Dear Putnam Valley Community:
Today marks the 25th day that schools have been closed. I am aware that it feels like this has already been going on MUCH longer! On Thursday, Governor Cuomo extended the school closures across the state through May 15; however, we are planning for longer.
Everyone has been asked to do what was unimaginable only several weeks ago. Your home has likely become a classroom, an office, a playground, and a movie theater. If your children are anything like mine, the initial “celebration” of schools closing was quickly followed by pleas for them to reopen. When schools first closed for two weeks, everyone was confident that the time would fly by and things would return to normal. Currently, we find ourselves entering our second month of school closure and many are wondering when, or if, life will return to normal.
At the start of the school year, we set a District goal to accept challenges and embrace discomfort as a way to grow and learn. Closing schools in response to a global pandemic was not what I had in mind! However, I am so proud of what our school community has been able to accomplish. I am so impressed with how our community is working together to look out for each other and how our community is showing their gratitude to our front line essential workers, health care professionals, and first responders.
I know everyone wants answers. We all want school to be back in session. I continue to participate in conference calls with local, county, and state officials. Our administrative team and our Board of Education are anxiously listening, reading, and reviewing all of the available information to make informed decisions on how to best move forward and support our school community. As you are all aware, this information is often changing on a daily basis. While I have a long list of questions that I would like answered, I can assure you that we are all working to support our students as they continue their education. Based on the information we currently have and the programs we have in place, I have highlighted some important items below.
Closure period extended through May 15 – As per the Governor’s last executive order, all schools in New York State will be closed through May 15, 2020.
Continuity of Instruction – This link will bring you to the District’s Continuity of Instruction Plan which includes a wealth of information and resources for students and parents. Click here.
Athletics and Extracurricular Activities – Varsity and JV coaches have continued communication with student-athletes and are providing a variety of exercises and drills for students to work on at home. This will continue until the state decides the fate of the spring season. Some clubs/advisories are also continuing to run digitally. These serve as important avenues for students to connect with each other.
Connections – Please continue to encourage students to connect with teachers, advisors and classmates using technology. These connections are so important and most important at times of challenge and stress. Resources for families/Clinical Staff Contact info.
#connectPV – Please continue to send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share smiles on our district Facebook page and Twitter pages (or tag Putnam Valley CSD).
Meal Service – The district will continue to provide free breakfast and lunch to any Putnam Valley student (and younger siblings) in need. Meals are distributed from 10 am – 12 pm daily via drive-up service along the front of the high school. Parents are asked to RSVP by clicking here and completing this form: https://forms.gle/jirt9cw8YfotMXjP8
Construction Project – The district received permission from New York State to continue our construction project during the closure period. Each contractor was required to submit an updated safety plan aligned to those measures put in place to combat COVID-19. The current work is focused on critical infrastructure but would still allow us to safely return to school if ordered to do so at the end of the Governor’s closure period.
We are all being asked to make sacrifices for the greater good. This is a difficult time for all of us and we need to carefully understand the emotions our children must be experiencing. Please reach out to your children’s teachers, to our clinical staff, or to any administrator if we can do anything to help. Clinical staff contact is available here.
We will get through this, and yes, we will be stronger and more connected to each other than ever before.
Thank you for your continued partnership!
Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools