‘In the Loop’ with the Lewiston-Porter Board of Education
By Jodee Riordan
Board of Education President
Wednesday is Veterans Day, and on behalf of the Board of Education and our Lewiston-Porter community, I extend our gratitude to all who served our country. We honor and thank you for your service.
Mondays are normally a day of virtual learning for all students in the hybrid model. With the Veterans Day holiday on Wednesday, there will be no virtual day this week. Hybrid students in the green group will be on campus on Monday and Tuesday, while students in the white group will be on campus Thursday and Friday. The district will be closed Wednesday, Nov. 11, in observance of Veterans Day.
Like all schools in New York, Lewiston-Porter is preparing for the possibility of having to move to remote-only instruction due to COVID-19 infection rates within our region. New York state’s approach has transitioned to a targeted regional strategy of aggressively responding to micro-clusters in order to limit COVID-19 spread in a defined geographic area. This approach is taken to prevent broader viral transmission that would result in widespread economic shutdowns.
“Micro-clusters” are defined as outbreaks of new cases within a limited and definable geographic area. These zones will impact how instruction is provided. Yellow (precautionary) schools open with mandatory weekly testing of students and teachers/staff for in-person settings; orange (warning) and red (cluster identified) require school buildings to be closed; instruction is remote only.
In the event that our region moves into an orange or red zone, the Lewiston-Porter campus would close and instruction for all students would move to remote only. Students currently in the hybrid model would receive synchronous instruction on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with Wednesday as a day of asynchronous instruction (providing opportunity for office hours, tutoring and parent conferences).
Students currently enrolled in the remote model will continue to follow their current schedule of remote learning.
In order to monitor which schools are located in each zone (red, orange and yellow), the New York state “COVID-19 Report Card” will now display the zone each school is located in directly on the dashboard. A link to the “COVID-19 Report Card” (https://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov/#home) is on the district homepage (www.lew-port.com). Visit the governor’s website to read more about the COVID-19 micro-cluster metrics strategy (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-details-covid-19-micro-cluster-metrics), and continue to follow the updates and notifications from Superintendent Paul Casseri.
Lewiston-Porter continues to take every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the district’s schools. Recently, the Niagara County Health Department offered voluntary on-site rapid testing at school districts throughout Niagara County. Lewiston-Porter welcomed the opportunity, and NCDOH tested our employees (voluntarily) for COVID-19.
Testing took place on Oct. 22 and we were pleased to report we had no positive cases with the 117 employees who were tested. We would like to thank Niagara County Health Commissioner Dan Stapleton and his team. There was great coordination between NCDOH and the Lew-Port team (Dr. Patricia Grupka, Kathy Moore, Paul Feathers, Rich Salverson, Donna Fallesen, Anne Vougt and the L-P buildings and grounds staff) to pull this testing protocol off, and it proceeded without a hitch.
All testing took place at the district offices and it was set up in a very safe and efficient manner.
The high level of participation by Lew-Port employees shows the Lewiston-Porter community how seriously we take the safety of our staff and students. The results also reveal that, because of our diligence around reopening protocols, Lewiston-Porter schools are safe places for our students to learn.
If a case had been discovered, NCDOH would have moved quickly to begin the contact tracing and subsequent quarantine and isolation of staff and students, as needed. Depending on the building impacted, families within that building would have been notified and, if the issue was more widespread, the entire school community would be notified of the next steps. The extent of notification is always based on impact on a building or the district, and is always respectful of confidentiality as it relates to HIPPA and FERPA laws.
We will continue to work closely with the Niagara County Department of Health and keep you “In the Loop” as we head into the cold winter months.
Stay safe and stay well, Lewiston-Porter!