Reopening Plan 2020

On Monday, July 13, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that school districts in New York can follow plans to reopen for in-person schooling in September if COVID-19 infection rates stay at 5% or lower in a given region.  

Determinations will be made by region about opening and closing schools as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. If a region is in Phase 4 and has a daily infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14-day average, schools in that region could hold in-person instruction. If daily infection rates exceed 9% over a seven-day average, however, schools in that region would not reopen. Similarly, should a region see such an average after reopening, schools in that region would also be directed to close.

While districts have been instructed to prioritize efforts to return all students to in-person instruction, the East Rochester Union Free School District is also planning for remote/distance learning as well as for a hybrid model that combines in-person instruction and remote learning. Parents will always have the choice to remain in the remote learning model, if they are uncomfortable sending their student for in-person learning. Teachers will provide instruction for students who opt-in for remote learning. It should be noted that remote learning, in its nature, can never be to the same quality of in-person instruction. If a student begins the school year by learning remotely, they can later opt-in to the in-person instruction hybrid model.

A letter will be sent to families, asking what their plans for instruction are for the fall. Families need to make the district aware if students will be opting for the remote learning model by completing the online survey posted on the East Rochester Union Free School District website and sent to a family’s primary email contact. If unable to access online, families can contact Elementary School Principal Marisa Philp at marisa.philp@erschools.org or by calling (585)248-6311 or the Jr./Sr. High School Principal Casey van Harssel at casey.vanharssel@erschools.org or by calling (585) 248-6350. 

If a family chooses to homeschool students, the district will not provide a curriculum. Additionally, the student will not be able to opt into the remote or in-person hybrid models once the academic year begins. If families choose to homeschool a student, they can reach out to sarah.callahan@erschools.org

The plan outlined here is for the reopening of schools in the East Rochester Union Free School District for the 2020-21 school year, following the building closure related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This plan includes procedures that will be followed in the following schools:

The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families is our top priority. We want students and employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to our school campus. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

It is possible that we may need to alternate between in-person and remote learning throughout the year due to recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies, and stay-at-home orders from the Governor. The level of infection, the spread of the virus and response to the disease in our community will be at the forefront of our decision making as we move to open our schools. 

Mr. Jeffrey Onze will serve as the district’s COVID-19 Coordinator. Mr. Onze will work closely with our local health department. He will serve as a central contact for schools and stakeholders, families, staff and other school community members and will ensure the district is in compliance and following the best practices per state and federal guidelines. To contact Mr. Onze, please email ercovid19director@erschools.org or call (585) 248-6370.

Unfortunately, the pandemic will prevent us from realizing all of our expectations for a typical school opening. The safety of our students, staff, families and community is our top priority. Collectively, we have done (and will continue to do) our best to create plans that are as close to a typical school opening with safety as the top priority. Teams within the district worked throughout the summer to develop this plan, taking into consideration the feedback received from parents and community members.