From the Superintendent's Desk

Dear C-R Families -


I write to you amid a “summer vacation” unlike any in our lifetimes. While navigating the great uncertainty of a global health crisis and in the wake of a prolonged school closure, we are undertaking the enormous challenge of planning for the next academic year.


Let me begin by saying that we are fully aware of the anxiety being felt by our students, our families, our staff and our community about what September may bring. There are many, many questions. What will a return to school look like? Can we have in-person schooling without contributing to the spread of COVID-19? How do we weigh the benefits of school against the risk of infection? There are no easy answers. 


However, I would like to point out another important question that will guide us throughout this process: Is our plan safe? On this point, I will be crystal clear: There is no greater priority than the health and safety of our entire school community. This is a core value on which we will not compromise. A plan that is not safe, is not a viable plan.


With that guiding principle in mind, we have assembled a Reopening Task Force to steer our preparations for 2020-21. This Task Force of about 30 members includes not only staff members from all areas of the district, but also students, parents, a physician and a representative from SUNY Cobleskill, an important community partner. We viewed having a broad range of interests and ideas on our Task Force as critical to reopening our schools in a manner that prioritizes the health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff.


As our Task Force works throughout the summer to engage in thoughtful, research-based recovery and reopening planning, there are two key points to keep in mind.


  • We will not have a “Reopening Plan,” but rather a series of plans to account for the possibility -- perhaps even likelihood -- that the rate of COVID-19 infection will change throughout the school year. School could be fully open, with all students present five days a week. School could be fully remote, as it was during the spring. Or, we could have a “hybrid model,” wherein students are in school part-time and learning remotely at others. 


  • Federal, state and local regulations will play a significant role in shaping our reopening plan. A significant portion of our Task Force’s work will be interpreting guidance from health officials and ensuring our schools are in compliance.


The sheer logistics of planning for reopening can seem daunting, but we will not lose sight of a critically important part of our work: caring for the social and emotional well-being of our students, families and staff. Suffice to say, we’ve all been through a lot. A significant consideration in our reopening plans must be a means of supporting and monitoring the mental health of our school community. 


On that note, I encourage all of you to take some time this summer to simply enjoy. It’s easy to focus on all the things we cannot do because of the pandemic, but there is much we can. Go for a hike. Have a socially distant cook-out. Call a friend and simply ask how he or she is doing. This summer, perhaps more than ever, we all need to be reminded of the importance of taking some time to relax and recharge  


We know the challenges ahead are great, but so too are our resources -- most notably, our dedicated staff, our creative students and our supportive families. Together, I am confident that we will continue to educate, inspire and empower our students. 


Sincerely,


Carl J. Mummenthey

Superintendent of Schools