Dear PVES Families,

I hope that this note finds you healthy and enjoying the summer days.  These are challenging times, but relaxing summer moments with your families can make even these tough days so special, joyous, and memorable.

Last week, Dr. Luft sent out the PVCSD Reentry Plan for September.  I hope that you have now had a chance to read through it.  You will soon be receiving a New District Survey asking what your plans will be for your child’s educational plan in September.  Although our Elementary School will be offering 100% in-school instruction for grades K-4 pending NYS guidance, we know that some families may choose to keep their children home for remote learning and at-home instruction.  This is your choice.  As August progresses, we will be able to provide more information on what educational supports (online sites, lessons, recorded videos, learning materials) that the district will provide for at-home learning, but these details are still being finalized.  In the meantime, I would like to share with you some details about our elementary school day as they have been designed to meet all required safety guidelines that are in place at this time. We have been communicating with the state and surrounding school districts to work to design the safest school environment for our PVES students during these most unusual times.

Due to social distancing guidelines, our grade level classes must be designed to allow for distance between students all day.  This means that classes will either be held in large spaces in the school (cafeteria, gym, large classrooms), or they will be split into two smaller sections in separate classrooms, joined by a rotating teacher and teaching assistant.  Students will sit at individual desks, and writing and other hands-on materials will not be shared. Extra furniture and carpets will be removed from the classrooms to allow for more safe distancing.  Students and staff will be required to wear masks throughout the day, except when mask breaks are safe and appropriate.  As the plan stands now, special area classes (physical education, art, music, technology) will take place in the students’ classrooms with their special teachers pushing in, unless they can be held in large common spaces or outside.  Outdoor learning spaces will be used whenever possible.  In order to limit hallway transitions and person-to-person contact, students will eat lunch in their classrooms at their desks, where they will be able to socialize at a safe distance.  (Food allergy concerns will be examined closely). Recess will take place outside when possible, following the social distancing guidelines.  There will be no large group gatherings for assemblies, concerts, etc., as this close contact would not be considered safe at this time.

If a student becomes ill at school, the nurse will see the child and if necessary, the child will then be supervised in a safe, isolated room until a parent or guardian comes to pick the child up.  We will take all precautions to avoid the spreading of germs in our building.  We will also follow all state guidelines if a student or staff member tests positive for the Coronavirus in our building, possibly leading to mandatory quarantine at home for a set amount of time.  Arrival and Dismissal procedures will be modified in order to ensure social distancing safety each and every day, with no parents entering the school at these times.

I know that this is a lot to process.  Please know that we are doing our very best to attend to the physical, social/emotional, and of course, the academic needs of our youngest learners.  Our elementary school will continue to be a place of warmth and care, and we will get through these challenging days with perseverance and a sense of community.  If you have specific questions or concerns, please reach out to me.  I can be reached at 845-528-8092, or at mpodesta@pvcsd.org.  Mr. Chickery, my assistant principal, and I are happy to help in any way that we can.  Safety is our top priority.

Please answer the New Survey as promptly as possible, and please remind your friends and neighbors to do the same.  We will then continue to plan from there.

I will continue to be in touch.  Stay healthy, and hug your children for me.

Warmly,

Dr. Margaret Podesta