The Katonah-Lewisboro Learning Commitment
In the KLSD, we will strive to create learning experiences for all students that are engaging, relevant, and take place in an active learning environment.
7:00 p.m. - Anticipated Executive Session
7:30 p.m. - Public Session
8:15 a.m. Via Video Conference
February 19, 2021
Dear KLSD Community,
As you may be aware, last Friday the CDC issued new guidance for schools. Educators across the country and within our region have since been focused on the implications of this guidance for students, for staff, and for any new opportunities for in-person learning.
Notably, though last week’s guidance was new for the CDC, it is consistent with the guidance issued by New York State last summer.
While the new guidance acknowledges the benefits of in-person learning and the critical importance of schools remaining open (or newly opening, as schools in some parts of the country have remained closed since last March), it also underscores the importance of key mitigation strategies necessary to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 both in schools and in communities. Universal mask wearing and physical distancing (still recommended to be 6-feet as often as possible) remain priorities.
As has been true since September, it is the 6-foot guidance that prevents us from being able to bring all students to school every day and that creates some differences among local districts. The hybrid learning model in KLSD has evolved throughout the school year, as have models in neighboring districts, based on prioritization of certain learning needs, staffing, and square footage available within our school buildings and classrooms. I confer regularly with my superintendent colleagues in the region. We are all striving toward the same goal: to maximize our capacity to bring as many students to school as safely as possible.
Where the new CDC guidance offers some hope for change is in a more nuanced approach to applying mitigation strategies (such as 6-feet of physical distancing) in concert with the level of local community transmission. School officials are working with health officials to understand the level of local community transmission, and I am in the process of determining whether transmission in our community allows for adjustments to our current mitigation strategies.
The availability of vaccinations is also a source of hope. Westchester County has indicated that it is prioritizing efforts for school districts. We continue seeking every opportunity for all our school employees to be vaccinated. Many have already received at least their first dose.
It is my hope that as the conditions above are assessed and addressed, we will be able to bring more students back into school, more frequently, before the end of this school year. We are preparing for the implementation of screening testing for students and staff, with the hope that it will advance this goal. If we’re able to move in this direction, we will soon need to know how many students to expect in-person if and when we’re able to adjust the mitigation strategies noted above.
In the coming days, I plan to engage staff and community in discussion of these issues. The partnership of our entire community allowed us to re-open schools in September. It has kept our community and our schools as safe as possible since then. We want to bring all students back to school as soon as possible. We also want them, our staff, and our community to remain safe and healthy. Please look for more communication and invitations for input in the coming days.
Until then, please be well.
Andrew Selesnick, Superintendent of Schools
For additional information from the Superintendent's office, please click HERE.
Katonah-Lewisboro School District has a standing relationship with the Westchester County Department of Health in the event that testing is required for students or staff. We will collaborate with WCDOH for any required and relevant testing information and provide it to community members and staff, as needed, through our usual communication channels. KLSD is not authorized to provide COVID-19 testing in our school facilities.
Testing is readily available in our community. Students, staff, or visitors requiring COVID-19 testing should contact their health provider, a local urgent care, a federally qualified health center, or visit the New York State DOH website to locate a nearby testing facility.
A list of testing sites can also be found on the WCDOH health website under the testing, results and treatment tab.
Students, faculty and staff can also call the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065 for assistance locating a testing site.
Katonah-Lewisboro School District will notify the State and County health departments, as well as our District’s medical director, immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors of Katonah-Lewisboro School District
To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, Katonah-Lewisboro School District has developed and will maintain a plan to trace all contacts of exposed individuals in accordance with protocols, training, and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program.
KLSD will assist with contact tracing by:
For all contact tracing related to students, the DOH will require the name, address, and phone number of the student, as well as the name and phone number of the student’s parent/guardian.
If/when COVID-19 cases are discovered, in consultation with the local health department and our District’s medical director, Katonah-Lewisboro School District will do the following:
Confidentiality will be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations.
For information related to specific COVID case scenarios and their associated protocols, please see the Suspected/Confirmed Cases section of our website.
KLSD Staff will not try to determine who is to be excluded from school without guidance and direction from the local health department and our District’s medical director.
For more information related to other health and safety procedures, visit the Health and Safety section of our reopening plan.
In the event that it becomes necessary to close our schools, or have certain cohorts of students remain home, students would have access to the Remote Learning Model on all school days. School schedules would remain unchanged from those followed in the Hybrid Model or In-Person Model. Students would continue to have daily interactions with their teachers and peers on the same school-day schedules.
Synchronous interactions (connecting teachers and students in school with those at home in real time) will be scheduled for part of the class period or lesson, with other time devoted to independent work for students. During this independent time, teachers will conduct, remotely, individual and small group meetings to provide clarification, guidance and feedback on the application of skills, strategies or content previously taught. Depending on the nature of the independent work, students may log off their devices for any period of time when they are not meeting with the teacher.
Where necessary and possible, lessons will be recorded to allow access for students who cannot adhere to a synchronous schedule.
For the fall 2020, every KLSD student (approximately 3,000 in all) will be issued a district-owned digital device to use in school and at home. These devices have built in cameras to support synchronous learning activities in a remote learning environment. Students will take devices home each evening, so that we're always ready for a potential transition.
The district has also provided a common learning platform, Schoology, for all learners and teachers to conduct synchronous and asynchronous lesson activities in an online format. All KLSD teachers and administrators have district-issued laptops for use at school and at home for instructional purposes.
Off-screen experiences are also an important consideration. This is true for all students and especially for our youngest learners. Our re-entry committee members have been discussing the kinds of materials they would want students to use on days of remote learning. Although our teachers need time to make final decisions for their grades and subjects, the initial list includes independent reading books, math manipulatives, workbooks, art supplies, musical instruments and materials for some science labs. When students are not with their teacher, there will be a mix of online and offline activities.
The district has completed several projects this July and August to ensure a solid on-campus network infrastructure considering the growing need to broadcast lessons and provide content to students in a remote setting. The district technology team has upgraded network switching equipment to expand capacity and has grown the campus internet bandwidth to 1.5gb speeds from one gigabit this past school year. These improvements will ensure teachers can broadcast from their classrooms and students can participate in synchronous learning activities with their teachers and classmates.
Our distance learning survey for families, administered in June of 2020, indicated that 91% of our families reported consistent internet access during the extended closure. The district is committed to the goals of the USNY Statewide Learning Technology Plan to ensure our students and faculty have access to devices and internet, both at school and at their places of residence. We will work with students, families and faculty to ensure that every member of our school community has access to a device and adequate internet connectivity.
We have and will continue to reach out to families and educators who have limited, inconsistent or inadequate internet access and provide hot spots wherever possible. In many cases, hot spots will not work within our community because of inadequate cellular service in the area. Our Director of Technology is working with internet providers and local leaders to lobby for increased cell coverage for the school community.
If you are sending your child to a non-public school in September 2021 and she/he will need school bus service, NYS Education Law mandates that a written request be filed each year. The Non-Public School Transportation Form must be completed and returned to the Transportation Office by mail (postmarked by April 1, 2021), by email, or by fax (914-763-5846) no later than April 1, 2021.
Click here for instructions and the request form.