Dear Putnam Valley Community:
As the excitement and nervousness of returning to school continues to build inside me, I am confident many of you are experiencing the same feelings. There are many reasons why educators are excited to welcome our students back into school for the first time in six months. There are also many reasons why we each carry with us some concern about reopening schools. Please know that these decisions are not made lightly and are only reached after a great deal of thought and effort on behalf of many individuals.
While I am aware that some districts in our region have decided to delay the return of students to schools, in my personal conversations with many of these superintendents, the decision to delay was often the result of short term staffing issues, facilities preparedness, ventilation upgrades, and/or PPE (personal protective equipment) supply issues. Obviously, staff and student safety is everyone’s highest priority. New York State has recently announced the positivity rate across New York State had reached its lowest point since March and remains below 1%. This has led many health care professionals to ask, “if not now, when?” when consulting districts on the reopening of schools.
Like all districts across our region, we are facing the same staffing, supply, and facility challenges. Our facilities department started purchasing cleaning supplies and equipment along with PPE last spring and our custodians have been working around the clock to prepare our buildings and classrooms to allow for social distancing. Due to the tireless efforts of many individuals within our district, we have been able to fill the vacancies of those teachers who applied for a FMLA Child Care Leave. Thanks to the collective efforts of our administrative team, faculty members, our buildings and grounds workers, technology and transportation departments, and our support staff we remain on schedule to reopen our buildings to students on September 8.
As staff returns to their classrooms we will be asking for a little extra calm and patience, as our construction crews finish spaces at both our elementary and middle school. Construction crews continue to make progress installing finished floors and ceilings, along with plumbing and electrical fixtures. Our middle school kitchen equipment is onsite and is being installed. Painting is underway in finished spaces and furniture has been delivered and is ready to be deployed. Despite all of the progress over the past few weeks, we know that construction crews will continue to work late into the evening and on weekends as we near September 8. Construction will continue to complete punch list items after school hours (3pm-11pm) until the entire project is complete.
Please be sure to carefully review the information emailed this week from the district office and building principals and please keep an eye out for additional information you will need for the start of school. Teacher placements, schedules, and transportation information will be released over the next several days. Emails will be coming steadily.
Thank you and have a good weekend.
Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools
Reopening Plan –
Parent and Student Expectations
1pg calendar – 2020-2021