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Superintendent's Message: District Monitoring Staffing, COVID-19 Cases

JAN. 6, 2022 — I would like to thank you for your cooperation in keeping your children home from school when they feel ill and using the rapid COVID-19 tests provided by New York State.  While we have a larger number of student absences than normal, these steps have helped prevent exposures at school and have supported keeping most of our students in school. 

Nonetheless, cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in our region and across the state and nation.  We are closely monitoring potential staffing shortages in every building and department.  Our leadership team is working tirelessly in collaboration with our staff to cover as many potential absences as possible.  However, on any given day, we may become aware of staff absences that push us beyond our ability to safely open for in-person instruction. We continue to search for substitutes, drivers, and applicants for other positions at Midlakes.org/Jobs. Please encourage qualified candidates to apply.

Midlakes remains open for in-person instruction.  However, all students, staff, and families should be prepared to switch to remote learning on short notice, as we have little control over when we may become aware of a shortage that cannot be overcome.  If necessary, we will work to keep any switches to remote learning as brief as possible.  If a switch to remote learning occurs, it could last for one day or multiple days. We hope this is not necessary.

The District will notify you of any switch to remote learning with as much notice as possible.  We will send you Blackboard Messenger emails and phone calls, and post information to the school website, and the official Midlakes Schools Facebook page as necessary.  Our principals and teachers will follow-up via Blackboard Messenger, Seesaw, and/or Schoology with more detailed messages regarding specific procedures for remote learning.

If it is necessary to switch to remote learning for short periods of time, the District will continue to provide transportation to students who attend full-day off-campus placements. However, since the Transportation Department is one of our greatest areas of shortage under the best of circumstances, the District will not have the capacity to transport students from their homes to half-day FTLCC programs during short-term shifts to remote learning. Mr. Bai-Rossi, the Middle/High School Principal, will share transportation options and other information with the families of FLTCC students, if this becomes necessary.

In the meantime, please make sure your children are bringing their devices home each day (teachers will assist in this process) and charging them each night.  We will also continue to use Seesaw (Elementary School) and Schoology (Middle/High School) as the learning platforms to share messages and assignments.

Once again, Midlakes remains open for in-person instruction. We want students in school, but we are preparing for the possibility for short-term shifts to remote learning based on the potential for staffing shortages.  Thank you for your cooperation in following our health and safety protocols, keeping your children home when they are sick, and communicating with our school nurses.  As always, we appreciate your patience and support as we continue to navigate the challenges associated with COVID-19.

I will keep you informed of any changes or developments.

Sincerely,

Matthew Sickles, superintendent