An Update on Planning for Next Year

A Message from Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr.

Dear Families, Colleagues and Community Members,

The purpose of this message is to provide you with a status update on our planning for the 2021-22 school year. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and we continue to follow the latest guidance and hope for a return of in-person instruction for all students every day.

For those who have not seen it yet, our school calendar for the 2021-22 year has been adopted. This provides the first and last days of school and holidays and recess. You can view it here.

In terms of how we will be operating next year, I have heard from many of you about the need to have our plans in place as soon as possible. I agree with this wholeheartedly. I was one of 92 school superintendents in the greater Capital Region in the region who signed a letter to state officials asking for updated guidance for next school year as soon as possible and for some adjustments to existing requirements.

The news that 3-feet of social distancing, with masks, under certain conditions would be permitted in schools will help facilitate our goal of having all students K-12 learn in person every day next year. However, existing rules around cohorting and distancing on buses and in cafeterias could complicate these efforts. So, as much as we want answers about next year, it also requires some patience. Based on what we have seen in the last 14 months, we can also expect circumstances to change and guidance to be updated accordingly.

I share this information with you so that you know what we are advocating for and the direction of our planning, but also that other scenarios still remain possible. We do plan to reconvene our Reopening Task Force so that we can have as many stakeholders involved in these conversations in the weeks ahead.

Our priorities of health, safety and learning will not change. I continue to be proud of the way our school community came together to promote all three, and want to appeal to everyone to help make sure we finish strong. Although we see encouraging signs related to the pandemic, we still must be cautious and take all the steps that we have grown accustomed to, including mask-wearing and social distancing.

Finally, as we conclude Teacher Appreciation Week and look ahead to a week that includes National School Nurses Day, please join me in thanking these professionals for all that they do for our school community on a daily basis – this year and all others. We are so grateful for your dedication to our students.

We will continue to keep you posted as plans for next year take shape and will provide as much notice as possible once decisions are made. Thank you for your partnership.

Cosimo