UPDATES FROM MR. LYLE
MARCH 24 UPDATE
Late last week, it was reported that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) modified its guidance on social distancing in classrooms, shortening it from 6 feet to 3 feet. We have been closely monitoring this development, as I know many of you are as well. We have all been very anxious, anticipating these changes. This idea is exciting, however all details need to be examined to ensure the continued safety of the entire CSAT Community. School leadership will review the CDC guidance and the implications it has moving forward. I ask for your patience as we wait for additional guidance from the New York State Department of Education and the Erie County Department of Health which will clearly identify how schools will be able to modify current plans to move forward.
I will continue to keep you updated on any additional changes and I thank you for your continued patience and support.
FEBRUARY 11 UPDATE
Ahead of Winter Recess and with Spring Recess forthcoming, we ask that families note the New York State COVID-19 Travel Advisory guidelines which are outlined below. These guidelines were put in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to keep our students, staff, and families safe.
Travelers to New York State from a noncontiguous state (noncontiguous states are any state other than Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont), US territory or a country designated as “Level 2” or higher by the CDC are required to quarantine for 10 days upon their return unless they meet the following requirements:
For travelers who were out-of-state for more than 24 hours:
- Travelers must obtain a test within three days of departure, prior to returning to New York.
- Travelers must, upon returning to New York, quarantine for three days. The day of return is Day 0 and the following day is Day 1.
- On day 4 of quarantine, travelers must obtain another COVID test. If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.
- In the absence of two negative test results, travelers must quarantine for 10 days.
For travelers who were out-of-state for less than 24 hours:
- The traveler does not need a test prior to their departure from the other state and does not need to quarantine upon return to New York State.
- The traveler must fill out the NYS Traveler Health Form upon return to New York State, and take a COVID diagnostic test 4 days after their return to New York.
- In the absence of a negative test result, travelers must quarantine for 10 days.
Please note that we are unable to consider requests to participate in virtual learning for the purposes of vacation or travel. Students who are not present for regularly scheduled instruction will be marked absent. Per school policy, vacation or travel is not a valid excuse for an absence and the absence will be marked as unexcused. Students will be required to make up any missed learning including assessments, projects, or any other work that was assigned during that period.
Thank you to our families for your cooperation as we work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep our school and community safe.
JANUARY 27 UPDATE
Effective January 27, 2021, all Orange and Yellow Cluster Zones for Erie County have been lifted, which has eliminated the need for 20 percent testing of students, faculty and staff per month. Effective immediately, CSAT will no longer be conducting random COVID-19 testing in our schools. We will continue to keep you updated if anything changes. As always, thank you for your patience.
JANUARY 5 UPDATE
To our CSAT Families-
I hope the new year finds you safe and healthy.
I wanted to provide you an update on the reopening of CSAT to in-person learning.
Given the NYSED guidance and mandates for bringing students back to the building, we are unable to have all grades return to in-person learning.
Beginning January 25, 2021, K-2 Hybrid Learners who previously attended in-person classes in November 2020 will resume attendance. Please note that due to NYSED guidance and mandates on social distancing and classroom size, we are unable to add additional K-2 students to this group at this time. Should you be interested in having your child attend hybrid you can call the main office and place them on the waitlist.
Also beginning January 25, we will bring Grade 3 back to the building in a hybrid fashion with students attending classes in two Cohorts. Grade 3 parents who completed our recent survey and opted for in-person instruction will soon be contacted with additional information about what days their students will attend, either Monday/Tuesday, or Thursday/Friday. All other Grade 3 students, including those who did not complete the survey, will remain fully remote.
GRADES 4 & 5
The Elementary School is planning for a hybrid model of instruction for grades 4 & 5 to begin Monday, February 22. If you are the parent of a Grade 4 or 5 student who completed our recent survey and opted for in-person instruction, you will be contacted by building administration.
To all grade 3, 4 & 5 families. Please note that in order to accommodate students in both a hybrid and remote setting, your child’s current teacher assignment may be subject to change. More information will be communicated regarding possible changes. Grade 3 teacher assignment changes would be effective January 25. Grade 4 & 5 teacher assignment changes would be effective for the third quarter of the school year.
The Middle School is planning a four-day a week return for Grade 6 effective Monday, January 25. Students will attend in person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Grade 6 parents who completed our recent survey and opted for in-person instruction will be contacted soon with additional information. All other Grade 6 students will remain remote.
GRADES 7 & 8
At this time, we are unable to bring grades 7 and 8 to the building in a hybrid fashion. The Middle School will be bringing in select students from each of these grades with a goal of transitioning to a hybrid model for these grades sometime in the future. If your child has been requested for in-school attendance, you will be contacted by building administration.
The High School has begun bringing students into the building in small groups and will continue to do so throughout the months of January and February.
Additional information regarding COVID-19 testing consent will be sent to families in the next few days. Consent for testing is requested only for students who will be attending classes/session in-person. Please visit our website for more information on COVID-19 testing, including Frequently Asked Questions, by clicking here: https://www.csat-k12.org/domain/440
As always, I thank you for your continued patience.
DECEMBER 14 UPDATE
To our CSAT Families-
CSAT continues to work with the state and county health departments in meeting requirements for students to return to school, including mandatory testing of a certain percentage of faculty, staff and students. Given the NYSED guidance and mandates for bringing students back to the building, we are unable to have all grades return to in-person learning. Please see detailed information regarding individual grades below.
As indicated above, we continue to work with the Erie County Health Department in meeting requirements for testing 20 percent of our in-person students, faculty and staff per month.
NYSDOH will be providing CSAT with the Abbott BinexNOW nasal rapid test, which is a quick, simple testing method that is not as invasive as other tests. You can watch a demonstration here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5dRjdLVAPM&feature=youtu.be
Please note that no child will be tested unless a consent form is completed by a parent/guardian. Additional information will be sent to families of in-person students soon. If your child is remaining fully remote and will not be visiting our building, they will not need testing consent on file.
All K-5 students will continue with remote learning until January 25, 2021 as we finalized arrangements for in-school testing of faculty and students.
Plans are in place to return K-2 Hybrid Learners to the classroom with their original Cohorts A or B on January 25. At this time, we are unable to add any additional hybrid learners to our K-2 classrooms. All K-2 students who were previously remote will remain in remote learning for the third quarter due to limited classroom spacing and capacity.
The Elementary School is in the beginning stages of planning for a hybrid model of instruction for Grades 3 – 5 for the third quarter beginning January 25, 2021. Parents of students grades 3-5 are being asked to complete the form (one per student) by Friday, December 18. These results will be used to plan for a hybrid reopening while still accommodating those parents who wish to have their children remain in a remote instruction setting
The Middle School is in the beginning stages of planning for a hybrid model of instruction for the third quarter beginning January 25, 2021. Middle School parents are being asked to complete the form (one per MS student) by Friday, December 18. These results will be used to plan for a hybrid reopening while still accommodating those parents who wish to have their children remain in a remote instruction setting.
The High School will continue with remote instruction for all students grades 9-12. Select students will be brought into the building in small groups. Additional information for parents and students is forthcoming.
I want to thank you all for your understanding as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters. I want nothing more than to return to traditional in-person instruction for all our students. Until we can do that, I ask for your continued patience. Please continue to be safe and stay healthy.
NOVEMBER 13 UPDATE
To our K-2 Hybrid Families-
As you know, the rate of COVID-19 infection is increasing rapidly throughout Erie County. Despite everyone’s best efforts, the rising community spread of the virus has impacted our newly implemented hybrid instructional model. Because of concerns over this, we have made the difficult decision to return to a fully remote instructional model for all students effective November 16. We will remain fully remote until January 4.
This is not where we wanted to be. Our faculty and staff worked hard to bring students back to the building, and this setback is devastating to all. I am hopeful that the community can work together for the good of all and help reduce the spread of this virus. Please continue to be vigilant. Wear a mask, avoid large gatherings and maintain social distance as best you can. We will get through this together.
OCTOBER 30 UPDATE
Greetings CSAT Families,
Next week represents an important milestone in our hybrid phase-in plan. We will have our first group of Hybrid students (Grades K-2) attend on Monday, November 2, 2020. I can’t wait to see the buses pull in and students arrive at our Elementary School for the first full day of in-person instruction of the 2020-21 school year. All of our faculty and staff have worked tirelessly with the implementation of the new protocols and procedures that will helps students, parents, facility and staff stay healthy and safe.
While I know many are ready for all K-12 students to return, we must do so in the safest manner possible. We will continue to monitor local infection rates and hopefully begin plans to bring back other grades in the new year.
To our K-2 Families: Please note that currently we are unable to make changes to your choice of instruction model as we are closely following the state mandates to ensure everyone’s safety.
To our K-2 Hybrid Families: Families with students who attend school in person are required to complete a daily health screening questionnaire each day. They must confirm that the student has not experienced a fever or new symptoms, has not tested positive for COVID-19, has not been in close contact someone who tested positive, has not travelled to a state or nation with a COVID-19 Travel Advisory, and does not have a fever today. Any “yes” response would mean the student cannot attend school. This is a critical task which must be completed by families to ensure the health and safety of all those in our buildings. Please keep your child(ren) home if they are sick.
I know that many changes are coming for students in the coming days and I ask for your patience as we navigate this unprecedented situation. We are all working to make this transition as smooth as possible and to remain focused on your child’s education.
If you have any questions or concerns as we move forward, please do not hesitate to contact the school directly.
September 30, 2020
To the CSAT Community-
As always, our goal throughout the reopening process has been to be as transparent as we can and keep you informed as best as possible.
Starting November 2, we will slowly begin to transition to a hybrid learning model for our youngest students in Kindergarten, First and Second grade. The hybrid instruction model is designed to provide greater opportunity to physically distance students during instruction, transition and transportation, with a maximum of 10 students per classroom. Student desks will be positioned at least 6’ apart within each classroom.
Parents who completed our recent K-2 survey and opted for in-person instruction will soon be contacted via US Mail with additional information about what days their students will attend, either Monday and Tuesday, or Thursday and Friday. Students will attend classes two days per week and will remain remote three days per week. All other K-2 students, including those who did not complete the survey last week, will remain fully remote through January 2.
In order to accommodate students in both a hybrid and remote setting, your child’s current K-2 teacher assignment may be subject to change. This change will not take place until the start of the second quarter (November 2.) More information will be communicated in the next few weeks.
Please note, we all want things to be “normal.” We want to return to the traditional classroom as we knew it in the past. All of us are facing challenges right now, however, we are working to make the best decisions we can with limited guidance and information that is constantly changing. While we seek to provide our best service as educators, we also recognize that the health and welfare of our students, staff, and community are the priority.
Given the NYSED guidance and mandates for bringing students back, Grades 3 – 12 will remain fully Remote at this time. We will closely monitor the numbers and hopefully begin plans to bring back other grades in the new year.
I want to thank you all for your understanding, cooperation and support during these challenging times.
CSAT is currently conducting research on which instruction model will best fit the needs of all our stakeholders for the second semester which begins on November 2, 2020. We ask that you click on this link to take a brief survey (also sent via email.) Please note that NO decision has been made at this time as we are still gathering information. The online survey will close this Friday, September 11. Thank you for your anticipated participation and please continue to stay safe and healthy.
Dear CSAT Community:
The Charter School for Applied Technologies Reopening Task Force has been working tirelessly to ensure our Reopening Plans follow and adhere to our guiding principles for reopening: to maximize and prioritize the health and safety of students, staff, families and community while providing the most robust and rigorous education programs possible.
In response to a survey conducted several weeks ago, and guidance from New York State, we planned for three options: five days a week in-school, in-person instruction; five days a week remote learning (at home), and a hybrid option of both in-school and remote learning.
We all want nothing more than to have everyone return to CSAT and continue on this path of lifelong learning. That said, I cannot in good conscience allow any reopening model that increases the risk of infection or illness.
Therefore, I want to announce that for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, CSAT will provide remote learning (at home) only for all students Grades K-12 beginning August 31, 2020 and continuing through October 30, 2020.
We will continue to monitor the situation to determine which model will be implemented for the second marking period.
CSAT has scheduled two Question & Answer sessions for parents on Monday, August 17 from 4 – 5 p.m. and Thursday, August 20 from 4 – 5 p.m. Additional information about these virtual sessions will be posted on our website.
I want to acknowledge the stress and anxiety that each of you have been experiencing amidst all of this uncertainty. I am sure this is causing emotions to run high as you are worried about the well-being of your families and loved ones. I want to ensure you that CSAT will continue to offer support for our students and families throughout remote learning.
I encourage you to visit the reopening section of our website at www.csat-k12.org/reopening for the most up-to-date information. The site will be the go-to for both students and families for remote learning, meal information and other resources, and will be continuously updated over the next few weeks.
I would like to publicly thank the administrators and staff who have devoted their time, effort and energy serving on our Reopening Task Force. I would also be remiss not to thank the Board of Trustees for their continuous support. You need to know that each Board Trustee stands behind the guiding principal - health and safety must be our priority.
As always, I thank you for your patience and support.
To the CSAT Community-
Thank you for your patience while we developed our reopening plans. As instructed by New York State, we have developed plans for three potential scenarios:
*A return to school with full face-to-face attendance and precautions to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff
*A fully remote and virtual learning environment
*A blended model, combining elements of the two.
I invite you to review it here:
CSAT School Reopening Plan
CSAT has not yet decided on what plan we will implement for the start of school as we continue to wait for guidance from Governor Cuomo. After reading the plan, you can submit a question or share your feedback.
I understand the many emotions you are feeling now. I want to reiterate that the safety of our students, faculty, staff and families takes precedent over all other things. I ask for your continued patience, understanding and support as we continue to work through the hundreds of questions which have been generated in the past few weeks. Please continue to visit our website for the latest updates.
As always, thank you and be safe.
Dear CSAT Community-
I hope you are doing well and enjoying the summer as best you can as we continue to deal with the COVID crisis.
I wanted to provide a brief update on CSATs planning for the reopening of school. Last week our leadership team met over multiple days to troubleshoot ways we can reopen schools in the fall in the safest manner possible. We are committed to getting our students back in our schools as much as possible and supporting them, both academically and social-emotionally. While we are not sure what this will look like yet, we do know that we must adhere to the guidelines put forth by our state and county health departments and the New York State Education Department.
This week we will review potential opening options with members of the Elementary, Middle and High School staff. As you may have heard in the media, school reopening plans are due to the New York State Education Department by July 31st. In developing these plans, we are doing our best to address the needs of all our constituents, including faculty, staff, students and families.
It is our understanding that the Governor will make a decision on whether schools can reopen and in what ways in early August. We will continue to update you on progress and make sure we are transparent with you when we find out more information from the state. We will be communicating additional informing weekly via our website and I encourage you to visit it often for updates as they become available.
I appreciate everyone’s dedication to CSAT and our surrounding community and I ask in advance for your patience in the upcoming weeks. We understand there are many questions and we will do our best to address them as answers become available. Next week we will be in contact with answers to some Frequently Asked Questions and will provide links for the community and staff to submit additional questions. In the meantime, stay safe and be well.