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Community Coffee Chat with Superintendent Potter
December 2, 2020
Important Message from Superintendent Potter
December 2, 2020
Good afternoon Red Raider Community,
I am reaching out to you today to update you on our plans when we fall into the Yellow Zone designation. Saratoga County is expected to be in the Yellow Zone designation at some point over the weekend. That is a 3% COVID testing positivity rate on a seven-day rolling average for ten consecutive days. We do not want to be caught off guard, we want to be in front of this and prepared.
Therefore, we’ve learned some hard lessons this week by having a great number of faculty mandatory quarantined due to exposure to positive cases. This is a tremendous burden and it depletes our resources and, ultimately, has a negative impact on the quality of instruction that we provide your children. As a smaller district, grades 7-12, we operate as a singleton, meaning there is one 7th grade Math teacher, one 9th grade English teacher. If they go quarantined, they’re not in front of your students for approximately two weeks. We were fortunate that this most recent quarantine fell over the Thanksgiving break, minimizing the negative impact to four days. As you are aware, we have gone virtual grades 9-12, Monday-Thursday.
With the impending Yellow Zone designation for our greater community, we’ve put forth the plan whereby all students grades 7-12 will be virtual during a Yellow Zone designation.
Because grades 9-12 have been virtual Monday-Thursday this week, 7 and 8 have been in-person Monday-Thursday, and our Red and White day schedule, there’s no benefit to having half of our children be in school on Friday. Therefore, we will begin this instructional plan on Friday for grades 7-12.
There’s a nuance to the need for testing. Just because Saratoga County falls within 3%, the state then does a data analysis on the individual communities, narrowing it down by zip code. We may not know until sometime next week what this actually means for Mechanicville, in our community. But regardless, we will be prepared and will have implemented our plan.
We are prioritizing the in-person instruction for our exceptional learners in addition to all students K-6. So exceptional learners in grades 7-12 will still come to school every day with parent consent. All students K-6 will still come to school every day with parent consent. We have pushed out the consent form through ParentSquare, and we will continue to do so.
I understand this is a lot of information, we wanted you to know as soon as we finalized our plans. So effective Friday, our Yellow Zone instructional plan will be in place, grades 7-12 start virtual-only instruction. Grades K-6 remain to come. Also, at tonight’s Coffee Chat, I will answer any particular questions regarding the instructional plan, and as well go over the nuances of what our 20% randomized testing plan will look like once we have to implement that.
For further clarification, all BOCES CTE students, our New Visions students, Tech Smart, and all special education out-of-district students will still attend every day to their regularly scheduled programming.
We cannot do this without you. But we cannot instruct the children without the teachers. So we will do our best to keep implementing our safety protocols to keep everyone safe, students and staff alike. Thank you in advance for your continued support, and as always we will get through this as One Mechanicville.