By Jodee Riordan
Board of Education President
The Board of Education will meet this Monday, Dec. 14. This meeting will combine the December work session and monthly business meeting.
In keeping with a favorite holiday tradition, there will be a special recorded performance by the Lewiston-Porter music department. Please join us via Zoom at 6 p.m. The link to the webinar is posted on the Lewiston-Porter homepage, www.lew-port.com (passcode: Lancers).
With the recent flurry of COVID-19 cases at Lewiston-Porter and throughout our community, we recognize the concern and the uncertainty. Things continue to change quickly, and we want you to stay informed and confident as we go forward. Here is what you need to know to be “In the Loop”:
Lewiston-Porter has fully prepared for the possibility of our district moving to a “yellow,” ”orange” or “red zone” designation, along with other areas of Niagara County. As I previously reported, it is our goal to remain open and continue to provide in-person learning as long as we are able. To meet the testing requirement, Lewiston-Porter has applied and has been approved to become a limited service testing lab (LSL) with the NYS Department of Health. The Board of Education approved the designation and contract for testing support at a special meeting on Friday, Dec. 4.
There was good news from New York state this week, as the testing thresholds are significantly relaxed in all designations with a new emphasis on keeping schools open using these new testing protocols. Between the new testing protocols and being designated an LSL, we have confidence in our ability to keep our schools open in the hybrid model in “yellow,” “orange” or “red zone” designations.
If you have any questions regarding the testing after reviewing the materials, reach out to your child’s building principal, Dr. Patricia Grupka or Superintendent Paul Casseri directly and continue to closely follow updates sent from the district.
The district has finalized its hybrid-to-full-remote learning transition plans in the event of school/district closure. That document can be found on the Lewiston-Porter website.
The full remote learning plan for current hybrid students looks similar to the current remote Mondays, but there are minor changes at the secondary level (grades 6-12) and more significant changes at the elementary level (grades K-5). Parents should review this document carefully and begin to plan should it become necessary to move to a full remote model.
It is important to note that, in the event of a school closure and move to remote learning for hybrid students, those students currently in the district’s 100% remote model would remain in that model until at least through Jan. 31, 2021, at the secondary level (grades 6-12) and March 12 for elementary level (grades K-5).
There has been a change in the notification protocol, in the event that a report of a COVID-19 positive case is received. The Niagara County Department of Health is overwhelmed with cases and finding it impossible to reach out to families in a timely manner to initiate isolations and quarantines.
Dan Stapleton, Niagara County health director, has instructed Niagara County school districts that they are the first line of communication in terms of isolation and quarantine notifications. Working in collaboration with NCDOH, school district officials may initiate isolation and quarantine notifications with families. There will be follow-up from NCDOH for COVID-19 positive cases considered in isolation, but this may not always be the case for 14-day quarantines that develop as a result of contact with a COVID-19 positive case. Parents and families may be directed by district/building level administration and/or school nurses to quarantine or isolate per NCDOH direction and protocols. Staff, students and families will be required to follow that guidance.
As I have said over and over since last March, this is a lot. Thank you for staying vigilant, staying informed. We will continue to keep you “In the Loop.” So, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” Lewiston-Porter. We will get through this.