Words can not express how much we miss the level of excitement that typically fills the building during this time of year. The arrival of spring and the multiple events that bring us all together to celebrate the achievements and talents of our students reinvigorates the soul after a long winter. Although much of this merriment seems to have been robbed from us this year it has truly been replaced by a sense of pride and admiration for the response of our faculty, staff, students, parents, and community.
It has been truly amazing to watch a whole new delivery platform for all our educational services come to life in such a short period of time. Our faculty and staff members have worked tirelessly to make sure the academic, nutritional, and social/emotional needs of our students are being met with the highest level of efficacy possible under the circumstances. This dedication and “student first” attitude has been a source of comfort in an otherwise immensely stressful situation.
As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses we will continue to alter our strategies to meet the guidance given by the Governor’s office, New York State Education Department, and Department of Health.
The most recent executive order from the Governor’s office extends the state-wide school closure until April 15 and essentially eliminates the scheduled spring break. As a result our instruction and meal service will continue through this time. The script from the executive order is as follows:
“The directive contained in Executive Order 202.4 related to the closure of schools statewide shall hereafter be modified to provide that all schools shall remain closed until April 15, 2020, at which time the continued closure shall be re-evaluated. No school shall be subject to a diminution in school aid due to failure to meet the 180 day in session requirement as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, provided their closure does not extend beyond the term set forth herein. School districts must continue plans for alternative instructional options, distribution and availability of meals, and child care, with an emphasis on serving children of essential workers, and continue to first use any vacation or snow days remaining.”
Teachers will continue to provide instruction through the scheduled closure date and it is extremely important that all students continue to participate in all educational activities scheduled by their teacher. While there may not necessarily be a multitude of graded assignments during the closure, any lack of participation would likely have a negative effect on a student’s progress and grades upon returning to school.
We are currently making contingency plans to account for third and fourth quarter grades. Should the closure extend past the current anticipated date of April 15 we will likely close out the third quarter and build averages based on what is currently in the grade book. We will certainly take into consideration the lost opportunity for students to hand in work or make up assignments that would have ordinarily been allowed. We will take actions to ensure this unforeseen situation is not a detriment to any student’s grades. Fourth quarter grades will truly depend on the overall duration of the closure and we will make that decision a little further down the road.
MEAL SERVICE - We are taking multiple steps to minimize contact time for our staff and to limit the number of times our families have to leave their homes. Our meal service will be reduced to one day per week on Mondays beginning this coming Monday, April 6. We will be serving an entire week’s worth of lunch/breakfast items on this one day/week schedule. The service time will remain the same from 11:30-12:30, however we will only have one pickup location which will be at the school. With warmer weather approaching, the logistics of distributing the larger volume of meals and milk to the separate locations would require resources not currently at our disposal. This method also allows us to lower the number of staff members necessary for this service.
As everyone has undoubtedly seen in the news, New York is facing a tremendous budget crisis as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. School districts across the state have just received new State aid runs and we are looking at a significant decrease from what had been anticipated prior to the pandemic. The newest executive order pushes all school district budget votes back until at least June 1 so we will be utilizing the additional time to figure out the best approach to maintaining the outstanding educational program we have at Madrid-Waddington while staying within a very limited budget.
This is definitely a difficult time for all of us and we can not wait to see our “700 reasons for being here” come back through the doors. Stay healthy and please know that we are here to offer any assistance.