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Superintendent's Message: Grades 5 & 6 Moving to Remote Instruction

Over the weekend, the District was notified by the Ontario County Department of Health of additional positive student and staff cases of COVID-19 at Midlakes Middle/High School and Midlakes Elementary School. 

The positive tests include one Midlakes Middle/High School teacher, one Midlakes Elementary School teacher, and one Midlakes Elementary School student. These cases are not related to each other. The Middle/High School teacher was last on campus on January 7; the Elementary school teacher was last on campus on January 8; and the Elementary School student was last on campus on January 5. Per privacy guidelines, no additional identifying information can be shared.

The Ontario County Department of Health determined that the positive result for the Middle/High School teacher did not result in any exposure on campus during the contagious period. Therefore, while the teacher is in isolation as directed by the Department of Health, there is no further action required by the District relating to that case.

The Department of Health determined that due to the positive result for the Elementary School teacher, specific elementary students must be quarantined through at least January 18. The District is working with the Department of Health to confirm the number of students and the length of quarantine. The District will notify these families today, and they will receive follow-up communication from the Department of Health.

The Department of Health determined that due to the positive result for the Elementary School student, one elementary teacher and ten elementary students must be quarantined through at least January 18. The District will notify these families today, and they will receive follow-up communication from the Department of Health.

The quarantines ordered by the Department of Health in response to these positive cases are precautionary measures. The Department of Health has not directed us to switch to remote learning because of these specific cases.

In addition to the positive cases identified above, the District has been notified of other staff members who are either in quarantine due to exposures unrelated to school or must stay home while they wait for the results of a COVID-19 test.   Therefore, the District faces significant staffing shortages at Midlakes Elementary School.

To ensure the safety of students and staff and appropriately staff our younger grade levels, Grades 5 and 6 will transition to fully remote instruction beginning on Monday, Jan. 11 and extending at least through and including Friday, Jan. 15. 

The District will continue to work with the Department of Health to support continued contact tracing related to any positive cases. Any individual who is determined to have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19 at school will be notified by the District and/or the Department of Health.

We hope to resume the hybrid model for grades 5-12 on Tuesday, Jan. 19. However, we will wait for updated information from the Department of Health before confirming the January 19 return date.

Grade 7-12 will transition to remote instruction as communicated on Friday, Jan. 8.  While grades 5 and 6 are in fully remote instruction, beginning on Monday, Jan. 11:

  • No students in grades 5 and 6 will report to campus, including those who attend in-person instruction on Wednesdays. All learning will be remote until we are able to safely staff these grade levels.
  • All Elementary School staff will report to campus, and 5th and 6th grade teachers will provide remote instruction from their classrooms, unless ordered to quarantine.
  • The District will continue to deliver meals to designated students as currently scheduled. If you need to add meal delivery, please contact our Food Service Department at foodservice@midlakes.org.
  • Grades UPK - 4 will continue to attend in-person instruction as scheduled according to the hybrid model.

We appreciate your continued patience during these difficult times. While we regret any inconvenience caused by the short notice and the temporary shift to remote learning for grades 5 and 6, we are committed to protecting the safety of our students and staff. We will return students to in-person instruction in the hybrid model as soon as we can provide appropriate staffing.

We encourage all members of the Midlakes community to continue following our health and safety protocols. The cooperation of our students, staff, and families helps limit the secondary exposure associated with positive cases. In addition to wearing face coverings, observing social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene, and completing the daily health screening, we especially appreciate students and staff staying home when feeling ill.

As we continue in-person instruction in grades UPK – 4, and send students to FLTCC, anyone with concerns regarding symptoms or potential exposure should consult with one of our school nurses prior to sending your children to school. By working together and taking extra precautions, we can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at school and avoid any further disruptions to our hybrid model of instruction.

We will continue to work closely with the Department of Health, monitor suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19, and communicate with families and staff in a timely manner. As always, our ability to continue the hybrid model will depend upon our ability to maintain appropriate staffing, manage positive cases, and provide a safe environment for students and staff. 

Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation.

Sincerely, 

Matt Sickles,
superintendent