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Weekly Update 5/7/21

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

I’m hopeful that everyone will be able to enjoy this sunny Friday afternoon. I would also like to extend Happy Mother’s Day wishes to all the moms out there, I hope you have a wonderful day.

Teacher Appreciation Week:  Teacher appreciation week takes on a new meaning this year.  In many ways, we asked our teachers to do the “impossible” and yet they found a way to make it work for all students. Despite the challenges, they faced they were ready each day to support our students and each other. As a district, we were able to accomplish things that many around our region were unable to provide. It was certainly a year like no other.

On many occasions, I have shared how proud I am of the Putnam Valley School District and more specifically of our staff. I hope each staff member feels some internal pride in what they were able to provide the students of Putnam Valley despite all of the challenges they faced.

I recognize how challenging the remainder of the school year will be for everyone, but I am hopeful that the worst is behind us and we can safely begin next year with full in-person instruction. I want to again thank my teacher colleagues for what they do every day to make Putnam Valley the special place it is and for making a difference in our students’ lives. I extend my gratitude and appreciation for going above and beyond this past school year.

Positive Cases: After a very quiet week last week, we did see an increase in cases this week.  There were five students and one staff member at Putnam Valley Middle School and two students at Putnam Valley Elementary School that tested positive this past week.  Although the positivity rate in the county is currently reaching low rates that we have not seen since early fall, we should all remain diligent. This current COVID variant has proven to spread quickly among children.

School Calendar Change: I anticipate the following changes being made to our end-of-year schedule.

  • Thursday, June 24:  ½ day for ES and MS students, HS students are in their Regents Week – last day of testing.
  • Friday, June 25:  No school for ES and MS students, Rating Day for the HS.

Support Staff Appreciation: I know that I speak for my administrative and teacher colleagues by thanking our support staff for the essential role they play in the daily operations of our buildings.  You are the glue that holds us all together and the engine that pushes us forward.  No matter what role you serve within the District, you are making a difference in the lives of our students each day.  Thank you!

Thank you,

Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools

Board of Ed Meeting Tonight 7PM – Final Budget Hearing – Live Stream

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

The Putnam Valley Central School District Board of Education will hold the Final Budget Hearing and their regularly scheduled Business Meeting, today, Tuesday, May 4, at 7:00 pm in the High School Performing Arts Center.

The School Budget Vote will be held on Tuesday, May 18 from 6 am to 9 pm at the Putnam Valley Elementary School.  Please note, voting will be done in person this year.  Absentee ballots can be obtained via mail by making a request no later than May 11 or can be picked up at the District Office until May 17. Absentee ballot information can be found here or please call the District Clerk at (845)528-8143×1367.

Board of Education meetings are open to the public. Any community member wishing to attend in person will be required to wear a mask and fill out a health questionnaire. Members of the public may also participate by clicking the live link on the school’s website, pvcsd.org. Members of the public will be able to ask questions during the meeting by emailing questions to: BoardQuestions@pvcsd.org

The email address will be monitored prior to and during the meeting. Questions will be compiled and will be shared with the Board during the public comment periods. We encourage your participation. For the purpose of the record of the meeting, please include your name in the email.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools

Link to Budget Presentation Videos
Link to Budget Information

Msg. from Dr. Luft – Weekly Update 4/30/21

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Vaccinations:  Vaccination continues to be the most effective way to protect yourself from the COVID-19 virus.  Vaccination appointments are currently widely available, and individuals 16 and older may now receive walk-in appointments at NYS run vaccination clinics. The Putnam County Department of Health vaccination clinics often have available time slots for anyone 18 years or older. https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/

Hiring Committee, Director of Curriculum & Instruction:  I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone who volunteered to be part of the interview process. We received an overwhelming level of interest, especially among parents.  A follow-up email was shared with everyone who had responded to the survey (as of April 28).

Planning for the 2021 – 2022 School Year:  While we await further guidance from the New York State Department of Health, Putnam Valley is already moving ahead with plans to fully reopen our schools next school year.  We do not anticipate offering an “all-remote” option next year.  Each building is currently planning summer recovery and reentry opportunities to help transition students back into our buildings.

COVID Positive Cases:  Positive news: We do not have any new cases to report this week.  Please continue to follow the health precautions and we should continue to see a decrease in the number of positive cases across our region.

End of Year Events:  As we explore opportunities to celebrate our student accomplishments, in the event that in-person events are held, we anticipate all participants and guests will be required to show either a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination to attend. Each building is closely monitoring state guidelines.

Quarantines:  It is important to note that although New York State has granted school districts more flexibility to bring additional students back into our classrooms, the quarantine restrictions have not changed. For example, students may sit three feet apart in the classroom, but in the event of a positive case, contact tracing would include at least all students within six feet of the positive individual.  In instances where students are not wearing a mask (snack, lunch, band, etc.), contact identification extends beyond the six feet.

Important Links:

Updated New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Guidance can be found here:  https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/Pre-K_to_Grade_12_Schools_MasterGuidance.pdf

Updated Guidance for Commencement Ceremonies and School Proms (Issued by NYSDOH): https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/04/doh_covid19_updatedgraduationguidance_041221.pdf

Travel Advisories:  https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory

Vaccination Information & Links
State Run Clinics:  https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/
Putnam County Clinics:  https://www.putnamcountyny.com/covid-19-vaccine-information/

Stay well,

Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools

Invitation to Participate: Interview Committee for Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Dear Staff, Parents, and Community Members:

During the week of May 17, we will begin our committee interview process for the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. This is the position being vacated by Jenette Mistretta on July 1, 2021. The position has been posted and advertised widely for the past few weeks. The Director of Curriculum and Instruction position will be critical in continuing our District initiatives, enhancing our instructional practices, and shaping our District’s future on behalf of our students.

In order to provide an opportunity for participation in the hiring process, we are asking for volunteers to serve on an interview committee.

Screening interviews for the Director of Curriculum and Instruction will be conducted over the next two weeks. We already have a small screening committee in place for these interviews.

Finalist interviews will be held on Tuesday, May 18, and Wednesday, May 19 (if needed)  The interviews will be held in the evening, likely between 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Finalists will be asked to participate in an in-person committee interview and to facilitate a presentation for another committee.

If you are interested in serving on the committee on Tuesday, May 18, and Wednesday, May 19 (if needed) please complete the following form.

Please note: We will need to limit the number of individuals on each committee to ensure appropriate social distancing. We will look to create a representative group of administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, and students on each committee.

We will get back to you with more details once the committee has been established. If you have any difficulty with the google form, please email your committee request to DLopez@pvcsd.org directly.

Thank you for your involvement in this significant District process.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools

Msg. from Dr. Luft – 4/23/21

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Despite the periodic snow flurries over the past few days, I have been promised that spring has actually arrived.  The energy within the buildings continues to build as additional students return and the weather improves.

COVID Update:  At the same time, we continue to see a rise in positive cases within our High School.  It is evident that the current variant of COVID-19 that is spreading within our community is more susceptible to spread among our students.  Current numbers across Putnam County show the virus is spreading quickly among individuals under the age of 20.  In most cases, our mitigation strategies continue to prevent significant virus spread within our buildings; oftentimes, we are able to quickly trace the source of the positive case to exposures outside of our buildings. However, there have been instances where in-school spread cannot be ruled out. We continue to work in close partnership with the Putnam County Department of Health to monitor any potential spread of the virus within our building.

COVID Positive Cases:  Unfortunately, we had another four students test positive for COVID at Putnam Valley High School and one student tested positive for COVID at Putnam Valley Middle School.

Quarantines:  It is important to note that although New York State has granted school districts more flexibility to bring additional students back into our classrooms, the quarantine restrictions have not changed. For example, students may sit three feet apart in the classroom, but in the event of a positive case, contact tracing would include at least all students within six feet of the positive individual.  In instances where students are not wearing a mask (snack, lunch, band, etc.) contact identification extends beyond the six feet.

Vaccinations:  Vaccination continues to be the most effective way to protect yourself from the virus.  Vaccination appointments are currently widely available. The Putnam County Department of Health vaccination clinics often have available time slots for anyone 18 years or older.  Students who are 16 or 17 would need the Pfizer vaccine which is currently available at New York State run clinics. Our High School seniors still have the ability to be fully vaccinated and exempt from precautionary (asymptomatic) quarantine prior to the prom and graduation. (Appointments are currently available at Rockland Community College and Westchester County Center. See link below.)

End of Year Events:  As we explore opportunities to celebrate our student accomplishments, in the event that in-person events are held, we anticipate all participants and guests will be required to show either a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination to attend. Each building is closely monitoring state guidelines.

Important Links:

Updated New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Guidance can be found here:  https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/Pre-K_to_Grade_12_Schools_MasterGuidance.pdf

Updated Guidance for Commencement Ceremonies and School Proms (Issued by NYSDOH): https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/04/doh_covid19_updatedgraduationguidance_041221.pdf

Travel Advisories:  https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory

Vaccination Information & Links

State Run Clinics:  https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/

Putnam County Clinics:  https://www.putnamcountyny.com/covid-19-vaccine-information/

Stay well,

Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools

Board of Education Meeting Today, Tuesday 4/20/21 – 7pm Live Stream @pvcsd.org

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

The Putnam Valley Central School District Board of Education will hold their regularly scheduled meeting, Today, Tuesday, April 20, at 7:00 pm in the High School cafeteria.

The Board will acknowledge the 2021 retirees of the district: Lori Carra, Nancy Christopher, Mick Coleman, Teresa Hebeisen, Leesa Hernandez, Deborah Parsons, Carolyn Pasquale, Toni Pozzanghera, Sharon Redmond, Zoe Sousa, Jodi Stein, and Christine Wallach. In addition, it is anticipated that the Board will confer tenure on the following staff members: Travis McCarty, Leslie Castellanos, Karen Schmitt, Melissa Whipple, Theresa Boryk, Georgia Sommer, Kari DiSiena, Adele Foster, Paul Pearson, Catherine Schoetz, Kerry Sullivan, Patricia Saffo, Jayme Jaeschke, Jessica Cruz, and Kelly Wilson.

Please join me in congratulating these staff members!

Additional agenda topics include: (full agenda here)

  • 2021-22 Proposed Budget Update – Dr. Luft and District Treasurer Jill Figarella – Budget Vote: Tuesday, May 18. ​​Budget information is available on our website. Click here.
  • PNW BOCES Vote for Trustee Candidates and 2021-22 Administrative Budget

Board of Education meetings are open to the public. Any community member wishing to attend in person will be required to wear a mask and fill out a health questionnaire. Members of the public may also participate by clicking the live link on the school’s website, pvcsd.org. Members of the public will be able to ask questions during the meeting by emailing questions to: BoardQuestions@pvcsd.org

The email address will be monitored prior to and during the meeting. Questions will be compiled and will be shared with the Board during the public comment periods. We encourage your participation. For the purpose of the record of the meeting, please include your name in the email.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools

Msg. from Dr. Luft – Updated Guidance

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

We continue to review the newly released NYSDOH guidance and will adjust accordingly to remain in compliance.  In the meantime, our plan is to stay the course as we review the updated guidance with our school attorney, the Putnam County Department of Health, and our school physician.

Updated New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Guidance can be found here:  https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/Pre-K_to_Grade_12_Schools_MasterGuidance.pdf

Some of the most pertinent information in the updated guidance is bulleted below:

  • Physical distancing for students in the classroom was reduced from 6ft to 3ft; Adults must remain 6ft apart.

  • CDC no longer recommends the use of barriers (face shields)

  • Masks are required anytime a student is not eating/drinking or participating in an authorized mask break

  • Social distancing was reduced from 12ft to 6ft for chorus, band, and gym classes

  • Identification of contacts to a positive case will continue using 6ft to identify a close contact

  • Daily health screening and temperature check are still required

  • Cleaning and sanitizing procedures remain in place

  • Established transmission rates that could impact instructional delivery at our MS and HS

Updated Guidance for Commencement Ceremonies and School Proms (Issued by NYSDOH):  The New York State Department of Health has released updated guidance regarding end-of-year school events, including commencements and the prom.  The complete guidance can be found here:  https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/04/doh_covid19_updatedgraduationguidance_041221.pdf

A brief summary of the guidance as it could pertain to Putnam Valley is included below:

  • Indoor Events – Limited at 150 attendees, COVID testing or proof of vaccination is required.

  • Outdoor Events – Limited at 200 attendees, COVID testing or proof of vaccination is NOT required.

Travel Advisory Update:  Current travel guidance can be referenced here.  New York State has announced, effective April 1, domestic travelers are no longer required to quarantine upon arriving back in New York, although self-quarantine is still encouraged.  Effective April 10, international travelers are no longer required to quarantine.  COVID testing 3-5 days after international travel is recommended.  A voluntary 7-day quarantine is recommended for those international travelers who are not yet fully vaccinated.

All travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form.  Regardless of quarantine status, all individuals returning from travel must:

  • Continue daily symptom monitoring through Day 14;

  • Continue strict adherence to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, including hand hygiene and the use of face coverings, through Day 14 (even if fully vaccinated);

  • Must immediately self-isolate if any symptoms develop and contact the local public health authority or their healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status and determine if they should seek testing.

Positive Cases:  Since we returned from spring break we’ve had (3) students at PVHS, (1) adult at PVMS, and (1) adult at PVES.  We must continue to stay vigilant and follow all precautions to prevent the virus from spreading.  COVID and seasonal allergies share many symptoms. Please give a runny nose and/or a sore throat your attention and contact your school nurse if you need additional guidance.

Athletic Events:  As our fall 2 season winds down and our spring athletic season will soon begin. The Section One spectator policy currently allows two guests per athlete for outdoor events. Spectators must continue to abide by all public health precautions, including social distancing, mask-wearing, hand washing, temperature check, and completion of a health screening.

Thank you and have a great weekend.

Stay well,

Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools

Board of Education Meeting Tomorrow, Thursday 4/8/21 – 7pm Live Stream @pvcsd.org

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

The Putnam Valley Central School District Board of Education will hold their regularly scheduled meeting, tomorrow, Thursday, April 8, at 7:00 pm in the High School Performing Arts Center. Any community member wishing to attend in person will be required to wear a mask and fill out a health questionnaire. Members of the public may also participate by clicking the live link on the school’s website, pvcsd.org. Members of the public will be able to ask questions during the meeting by emailing questions to: BoardQuestions@pvcsd.org

The email address will be monitored prior to and during the meeting. Questions will be compiled and will be shared with the Board during the public comment periods. We encourage your participation. For the purpose of the record of the meeting, please include your name in the email.

The agenda for the meeting can be found here: https://go.boarddocs.com/ny/pvcsd/Board.nsf/Public

Agenda topics include:

  • 2021-22 Final Budget Presentation – District Treasurer Jill Figarella
  • Student Representative’s Report
  • Superintendent’s Report

​Sincerely,

Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools

Weekly Update – Message from Dr. Luft 3/26/21

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

After successfully implementing our first phase of our spring re-entry plan, we have turned our attention to welcoming back many of our all-remote learners beginning on Tuesday, April 6. Our schools will be closed Monday, March 29, through Monday, April 5.

CDC and NYSDOH Guidance:  We are aware that the CDC has released updated guidance related to the reopening of schools with 3 feet of separation, without the requirement of barriers.  It is our understanding that the NYSDOH is currently reviewing that guidance and will be issuing a statement or updated guidance sometime in the future.  As a public school district in New York we are required to follow the NYSDOH and therefore must await their updated guidance.

COVID Testing:  We have scheduled another COVID testing clinic for Monday, April 5 from 11am – 1pm at Putnam Valley Middle School.  The testing is open to all current students who plan to attend in-person learning after the break.  We ask that anyone who is a known contact of a COVID positive person or symptomatic to please visit a physician to be tested.  Anyone interesting in being tested must complete this registration form:  https://forms.gle/nWCC5cacadte6qha6

Positive Cases:  We continue to see an increase in the number of positive cases within Putnam Valley High School.  It is more important than ever to stay vigilant and follow all precautions to prevent the virus from spreading.  This week we had another 5 students at PVHS, 1 staff member at PVHS, 1 student at PVES, and 1 staff member at the district office  test positive.

Student Daily Health Screenings:  Please continue to help us keep our students and staff healthy and our buildings open by completing the daily screenings before your children arrive at school each day. The link can be found on our Putnam Valley CSD Mobile App or on our website homepage under COVID Resources.  Link to daily screening.

Reminders from Last Week

Travel Advisory:  Current travel guidance can be referenced here.  New York State has announced, effective April 1, domestic travelers are no longer required to quarantine upon arriving back in New York, although self-quarantine is still encouraged.  International travelers must continue to quarantine.  All travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form.  Regardless of quarantine status, all individuals returning from travel must:

  • Continue daily symptom monitoring through Day 14;
  • Continue strict adherence to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, including hand hygiene and the use of face coverings, through Day 14 (even if fully vaccinated);
  • Must immediately self-isolate if any symptoms develop and contact the local public health authority or their healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status and determine if they should seek testing.

Athletic Events:  As we kick off the reschedule fall 2 sports season (Football, Cheerleading & Volleyball), the NYSDOH and Section One Athletics have updated some of their spectator policies.  Effective March 22, NYSDOH has increased the limit of spectators at outdoor events to 200 individuals, Section One has revised their spectator policy to allow two guests per athlete for outdoor events and two guests per home athlete for indoor events (exceptions are outlined in the guidance for playoffs and senior nights).  Spectators must continue to abide by all public health precautions, including social distancing, mask-wearing, hand washing, temperature check, and completion of a health screening.

Spring & End of Year Events:  We continue to closely follow NYSDOH guidance related to indoor and end-of-year events; this includes our spring concerts, plays, moving-up/graduation ceremonies, and the prom.  Planning for many of these events is already underway and will ultimately be decided based on the guidance that is available at that time.

Enjoy the spring break, time with family, and the arrival of nicer weather.  It’s been a long year.  We have been tested and challenged; we have done amazing things in brand new ways, and we have learned that we are stronger together. Thank you!

Take care and stay well,

Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools

Board of Education Meeting Tonight, Thursday 3/18/21 – 7pm Live Stream @pvcsd.org

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

The Putnam Valley Central School District Board of Education will hold their regularly scheduled meeting, tonight, Thursday, March 18, at 7:00 pm in the High School Performing Arts Center. Any community member wishing to attend in person will be required to wear a mask and fill out a health questionnaire. Members of the public may also participate by clicking the live link on the school’s website, pvcsd.org. Members of the public will be able to ask questions during the meeting by emailing questions to: BoardQuestions@pvcsd.org

The email address will be monitored prior to and during the meeting. Questions will be compiled and will be shared with the Board during the public comment periods. We encourage your participation. For the purpose of the record of the meeting, please include your name in the email.

The agenda for the meeting can be found here: https://go.boarddocs.com/ny/pvcsd/Board.nsf/Public

Agenda topics include:

  • 2021-22 Budget Presentation – Dr. Luft and District Treasurer Jill Figarella
  • Wellness Center Presentation by Superintendent of Schools – Dr. Luft
  • Student Representative’s Report
  • Superintendent’s Report

​Sincerely,

Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools