Indian River School District plans full reopening with mask mandate

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PHILADELPHIA, N.Y. (WWTI) — Indian River Central School District has released its plans for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. In a letter to parents, IRCSD Superintendent Troy Decker said the district has two main goals: the safety and health of students, staff, and the community and continued in-person student learning.

The new school year for the district starts on September 7 and the school plans a full reopening. Students from UPK through 12th grade will be attending five days per week in person.  Decker stated in the letter that decisions were made based on guidance from local medical professionals, the CDC, New York State education departments, local input from the community, recent updates from Governor Hochul and experience from the past 18 months.

Masks will be required for all students, staff and visitors while indoors and on buses regardless of vaccination status. The school will allow mask breaks when students and staff are able to maintain six feet of distance from one another and when they are outdoors.

Students will keep a minimum of three feet distancing when possible indoors. Greater distance will be maintained during “times of exertion,” such as exercising and singing. The school district will utilize alternative instructional spaces when they are available. Adults will “strive to maintain” six feet of distancing while presenting “to the extent possible.”

The school district is utilizing mitigation measures, including as-needed testing by nurses, frequent hand washing, proper mask usage, distancing to the extent possible, structured student pick-up and drop-off procedures, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation as-needed, requesting that people stay home when sick and disinfecting facilities and buses.

The district will not require families to submit daily health screenings, but will be requesting that families screen children each morning for COVID-19 symptoms prior to sending them to school. Staff will self-monitor and will be responsible for being aware of student symptoms while at school.

Full remote instruction will only be available to students who have applied and been approved for a medical exemption. Decker stated in the letter that “this will be a very limited group of seriously medically vulnerable students.”

Students will have assigned seats and be kept distanced as much as possible while on buses. Masks will be required at all times while on the bus. The district is encouraging parents “with flexibility” to transport their children to school whenever possible to help reduce the number of students on buses at any given time.

All students will continue to receive free breakfast and lunch via a USDA grant. Students will eat in cafeterias or other designated areas with at least three feet of spatial distance. The school district will update parents in the event that a transition to fully remote learning is required due to health and safety concerns.

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