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Lew-Port planning for anticipated state updates

Fri, Apr 2nd 2021 09:50 am

‘In the Loop’ with the Lewiston-Porter Board of Education

By Jodee Riordan

Board of Education President

We hope you are enjoying spring recess this week, Lewiston-Porter. The well-deserved break continues through next week, with classes resuming Monday, April 12. There will be a traditional remote Monday schedule for all students in the hybrid model.

As we discussed last week, the new guidance from the CDC related to social distancing in schools has yet to be adopted by the state of New York. As of press time, there has been no new guidance from the New York state departments of Health or Education. The district continues to wait for New York state to move on and determine changes in its guidance. Until that time, Lewiston-Porter will remain in the current learning models.

That said, as Superintendent Paul Casseri reported to the community that Lew-Port is finalizing plans for the return of more students to classrooms on a more frequent basis in anticipation of these updates. Over the spring break, Lew-Port custodians will be moving desks and furniture into classrooms. Challenges include finding new cafeteria space in some buildings, as the 6-foot social distancing rule still applies during lunch.

The district required all parents to update their child’s status (via Lew-Port’s “Return to School Survey, which closed Friday, March 26). Based on these results, district officials have met with STA/Ridge Road, Lew-Port’s transportation company, and are finalizing bus routes based on anticipated safety guidelines. Casseri noted concern the state DOH would weigh in specifically on transportation, which may force Lew-Port to modify its plan, requiring additional bus runs, added strain on schedules and substantial cost increases. Nevertheless, Lew-Port is moving forward with new bus routes, based on the information gathered from the survey and with the plan for two students to a seat on busses. New bus schedules will be ready to mail following spring break, assuming there is guidance from NYS and the Lew-Port plan meets the new guidelines. 

“Given our preparation, you will likely be eager to know when the transition from our hybrid model to a full return to campus will begin,” Casseri said. “Unfortunately, without any guidance or direction from New York state, I cannot at this point give any date for the phase-in of these changes. As soon as I have concrete guidance from New York state, I will share the dates and specifics regarding the transition.”

The Board of Education returns Monday, April 12, with a full work session centered on budget development. BOE anticipates having a state budget to work with. As of press time, Albany sources indicate the budget may miss the April 1 deadline, but it is anticipated to be completed by the weekend. With those numbers in place, and maybe even solid information on the status of federal stimulus money for schools, the board will be able to finalize Lew-Port’s budget for 2021-22. BOE is moving forward with a budget that plans for a traditional school year.

On behalf of the Board of Education, I wish you and your families a peaceful and happy Passover and Easter. Enjoy this break, and please stay safe and vigilant as we move forward and toward brighter days.

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