March 1, 2021
Dear Batavia Blue Devils Families and Staff,
As we kick off Women’s History Month and head into our second week back from February Recess I want to provide you with some key updates.
Recently, the Genesee County Department of Health changed its quarantine protocol that would limit the number of students and staff that would need to quarantine if near a confirmed positive COVID-19 case. Their guidance emphasizes the importance of wearing face masks 100% of the time. As a result of wanting to limit the number of staff and students that would need to quarantine as a close contact, we are proceeding with requiring masking for students and staff 100% of the time unless taking a designated mask break and or eating lunch. Principals and staff will continue to review, remind and model expectations with students. I do not foresee this as a major change as many of our students and staff are already masked 100% of the time when beyond six feet from one another but I wanted families to be aware of the change and its impact on needing to quarantine.
Last week, the United States Department of Education denied New York State’s request to waive all required state testing for students in grades 3-8 and 9-12 high school regents. Therefore the district will be required to test all in-person learning students in grades 3-12 in Math, ELA and various Regents exams. The state did already indicate that these assessments will only be used for diagnostic purposes and will not negatively impact school accountability. The state is now discussing not using Regents exams as a requirement for high school graduation. We expect more detailed information to come out on testing and its impact on graduation. When that information is released Principals will be communicating directly with students, families and staff to share any major changes.
I continue to work with the Genesee County Department of Health to provide our staff access to the COVID-19 vaccine. As of this week will have had approximately 70 staff members vaccinated through the district’s efforts with GCDOH. We look to grow the number every week especially as more of the vaccine becomes available. We believe that increasing the total number of staff will support our efforts to get back safely to normal sooner than later.
Reopening - Five Days In-Person Learning
You may have seen recent news of other neighboring districts reopening their school to five days of in-person learning. Please know that we are anticipating official change in NYS Department of Health guidance that would allow us to also pursue the same thing for our district but until then, we cannot violate current Department of Health guidelines and put our students, staff and district at risk during this ongoing health crisis. Please be assured that as soon as the guidance does change we will work diligently to adjust our school plans and communicate those changes to students, families and staff.
We are Better Together, WE are Batavia!!!
Anibal Soler, Jr.