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Letter from Superintendent Knuth July 8, 2020

July 8, 2020
Dear Skaneateles family,
Preparing for the coming school year requires us to consider multiple scenarios for what the return to school in September will look like for our children and families.  Each option available to us will require us to navigate different challenges and with the absence of any guidance from NYSED or directives from our Governor’s office we are required to prepare for all eventualities.  While we are still without any guidance or directives, the Governor’s office released information today specific to the proposed timeline for these decisions.  It was communicated that they will share finalized return to school guidance by July 13th.  School districts throughout New York must submit plans by July 31st and final decisions on reopening will be made by August 7. Throughout New York State, options being considered range from a full return to school in September, to continuation of entirely online instruction, to some hybrid combination of both models.  We know how important these decisions are to your families as each scenario will impact life in different ways. We will communicate the moment we know more.
In March when this crisis began, we were forced overnight to change from the traditional in person instructional model to online education.  This process was not without its challenges and we learned a great deal from March to June.  As a parent of 4, I learned that each of my children responded to online instruction in different ways and required completely different levels of support. I learned that it can be extremely frustrating to navigate multiple sources of information in order to decipher what it was my children were responsible for. I learned that clear, concise and efficient communication is critical.  Although online instruction can never be comparable to live teaching, it is safe to assume that online instruction will comprise some aspect of instructional delivery for the foreseeable future.  To that end, we must continue to improve.
The following link (Student/Parent Survey) will take you to a student/parent survey designed to capture your experience during the COVID-19 closure in an effort to learn more about our community needs, to hear feedback and ideas for improvement, and to communicate in an open and transparent way the information that will guide both our professional development and instructional delivery in the  coming school year. Please take some time to speak to your children and complete the survey.  Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will help inform our work throughout the summer and the coming school year.  In addition, this information will inform the work of our back to school task force comprised of students, parents, faculty, staff, administration, and members of our Board of Education. More information will be shared soon regarding the work of these teams.
On June 5th at a roundtable discussion facilitated by interim Education Commissioner Shannon Tahoe, nine domains were identified to help guide and inform our work in reopening schools. 
These include:
Health and safety Multilingual/ bilingual learners Budget/ Fiscal
Teaching and learning Staffing and human resources Transportation facilities and nutrition
Social Emotional needs Special Education Digital Equity and access
The information gleaned from our survey and ongoing efforts to identify opportunities for improvement in each of the domains above will be critical as we work together to improve the quality of educational experience we provide to our children.  No matter what obstacles we are forced to endure, we remain your faithful partners throughout this process and will always be stronger together.
Eric Knuth
Superintendent of Schools
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Eric Knuth
45 East Elizabeth Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152