Superintendent's Message: Grades 7-12 to Remain in Hybrid Model
I am writing to inform you that Midlakes Middle/High School will finish the 2020-2021 school year in the hybrid model. Grades 7-12 will not switch to full in-person learning this school year.
This morning I met with representatives from Ontario County Department of Public Health, county administration, and other area school superintendents regarding the COVID-19 transmission rate for Ontario County. The seven-day cumulative total of 141 cases continues to place Ontario County in the "High" transmission status. County officials said during our meeting that they do not anticipate the transmission status lowering below the “High” level by next week.
This significantly impacts our ability to provide full in-person instruction for middle/high school students under New York State Department of Health requirements. At the middle/high school level, when a school is in a "High Transmission" area, NYSDOH requires that students be placed in cohorts if they are not able to maintain at least six (6) feet of physical distance. It is not feasible for us to place middle/high school students in cohorts since it would prevent them from physically changing classes and require them to engage in “remote learning” while on campus. It is also unlikely that the transmission rate will decrease soon enough to allow for full in-person learning with such little time left in the school year.
Furthermore, data from our own online family questionnaire did not show overwhelming support for a change in learning models for students in Grades 7-12. You may recall that the questionnaire was designed to help the District gauge the community’s “tolerance for risk” to switch to full in-person instruction this school year. We will provide more detailed results of the 7-12 questionnaire during the May 10 Board of Education meeting.
Meanwhile, we are moving ahead on plans to return students in Grades UPK-6 to full five-day in-person instruction on May 10, as current guidelines allow for three feet of physical distancing for elementary students. The nature of the Elementary School structure enables us to organize students in cohorts without disrupting the learning environment. An updated reopening plan for Midlakes Elementary School has been posted on the District’s website.
Although Midlakes Middle/High School students will not return to full in-person instruction this spring, I want you to know that our Grades 7-12 teachers and staff are committed to supporting their students. They continue to strive for the best under these unprecedented conditions and are doing everything they can for Midlakes students.
As always, I want to thank you for your continued patience as we make decisions that prioritize the health and safety of our students.