Superintendent School Closure Letters

May 22, 2020

Dear ER Community,

Given all that has gone on since March 16th, it is hard to believe that Memorial Day is Monday.  If you reflect upon the past 9 weeks, the time span mirrors the length of time we are out of session for the summer. For the most part the past week has been business as usual.  There are some items that I would like to share.

Memorial Day - As I shared with you last week we will not be providing on-line learning opportunities on Monday given that this very special day is a National Holiday.  In addition we will not be serving meals on that day either.  Today (Friday 5/22) we are providing two days of meals.  Starting on Tuesday 5/26, our Schools Meals Program will resume.      

School Budget Vote and School Board Election: As I shared the past two weeks, in accordance with Executive Order 202.26, the Governor has designated Tuesday, June 9, 2020 as our Budget/Board of Education Election Day. By the end of next week you should be receiving via the US Mail, two absentee ballots, with instructions on how to complete the ballot and how if you need additional ballots (given the number of qualified voters in your home) to obtain additional ballots. 

In addition, on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 the District will hold our 2020-21 Budget Public Hearing. Given the current circumstances you will be able to participate via a Zoom webinar.  I have included below all of the 2020-21 proposed budget information for your review.  I encourage you to review it and if you have questions you can ask them at the public hearing and/or you can  email me

richard.stutzman@erschools.org or our Business Administrator staci.sansoucie@erschools.org.

The following is the link to our printed budget information:  The 2020-2021 budget link will be reviewed at our Public Hearing on May 26th.  This meeting will commence at 7:00 pm.

http://www.erschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=240396&pageId=25834503  

 

The following is a link to my budget message to the entire community:

http://www.erschools.org/district/budget/2020-2021_budget/2020-2021_budget_video

 

If you are interested in viewing the public hearing via a live stream link or if you would like to ask the Board a question the following are the links that you will need to use.

 

Here is the registration link if you are interested in participating in the public comments portion of the agenda:  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_wR5U9rXDRuilcTPjLhzdKA

 

If you are interested in just viewing this Public Hearing the following is the live stream link: https://ensemble.monroe.edu/hapi/v1/contents/permalinks/ERBOEMeetings/view

 

End of the Year Personal Belongings Pickup Procedure -  As I shared with you last week we have finalized our plan to have families come to school to pick up their personal belongings that were left when we closed on March 16th. We have designated the time period from Monday, June 1st, through Friday, June 12th as the window to be able to do this.  Later today Ms. Philp and Dr. van Harssel will be sending to the parents of our UPK- 5 and our 6-12 parents the exact date that pertains to your children.  In all honesty this took some time to create given that we are doing all we can to comply with the CDC guidelines.  Once you have this information if you do have questions please reach out to Ms. Philp and/or Dr. van Harssel.  As always I am also available to try to answer your questions.  

 

School Grounds -  I know that there is some angst within the community about the District posting signs around the perimeter of our property informing the public that our outdoor facilities are closed.  As I have shared before this is mandated by our governor.  We are hoping that by the end of next week we will receive some guidance on how we may be able to loosen these restrictions.  The one thing that won’t happen until the governor expands the groups of less than 10 to a larger number is the use of the playground.  Hopefully we can open the upper soccer fields.  Trust me - I am as frustrated as you are.  

 

Graduation - This is another topic that is being discussed within the community.  As of now we are planning on doing something.  We are hoping (if the group size restrictions increase) to hold an actual ceremony somewhere on school grounds.  As stated above we are hoping for some guidance at the end of next week when Phase 2 of the NYS reopening plan is scheduled to commence to determine if this can be accomplished.  Schools are not impacted until Phase 4 which does not start until the end of June.  I wish I could provide you with an answer but given all of the uncertainty I can’t at this time. Please know we have a couple of options that are being discussed.  One way or another we will honor our seniors. 

 

In closing, I hope that you have a very enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.  The weather is supposed to be great.  We can sure use some nice weather to help us reenergize from what has occurred over the past 10 weeks.  I apologize for the length of this update but there are many things to share with you in my attempt to keep you as up to date as possible.  As I have shared with you many times during this closure I am one blessed individual to be able to work with a great group of people and in a community that truly supports our school.  Thank you for that.   So please take care and stay healthy. May God Bless you and your families.  We are ER!!!!

Richard G. Stutzman

Interim Superintendent


May 15, 2020

Dear ER Community,

I hope that this past week has gone well for you and that you and your family are staying healthy and finding ways to break up the monotony of having been somewhat quarantined for the past two months. As I have shared with you previously I am a very active individual and enjoy being out and about. Needless to say I am getting extremely antsy and I hope that this phased in approach to reopen NYS is successful.  I guess only time will tell.

There really is not too much new to share with you but I do have a couple of interesting updates.

School Meal Program:  Our School Meal Program will be providing a double day meal distribution next Friday, May 22 (two breakfasts and two lunches), as the District will not provide meals on Monday, May 25 due to the Memorial Day holiday. Regular meal distribution will resume on Tuesday, May 26.  

May 22nd and May 25, 2020 (Memorial Day)  - As a reminder May 22nd will be a day of instruction.  May 26th, (Memorial Day)  is a National Holiday, the District will be honoring this day and we will not be providing learning opportunities on this day.

End of the School Year - As I shared last week we are in the process of developing a plan for students/families to come to school to pick up their personal belongings. Over the past couple of days we have received some guidance on how to set this up.  It is our goal to have a plan that I will share with you next week.  It is important for me to note that this plan must adhere to CDC guidelines.  The one thing that I do know is that this will take place in a coordinated fashion starting around June 1st and to end around June 15th.  

School Budget Vote and School Board Election: As I shared last week, in accordance with Executive Order 202.26, the Governor has designated Tuesday, June 9, 2020 as our Budget/Board of Education Election Day. This past week we were able to draft a budget newsletter that will be mailed to your home (with a copy on our website) after the budget hearing on May 26th. 

In closing, have a great weekend.  I again want to thank you for your support, patience and cooperation.  Monday begins the third month of this closure and I commend each of you for hanging in there.  I am confident that this too will pass.  My problem is that I cannot tell you when.   So please take care and stay healthy.. May God Bless you and your families.  We are ER!!!!

Richard G. Stutzman

Interim Superintendent

 

May 8, 2020

Dear ER Community,
I cannot believe that another week has come and gone. As you know, this completes our eighth week of closure. As hard as this is to believe, I again want to share with you how impressed I am with the effort demonstrated by our students. I want to thank you for your support in assisting your children in a learning environment that is totally new to everyone. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our staff who continue to do everything they can to find ways to make remote learning fun and meaningful. I fully realize that everyone involved is experiencing a great amount of stress but as I have stated before, you can only control what you can control, and in my heart I know everyone is giving it their best. That is all anyone can ask. 

The following are some updates that I would like to share: 

End of the School Year: Since announcing that schools will be closed through the end of the academic year, I have learned through ER Communicates that there are some questions within the community. The following is my attempt to address these questions based on current guidance. 

Retrieving Personal Belongings: As of today, our campus remains closed, except to pick up meals. I learned this week that this closure order should be loosened sometime soon. We are in the process of developing a plan for how personal belongings will be picked up. This plan will be shared once we are informed that the closure restrictions have been modified.  
Student Retention: This is a topic we have kept at the forefront of our discussions since closure. Ms. Philp and Dr. van Harssel will outline our plan in their weekly communications to families. 

Summer School: In his most recent announcement, Governor Cuomo stated that a decision regarding the operation of summer school is expected to be made at the end of May. Please know we will provide summer learning opportunities either on campus or virtually but it will not involve all of our students. Every summer we offer opportunities for additional support and our plan for this summer will be similar to previous years. We will share a more concrete plan for summer school once the Governor’s decision has been announced.

Budget Vote and School Board Election: In accordance with Executive Order 202.26, the Governor has designated Tuesday, June 9, 2020 as our Budget/Board of Education Election Day. It is important to note this year will look much different than previous years. All voting will take place using absentee ballots. 

In addition, the Governor has suspended the requirement that potential Board of Education candidates file petitions with resident signatures. Anyone who wishes to run for one of the two open seats on the Board, must submit a letter of intent to the District Clerk, Kristen Adler at Kristen.Adler@erschools.org by 4:00 PM on Monday, May 11, 2020. I encourage you to go to our website www.erschools.org to learn more about this process and the requirements to have your name placed on the ballot. 

School Budget: On May 5, 2020, the Board of Education voted to adopt our proposed budget for the 2020-21 school year. It is important to note that the budget development process began in October, when we collaboratively began discussing our District’s needs – continuing to vertically align our UPK-12 instructional initiatives as well as focus on delivering high quality tier 1 instruction. Not only did we build a proposed spending plan to address these two critical areas, we focused on how we could accomplish this and continue to maintain a spending plan that maximized cost efficiencies. 

This process was very difficult. In addition to the significant budget gap we were faced with for the 2020-21 year, the necessity to close down our economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, also created a tremendous shortfall in aid and revenues at the state level. Despite the difficult financial times across the nation, and based on current conditions, our proposal is within the tax cap, and maintains current programs and staffing districtwide. 

Closing the gap to account for the reduction in revenues did not come without sacrifice. It is critical to note that in order to achieve our goal, the entire staff of the East Rochester School District agreed to forgo their contractual pay increase for the 2020-21 school year. This act of unity will allow us to maintain our sound academic programs, our small class sizes and all of our current extracurricular and interscholastic activities. 

In all honesty, their willingness to do this verifies what I have shared with this community many times before; that our staff will do whatever it takes to help the children of this community to be successful. I am deeply and humbly moved by how our staff responded to this unprecedented situation. The ER Community is one special place. This personal sacrifice of our staff speaks volumes to support what I share with the other Superintendents in the area about how honored I am to work in this great district. I am so proud to be your Superintendent. I cannot be more thankful and once again our staff has demonstrated why we are ER Strong!  

In closing, have a great weekend. I want to wish all of our mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day. This is a great community and it is obvious that each and everyone of us are in this together. Please be safe and stay healthy. May God Bless you and your families. 

Richard G. Stutzman

Interim Superintendent

 

May 1, 2020

 

Dear ER Community,

It is my sincere hope that this update finds you and your family healthy and enjoying the spring weather. In a press conference earlier today, the Governor announced that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. A decision regarding the operation of summer school is expected to be made at the end of May. All meal plans and childcare programs will continue during this time. 

In all honesty, this is extremely disheartening but from a logistical standpoint, the decision makes sense. Given that we will not reopen, we will continue to offer students with remote learning opportunities as we strive to maintain our plan for continuous learning. During the month of May, we will be brainstorming different summer school scenarios that we would implement once the governor provides us with further guidance.

During the press conference the Governor noted that, in order to reopen next year, schools will need to develop State approved plans with protocols addressing:

  • Monitoring of the spread of COVID-19
  • Reinforcement of student safety
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Special consideration for special student population

It is our hope that the Governor will provide us with guidance on how to implement the items listed above. For the time being, school superintendents along with their administrative teams, and in conjunction with the NYS Department of Education, the Governor’s Office, and our County officials will collaboratively develop the guidelines we will adhere to starting in September. 

Finally, I want you to know that I am working on an advocacy letter to be shared with each of you early next week. I would ask that you consider sending this letter to our federal legislative leaders in support of monetary relief for our schools. Given the lack of State funds for schools, we have already seen a significant reduction in our projected revenue for the 2020-21 school year and we have been told that this reduction will become greater between now and the end of the calendar year. Within the next couple of weeks we will also be sharing our proposed budget and at that time we will outline how we were able to close the gap, for now. There has not been any indication from the State when a budget vote will take place.

In closing, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. The weather is supposed to cooperate and I encourage each and everyone of you to find some time to get outside and enjoy the day. As I have said before, we are in this together; we are ER strong. Please be safe and stay healthy. May God Bless you and your family.

Richard G. Stutzman

Interim Superintendent

 

April 23, 2020

Dear ER Community,

It is hard to believe that we are completing our sixth full week of school closure. As of today, per Executive Order 202.14, school will remain closed through May 15. With that said, over the past week there has been a movement to slowly restore some sense of normalcy to our lives. The problem is, I have been unable to determine what the “return to normal” will look like for being able to open our doors to our children. There are discussions occurring in Albany that will develop the guidelines for reopening school. Once I have more information about what these guidelines will look like I will share them with you and hopefully outline what we will do to implement them once we get the “ok” to open.

I would also like to share with you what our school calendar will look like no matter if we return to school or we continue with our continuous remote learning plan. If you look at the calendar for May, you will see that we are scheduled to be off from school on May 22. Given the Executive Orders closing school, the Governor has directed us to provide instruction on any day our school was scheduled to be closed. Therefore the need to have “classes’ on the 22nd. As you well know, the NYS Board of Regents has cancelled Regents exams in June. In normal times our 9-12 students would only attend school on those days that they are scheduled to take a Regents exam. Again, to comply with the Executive Orders the ER School District grades Pre-K through Grade 12  will conduct classes through June 25 which on the calendar is the last day for our K-8 students. As has been our practice during the closure, Ms. Philp and Dr. van Harssel will continue to share with you our instructional plans.

In closing, I again want to thank you for all of your support. I fully realize that the longer this situation continues, the level of frustration becomes greater. Please know I share your frustration. By nature I am not a person who likes to be “trapped.” However, as I have shared with our staff, you can only control what you can control and I know that you all are doing your best and that is all I can ask for. So please take care of yourselves and your families. May God Bless you and please stay healthy.

Sincerely yours,

Richard G. Stutzman, Jr.

Interim Superintendent


April 17, 2020

Dear ER Community:

Yesterday I sent you my weekly update.  In my update I shared that as per Executive Order 202.14 Governor Cuomo directed that school will remain closed until April 29th.  Yesterday, April 16, 2020, Governor Cuomo outlined his blueprint to “un-pause” New York, getting people back to work and erasing social isolation without triggering renewed spread of the virus.  

Governor Cuomo’s first step is to “Do NO Harm” to continue controlling the rate of infection.  As per Governor Cuomo this includes extending the “NY Pause” order until May 15th. This order includes the wearing of masks in public and it also means that our school will remain closed through May 15th.  

In closing, I again want to thank you for your support and more importantly your patience. 

Sincerely,

Richard G. Stutzman, Jr.
Interim Superintendent of Schools


April 16, 2020

Dear ER Community:

It is my sincere hope that this note finds you and your family safe and in good health. As I have shared with you in each of my updates, I am extremely appreciative of all that the ER community has done since March 16th to support our students and our teachers. We all know that this task is far too great to tackle alone and in my humble opinion, ER is the poster child for banding together to help each and every one of us cope with the never ending stress that this pandemic has placed on our plate. 

Over the past few days our local news has carried and/or printed stories pertaining to the sentiments of our County Executive and the Monroe County Health Director in which they shared their thoughts about when schools may reopen this school year. Both individuals feel strongly that realistically there is a great chance that schools will remain closed. However, I need to emphasize that as per each Executive Order that has been signed by the Governor, he is the only person who can make that decision. As of today, as per Executive Order 202.14, the Governor stated that schools shall remain closed until April 29th. Until he issues another Executive Order that is the plan. Realistically, given all that we would have to do to ensure everyone’s health, having schools reopen on April 29th, at least from my point of view is not realistic. Our concerns have been shared with the Governor’s office and I am cautiously anticipating an extension. 

A couple of days ago I read on “ER Communicates” a post about graduation and other traditional year end activities. I wish I had an answer. Over the past week, we have been proactively making a list of each of these events so as not to lose sight of them in the event we return. What complicates the issue is not knowing if and when we are coming back to school. In all honesty, many of these activities will probably need to be cancelled. However, we are committed to do whatever we can to recognize our seniors. What that will look like we are not sure. The only thing I do know is that we will do something. If you have any thoughts please do not hesitate to send me an email at richard.stutzman@erschools.org.

In closing, I again want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do to help our students. I know that many of you have sent personal messages to our staff thanking them for what they do. Please know that our staff truly appreciates your thoughts. It helps them get through each day. Please know that I am fully aware that each and every day you are giving it your best and that is all I can ask. Please be safe, wear your mask and maintain our practice of social distancing. Always remember, we are ER strong!!!!!

Sincerely,

Richard G. Stutzman, Jr. Interim Superintendent of Schools


April 8, 2020

Dear ER Community:

We have a few updates to share with you. Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed Executive Order 202.14 directing all schools in New York State to remain closed through April 29 in response to COVID-19. 

Additionally, the Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa announced on Monday, April 6 that all New York high school Regents Exams scheduled for June will be cancelled. We have since received additional guidance regarding modifications to graduation and course requirements and will share specific information with secondary families later this week.

We have also received a letter from the NYS Official Health Plan Marketplace asking the District to share with our community a way that New Yorkers at risk of losing their health insurance coverage as a result of COVID-19 can acquire health insurance for you and your family.  The following is the link that you can access if you have this need:

https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/

In closing, I again want to thank you for your patience, understanding and continued support as we work through this situation together. The ER community is a special place and the support we show each other each and every day is commendable and is playing a huge role in helping us deal with this horrific pandemic. Each day I pray to God that you and your families stay healthy and that you continue to practice social distancing. Hopefully we are on the down curve and we will get through this together.  Always remember, we are ER strong!!!!!

Sincerely,

Richard G. Stutzman, Jr.

Interim Superintendent of Schools

April 1, 2020 Dear East Rochester Community, As you are likely aware, on March 27, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order (202.11) closing schools until at least April 14. During this time, schools are required to provide continuity of instruction, meals for students and childcare resources every weekday, including days originally part of the previously scheduled spring break.

I realize that at the end of last week, I shared that the East Rochester District was planning to honor the Spring Recess. However, this executive order prohibits us from doing that. 
If the closure is not extended, we will return to school on-site on April 15. We will continue to monitor all available guidance and directives and keep you informed of any changes. In the meantime, please continue to check our website for the latest updates and information here. 

We recognize that this is a stressful and challenging situation. We are here to support you through it, and know that you are managing many personal and professional responsibilities. We would like to remind you of something that we often tell our students: All we can do is our best. We’ll get through this together.

Thank you all for your continued patience, understanding and support. As a community who truly supports one another, we will get through this, TOGETHER. We Are...ER Strong!

Sincerely yours,
Richard G. Stutzman, Jr.
Interim Superintendent of Schools

March 27, 2020

Dear East Rochester Community,

Since my communication to you yesterday, New York State Governor Cuomo has announced that all New York State schools remain closed until at least Wednesday, April 15 in response to COVID-19. 

As we have communicated to you over the past two weeks, I will continue to work with the Monroe #1 BOCES District Superintendent, the Superintendents of Schools in Monroe County and my Administrative Team to ensure that the East Rochester School District is doing all that it can to maintain some stability over the next two + weeks. 

The District will continue to provide meals and educational programming during the closure. Please continue to check our website for the latest updates and information here.

Please stay safe and healthy!

Sincerely, Richard G. Stutzman, Jr. Interim Superintendent of Schools

March 26, 2020


Dear East Rochester School Community:

As we come to the end of the second week of school closure, I want to recognize what has been a difficult time for all of us. We are all trying to navigate these unprecedented times the best that we can. I can’t say enough about the efforts of the ER school community. I see everyone pulling together rooted in support, patience and understanding. Never have I felt more certain that we will get through this TOGETHER! 

As of today we have not received any word as to whether schools will be reopened after April 1. I am in regular contact with the Monroe #1 BOCES District Superintendent as well as my Superintendent colleagues throughout Monroe County as we actively try to determine what the next steps may or may not be. We want nothing more than to have everyone back together in our buildings learning together, working together, and supporting each other. We also understand that the uncertainty of not knowing may bring very real concerns.

For those challenged with finding child care due to COVID-19 related program closures, the staff at the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) are trying their best to support families to find the high quality child care that they need. If you are a parent or caregiver who needs childcare, please complete this parent need for child care survey. Based on the information you provide about your job, employer, number of children, and financial need, the OCFS may be able to help you find the child program you need. If you are interested in helping support your community by helping to keep local child care programs operating-especially to care for children of healthcare and other critical workers, please complete this Survey for Current Child Care Workers. Your responses will be shared with local child care programs that are in need of staff. In addition, the OCFS website has several resources available here

As I reflect upon the past two weeks, even though we have been apart, there have been some highlights we would like to share what has been happening to maintain our connection with one another:

  • The ER Administrative Team is actively working together with teachers and staff to determine next steps on how to provide further learning to students. More information on that will be shared with parents by their child’s principal.

  • Since our meal program started on March 18, it has been a big success! Through the dedication of our amazing staff and generous volunteers, we have so far provided over 2,200 meals!  A reminder that lunch for the current day and breakfast for the following day are provided between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. weekdays in the Jr/Sr High traffic loop. The program is free to any child age 18 and younger. In addition, our adults can purchase these meals ($2.00 for breakfast and $4.00 for lunch). There are no income requirements or registration needed. 

  • In trying to spread some joy and happiness, especially to our children, I highly encourage you to consider creating a rainbow with your child and hang it in your window. Children will look for them as they take walks. The purpose of doing this is to spread hope and joy during this time of social distancing and give our children something fun to focus on.

  • The Elementary School is celebrating our ER spirit with Fun Friday on March 27 with an 80s theme. Parents are invited to post photos of their 80s outfitted students using the link provided in the message from Mrs. Capuano-Philp.

In other updates, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) has suspended the elementary- and intermediate-level state assessments for Grades 3-8 for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. NYSED has not issued guidance on the June Regents exams as of yet. The College Board has canceled the May 2, 2020 SAT test and announced plans for upcoming AP exams. In brief, traditional face-to-face exam administrations will not take place. Students will take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home. For each AP subject, there will be two different testing dates. Full explanations and testing dates will be released on April 3. You can read more here

Additional resources, including mental health and social-emotional learning resources, have been added to our District’s resources webpage. Please check our website frequently as we continue to add resources.

In closing, I again want to thank everyone (students, parents and our tremendous school staff) for all that you are doing. I wish I had a firm idea of when we will be returning. As stated above, as of now the scheduled date as per Governor Cuomo is April 1 but please, please, please know that this is the date that was set on March 18. It is our hope that we will have word soon if this will stand or be extended past spring recess. If the closure is extended past the spring recess,  the administrative team and I have determined that we as a District will honor spring recess (April 6 through April 10) which means we will take a one week vacation from what we have been doing during the closure. Everyone has truly earned this. I know that our administrative team will be working with our teachers to develop an instructional plan for after spring recess in the event that the return date is later in April.  

As I shared last week the good Lord provided me with the opportunity to return to the District that has brought me the most joy in my 47 year career. In my eyes you are all heroes and forever I will remember my time here in East Rochester. Each and everyday I thank Him for this tremendous opportunity.  If I know one thing I am one blessed individual.

On behalf of the entire ER Administrative Team, we want to remind everyone that if you have any questions or need assistance in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to a teacher, principal or myself. We are here for you and we want to help.

Please do everything you can to stay safe and healthy. We will get through this ER, strong and together!

Sincerely,

Richard G. Stutzman, Jr.
Interim Superintendent of Schools

March 19, 2020

Dear East Rochester School Community: I hope this letter finds you and your family well. As we work together through these uncertain times, I would like to express my appreciation to such a caring community and our wonderfully dedicated staff. 

As you may have seen, Governor Cuomo has signed an executive order directing all schools in New York State to be closed through Wednesday, April 1 in response to COVID-19. We will continue to keep families informed of any new information as soon as possible. 

MEALS

East Rochester’s school closure meal program began on March 18 and has had a good turnout so far. Both lunch and breakfast (for the following morning) will be provided at the same time between the hours of 11am - 1:00pm weekdays in the Jr/Sr High traffic loop. The program is free to any child age 18 and younger. In addition, our adults can purchase these meals ($2.00 for breakfast and $4.00 for lunch). There are no income requirements or registration needed. Please bring a reusable bag for meal pick up.

CHILDCARE

As part of the COVID-19 response effort, the East Rochester Union Free School District is working with Monroe County and the YMCA to bring childcare resources to the families of emergency personnel, first-responders and healthcare workers who do not have the option to work from home, as defined by The New York State Education Department. Resources may be found through the two links below:

INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES

Our teachers and staff have been working to provide learning opportunities and connect with their students. We have a webpage to share online resources, here.

Instructional K-5: Students have the packets that were sent home last week. School guidance on recommended activities to do while at home can be found here.

Instructional 6-12: Students are encouraged to check their email frequently throughout the day and communicate with their teachers via email. If a student’s chromebook is still at school, please email Dr. van Harssel at casey.vanharssel@erschools.org to set up a time for pick up.

MENTAL HEALTH

Just as much it is important to take care of the nutritional and educational needs of our students, we recognize how this situation can take a toll on our children and our own mental health. Click here for resources.

The following resources have been provided by the Golisano Children’s Hospital:

Mental and Behavorial Health Needs for Children and Youth

Child Health Primary Care 

In closing, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of continuing to take steps to mitigate the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, by practicing social distance protocols and hygiene practices. I cannot thank you enough for your continued support,cooperation and patience as we all roll up our sleeves to fight this horrific illness. These are challenging times and as a whole we will get through this and be so much better for the sacrifices that we are making.  

Please take care and stay healthy.

Sincerely, Richard G. Stutzman, Jr. Interim Superintendent of Schools


March 15, 2020

Dear East Rochester Community:

As communicated yesterday, the East Rochester School District will be closed until further notice as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Students are not permitted at school. 

We recognize that this may be an inconvenience to our families, but our primary concern is the health and wellness of all students and staff. The district will continue to follow the guidance from county, state and federal health officials during the closure, and reevaluate as necessary. Every Friday during this closure, the District in collaboration with the Dept. of Health will evaluate the situation and will notify you mid-day of any updates.

Please read below for important information for families.

Breakfast and lunch for students 

The East Rochester Union Free School District is committed to provide “grab and go” meals to students during closure beginning Wednesday, March 18.  Read more here.

Instructional resources for students

The District is committed to providing learning opportunities during our school closure. Teachers and staff have prepared for students to learn at home.

K-5:

On Friday, March 13 an academic packet was sent home with every child who was in school. Packets were mailed to students who were absent. Click here for the school guidance on recommended activities to do while at home. Click here for online resources.

6-12:

Junior and Senior High School teachers will be providing learning opportunities via Google Classroom starting on Tuesday, March 17. Students are encouraged to check their email frequently throughout the day. If a student’s chromebook is still at school, email Dr. van Harssel at casey.vanharssel@erschools.org to set up a time for pick up. If internet access is not available, please call 585-248-6353 to arrange for paper versions.

Spectrum offers students free WiFi access

Spectrum is offering free Internet access to Monroe County households that have students sent home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The 60-day offer is only available to households that aren't already Spectrum customers. The offer includes free WiFi access.

Call 844-488-8395 to enroll. Installation fees are also being waived. The offer begins March 16.

Cleaning

During this closure, our entire school complex will undergo a thorough deep-clean. This includes all areas. It is our hope that this closure will provide time to help stop the spread of illness. 

Tips to Follow

As a reminder, exposure to COVID-19 can occur from person-to-person contact. If you have any concerns about your student’s health, we recommend contacting your medical provider.

We encourage families to continue taking steps to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. The New York State Department of Health recommends the following:

●     Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.

●     Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

●     Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

●     Stay home when you are sick.

●     Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

●     Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

In addition, we encourage students and their families to limit the time spent among groups of other people, such as gathering at a friend’s house, shopping center or restaurant. The Centers for Disease Control advises that this can help minimize the spread of illness.

We will continue to monitor this situation and keep families informed if any new information develops. We know this is a serious matter of great concern to many of our families. Please contact the superintendent’s office if you have any questions. Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely, Richard G. Stutzman, Jr. Interim Superintendent of Schools


March 14, 2020
Monroe County Executive Statement:
All Monroe County Public Schools will be closed to students beginning Monday, March 16 until further notice.
Staff may be asked to report depending on individual district needs.
This closing includes all school-related activities including sports and other extracurricular activities.
Each individual school district will share more specific information regarding their plans for food, social supports, remote instruction and other operational procedures with their individual communities.
The Monroe County Health Department and school leaders will be reviewing this on a week to week basis – and providing an update by midday Friday.


March 13, 2020

Dear ER Parents & Guardians, Faculty & Staff:

The East Rochester Union Free School District and all Monroe County Schools continue to work with the Department of Health and the State Education Department as we evaluate all scenarios in which we might need to close schools. As of this writing, I need to emphasize that no decision has been made but, should this become necessary, we will share this information with you as soon as possible. While there are no definitive plans to close at this time, we recommend that families begin preparing for child care in case closures become a reality. 

Clearly we are in the midst of challenging times.  We are all working to navigate unknown situations at work, at school, and at home.  Please know that the health and safety of our students and staff will continue to be the priority in all decisions. 

I want to thank everyone for your patience and understanding.  

Sincerely yours,
Richard G. Stutzman, Jr.
Interim Superintendent of Schools


March 12, 2020


Dear East Rochester Community:

With two confirmed cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Monroe County, the virus is undoubtedly on everyone’s mind. The safety of our students and staff is of the utmost importance and we will act out of an abundance of caution to protect everyone’s health and well being.

The East Rochester Union Free School District and all Monroe County Schools continue to work together daily to discuss best practices, important decisions and ongoing strategies to keep our students, staff and families healthy during this emerging public health situation. Because this is a rapidly changing situation, we have been in consultation with the Monroe County Health Department and continuously review guidelines and recommendations from the New York State Health Department, State Education Department and the Centers for Disease Control. 

As a result of COVID-19 in Monroe County, Monroe County Commissioner of Public Health, Dr. Michael Mendoza, has provided new guidance. We are actively planning around these recommendations. 

NOTIFICATION
The Monroe County Health Department will contact any school district if a known COVID-19 case emerges. If the ER District becomes aware that a student or staff member is diagnosed, we will notify staff and parents/guardians. If a student or staff member shows respiratory symptoms, we will follow our current practices for handling respiratory illnesses.

WHAT WE ARE DOING
In addition to following and urging safer hygiene, East Rochester has infectious disease protocols in place and has taken steps, such as enhanced cleaning and disinfecting throughout buildings, to minimize the spread of illnesses.

We are also working with our teaching staff to develop a framework for an instructional plan that provides instruction to our students in the event we are notified by Monroe County to close school for an extended period of time due to COVID-19. 

We are also planning for the potential need to provide food in our community.

We recommend you make a plan for childcare now should schools need to be closed for an extended period in the future.

CLOSURES & CANCELATIONS
We are reviewing the guidelines and requirements from the state regarding when buildings would need to be closed. The District is also reviewing all upcoming large events, activities, and trips. New County guidance recommends that there be no social gatherings of more than 50 people. East Rochester, like most Monroe County districts, has decided to postpone or cancel overnight travel outside of the greater Rochester area through April 12 due to concerns about potential out of town risk and/or quarantine possibilities. Trips and events scheduled after April 12 will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Unless otherwise communicated, the East Rochester Union Free School District is canceling the following:

All K-12 field trips are canceled until further notice, effective today March 12

The Wizard of Oz production March 26-28 will be postponed to a future date to be determined

Due to financial considerations, mainly non-refundable deposits:
The 8th grade trip to Washington DC is postponed to a future date
The Senior trip to Cleveland Ohio has been canceled

All non-school group use of our facility has been suspended until further notice

The YMCA after-school program remains in place while school is in session.

TIPS TO FOLLOW
The CDC continues to emphasize the following measures to prevent the spread of viruses, including COVID-19:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (the length of the “Happy Birthday” song twice). If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 

Cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve or a tissue (then throw the tissue in the trash).

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Stay home when you are sick and seek assistance from your doctor if you experience symptoms that cause concern.

Any student with a fever should remain at home until they are "fever free" for 24 hours.

If a family member shows symptoms of a respiratory disease and suspects it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Prior to arriving at your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice. 

I am aware of the impact these decisions will place upon our students and families. I also understand that there are many questions and uncertainty. Thank you for your patience as we work through this ongoing situation. As important updates become available, we will be sure to communicate them to you.

Sincerely, 
Richard G. Stutzman, Jr.
Interim Superintendent


March 3, 2020

Dear ER Community:

While the East Rochester Union Free School District does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in our schools, we are aware of concerns in the community about the spread of this relatively new virus. 

The district is closely monitoring this fluid situation and following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), Monroe County Department of Health and the New York State Education Department.

The district has infectious disease protocols in place and has been taking steps, such as cleaning and disinfecting throughout its schools, to minimize the spread of viruses and a variety of other illnesses. 

There are a number of steps that students, staff and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health:  

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Local health departments will contact schools if a suspected or known COVID-19 case emerges. The district is prepared to work with any affected families.

Families are also encouraged to consult the NYS Department of Health and the CDC’s website for updated information and questions on the Coronavirus. 

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

COVID-19: What is It and What Causes It? 
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fstigma-faq.html

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Frequently Asked Questions - Prevention 
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#prevention

Prevention, Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

The district will continue to share information as it becomes available. 

Please know that, as always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness.

Sincerely, 
Richard G. Stutzman, 
Interim Superintendent