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COVID-19 UPDATES

September 15, 2020 - Dear Tonawanda City School District Students, Staff and Families:

We have received information regarding a confirmed case of COVID-19 of a person participating in the Remote Warrior program. Please remember that for reasons of confidentiality of personal health records, we cannot legally provide the name or any other personally identifiable information regarding the individual who tested positive.

Although the person that tested positive for COVID-19 has not and will not be on campus or interacting with others in the school community during the school day, the district wanted to share this information out of an abundance of caution and transparency within our school community.

Be assured, however, that the District is taking all appropriate steps in light of this information. We have contacted the Erie County Department of Health who will be conducting contact tracing. The County will contact all individuals who may have been in contact off campus and within our community with the individual who has tested positive. Please remember that all individuals who are contacted are expected to comply with all directives and instructions issued by the Department of Health, including any requirement to self-quarantine for any designated period.

The District put in place infectious disease health and safety protocols to minimize the spread of the virus and any other illnesses. This includes additional and repeated sanitation of our buildings and equipment along with appropriate measures to ensure social distancing. Please review our website for more information about our re-opening plan and the precautions taken by the District. You may also visit the Erie County Department of Health website at www.erie.gov for additional information and links.

All students, parents, guardians, siblings, and staff should continue to monitor their health for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow the guidelines listed on the District website with regard to daily temperature screening and completion of the health questionnaire prior to arriving at the school or district facility. Please remember, if you are ill or experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, stay at home and contact your medical provider for assistance.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership with our district. Please contact your building principal for additional information or to answer any questions that you may have. Go Warriors!

Sincerely,
Timothy A. Oldenburg, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


September 3, 2020 - Dear Tonawanda City School District Students and Families:

One of the many required protocols and procedures to create and maintain a safe and healthy environment for our school community is the remote screening process. This process is required to be completed EVERY school day and PRIOR to any individual entering a district facility.

The remote screening process requires that three questions are answered prior to entering a district facility. These questions and the processes for remote screening can be found in our “Updated Hybrid FAQ” document on our website in the “View Reopening Plan Information…” link on the front page.

The opening week of student attendance will have three days of hybrid instruction. Depending on student cohort assignments, students will begin participating in face to face instruction on Tuesday, September 8th or Thursday, September 10th. Friday, September 11th, will conclude the first week of school in the hybrid model.

During this first week of student attendance, the district will communicate with families by phone call, text, and email to share the required information regarding the remote screening process. These calls, texts, and email messages will be sent at approximately 7 am on September 8, 10, and 11. Beginning on the week of September 13th, the phone calls will ONLY occur on Sunday evenings at approximately 6 pm. This will be a weekly reminder regarding this remote screening process and our required daily text and email messages that will be sent on student attendance days at approximately 7 am. Please note that we will text and email all parents and guardians each day due to the various cohort configurations and other reasons that students and parents may have the need to visit a district facility on any given day.

Parents/Guardians can update their personal contact information by calling the main office of the building that your child attends. If you would prefer to continue to receive the daily phone calls at 7 am regarding the remote screening process, please contact Jessi Donner at jdonner@tonacsd.org.

As students begin to attend school next week it will be important that each student is prepared to interact with others while wearing a mask. Masks are required for all students who will be boarding and riding a school bus. All students and staff are required to wear a facemask while arriving, attending, and departing the school building. Mask breaks will be provided to students every class period (secondary schools) or 45-minute block of time (elementary schools) throughout each day. Mask breaks will be 10 minutes in duration and will be administered by the teacher.

Parents may consider having their child(ren) wear a mask for periods of time at home as we approach the start of the school year. Children will likely be more comfortable and be in a better position to tolerate the wearing of a facemask if they begin sensitizing their face/ears/head to this practice. The proper wearing of a facemask is one of the leading mitigating strategies that has effectively prevented the spread of virus.

Our top priority is to make sure that our school environment is safe, secure, and sound in practice to welcome back our students and ensure that our staff is best prepared to meet the needs of all our students in practice, protocol and programming.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership with our district. Please contact your building principal for additional information or to answer any questions that you may have. Go Warriors!

Sincerely,
Timothy A. Oldenburg, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


August 31, 2020 - Dear Parents/Guardians:

The Tonawanda City School District’s Food & Nutrition Department has announced a plan for students to have access to meals when not learning on campus. For the 2020-21 school year, we will continue to offer breakfast and lunch to all students each day including Cohorts A, B, and C as well as our Remote Warriors.

Off-Campus Meal Pick-Up
Effective Tuesday, September 8, 2020, the Tonawanda City School District will offer meal pick-up for all cohort groups and total remote learning students. Meals will be accessible daily. At pick-up, both breakfast and lunch will be distributed. Meal distribution times and locations are as follows:

SCHOOLTIMEDOOR PICK-UP
Middle/High School & Fletcher Elementary School10:30a-12:00p@ MS/HS Door # 3
Mullen Elementary School10:30a-12:00p@ Mullen Door # 2
Riverview Elementary School10:30a-12:00p@ Riverview Door # 6

MySchoolBucks.com
Individual student accounts will still be active and maintained through MySchoolBucks to purchase additional meals, à la carte items, snacks, milk, etc. (i.e., items beyond standard breakfast/lunch). Please see our MySchoolBucks overview page for more information. For further questions about MySchoolBucks.com, you can reach out to MySchoolBucks support either by phone at 1-855-832-5226 (7a-7p EST) or via e-mail at parentsupport@myschoolbucks.com.

Food Service Survey
In an effort to prepare for meal distribution, please complete the survey sent out by the district. Your responses will help to ensure proper planning and hope to reduce excess waste. This food survey is new and during its initial trial period, the district will consistently analyze its value and monitor feedback to improve and/or continue. Menus will continue to be posted monthly on the school district website under Food Service.

Thank you for your continued support of our Food Service program!

Sincerely,
Donna L. Hill
Director of Business & Finance


August 26, 2020 - Dear Tonawanda City School District Students, Families, Staff and Community:

Thank you for your continued support of our district and programming. This includes our reopening plans that will begin the school year in the hybrid model.

Our planning and commitment to delivering a quality program to all students continues to evolve each day. We are working with thought and purpose to utilize our staff, supports, and facilities to offer the highest quality program to our hybrid students and remote warriors.

These updates and changes to services required that the district make a change to the student calendar during the first week of school. In an effort to provide the most support, guidance, and meaningful program design for students and staff, the first day of student attendance will be on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 (for cohort B and C only). Wednesday, September 9, 2020 will be a planned virtual school day for all students (students do not report to school), and Thursday, September 10, 2020 will be the first in-person attendance day for cohort A. Please click HERE to view the new student calendar.

Cohort C (kindergarten, grade 1, all ELL students, and all self-contained special education classes) will report to school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday beginning Tuesday, September 8, 2020. All students will participate in virtual instruction from home on each Wednesday throughout the year.

We understand that this change may cause inconveniences to our school community. This decision was not made lightly. Instead, this decision was made out of ongoing concern and care for our students and staff as they prepare to re-enter our schools during a global pandemic and experience a new way of educational programming.

Our top priority is to make sure that our school environment is safe, secure, and sound in practice to welcome back our students and ensure that our staff is best prepared to meet the needs of all our students in practice, protocol and programming.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership with our district. Please contact your building principal for additional information or to answer any questions that you may have. Go Warriors!

Sincerely,
Timothy A. Oldenburg, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


August 21, 2020 - The Erie County Childcare Taskforce is working with all districts in Erie County to gather information about childcare needs as hybrid learning scheduling begins.

If you may be in need of childcare support, please complete the survey. The data that is collected will be used by the Erie County Childcare Taskforce to create opportunities to meet the needs of our community. Survey responses are due by Friday, August 28, 2020.


August 19, 2020 - Dear Tonawanda City School District Families:

Thank you for considering the hybrid plan and the remote warrior plan for school reopening. Nearly 80% of our students will be returning to school in a hybrid model. We are in the final stages of creating our cohort A (last name beginning with A-L) and cohort B (last name beginning with M-Z) students, developing teacher assignments/class schedules, and furthering our planning for remote warriors. Parents that have special circumstances for cohort assignment based on children in the same household and other associated reasons should have contacted their building principal. We expect these cohort assignments to be finalized this week and released later next week.

Transportation assignments will be developed in the coming week. Thank you to those parents/guardians that removed their child from the bus routing to support the mitigation of virus spread by reducing the student density on buses. Today is the final day to complete the transportation form on our website.

The health, safety, and welfare of our entire school community remains our primary focus. We respect that everyone has differing opinions and perspectives about COVID-19 and the requirements necessary for schools to reopen in a hybrid model. Our district must follow the guidance, mandates, and precautions established by the Governor, NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH), and the NYS Education Department (NYSED).

It should be recognized that our district will take every precaution and action possible to prevent the potential spread of virus and to create a safe and healthy environment for all parties in our school community. It is strongly recommended in the guidance from NYSDOH, NYSED, and Dr. Burstein, Commissioner of Health of Erie County, that students wear a mask at all times and as much as possible. Wearing a mask is the most widely held successful means of preventing potential spread of virus.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership with our district. Go Warriors!

Sincerely,
Timothy A. Oldenburg, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


August 14, 2020 - Dear Tonawanda City School District Families:

Thank you for participating in any of the three meetings held for our school community. These meetings were designed to allow our parents/guardians an opportunity to learn about our hybrid plan, consider options regarding Fall instruction, and pose questions for the administrative team to answer. We fielded hundreds of questions from you. Our answers were based on our planning, current guidance and mandates, and the resources that appear on our website.

Please note that all three meetings were recorded and have been posted on our website. Additionally, you will find the slide presentations that were used in each of the meetings. We encourage you to continue to ask questions and communicate with our administrative team. Please contact your building principal or appropriate district administrator to support your needs.

Please be reminded:

  • The enrollment form to participate in the remote learning experience for every day of the week is required to be completed by 4 p.m. on Monday, August 17, 2020. Completing this form will enroll your child(ren) in a 10-week commitment to a fully remote instructional program that will be largely self-directed and independently completed by the students. Our current plan will have educators communicating with each student every school day. This form is located on our website.
  • The transportation form is due on Wednesday, August 19, 2020. This form is located on our website. By completing this form, a parent of a student that is currently eligible for district transportation will be removed from our current bus routing for the first 10-weeks of school. Parents choosing to provide their own transportation will be assisting the district with the reduction of student density on each bus as a mitigation strategy to prevent the potential spread of virus.

The health, safety, and welfare of our entire school community remains our primary focus. We respect that everyone has differing opinions and perspectives about COVID-19 and the requirements necessary for schools to reopen in a hybrid model. Our district must follow the guidance, mandates, and precautions established by the Governor, NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH), and the NYS Education Department (NYSED).

It should be recognized that our district will take every precaution and action possible to prevent the potential spread of virus and to create a safe and healthy environment for all parties in our school community. It is strongly recommended in the guidance from NYSDOH, NYSED, and Dr. Burstein, Commissioner of Health of Erie County, that students wear a mask at all times and as much as possible. Wearing a mask is the most widely held successful means of preventing potential spread of virus.

Our protocols will be further developed in the coming days. It should be noted that students will be provided mask breaks while in the classroom and while maintaining social distancing. The situations regarding masking and safety protocols continue to change and remain a fluid process for districts to administer.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership with our district. Go Warriors!

Sincerely,
Timothy A. Oldenburg, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


August 11, 2020 - Dear Tonawanda City School District Families:

Yesterday you received information regarding our hybrid plan for student instruction in the Fall. This plan is located on our website with many other documents and important information. Please note the information and enrollment form released yesterday will solicit interest from families that have underlying medical issues or families that are not comfortable with a return to school. This form must be submitted by interested parties before Monday, August 17, 2020 at 4 p.m.

Later today, the District will release a transportation form. ONLY those who regularly receive district transportation, and now desire to provide their own transportation to reduce the student density on our buses to support our mitigation efforts, should complete this form.

Tomorrow begins the first of three scheduled parent meetings with the administrative team. The goal of these meetings will be to present the hybrid plan and offer an opportunity for parents to submit questions for the team to answer. Parents are invited to attend any or all of the meetings. Each meeting has been assigned a focus to drive discussion and equally provide opportunity for questions. It should be understood that some questions might not have firm and defined answers at this time. We will do our best to answer every question or gather necessary information to provide an appropriate response.

In an effort to best communicate and provide consistency in an ever-changing climate, it should be noted that the questions posed during these meetings will be added to our Hybrid Plan FAQ document on our website. This document will continue to be updated to best share the questions and concerns that have been brought to our attention for all to see.

We recognize that parents/guardians may be unable to attend these meetings and have questions. We also respect those who may not feel comfortable asking questions in a forum setting or that may have questions of a personal nature. These meetings are not the only means of communicating with our district. We encourage all parents and guardians to contact your building principal or the appropriate district administrator. Contact information for all building principals was shared in the message you received yesterday.

Our district is committed to our continued communication and timely responses to our parents/guardians. We have been, and will continue to reply, call, and communicate with everyone who calls on us.

These meeting will be held on the Zoom platform. Log in information is included below. Please be respectful in protecting this log in information so that we avoid the challenges that can occur with hosting virtual meetings.

  • Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 2pm – High school hybrid model focus
    Topic: Reopening Hybrid Plan Meeting - Parents (High School Focus)
    Time: Aug 12, 2020 02:00 PM Eastern Time
    Join Zoom Meeting
    Meeting ID: 910 0734 0268
    Passcode: 4esj80
  • Thursday, August 13, 2020, at 10am – Elementary school hybrid model focus
    Topic: Reopening Hybrid Plan Meeting - Parents (Elementary School Focus)
    Time: Aug 13, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time
    Join Zoom Meeting
    Meeting ID: 962 5024 4445
    Passcode: T12a4s
  • Thursday, August 13, 2020, at 5pm – Middle school hybrid model focus
    Topic: Reopening Hybrid Plan Meeting - Parents (Middle School Focus)
    Time: Aug 13, 2020 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
    Join Zoom Meeting
    Meeting ID: 959 0160 5568
    Passcode: xKw94w

The health, safety, and welfare of our entire school community remains our primary focus. Please call on us or schedule a time with a member of our administrative team to discuss your questions and concerns as they emerge. We are committed to supporting our school community. We respect the various and diverse concerns that exist within Warrior Nation regarding the reopening of our schools. There will be questions that will occur in the future and we will be there for you to support your needs.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership with our district. Go Warriors!

Sincerely,
Timothy A. Oldenburg, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


August 10, 2020Dear Tonawanda City School District Families:

Thank you for your support and flexibility during this unusual time regarding the preparation for student instruction and programming to start the 2020-2021 school year.

We received notice from the Governor this past Friday afternoon authorizing school to reopen under the guidance and mandates established. This decision allowed the District to immediately move forward with our hybrid planning and preparing for meaningful communication with our school community. The District has been committed to making decisions with thought and purpose based on the needs of all members of our school community and within the financial and human resource parameters of the district.

Our plan and path forward is outlined in our hybrid plan. This document and other important information can be found on our website and will be referenced in this and future correspondence. Upcoming information will include our approved reopening plan for the hybrid model. Additionally, you can find our virtual model that could go into effect for all students in the future. We have improved and addressed equity issues in this model as compared to the previous virtual instruction that ended in the 2019-2020 school year. Protocols and information regarding COVID-19 testing and contact tracing will be released later this week.

Parents/Guardians should be prepared to receive and complete a form to share information with the District. Later today, the District will release an enrollment form that will solicit interest from families that have underlying medical issues or families that are not comfortable with a return to school. By selecting this option, your child(ren) will be enrolled in a full-time virtual instruction model while the district operates in a hybrid model. Parents/Guardians may also select home schooling/instruction, as per the Commissioner’s regulation 100.10, that is delivered by the parent/guardian. This form needs to be completed ONLY for those children that will not be returning to school in the Fall.

Additionally, a transportation form will be issued later this week. This solicitation is in response to the results from a previous survey where over 47% of Tonawanda respondents stated they would remove their child(ren) from district transportation in an effort to reduce student density on each bus and to support mitigation efforts of virus transmission. ONLY those who regularly receive district transportation and now desire to provide their own transportation will complete this form. Completion of this form will remove your child(ren) from our transportation services and reduce the student density on our buses to support our mitigation efforts.

Parents/Guardians should be aware of the following community meetings that will be held virtually. These meetings will allow for parents to ask questions to our administrative team regarding the hybrid model of instruction planned for the Fall. These meetings will be scheduled for 90 minutes.

  • Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 2pm – High school hybrid model focus
  • Thursday, August 13, 2020, at 10am – Elementary school hybrid model focus
  • Thursday, August 13, 2020, at 5pm – Middle school hybrid model focus

These meetings are intended for parents/guardians to ask questions regarding the hybrid model of instruction. Additional questions can be directed to the building principals following these meetings and in the future.

  • Mike Brown – Principal – High School – 716-694-7660 – mbrown@tonacsd.org
  • Dave Sellan – Principal – Middle School – 716-694-7660 – dsellan@tonacsd.org
  • Michelle Siebert – Principal – Fletcher Elementary School – 716-694-7694 – msiebert@toancsd.org
  • Diana Nigro – Principal – Mullen Elementary School – 716-694-6805 – dnigro@rtonacsd.org
  • Claudia Panaro – Principal – Riverview Elementary School – 716-694-7697 – cpanaro@tonacsd.org

Many details continue to emerge daily. There will be questions that will occur in the future and we will be there for you to support your needs. We have an unwavering dedication to the profession of educating and supporting the needs of our students and school community in a manner that prioritizes the health, safety, and welfare of all of us.

On behalf of our entire school community, thank you for your support and partnership with our district. Go Warriors!

Sincerely,

Timothy A. Oldenburg, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


August 7, 2020 - Please review the following letters from our principals about the reopening of schools in the fall.

Further information regarding specific plans, along with a recently added FAQ, can also be found on our Reopening Plan page.


July 31, 2020 - Dear Tonawanda City School District Families, Students, and Staff:

On behalf of the entire school system, I send you best wishes for an enjoyable summer during the next few weeks. Soon we will learn from the Governor regarding which instructional options will be available for public schools to engage students in learning and academic achievement.

Today, our required planning has been posted on our website: https://www.tonawandacsd.org/o/tcsdny/page/reopening-plan--10. Our required models include a face-to-face instructional program, hybrid instructional program, and virtual instructional program. The Governor will provide further guidance during the period of August 1-7, 2020. At this time, the District will be positioned to determine which instructional plan will be implemented for the 2020-2021 school year.

We are committed to meeting your expectations of delivering a high quality educational program that meets the diverse needs of our students in a caring, meaningful, and academically appropriate manner. However, the health, safety, and welfare remains our first priority. Our instructional models for Fall education include all of the required mandates from the NYS Department of Health and the NYS Education Department. Additionally, we have included numerous recommendations, best practices, and other mitigation strategies in our reopening plans to best care for our students, staff, and school community to the furthest extent feasible.

The Governor has encouraged the residents of NYS to follow the science and data regarding this pandemic. Data from the New York Forward website indicates that the current 7-day rolling average in WNY for positive test results for COVID-19 is 1%. Our region has realized this rolling average of 1% positive test results since June 10, 2020. Additionally, as reported in The Buffalo News yesterday, hospitalizations from COVID-19 in WNY have fallen to their lowest level (28) since the State began publicly releasing numbers on March 23, 2020. I am proud that our community and region has successfully realized our significant effort in slowing the spread. This is due to our education regarding the virus and our intentional efforts to be responsible citizens in our community.

We expect, following the Governor’s decision, that our district will be positioned to share more detailed information with you. You can expect regular communication, surveys, and other information to be shared from the district in the beginning of August and as we begin implementing our plan. Parents can expect to receive class supply lists in the first weeks of August. It should be noted that disinfecting wipes will NOT be a required or recommended supply item for this year. Student schedules and teacher assignments will be made available in late August. Additionally, your understanding and flexibility with potential modifications that may occur in the future is recognized.

It should be expected that every school district will have differences in their planning, protocols, instructional delivery, and operations. We will continue to provide the best educational program for our students and families within the fiscal and procedural constraints that are unique to our district.

On behalf of our entire school community, thank you for your support and partnership with our district. Go Warriors!

Sincerely,

Timothy A. Oldenburg, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


July 20, 2020Dear Tonawanda City School District Families, Students, and Staff:

Recently, the New York State Education Department (SED) and the NYS Department of Health (DOH) have released guidance documents for districts to incorporate into their required planning for schooling in the Fall. These documents can be found on our website listed as a “News” item at:

https://www.tonawandacsd.org/article/271961?org=tc...

Our district is working with local health officials, regional educational experts, and many stakeholders in our district and community, including parents. Our required timeline includes a plan submission date of July 31, 2020 to the SED and the Governor’s office. This plan must include models of in-person instruction, fully virtual instruction, and a hybrid model of both in-person and virtual learning. There are many requirements and mandates from the SED and the DOH that must be included in these plans. During the week of August 1, 2020, our Governor will determine when and how schooling can resume. Districts will then move forward with executing their plans accordingly.

In the coming weeks we will be providing more detailed information that will help answer your questions and provide processes for Fall instruction. You will have opportunities to contact and speak with district administrators to provide you with information to any unanswered questions. We will continue to communicate in writing, with website updates, and via “alerts” from our mobile app and school communication system.

Regardless which plan is used for Fall instruction, the way we operate and the way we interact will be different. Our primary focus continues to be on providing and supporting an environment that ensures the safety, health, and welfare of our students, staff, and school community to the fullest extent possible. Our planning will include all of the required guidance and further include recommended best practices in every feasible opportunity.

Thank you for your continued support. It is important to recognize that your flexibility, patience, and support, now and in the future, will be necessary for our district to best connect with students, increase student achievement, provide necessary services and supports, continue our focus on equity and inclusivity, and deliver the care and resources that have become expectations in our community.

Sincerely,

Timothy A. Oldenburg, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


July 9, 2020Dear Tonawanda City School District Families, Students, and Staff:

Our school district has been and is continuing to plan for the various scenarios that may be made available for student instruction in the Fall. We have been examining and designing contingencies for the expected requirements, guidance, and recommendations from the Governor, NYS Department of Education, CDC, and other health officials.

Late yesterday, it was announced that local districts should expect guidance from the NYS Education Department and the Board of Regents on July 13, 2020. Additionally, all school districts will be required to submit their tentative plans for Fall instruction to the Department of Education on July 31, 2020. Subsequently, the Governor will make an announcement about his decision on the reopening of schools during the period of August 1-7, 2020.

While we continue to plan and prepare for the many challenges and unknowns, the health, safety, and welfare of our students, staff, and school community remain our top priority.

We understand that students and families are awaiting decisive action and finalized plans for our instructional program in the Fall. We are equally anticipating the decisions of others that will allow us to determine which course of action is most appropriate and feasible within the constraints of our district.

It should be expected that every school district will have differences in their planning, protocols, instructional delivery, and operations. We will continue to provide the best educational program for our students and families within the fiscal and procedural constraints that are unique to our district.

You should expect that within a week of the Governor’s announcement that our district will be prepared to share our plan for Fall instruction. We will continue to communicate with you throughout this process including on our new website and mobile app. Additionally, our district will work to communicate, with as much advance notice as possible, the information and planning that will guide the educational programming for our students in the Fall.

On behalf of our entire school community, thank you for your understanding and flexibility, and stay safe Warriors.

Sincerely,

Timothy A. Oldenburg, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools