will keep you informed of a tentative continued schedule for breakfast/lunch distribution during the summer, since we will now be required to continue with the Continuity of Learning plan for summer school programs.

Schedule for June Entering Buildings

Our Deputy Superintendent, along with building principals, have worked on a schedule that would allow for everyone needing to enter into their building to either pick up personal belongings or clear out classrooms and offices.  The schedule will be shared with you by the building principal.  We have worked on a plan that will ensure all necessary precautions are in place. Masks are required.  If you are not wearing a mask when scheduled to enter the building, the designated administrator will have to reschedule your appointment.  Having to enter back into the school building is solely for those students who are required to pick up their belongings. 

High School Graduation Planning

We have over 925 seniors who are ready to graduate in June of 2020 and our work continues to create a memorable event for our Graduates that is commensurate to the significance that a traditional Graduation Day holds for our Seniors and their families.  Please do not mistake for one moment that WCSD has not been planning diligently for this event.  We are working within what is allowed by the State of New York, and we are keeping a close watch on any modifications that our Governor may make.  We are aware that the State of New Jersey is now permitting outdoor ceremonies to be held for High School Graduations starting July 6th.  With that said, we are hoping to hear more from our Governor’s Office in response to what has been shared by New Jersey.  If any modifications are to be made pertaining to graduation ceremonies, we are ready to include them and provide a ceremony that would align to those modifications. 

As of right now, the District is planning to adhere to the Governor’s Orders by creating a ‘drive-thru’ celebration. Our plan is to create an interactive experience that is filled with memories and excitement throughout the procession.  We have submitted our draft proposal to the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response outlining our concept for this experience.  Once approved, we will work accordingly to plan or make modifications where indicated in collaboration with our Building Administrators, Class Advisors, PTA Representatives, Students, Faculty, and Staff to finalize all of the details surrounding this exciting event. 

We know students want an opportunity to walk a stage, we have included a concept surrounding this in our plan.  We would also like to afford students the opportunity to have a picture taken at some point in the procession.  We first need to receive approval from the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response to see if we can allow for this to happen.  We are also planning for our Building and District Administrators to hand a diploma sleeve to our graduates at some point during the ceremony.  

As of now, the following graduation dates will be utilized to carry out these ceremonies.  Depending on traffic plans and approvals by our County Offices, we may have to create more than one evening of ceremonies for John Jay and Roy C. Ketcham High Schools.  The scheduled dates, along with the additional dates are as followed (rain dates to follow):

John Jay High School - June 25 and 26, 2020

Roy C. Ketcham High School - June 27 and 28, 2020

Orchard View Alternative High School - June 26, 2020 (as scheduled)

Once again, it is important that the series of events comes from each school in order to ensure that it is more personal for our Seniors. What I can share with you is that each school will start their series of daily events and remote activities during the month of June and the theme is Cap and Gown, GRADUATION, CountDown. Our High School Principals are eager to share out additional activities for our seniors leading up to Graduation, and will do so by the end of this week.  

As indicated in the last update, WCSD is still committed to provide our Class of 2020 with a traditional ceremony, held in our outdoor athletic fields, later this summer should the Governor’s Order change.   Tentative dates have purposely not yet been set since we need to monitor the four phases of reopening New York State.  

Absentee Ballots

The June 9 School District Budget Vote and Board Member Election will take place by absentee ballot. There will be no poll sites open that day.  Approximately 50,000 absentee ballots have been mailed to registered voters.  Ballots should be arriving soon. Registered voters were automatically mailed absentee ballots without the need to request one.  Only eligible voters who are not registered, need to request a ballot from the District Clerk.  The deadline for an eligible voter to request a ballot is June 2.  Absentee Ballots must be received by the District Clerk by 5 p.m. on June 9.  So, send your ballots back quickly to ensure your vote is counted.

Budget Hearing

On June 1, 2020, the Board of Education is scheduled to conduct a Public Hearing on the School District Budget scheduled for 6:00 PM.  The purpose of a Budget Hearing, which is mandated by the NYS Education Law, occurs after the budget is approved by the Board of Education.  It provides an opportunity for community members to learn about the budget in order to make a sound decision when voting.  Because in-person attendance is not permitted, the Public Hearing will be live streamed on the District’s YouTube channel.  There will also be a form for questions on the budget which will be made available before the start of the meeting.  Responses will be provided during the meeting, however additional time may be needed to answer some questions.  Responses that can not be provided during the Hearing, will be provided via email and posted on the Q&A section of the budget webpage so that everyone can benefit from the information. See the District Calendar for the link to the YouTube live stream and the form for the submission of budget questions and comments.

Thank you and stay well.

Sincerely,

Jose L. Carrion 

Superintendent of Schools