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Letter from York Public Schools on the Start of School Year

Letter from York Public Schools on the Start of School Year

July 21, 2020

YPS Parents. First, I want to thank you for your patience and flexibility over the past couple months. During that time the YPS Blueprint Core Task Force, comprised of teachers, support staff and administrators has created a plan that will allow us to create a productive learning environment for our students. During the next few days, you will be receiving several pieces of communication for the 2020-21 school year from the York administrative team. As you can imagine, these decisions have been hard and complicated. There is no perfect COVID-19 plan and I understand not everyone will agree with some of the decisions we have made.

A summary of the major points of our current plan are as follows.

  • YPS will start school on August 13th .
  •  Classes will be in person five days a week.
  •  YPS will not offer an alternative digital option, unless a student requires a different educational
    placement by law, such as an IEP or 504 plan, or they are under a directed medical quarantine.
  • Face coverings – Each student will be provided 2 cloth coverings. When the Four Corners Health
    Department risk dial is green (low risk), coverings will be encouraged. When the risk dial is yellow (moderate risk) or orange (high risk), coverings will be required when consistent social distancingcan’t be maintained.
  • Staff will create opportunities to allow students to take frequent mask breaks when face coverings
    are required.
  •  Staff and students will practice social distancing as much as possible.
  • Additional classroom/building cleaning protocols will be in place, which will include an electrostatic
    disinfecting machine.
  •  A parent group was included in our plan to give us input and feedback.

Specific details will be released in a series of videos that will be on our website in the coming days. We will notify you through Infinite Campus messenger when those videos are available for you to view.

The YPS team has put a lot of time and effort into our plan and have kept student and staff safety a priority. Our goal is to have a successful 2020-21 school year and it will be tremendously important that we work as a team with you to ensure a positive experience for your student. We appreciate your support and look forward to starting school on August 13 th .

Sincerely,

Mitch Bartholomew – Superintendent
York Public Schools
mitch.bartholomew@yorkdukes.org

 

Student/Parent Questions

Q. What learning format will be utilized for the start of school?

A. The district plans for all students to attend school in person when school starts on August 13th , 2020.

Q. Will there be an alternative digital learning option available if I do not want my child to attend?

A. Not unless your child is determined to need a different educational placement by law, such as a determination made by an IEP or 504 team, or they are under a directed medical quarantine. In those circumstances, alternative arrangements will be made on a case-by-case basis with the involvement of parents and the student.

Q. Will my child be counted absent if she/he is under a quarantine directed by a medical provider?

A. The school must be in receipt of a quarantine order or directive by a medical provider or authorized health official. Absences due to a quarantine order shall not be counted toward your child’s absenteeism limit if that documentation is provided.

Q. Will secondary students be required to wear masks?

A. Yes. Grades 6-12 shall wear them in school vehicles, during class, during passing periods, in lunch lines, and during any other times that social distancing is not possible when we are in tier 2 (moderate risk) or tier 3 (high risk). When we are in tier 1 (low risk) masks will be encouraged, but not required. Some discretion will be given to your child’s principal and teachers based on unique circumstances that may arise. The only other exceptions will be those required by law, such as a determination made by an IEP team, 504 plan, or an individual health plan.

Q. Will elementary students be required to wear masks?

A. Yes. Grades K-5 shall be required to wear masks in school vehicles, in hallways and during class, and at other times that social distancing or group isolation is not possible when we are in tier 2 (moderate risk) or tier 3 (high risk). When we are in tier 1 (low risk) masks will be encouraged, but not required. Some discretion will be given to your child’s principal and teachers based on unique circumstances that may arise. The only other exceptions will be those required by law, such as a determination made by an IEP team, 504 plan, or an individual health plan.

Q. Under what circumstances will students be exempted from wearing masks?

A. Exceptions may be made only as required by law, such as based upon the decisions of a student’s IEP, 504 team, or an individual health plan.

Q. What if my child does not qualify for an exemption and I don’t want them to wear a mask?

A. Wearing masks is a rule adopted by the school board in moderate and high risk situations,similar to any other health and safety or dress code rules adopted by the board. Students who refuse to wear masks will be placed on an emergency exclusion from attending school.

Q. Will a mask be provided by the school or can I select one for my child to wear?

A. Parents may provide a mask for their children, but the district will provide 2 cloth masks per student. The masks must either be cloth or a multi-layered disposable mask.

Q. Will staff be required to wear masks?

A. Staff will be required to wear masks when they’re not able to social distance in tier II or tier III. Wearing a face shield instead of a mask or not wearing any face covering may be necessary at times.

Q. What other steps is the district taking to make attending school safe?

A. YPS has created a maintenance/cleaning plan that includes several steps to help keep our buildings clean and disinfected. Our plan also includes frequent hand washing and the use of an electrostatic disinfecting machine. Visitors will be required to wear masks and parents will need to schedule appointments to meet with school staff

Q. Will schools close and move to digital learning if one or more cases of COVID-19 is discovered among school students or staff?

A. Every effort will be made to keep schools open. One or more cases will not trigger an automatic closing of schools. The decision to close will be based on a number of factors and include consultation with our public health department and local medical providers.

Q. Will the district’s after-school programs still be available?

A. The middle school and elementary programs will be offered but may not start at the beginning of the year. The district will communicate once plans are finalized.

Q. What can I do as a parent to help prevent the spread of COVID 19 at school?

A. It is very important that you monitor your children’s health and keep them home when they don’t feel well, even if illness has not been confirmed by a medical provider. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, muscle aches, breathing difficulty, coughing, and diarrhea in children, though symptoms can vary widely and some children exhibit few, if any, symptoms.

Q. Will there be extracurricular activities in the fall?

A. At this time, we are planning for extracurricular activities when school resumes. We will continue to follow the guidance from the NSAA and Four Corners Health Department.

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