A Note From Superintendent O'Brien (12/29/20)Dear Friends,
The new year brings hope and dreams of a return to normalcy, but it also forces us to deal with difficult decisions in regards to the ever-worsening pandemic in Port Byron and Cayuga County. It is this light that I wish to share with you several important changes that we will be undertaking to help us navigate through the current crisis.
We have decided to continue remote instruction for students until January 11 due to the county having reached seven percent of the population currently under quarantined or having the virus. Besides this incredibly large number, we are fearful it is likely to rise with the two major holidays.
Five or so days following each holiday will be strong indicators on the impact family celebrations will have on the spread of the virus. It is this data that will inform us of how we can proceed during the weeks ahead. We hope people are heeding the warnings of health officials, but we must plan according to information at hand. The numbers will drive our decision making.
In addition to the delay of in-person instruction we have several other key steps we will be taking to deal with the crisis. We have built the infrastructure to voluntarily conduct rapid tests for the virus on students and staff with the assistance of the county. We have 600 tests in stock and will employ them when we return to in-person instruction. Permission slips and a letter explaining the testing process will be sent home in the near future. Again, it is voluntary testing.
We will convene safety and building teams to examine our COVID-19 plan and to make recommendations for adjustments in light of the increasing spread of the virus and changes in state laws and regulations since we originally wrote the plan back in August. These adjustments along with random voluntary testing will assist us in the relaunching of in-person schooling.
Some of the brave frontline workers in the battle against the virus in Port Byron have already received the first dose of the vaccine. We are getting so close to the end of this nightmare. But much like running a 26-mile marathon, the last mile is the most difficult mile. We are nearing the 25th mile and I have no doubt we will finish the race. We need to heed the advice of health experts and finally put this tragic time behind us for good.