A Letter from the Superintendent (2020)
Dear KLSD Community,
We are approaching a new school year that we know will be unlike any we’ve experienced. Our commitments are to provide our students with an outstanding educational experience in environments that are as emotionally and physically safe as can be, to support our staff as they support your children, and to keep our community healthy, informed, and engaged.
We are preparing for the coming year with key principles in mind:
- Health & Safety: We will make every effort to safeguard the health, safety, and well-being of our students, staff, and the broader community. We are committed to meeting (and surpassing to the extent practical) all the mandates from our State's Departments of Health and Education.
- Caring: We acknowledge the anxiety and uncertainty provoked by the pandemic and all of its consequences. Our students must feel cared for in order to learn to the best of their abilities.
- Quality: We aim to provide an education, no matter the form it takes, that engages all students in ways that are meaningful and relevant and that fosters their academic and personal growth towards their greatest potential.
- Continuity: We want our students to experience as little educational disruption as possible when the inevitable shifts occur.
- Flexibility: We know that we may need to shift from one educational model to another in an instant.
- Equity: We are working proactively to eliminate structural inequities and to be sure each and every student has what they need to be successful.
- Communication: We recognize the importance of keeping the entire community informed and of listening to input from all stakeholders. Communication will be timely and ongoing.
One of the great challenges of the pandemic is how differently it has touched each family, each student, and each member of our staff. As a result, there is no single plan that will satisfy all. The plans you will read here were generated with input from many members of our staff and our community. They are our attempt to best meet the needs of all.
Before you begin to review these plans, it's important to know that these are not final decisions. Though we hope the information shared here is helpful, it's most honest and transparent to say that this is not necessarily how school will open in September. This is the best thinking we can do now, in time for today's State deadline (7/31/20), and with the most current information about the coronavirus. Governor Cuomo will share his thinking next week. Situations around us could change (we hope only for the better), and we'll respond as necessary in order to do what's best for our students and our staff.
To best understand our plans, I suggest you begin with the PLAN OVERVIEW. Access answers to frequently asked questions here.
Working together, we will continue to refine and strengthen experiences for our students. Working together, we can model for our students that learning and growth are always in front of us.
Please continue to be safe and well.
Andrew Selesnick, Superintendent of Schools
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:
- Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staffmembers
- Ensuring student schedules are up todate
- Keeping a visitor log that includes date and time, address and phone number, and where in the school they visited
- Assisting the local health departments in tracing all contacts of the individual in accordance with the protocol, training, and tools provided through the NYSContact Tracing Program
- Informing local health department of a staff member testing positive, regardless of county of residence.
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:
- Close or quarantine locations of potential exposure
- Clean and disinfect locations asnecessary
- Provide DOH with information asrequired
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.
Remote Learning 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.
Childcare Resources from Westchester County
Thank you for your feedback
We are enormously grateful to everyone who has participated in the development of our reopening plans
Over 14,000 people from fourteen local districts participated in the Regional Reentry Thoughtexchange. Results here.
During the week of August 10, more than 1,100 community members participated in three live question and answer sessions with our District administrative team regarding our KLSD Reopens 2020 planning. Videos of those meetings can be found on this site.