Letter from Dr. Godshall to the Community
Dear Orleans/Niagara BOCES Community
As we enter our third month of Orleans/Niagara BOCES’ reopening, I sincerely thank all of the staff, component districts, and stakeholders who have contributed to preparing for the uncertainties associated with our startup of instructional programing. I appreciate their diligence and professionalism in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the multitude of challenges it has presented. We have successfully executed our reopening plan that has returned students and staff back in a safe manner, provide opportunities for student learning/growth and was informed by guidance provided by the Governor, the New York State Education Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the local health departments. I specifically cite our Safety Risk personnel, Custodial/Maintenance staff, medical advisors, nurses and support employees that have greatly contributed to our enhanced efforts, albeit cleaning, student issues and compliance. While I recognize that no plan will satisfy everyone, I know we have done our best to address extremely challenging and evolving situations.
Our opening plan, which facilitated the 13 varied component school districts’ schedules, continues to be updated based upon input from many stakeholders who share their time, expertise, and perspectives to develop an ever-changing plan. Thanks to their partnership and support we are able to provide a variety of options and the flexibility necessary to address scenarios that are very likely to change over the coming weeks and months. I also want to thank the more than 2,000 students, parents, and others that have complied with our stringent protocols with positive results. Our instructional plans include three models: all in-person, distance learning only, and a hybrid which includes a combination of in-person instruction and distance learning.
The O/N BOCES is fortunate to have a close relationship with our local health departments. Their teams’ support and guidance are incorporated into our plans. Our continued collaboration is critical as our schools navigate through the school year. We are aware that this public health crisis will continue to change. We are committed to monitoring the situations and the ever-changing guidance offered so that adjustments can be made to our school plans, as necessary.
This time is challenging for all communities, but we are dedicated to serving our students and keeping them as safe as possible while still allowing educational growth. Here are some important points to consider:
- All O/N BOCES campuses are open for services. Staff remain available via telecommunications to assist.
- Students should be receiving regular information from your BOCES principal. Technology resources (including Google G Suite for Education) are available to students. In the near future the BOCES will be testing our capabilities with practice virtual day to evaluate our systems in the event of a full change to virtual education.
- Students in special education and alternative programs will continue to receive the educational support needed to be successful. Service providers have been in contact to discuss the specific needs of students.
- Faculty and staff continue to be available each day, through multiple channels, to support our students, support student work, answer questions, and ensure continuity of education.
- State and local officials will determine whether the duration of the opening must be adjusted, using public health information as their guide.
- Please continue to utilize our QR check in codes to complete the daily health screening forms, and keep our staff informed of your need or concerns.
- We appreciate your support during these challenging times. We continue to be proactive in keeping our students, staff and communities safe.
We are confident that the O/N BOCES can continue to safely adhere to all the requirements of the agencies which oversee our operations – NYS Department of Health, County Health Departments and the State Education Department. We will continue to work with students, families and the O/N BOCES community, so that we can fight this pandemic together. We welcome your questions, concerns, or suggestions that can best be directed to any BOCES administrator or calling 1-716-731-6800.
Dr. Clark Godshall