Dear Putnam Valley Community:
As I write this email I can hear the energetic voices of our elementary school students outside at recess. It’s 45 degrees and the sun is shining. Throughout our District, we continue to see the positive and hopeful signs that the children of Putnam Valley are working hard and doing well. As we are all feeling the fatigue caused by this pandemic, our staff continues to support, lead and inspire and our parents and families continue to partner with us in numerous ways. We have much to be thankful for.
Here are this week’s updates:
Standardized Testing: This week we received word from the federal government that states will be required to administer standardized testing as required by law. Personally, I was very disappointed to hear this news, testing students is low on my priority list. Resources and time would be better allocated supporting teachers and students and planning a safe return to school. The federal government has stated that these tests will not be used for accountability purposes. New York State is exploring the possibility of canceling Regents exams that are not required by the federal government and will not enforce regents exams as a graduation requirement. As educators, we have pushed hard for the federal government to listen to educators before making these types of decisions, our voices were obviously not heard. More information is sure to come in the coming weeks.
Reconvening Reentry Task Force: As some schools across the country are trying to welcome back students for the first time since last spring, we are proud that we have successfully had our buildings open to students since September. I want to again extend my gratitude to everyone who helped prepare for our schools to open and for the work that happens every day to educate our students and keep our schools open. Currently, our Elementary School has approximately 81% of our student population in attendance five days a week. As we explore the feasibility of increasing in-person learning for our middle and high school hybrid students in the safest possible way, we will reconvene our Reentry Task Force. To date, we are still using guidance issued by the NYSDOH back in August. There is much to be discussed and explored before a decision can be made. I am hopeful that the New York State Department of Health will soon act and provide districts with updated and non-conflicting guidance that we can use to plan our move forward. While everyone has displayed heroic efforts this school year, this cannot become the standard moving forward; we must continue to plan for a safe transition back toward “normal.”
COVID Testing: We will hold our last COVID Testing Clinic on Monday, March 1 at Putnam Valley Middle School. Thank you to all who have taken advantage of this. If you have not yet participated in one of our testing clinics, please consider signing up now. Click here. Testing is available for all K-12 in-person learners. We are unable to test any fully remote students.
Vaccination Information: Through our partnership with the Putnam County Department of Health a vast majority of our staff have already received both doses of the COVID vaccine.
Snow Days: We have used four of the six snow days built into our school calendar. We anticipate that all snow events following the use of our last two allocated snow days will become all remote instructional days. This change will preserve the scheduled days off this spring and not require the reinstatement of instructional days during those breaks.
School Meals: School meals are free for all through the end of this school year. Meals are available each day our buildings are open and multiple day meal packages can be picked up on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. See all options here: http://pvcsd.org/index.php/district/parent-resources/school-lunch-info/
Please continue to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have.
Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools