2020-21 School Year to Begin Sept. 14

At its meeting on Tuesday, the Board of Education approved a revised 2020-21 school year calendar that welcomes students to the first day of school on Monday, Sept. 14 for both in-person/hybrid and fully virtual school students. [Download Sept-Nov District Calendar]

Additionally, the district’s traditional Opening Day for staff has been shifted to Tuesday, Sept. 8, followed by three Superintendent Conference Days for the remainder of the week, Wednesday, Sept. 9 to Friday, Sept. 11.

“Superintendent/Professional Development Days are typically spaced out throughout the school year,” says Superintendent Dr. Patrick McGrath. “However, given the complexity of this year’s school schedule and the delivery of two instructional models, we moved them all to the beginning of the year. We want to make sure our staff receive several days in a row of high- quality Professional Development focused on helping them prepare for classroom and virtual instruction, technology apps and software that will help them in their delivery of instruction, and health and safety protocols for in-person instruction.”

All teachers and teacher assistants working in both the virtual and the in-person/hybrid environments will participate in this training.

Here are specific details regarding the first day of classes for students based upon their enrollment model:

  • Students K-12 who are enrolled in fully virtual programming will begin classes on Monday, Sept. 14.
    • Families of students in grades K-5 enrolled in the fully virtual option will be getting details on schedule and teacher assignment from our Coordinator of Elementary Virtual Learning Mrs. Carrie Sunkes as well as from the building principal.
    • Students enrolled in virtual school for grades 6-8 will receive information regarding schedule and details directly from O’Rourke Principal Mrs. Colleen Wolff.
    • Students enrolled in the virtual school for grades 9-12 will receive information about schedule and details directly from BH-BL High School Principal Mr. Tim Brunson.
  • Students in grades 1-5 attending in-person school daily will begin on Monday, Sept. 14. Details about drop-off and pick-up schedules will be shared with families directly from the building principal.
  • Kindergarten students attending in-person school will attend every other day and alternate Fridays. For spacing and social distancing reasons, the Kindergarten students have been placed into two different groups–the Busy Bees and the Fireflies. Group assignments will be provided by the principals in the near future. In order to help parents keep track of their child’s school days, the district calendar is labeled with the kindergarten schedule. Please note that the Kindergarten Orientation will take place on September 15 and 16, and the first day of classes for kindergarten will be September 17 and 18. See calendar below for specific days.
  • Students in grades 6-12 attending school in the in-person/hybrid model will be scheduled in-school on a rotating schedule based on their cohort. These students are separated into two groups based on their last names (household surname): A-K is designated as Maroon and L-Z is designated as Grey. Students will attend in-person school for two days in a row, followed by virtual school two days in a row, etc. The district calendar provides the schedule for the in-person attendance of each cohort for the first three months of school to assist families with planning.  (NOTE: All students should be prepared to start on Monday, Sept. 14, regardless of whether they are scheduled to be in-person or remote that day. Specifics on how to connect with classes remotely will be provided to students prior to the start of classes.)

Reopening Our Schools

District staff have spent the past several weeks setting up classrooms, and alternate spaces, in a socially distanced manner to ensure the school buildings can accommodate the students and staff who are returning to the in-person setting on Sept. 14.

Additionally, water bottle filling stations are being installed throughout the buildings, hand sanitizer is being ordered for all students and staff, extra desks removed from classrooms have been placed in the middle and high school cafeterias to allow for social distancing during lunch, and the technology department is preparing for the dissemination and/or support of Chromebooks to students enrolled in the fully virtual school this fall.

Students and staff attending school in-person will be required to wear masks at all times on the bus and when in non-socially distant situations. The district will monitor community infection rates as required by NYSED regulations and will make decisions on whether its mask protocol should be revised at any point in the future. More specific details on the district’s mask protocol, as well as other information, can be found in our FAQ section.

Upcoming Public Forums

The Elementary School Principals and Coordinator of Elementary Virtual Learning are hosting a virtual forum on Thursday, Aug. 20 at 4 p.m. to provide reopening details for elementary schools and answer questions parents have been submitting.

The district’s next public virtual forum for all grade levels is Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. A link will be made available closer to the date.