IRCSD COVID-19 Updates
The Indian River Central School District will hold a series of three Public Sessions to discuss our plans for reopening and to answer questions and gather feedback from the community. These sessions will be held via Facebook Live (accessible at ircsd.org and facebook.com/IndianRiverCSD) at the following dates and times:
Thursday, August 13th from 4-5PM
Monday, August 17th from 6-7PM
Thursday, August 20th from 11AM -12PM
In developing our reopening plan, it was of the utmost importance that community input and engagement guided our decision making. In an effort to address any concerns or answer questions you may have, you are encouraged to complete this form before our public sessions.
Our reopening plan is fluid and will change as necessary based on guidance from the state, CDC, and NYSED. Please visit our COVID-19 site regularly for updates: ircsd.org/covid-19
Submit your questions today: ircsd.org/reopening_questions
Dear Parents and Guardians,
These continue to be trying times, and we appreciate our community’s understanding as we navigate complex and unprecedented times. We, too, understand and appreciate the range of perspectives present in our own Indian River community. Even so, we all agree that health and safety are our highest priorities.
As described by Governor Cuomo in his audio address to NY today (8/7/20), COVID-19 infection rates remain below his previously stated 5% threshold (currently approximately 1%). Therefore, schools are directed to open for in-person instruction as delineated in each school district’s local reopening plan. (IRCSD’s plan was shared online on 7/31/20.) Additionally, schools are directed to focus communication on several aspects of the plan, including several new elements to be coordinated with Jefferson County Public Health. These include:
COVID-19 testing procedures and protocols (additional information forthcoming in consultation with Public Health)
Contact Tracing (additional information forthcoming in consultation with Public Health)
Remote Learning - details for parents/students as specified in IRCSD’s reopening plan
Now that additional guidance and direction is available, IRCSD will schedule several community-based virtual “meetings” to describe plan elements and offer an opportunity for a virtual Q&A. IRCSD will also hold at least one (or more) sessions for faculty and staff. Information on the scheduling of these events will be shared via normal communication channels early next week.
As described in our reopening plan, with today’s direction from the governor, IRCSD plans to open school in a hybrid model with students starting school two days per week in-house and learning remotely three days per week. This initial learning model will allow for a safe, measured, and flexible approach that can expand or contract in the weeks ahead based on infection rates and other local conditions (safety protocols, transportation challenges, etc.). Initial Monday-Tuesday/Thursday-Friday cohorts are being finalized and will be shared with families as soon as possible. This information, as well as the details specified above, will help parents and students make informed decisions regarding the return to school on September 8th. I encourage you to visit and explore IRCSD’s COVID-19 resource page for plan details, a summary, and a helpful FAQ at: https://www.ircsd.org/covid-19
Thank you for your understanding and flexibility during these difficult times. We understand that many parents, students, staff, and community members have vastly different opinions on this important issue, and we will do all we can to answer your questions and provide information to maintain our partnership in order to keep our entire community safe. We also appreciate your continued participation in our community surveys, including the important transportation survey released earlier this week. Please stay on the lookout for more information over the coming days and weeks from the district as well as the individual school buildings.
I look forward to “talking with you soon,” albeit virtually. Until then, please stay safe, stay healthy, and stay #WarriorStrong!
With respect and understanding,
Mary Anne Dobmeier, Superintendent
Thank you to our parents who have responded thus far to our transportation opt out survey for the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year! As a reminder, you do not need to complete the transportation opt out survey if you must rely on the bus to get your child or children to and from school. In these cases, we will plan on your child riding the bus. Schedules for the schools will remain the same in terms of drop off and pick up times (8:45 AM and 3:30 PM for elementary; 7:15 AM and 2:25 PM for middle and high school). For those of you driving your children to school, thank you for assisting us in this regard! We will need to designate safe, drop off and pick-up procedures and areas which are as far away as possible from the bus loading and unloading areas of each school. These procedures will be communicated to you in advance of school opening. For those of you who responded on the survey that you could transport one way, or provide partial transportation, unfortunately we are not able to accommodate this request at this time so your responses will be accepted but we will plan on transporting your child to and from school until further notice. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to support our efforts to safely reopen school this fall!
Original Post (8/5/2020):
Based on the Community Reopening Survey, it is clear that many of our families would like to transport their children to school each day. In an effort to solidify plans for the start of school, the District needs your help! If you do not intend to have your child ride a bus, please complete this form (one form per student) by August 14th.
Student transportation will be provided for in-person learning consistent with state-issued guidance and NYSED School Reopening guidelines. Some key highlights are:
Students must wear a mask on the school bus. Students who do not have a mask will be provided one before getting on the bus. Students must social distance on the bus. Students will sit in a zig-zag pattern in the bus seats with one student per seat. Students from the same household will sit together in seats.
Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to drive or walk students to school if they are able to in order to reduce density on buses.
If your child will be riding the bus, you do not need to fill out this form. Thank you for your continued support of IRCSD!
Link to form: IRCSD Transportation First Semester Opt-Out
Dear IRCSD Community,
If you recall from my letter last week, NY schools are all in the process of developing “reopening plans” based on guidance from the NY State Education Department and Department of Health. Yesterday afternoon we finalized one “major” aspect of our reopening plan—IRCSD’s planned approach to hybrid instruction. Per our protocol, this was first shared with the Board of Education at a meeting last night. This decision comes after extended input from faculty/staff stakeholders throughout the past weeks as well as community input.
Specifically, if the governor allows “in-person” instruction in September, IRCSD will open in a cohort-based Monday-Tuesday/Thursday-Friday model in all schools K-12. This means 50% of the students will attend in-person the first two days of the week with the other 50% the final two days. Wednesdays will be used for extended/collaborative teacher planning, small group and/or individual contact to students, and deep cleaning of the schools. It is important to emphasize that all students will engage in learning every day, whether it be an in-school or an at-home school day. This approach will help keep total student numbers at a reasonable level and give everyone a chance to adapt to the new demands of COVID-period teaching and learning. Great efforts will be made to keep families with children in multiple buildings on the same schedule to assist with transportation, child care, and related challenges.
The overall intent is to “open” IRCSD with this model (if possible) with a measured movement to a fully in-person school by sometime in the Fall. Students with specialized needs will likely come back into a four- or five-day model first, followed strategically by various grade levels—all dependent upon conditions: flexibility within the DOH/NYSED guidelines (especially for transportation and social distancing) and local/regional infection rates.
Of course, this is just one piece of the required “Reopening Plan” due one week from today, but it is a significant aspect. We have many, many, many details that will need to be worked through over the coming weeks and will continue to rely on K-12 teachers/counselors, staff, and community participation. Your input over the past weeks has been absolutely outstanding, and formal and informal participants on the committees have contributed greatly to the overall process. Again, there is more to come, but with the professionalism and creativity shown thus far, we are on a great trajectory to meet the complex demands of reopening in the fall.
We will keep you posted through these updates and may also ask you to provide direct input via surveys/requests in the near future and throughout the coming months. We are in this together, and we’re going to need to continue to work together as partners on a successful opening to our 2020-2021 school year. Thank you for your continued input, understanding, and overall support during this roller-coaster year.
Please stay safe, stay healthy, and remain Warrior Strong!
Mrs. Mary Anne Dobmeier
Dear Indian River Community,
I hope this finds you well during these times of great uncertainty. My purpose today is to provide an update regarding IRCSD’s next steps along the difficult, yet important "reopening of schools" path.
On Monday, July 13, 2020, Governor Cuomo shared the plan for reopening NYS schools for the 2020-2021 school year. The decision to reopen is based on a formula that uses current COVID-19 data. The reopening formula only provides for areas in Phase IV with a daily infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14 day average. (Our region remains well below this measure despite the recent increase in cases in other areas of Jefferson County.) After the Governor’s decision to open a school is made (anticipated in early August), the direction could be reversed if a spike occurs and the daily infection rate is above 9% over a seven day average.
Additionally, the following resources have been shared to assist schools with planning for reopening in the fall:
NYSED’s School Reopening Guidance - Summary Presentation to the Board of Regents
NYSED’s Recovering, Rebuilding, & Renewing - Guidance Document from NYSED
NYS Department of Health Interim Guidance - DOH Resource for UpK-12 Schools
These documents prioritize efforts to return all students to instruction SAFELY and detail many of the requirements needed to develop plans for in-person, remote/virtual, and hybrid teaching/learning. Highlights of this guidance include:
Screening - Mandatory health screenings must take place including temperature checks of students, staff, and visitors. If a person presents with a temp of 100 °F, the person will be denied entry or sent to a designated area for pickup. The district must use a daily screening questionnaire for faculty and staff and periodically for students.
Masks and protective equipment (PPE) - Appropriate PPE (face coverings) is strongly recommended to be worn by all individuals at all times, but is required to be worn any time or place that individuals cannot maintain appropriate social distancing. This includes school buses and at any time on school grounds or at a school function.
Social Distancing - All individuals must use social distancing (6 feet in all directions) and/or approved physical barriers. Special provisions and requirements will also be in place for music, athletics, and other activities.
Our goal is clear: we will create plans that allow for teaching and learning to continue, though the actual “place” of instruction will not be finalized by the Governor until around August 7th. Our district Safety Committee and several subcommittees will continue to meet over the coming weeks to dissect the various guidance documents and apply findings to our unique facilities and district makeup. During these stakeholder meetings, the results of the recent parent and staff surveys will be shared and processed. (The survey results will be posted online soon.) The final plan will include protocols for health and safety, nutrition, facilities, transportation, social emotional well-being, engagement/attendance, technology and connectivity, teaching and learning, special education, English as a second language, and staffing. Again, this work will focus on keeping our students, staff, and community engaged in learning while remaining safe.
In order for Indian River Central School District to successfully meet the needs of our students during these trying times, we need to keep the lines of communication open, share fears and frustrations, collaborate with people from a variety of sources and backgrounds, and remain focused on what is best for kids. Our plans will need to be flexible where possible and include procedures for the three options mentioned earlier: in-person instruction, remote/virtual learning, and even a blended hybrid model - all within the specified NYSED and DOH guidance.
To this end, we will continue to post updates to our school website (www.ircsd.org) and communicate via social media and email to the school community. It’s also likely you will see additional requests for input via short surveys and/or similar electronic input. Additionally, please stay on the lookout for additional information regarding a new means of school communication called ParentSquare, soon to be rolled out to our entire school community.
Again, thank you for your participation in our surveys as well as your ongoing support during these difficult times. Please stay safe, stay healthy, and remain WarriorStrong!
With great respect,
Mary Anne Dobmeier, Superintendent
IRCSD Reopening Plan 2020-21
At Indian River Central School District, our primary commitment is to the students and families we serve. Our priority must be in keeping them safe. The IRCSD Reopening Plan 2020-21 defines guidance for the reopening of our eight schools and aligns with the regulations developed in collaboration with NYSDOH and the NYS Education Department.
This plan is fluid and will change as necessary based on guidance from the state, CDC, and NYSED.
It is the intention of the district to return to a full academic and extra-curricular program as soon as conditions allow.
Visit the Reopening section of this website to view more details about our reopening strategy: Reopening 2020-21.
IRCSD Community Reopening Survey Results
Thank you to all community members who participated in the IRCSD Community Reopening Survey. These results are based upon three weeks of data collection with a total of 1901 responses. We will keep the survey open for the time being and may periodically provide updated results to the public, but this survey will no longer be actively monitored. Thank you for your thoughtful feedback!