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Lew-Port provides update: No plans to close

Fri, Mar 13th 2020 10:00 pm

On Friday, Lewiston-Porter Central School District Board of Education President Jodee Riordan shared a message from Superintendent of Schools Paul Casseri.

“Friends – Please take care of each other, and stay calm. Things are changing and developing quickly, and it is unsettling. There is an enormous amount of false and misleading information out there: Please go directly to primary sources. There is no truth to any rumors about school closures or positive cases at LP. Please read latest statement from @Lewiston-Porter,” she said.

Casseri offered the following on Facebook:

Dear Lewiston-Porter Families and Community:

I met today with the Niagara County Health Commissioner, Mr. Dan Stapleton and other officials at the County level along with all Superintendent's from Orleans and Niagara Counties. Following the direction from Mr. Stapleton and the precedent set by Erie County Superintendents yesterday, we are now moving into the Minimal to Moderate mitigation strategy phase for the Coronavirus Disease – COVID-19.

The CDC strategies in the minimal to moderate phase include the following measures:

  • Implement social distancing measures
  • Reduce the frequency of large gatherings (e.g., assemblies), and limit the number of attendees per gathering.
  • Alter schedules to reduce mixing (e.g., stagger recess, entry/dismissal times)
  • Limit inter-school interactions
  • Consider distance or e-learning in some settings
  • Consider regular health checks (e.g., temperature and respiratory symptom screening) of students, staff, and visitors (if feasible).
  • Short-term dismissals for school and extracurricular activities as needed (e.g., if cases in staff/students) for cleaning and contact tracing.
  • Students at increased risk of severe illness should consider implementing individual plans for distance learning, e-learning.

Based on these recommendations, until further notice, all gatherings, assemblies and meetings within the school (other than essential school activities like lunch, dismissal, busing) and after school gatherings, assemblies and meetings will be limited to 50 persons or less. That means that all concerts, large group meetings (i.e. Spring parent sports meeting, District Art show) will either be cancelled, postponed or in the case of parent information meetings distributed through technology. Specific information for specific events in terms of cancellation or postponement will be handled through building level administration, the Athletic Office/AD or individual club or class advisors.

For next week specifically, the Band Kaleidoscope concert will be cancelled on Thursday, 3/19. The Spring Sports meeting scheduled for Wednesday, 3/18 will be cancelled. Information for spring sports will be disseminated through the Athletic Director and individual coaches. Spring sports practices will continue as usual and as pre-season scrimmages and games start to develop on sport schedules those cancellations will be handled through the Athletic office/AD. The District-wide Art Show scheduled for Saturday, March 28th is being postponed. A new date will be set as soon as we can determine the extent of these hard social distancing strategies.

Also, all travel and trips outside the 8 counties of Western New York are suspended until further notice. Most school events and gatherings within the 8 counties have been cancelled or postponed already, as they exceed the 50 person limit, but in the event that this crisis stretches beyond Spring break in April we will make a case by determination for any local travel to small gatherings based on collaboration with Governmental Health officials and local school Superintendents.

I have received numerous questions about school closure. Governor Cuomo, today, determined that at this point all PreK-12 public schools will remain open with these new social distancing measures in place. In the event a student, staff or community member is determined to have the Corona Virus, School Superintendents are authorized to close the school for 24 hours and the local County Health Commissioner, working with the Superintendent, will determine the extent of closure beyond this initial 24 hour period. As stated in the guidelines from the CDC, at Lewiston-Porter we are beginning the process of preparing school work for students in the event of a closure. If we are face with a statewide closure or local closure more information will follow with regard to access to student work at grade level or by course.

This is a very difficult and rapidly changing situation. We are doing our very best to follow guidelines established by local, state and federal agencies to keep our students safe. I will remain committed to communicating the best information I have to our staff and families as soon as possible.

Keep the faith, it will get better.

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