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NYS unveils guidance for schools reopening!

Yesterday the New York State Board of Regents unveiled long-awaited guidance for school reopening!  The Governor’s Reimagine Education Advisory Council guiding principles state that flexible plans must be developed and in-classroom instruction must be prioritized, which aligns beautifully with the scenarios we developed this spring.

The final decision regarding the timing of schools reopening will be made by the Governor’s office the week of August 1-7 based on these criteria:

  • Schools will open if the region is in Phase IV and the daily infection rate remains below 5% or lower using a 14-day average since unPAUSE was lifted
  • Schools will close if the regional infection rate is greater than 9% using 7-day average after the August 1st determination has been made

The rate of infection in the Finger Lakes Region is currently 1%.  You can view the regional dashboard tracking positive cases of COVID-19 here.

Our reopening plan will be finalized and submitted to our authorizer, the State University of New York, by July 31 in accordance with this guidance from the New York State Department of Health. All stakeholders will have an opportunity to engage with our planning process both before and after July 31 as we prepare to start the new school year, and we will communicate regularly to keep you abreast of developments as our planning process unfolds.

Our plans for engaging, real-world learning that aligns with this guidance are already well underway. Our New Roots teachers spent the last week of June planning interdisciplinary hybrid learning projects that will give students the opportunity to put the knowledge and skills they gain from their core subject area classes to work in outdoor and community-based settings this fall. This work was expertly facilitated via a four-day professional development workshop offered through Teaching Our Cities, an EPA grant-funded collaboration between five high schools in the Northeast that focus on real-world learning related to environmental sustainability and social justice.

Our teacher leadership team will reconvene the first week of August to move the planning process forward.  In the meantime, July offers change of pace, and a unique interlude for continued learning. Eight New Roots students will be employed through our Cayuga Wetlands Restoration Project this summer, planting cattail and other native plant species that improve lake water quality, thanks to funding provided by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Park Foundation.  Our Green Team’s “urban farm” grows lush and green behind the Clinton House, near the beautiful mural reflecting a just and sustainable future created through a senior capstone project.

Our offices are closed July 10-24 to give staff an opportunity to recharge and rejuvenate, ready to come back strong in August to begin the cycle of the school year anew.

 

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For more information, contact Michael Mazza, director of community engagement at New Roots Charter School, at mmazza@newrootsschool.org.

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