Dear Putnam Valley Community:
I could not be more impressed by all we have been able to accomplish since schools reopened for students in September. Thanks to the collective efforts of our staff, students, administrators, and parents, we have successfully kept our doors open, prevented the virus from spreading within our buildings, and continued to provide students with engaging and meaningful instruction.
However, despite our proven ability to keep our students and staff safe while in the building, it is becoming increasingly apparent that we cannot prevent the virus from entering our schools. While there have been no cases of the virus spreading from one person to another within our buildings, the required contact tracing and quarantine orders will only continue to lead to staffing difficulties; forcing our buildings to close.
After ongoing discussions with our administrative team and the Board of Education, we have made the determination that it is in the best interest of our students and staff to transition to all remote instruction across the three buildings beginning on Monday, December 14. All schools will remain in all remote instruction through Wednesday, December 23. Our holiday recess is scheduled to begin on Thursday, December 24. The Board of Education will continue this discussion during our board meeting tomorrow as we consider the possibility of extending all remote instruction after the conclusion of our holiday recess.
Educationally, we know how disruptive opening and closing on short notice is on our instructional program. Now, students and staff will be able to plan accordingly for daily remote instruction without the fear associated with not knowing if school will be open tomorrow. These decisions are only made after a great deal of thought and consideration, we understand how disruptive this shift is for our school community, especially our Elementary School parents. Meals will continue to be available for all families during remote instruction days, please be on the lookout for additional information.
As a district, we continue to pursue an in-school COVID testing program and are working closely with both the New York State Department of Health and the Putnam County Department of Health to make this a reality. We are closely monitoring the possibility of the New York State Department of Education shifting their quarantine rules to match those recently updated by the CDC.
Although we can finally see light at the end of the tunnel with the anticipated approval of a COVID vaccine, this will, unfortunately, continue to be a challenging year as we await the eventual end of this crisis. Thank you for your continued partnership and understanding throughout these most difficult times.
Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools