COVID-19 UPDATE

Update, as of July 8, 2020 – 3:30 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District families,

I hope this finds you well. We’ve seen many photos circulating of our educators and families recognizing the end of the school year with special socially-distanced celebrations. While this was certainly different than traditional end-of-year celebrations, we know they were well-deserved. Our students, families, and staff persevered and made the best of the situation. This speaks to the resilience of our Elmira community. I am so proud.

We’ve included several important updates below. Please read thoroughly below to learn more about graduation, summer learning and enrichment, meal assistance and a re-opening approach to planning:

GRADUATION RECAP

To cap off the year, twelve individual graduation ceremonies took place on Sunday, June 28, 2020 at the Chemung County Fairgrounds in which nearly 350 graduates tossed their tassels and threw their caps! We established a safe and unique way to honor each of them and to provide an opportunity for their families to celebrate. We plan to publish video recordings of each of the 12 graduation ceremonies to the District’s YouTube channel soon. Stay tuned! In the meantime, click here to view pictures from throughout graduation day. We know the best is yet to come from the Elmira High School Class of 2020!

VIRTUAL SUMMER LEARNING + ACE COURSES

Virtual learning and enrichment continues this summer through GST BOCES’s online summer school, virtual APEX, ESAP’s Express Academy, K-3 Reading Literacy Program, and more. Our online classes are proven to ensure students are prepared for next school year. As such, we would like to offer a number of Corning Community College ACE courses this summer, free of charge to our rising 10-12 grade students. In order to run the courses, we need at least 10 students to commit. See the course list below:

• ACE Health
• ACE American History
• ACE Personal Finance
• ACE First Year Experience
• ACE Criminal Justice

If you are interested in taking any of these ACE courses, please contact Elmira High School at 607-735-3202 by Friday, July 10, 2020.

SUMMER MEAL ASSISTANCE

Our Summer Meal Program is underway and pre-registered families pick up their meals on Thursdays at their designated food pick-up site. Families must pre-register to receive summer meals by completing the registration found in the link below. Registration only needs to be completed once for the summer season by the Monday preceding the desired Thursday pick-up. Please click here to register for summer meal assistance.

COMMUNITY SUMMER PROGRAMS

We will continue sharing community opportunities for our students to participate in special programs. Below are a few programs that we’ve shared on behalf of our Community Schools partners:

Tanglewood Nature Center & Museum
https://tanglewoodnaturecenter.wildapricot.org/

First Tee Golf Program of Corning
https://firsttee.org/

Chemung County Library District (CCLD)
Steele Memorial Library
http://ccld.lib.ny.us/steele-memorial-library/

Chemung County Summer Cohesion
https://www.chemungcountyny.gov/humanservices/youthbureau/summer_cohesion.php

PLANS FOR FALL AND SCHOOL RE-OPENING


Like school closure plans, school re-opening plans are governed by Executive Order issued by the NYS Governor and therefore, are not solely local school district decisions. As it has been since the beginning of the COVID-19 school closure, school districts will receive guidance and direction from the Governor’s office, local officials, NYSDOH and NYSED on reinstating in-person learning and the requirements to do so. Our regional BOCES and District Administration are awaiting guidance from New York State in order to begin developing plans. We have continued working closely with our neighboring districts, GST BOCES leadership, and local/county officials and we plan to do the same with a re-opening plan.

In addition to student safety, meeting the educational needs of our students remains our most important work. As we did throughout the winter and spring, we will continue to update you with the most up-to-date information as soon as possible. We are eager to put plans in place and provide a sense of direction to our students and families.

We are especially grateful to our families and community agency partners for their dedication to our community’s youth. We are all in this together!

Be well and stay safe,

Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

____________________________________________________________________________

Update June 16, 2020, as of 12:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

Summer is upon us and we look forward to the opportunity to continue working with our community partners, caring for our families, and providing opportunities for our students.

Chemung County has created a survey to ask parents and guardians about summer programming needs. Please click here by June 19 to complete the survey.

We also wish to remind you that you registration is required to receive summer meals. Summer Meal Distribution will begin on June 25, 2020. Families must pre-register to receive summer meals by completing the registration form found by clicking here. Registration only needs to be completed once for the summer season.

We are especially grateful to our community agency partners and our frontline food services staff for their dedication. Thank you!

Sincerely,

Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

________________________________________________________________________________


Update as of June 12, 2020, 12:00 p.m.

RE: REQUIRED SUMMER MEAL REGISTRATION

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

It is hard to believe that we are now planning for Summer 2020. As we transition from regular school year to summer, I am writing with specific updates to our meal distribution program. I appreciate your careful review of the information below as further action is required by participating families. Pre-registration of summer feeding is required. Please note that our current meal distribution process will expire on June 17, 2020.

Summer Meal Distribution will begin on June 25, 2020. Families must pre-register to receive summer meals by completing the registration found in the link below. Registration only needs to be completed once for the summer season.

We are pleased to increase summer meal distribution to include seven days’ worth of breakfast and lunch (in previous years, the summer meal distribution was five days per week). Meal pick-ups will occur once a week, on Thursdays, from June 25 – August 20, 2020. Please note that the form must be completed by Monday preceding the Thursday pick-up. The first meal pick-up will occur on June 25, 2020.

Our meal assistance and daily food distribution will continue at four school sites – Diven, Fassett, Broadway and Elmira High School. Two pick-up times are available for families to choose from on the registration form (7:00am - 8:00am or 11:30am - 12:30pm). Families will receive seven (7) breakfast meals and seven (7) lunch meals for the number of students indicated on their registration.

Our partners at Chemung County are available for families who may need assistance completing the registration. If you need help filling out the form, please call the 211 helpline. If you need to make a change to your order, please contact the Food Services Department of Elmira City School District at 607-735-3236.

REQUIRED SUMMER MEAL ASSISTANCE REGISTRATION LINK:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=KtLKIY3tDEGU4Az1zjSEeMz_J9IlsyhPuUf-g3fIEYBUMjFaRjNRTDNVN01aVzBBWVRXUzlQVTdPNC4u

Providing food assurance to our families consistently remains one of our most important moral duties. We are especially grateful to our community agency partners and our frontline food services staff for their dedication.

Be well.

Hillary Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

_____________________________________________________________________________________


Update, as of May 19, 2020 - 10:25 a.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families and Community-at-wide,

In partnership with the 37 New York State BOCES systems, our GST BOCES Superintendent, Jim Frame, has provided the information below regarding an Anonymous (Virtual) Thought Exchange. You're invited to participate in this state-wide facilitated conversation.

The Thought Exchange is a virtual conversation solution in order to crowd-source thoughts and ideas regarding the re-opening planning for schools. This Thought Exchange will help decision makers across New York State understand the thoughts and concerns of community members and staff regarding the reopening of our school buildings.

Community members will be able to contribute thoughts as well as read and rate other participants’ responses. Based on those ratings, the most important thoughts will rise to the top. All contributions are anonymous. This link will be live for approximately one week.

This is a statewide exchange facilitated by the 37 New York BOCES. The exchange results will be shared with our elected officials so that they will have a more global understanding of the thoughts and ideas our community members have about returning to in-person schooling.

The Thought Exchange link below. Our BOCES is Greater Southern Tier (Schuyler-Steuben-Chemung-Tioga-Allegany):

https://my.thoughtexchange.com/333518046

Thank you and be well,
Hillary Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District 

____________________________________________________________________

Update, as of May 15, 2020 – 2:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

Based on the Governor’s most recent Executive Order, the last day of instruction for students will be June 15, 2020. Please note that the Governor’s Executive Order also pulled back all scheduled vacation days and snow days for the remainder of the year. Just as we were instructing during Spring Break, we will also be instructing on Friday, May 22, 2020. We will observe the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 25, 2020. Please note that families can pick-up double breakfast and lunch on Friday, May 22, 2020 (from 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. at each of our school sites as well as our three mobile feeding sites) to accommodate for the long weekend.

We recently solidified grading plans for our elementary students. We’ve posted the details of this Elementary Grading Plan here. We fully expect, and support, all students and families to continue the great job they have been doing as we continue to engage in this meaningful work for the rest of the school year.

As we confirm further plans regarding senior events, technology returns, summer school, and summer sports camp information, we will send a follow up communication.

We would also like to take this opportunity to remind our families to complete the 2020 Census. Responses to the 2020 Census specifically inform funding for educational programs that benefit your children, like after-school activities, school meal programs, and Head Start. It’s not too late! We encourage you to complete the 2020 Census by visiting https://2020census.gov/.

On a celebratory note, we’d like to once again share the drone photo below taken by our Elmira High School Technology teacher, Mr. Nate Smith. Our Elmira High School staff teamed up with the Transportation team to create a birds-eye-view message to the Senior Class of 2020. Several school buses spell out “2020” in the parking lot. As we shared on social media, ‘it’s been a great ride!’

2020 Buses

We appreciate your patience and continuing support of e-learning. We hope this finds you happy and healthy.

Be well,

Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

_______________________________________________________________________________________


Update, May 1, 2020 – 2:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

As announced by New York State Governor Cuomo today, Elmira City School District school buildings will be closed to students the remainder of the academic year. We will continue to deliver instruction virtually through the on-line learning. In accordance with this announcement, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association has cancelled all remaining spring sports. We anticipate guidance regarding summer school from New York State in late May 2020.

These announcements raise questions regarding senior recognition, graduation, and more. Please stay tuned for these details, as our Elmira High School administrative faculty are working now to prepare alternative plans to recognize our 2020 seniors. While we can’t exactly replace these time-honored senior traditions, we do plan to do as much as we can to make end-of-year celebrations meaningful.

We want to assure our families that food assistance will continue throughout the remainder of the academic year. Please continue accessing these free meals, daily from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., at our school sites as well as our three mobile sites (Wellsburg, Golden Glow and East Hill Fire Departments). The Wellsburg mobile food assistance site will be at Carriage Estates Offices from 9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m., Bel-Aire Trailer Park from 9:45 to 10:15 a.m. before stationing at the Wellsburg Fire Department from 10:15 to 11:00 a.m., daily.

Amidst the closure, we are looking ahead and pleased to begin registering the classes of 2033 and 2034! Pre–K and Kindergarten registration will occur May 4th-May 15th, 2020. We have organized a contact-free registration process with respect to social distancing. Parents can choose to register their students using three easy methods which can be found by visiting the Pre-Kindergarten registration page. If you have questions, please contact Shauncey Lowe, District Control Clerk, by email at register@elmiracityschools.com. The lottery for Happy House UPK will take place around the middle of June.

Like we’ve done with instruction, our extended learning staff are preparing to launch virtual ARCADE and APEX, after-school programming available to Elmira City School District students. These enrichment programs will be available in the coming weeks, online, and will provide the necessary supports of social/emotional wellbeing and academic engagement. Please stay tuned for details!

As an administrative team, we are planning now to address new protocols and precautions for when schools re-open. Our custodial/maintenance staff continue to disinfect and clean our buildings and we are grateful for the dedication.

As educators, we always find hope in our spirited youth. And during these difficult times, the dedication of our families and students has provided so much inspiration to our educators. We miss you all and we look forward to a time when we can be together again.

Be well,

Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

_______________________________________________________________________________


Update, April 26, 2020 – 4:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

As we begin our seventh week of school closure amidst COVID-19, I’m writing with a few updates regarding instruction and assessment. With two weeks of online instruction under our belts, Phase 2 of e-learning is well underway and we are experiencing great successes due in large-part to the dedication of our students and families. We are pleased to see our students and staff engaging in online instruction together.

As we close our third marking period, we are preparing report cards to be sent home in the mail. In the meantime of receiving your student’s report card by mail, Marking Period 3 grades will be available to access in School Tool on May 5, 2020.

From now until we reopen our buildings, students will continue to learn through the materials provided online and in print from our teachers. With Finals and Regents exams being exempt at the secondary level, any work for MP4 will be based on effort. Beginning Monday, April 27 all secondary students will complete weekly essential assignments that will be assessed by their teacher (refer to this letter and information posted on the website for specific details). Grading criteria is effort-based, providing equity of opportunity for the success of all students. Our PreK – 6 elementary students have typically been assessed using a standards based report card. We continue to look at ways to provide feedback to our youngest learners and will communicate a more detailed plan this week. We are working to make this transition as seamless as possible and have outlined a plan for grades pre-k-6, grades 7-8, and grades 9-12. The secondary plan is posted on our website, organized by grades 7-8 and 9-12. Elementary grading plans will be posted by May 1, 2020. Secondary grading plans can be accessed here.

Our plan is optimal for our student’s success. All students will be afforded every opportunity to submit materials and work in multiple formats and ways to their teachers. Our e-learning solution, Schoology, includes a ‘submit’ feature for students to turn-in work to their teacher. Other methods include submitting a picture by upload, email, as a discussion topic during office hours or turning in printed materials through the school’s main office (with proper social distancing protocols in place at each school). Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for students and families to submit work throughout this unprecedented closure.

As always, your teachers and building principals are available to assist you. We remain steadfast in our commitment to support our students and families through academic instruction, social and emotional health and overall well-being.

Our first priority is the safety and education of our students. As educators, it is difficult not see our students every day in a traditional school setting because of the positive relationships and connections we value so much. We have been so inspired by our students and parents who have embraced this new learning method. We thank you for your optimism!

Thank you and be well,

Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

____________________________________________________________________________

Update, April 23, 2020 - 2:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

I hope this finds your family healthy. I am thrilled to once again, albeit virtually, see our students and staff learning together! As we continue with Phase 2 of our instructional model, our teachers are hosting regular office hours throughout the school week and are available to answer your questions, help with lessons and check-in to see how students are doing. We are also pleased to host virtual Parent Academy sessions LIVE on Zoom for parents to become more proficient in Schoology. The first online Parent Academy is tonight (6 p.m. for primary and intermediate and 7 p.m. for secondary). Further login details can be found here

On top of this support, we also have two certified Elmira teachers who are offering tutoring services virtually. This “hotline” type of academic support is for students in grades K-12! Tutors will utilize emails, phone calls or even Zoom to work with you. Please email tutors, Mrs. Alexander (talexand [@] elmiracityschools.com) or Mrs. Malloy, (kmalloy [@] elmiracityschools.com). Should you need any technology assistance, including borrowing a device for home, please reach out to your building principal for arrangements.

Meal distribution continues daily at our feeding sites. We have updated two distribution details in order to better serve our families. Beginning Friday April 24, 2020, the Wellsburg mobile food assistance site will follow the schedule below:

• Carriage Estates, at the Office - 9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m., daily
• Bel-Aire Trailer Park, at the Mailboxes - 9:45 to 10:15 a.m., daily
• Wellsburg Fire Station at 10:15 to 11:00 a.m., daily

The East Hill and Golden Glow mobile feeding sites will operate as usual, daily from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Our daily food distribution at all school buildings will also continue from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Beginning Monday, April 27, 2020, The Elmira City School District will offer an additional drive-up location at the front entrance of Elmira High School during the regular time of distribution, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. This new drive-up location is in addition to the three mobile feeding sites and school building sites we previously established.

Last evening, our Board of Education approved a resolution that outlines the Reconfiguration 2020 plan for grades 7-9 beginning in Fall 2020. This resolution was a culmination of months spent researching, planning, and collecting parent and staff input. The plan will transform our two current middle schools into one seventh and eighth grade middle school and one ninth grade secondary building. Ernie Davis Academy will become a seven and eighth grade building and Broadway Academy will become a stand-alone ninth grade building. This reconfiguration plan is supported by an opportunity to improve our instructional programs and services to our students. From focused pathways for graduation, to aligning 3-8 NYS instruction, assessments and standards and in-District alternative programming, this reconsolidation illustrates high standards for our students’ success. This plan is truly student-centered, creating improved opportunities for our student body. We are eager to continue the development of our short and long-range objectives for a successful transition next school year.

Finally, I am pleased to announce that our after-school ARCADE program has been approved to continue virtually for our students during this time of closure. Virtual enrichment programming at this time will include social-emotional learning, STEM and literacy. Virtual family engagement opportunities are currently being developed. Site coordinators are making calls to each family participating in after-school to gauge technology and access needs. We are thrilled for this additional support for families. Please stay tuned for details.

Please know that our teachers, administrators, counselors, and other support staff are here to help. We continue to respond to emails sent to the covid19@elmiracityschools.com email address. This is available to you as well as contacting your student’s teacher or principal.

Our current world-state has certainly proved the resiliency of our community. We thank our parents, students and staff in advance for their ongoing support now and always.

Thank you,

Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District 

____________________________________________________________________________________

Update as of April 16, 2020 - 3:00 p.m. 

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

As you may have already read, Governor Cuomo has extended his order closing schools and non-essential businesses to May 15. Please feel free to contact the school with questions by calling your student's school or by emailing covid19@elmiracityschools.com.

We are well underway with Phase 2 of instruction. We appreciate your flexibility and understanding through this time. Thank you!

Be well,

Hillary Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools

________________________________________________________________________________


Update as of April 6, 2020 – 2:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

As you may have already read from Governor Cuomo’s announcement today, the New York State school closure mandate is now extended until April 29, 2020. Consistent with prior Executive Orders, if this closure is not extended, schools would reopen on April 29th.

Further, Regents Examinations for this June will be cancelled. We anticipate further guidance on graduation standards from the State Education Department this week. As you already know, grades 3-8 assessment tests have been cancelled.

Today begins what would have been Spring Break. We wanted to assure our families that our meal distribution program is continuing throughout this week. Please note that families can pick-up double breakfast and lunch on Thursday April 9 as Friday April 10 is observed as a holiday. Additionally, the Food Bank BackPacks will be delivered on Thursday April 9th to enrolled families ahead of the long weekend. Meal sites include all school buildings and three mobile sites at Golden Glow, East Hill and Wellsburg Fire Departments and are open from 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. We are grateful for our dedicated Food Services staff. From ensuring our students have access to free, balanced breakfast and lunch daily, to operating safe and healthy food distribution sites, the commitment of this team is immeasurable.

Finally, our instructional teams including both school administrators and classroom teachers, are engaging in professional learning this week to ensure a smooth transition into Phase 2 of instruction on April 13. Families will receive a letter in the mail soon that outlines expectations, instructions and guidelines for at-home learning. While participation in Phase 2 of the plan is not optional, we do understand there are varying levels of access to technology across the District. With questions regarding technology needs, please be in touch with your student’s building principal. Our educators will work individually with our families to ensure equity of access.

As we’ve learned throughout this process, there are many variables and announcements from the state that occur on a rapidly evolving pace. As we’ve done from the onset, we will continue to update our families with timely information.

As always, I encourage you to stay home, be well and keep learning! Go Express!

Thank you,

Hillary Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

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Update, as of April 1, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

I hope this message finds your family safe and healthy. As you know, Governor Cuomo’s most recent executive order will keep our schools closed until at least April 15, 2020 in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is our belief that while our community is working hard to maintain strict social distancing, it is likely that our schools will remain closed beyond that date.

As a District, it is important for us to plan for this unknown and the complex needs of our community. To best prepare, we most recently asked our families to complete a survey regarding distance learning opportunities. Our staff development team, principals, and administrators have engaged in hours of online meetings to understand your input and prepare for the move into our next phase of instruction. Our planning has focused on a shift from academic review and reinforcement to continuity learning (new learning) in Phase 2. I am confident that we can provide opportunities for our students to stay engaged, learn new material, and keep their skills fresh.

Phase 1 work and directions provided on March 16 are intended to continue through April 10, 2020. Beginning April 13, our Phase 2 of learning will offer three strong learning platforms, providing equity to all learners - online, print, and live sessions with our Elmira educators. Previously established e-learning platforms like Schoology will become a repository for students to access educational materials, lessons, and videos. Beginning April 13, our teachers will begin hosting virtual “office hours” as a way to connect with students. Teachers will work with our families collectively and individually to establish routines and schedules. This will likely look different based on grade level. Examples include K-6 work to be done and submitted on a rolling basis and secondary student work to be done by subject per essential standards. We will continue to leverage district approved home-to-school connection tools such as Remind, DoJo and our student learning platform, Schoology. While participation in Phase 2 of the plan is not optional, we do understand there are varying levels of access to technology across the District. Our educators will work individually with our families to ensure equity of access.

Our teachers continue to prepare diligently to educate all students under this new format. Parents and students will be receiving information from their teachers and building administrators soon by phone, email and postal mail.

I would like to thank our teachers and express our gratitude for their work to help our children. Helping our families through these uncharted waters continues to prove the collective strength and ingenuity of our community.

As the District tagline suggests, our family, school and community will succeed together! We have already overcome numerous challenges and we know there will be more to come. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility.

Be Well,

Hillary Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

_____________________________________________________________________________

Update, March 27, 2020 - 2:30 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

I am writing with a few important updates regarding COVID-19 and the District’s extended school dismissal.

The Chemung County Health Department has notified the Elmira City School District that a staff member at Fassett Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The Elmira City School District staff member’s last day of contact in school was March 16, 2020. Please note that due to confidentiality laws, we are unable to release identifying information of the staff person. We are able to report that this staff member is home and recovering. All students and staff with potential exposure have already been notified.

As always, we encourage our families to monitor for symptoms and reach out to your health care provider if a member of your family shows symptoms. If you or your child develops symptoms please contact your health care provider for guidance. With questions, please feel free to reach out to the Chemung County Health Department at 607.737.2028.

Secondly, you may have read that Governor Cuomo has extended the school closure until at least April 15, 2020. As we receive further clarifying information from New York State, we will update our staff and families with the plan for the Elmira City School District. As we’ve done since the beginning, we will take our guidance and direction from our government officials.

As you may know, the state has suspended administration of grade 3-8 state assessments for the remainder of the school year. Additionally, High School Advanced Placement (AP) exams will be administered online. To date, we have not heard news on June Regents examinations from the State Education Department.

This is a time of uncertainty and many have asked about how to best talk to their children about COVID-19. In the case your student would like to talk to a counseling professional throughout the time of this closure, we have school counselors available for video and/or telephone communication. Should you wish to make a request for services for your child, please email covid19@elmiracityschools.com. Please include your student’s name and a phone number to contact you and a school counselor will return your call promptly.

We continue updating our Family Page with resources and links to educational materials. From daily physical education videos from our teachers to mental health strategies from our counselors and read-alouds from our classroom teachers, we encourage you to access the website daily for these supplemental learning opportunities for your students.

Finally, we will continue to offer food assistance to our families of Elmira. As a reminder, free breakfast and lunch are being distributed at each school building Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. In addition to our school feeding sites, we have three mobile feeding sites at the East Hill Fire Department, Wellsburg Fire Department and the Golden Glow Fire Departments. We know these feeding sites are essential to many and we are fortunate to have dedicated staff to help to continue to provide this service.

I will continue to be in touch and share important updates with you as we learn more.

Be well,
Hillary Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

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Update, March 26, 2020 – 4:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

We hope this finds you happy and healthy. As we all navigate our temporary ‘new normal,’ it is our goal as a District to maintain as much regularity as possible to our students and families. As you know, our children thrive in routines and our educators have worked hard on providing supplemental learning opportunities for our families to continue at home. These learning materials, by grade level, are posted on our District website under the Families tab at the top. Your children will also enjoy read-alouds that our elementary educators are posting on YouTube.

As we continue to plan for at-home learning materials, we will be conducting a survey to assess the needs of students to be able to continue to learn through home-based online instruction. This survey will be delivered to phone numbers and email addresses we have on file. This phone call will be delivered Friday morning after 9:00 a.m. We ask that you please answer these questions so we can assist you with your academic needs. Thank you for your time in completing this survey.

In addition to these learning opportunities, we continue to provide free breakfast and lunch at all of our school sites from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. each day. These meals are available to all students in Elmira 18 years and younger. Additionally, our three mobile feeding sites are open daily 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, and are located at East Hill Fire Department, Golden Glow Fire Department, and Wellsburg Fire Department. Families who have received Food Bank bags on Fridays throughout the school year will receive those bags by delivery on Friday mornings.

The social and emotional well-being of our families is one of many of our priorities during this time of uncertainty. In the case your student would like to talk to a counseling professional throughout the time of this closure, we have school counselors available for video and/or telephone communication. Please email covid19@elmiracityschools.com and a member of District personnel will be in touch. Additionally, the New York State Office of Mental Health COVID-19 Emotional Support Line is staffed by specially trained volunteers who can help at 1-844-863-9314.

Be well.

Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

_______________________________________________________________________________________________


Update, March 20, 2020 - 12:30 p.m.

Dear Parents/Guardians of the Elmira City School District:

As we navigate this unchartered territory regarding COVID-19, we would like to inform you of a few items regarding the Elmira City School District’s extended student dismissal. District administration has been in regular communication with government and health officials and as we’ve done steadily, we continue to follow guidance from these officials.

First, we continue to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students, Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at each of our school buildings. These meals are available to any child, under the age of 18, in Elmira. Additionally, we have opened three mobile feeding sites at the East Hill Fire Department, Wellsburg Fire Department and the Golden Glow Fire Departments. We know these feeding sites are essential to many and we are fortunate to have dedicated staff to help to continue to provide this service.

We are also grateful to the Family Reading Partnership of Chemung Valley for their generosity in providing free books to our students. These books can be picked up at our school feeding sites during the time of pick-up.

If your child was not in school on Monday, your student’s reading materials have been placed in bags and are ready for you to pick-up at your student’s school during the times of food pick-up. Additional supplemental learning materials have been posted on the District's website. If you have questions, please remember that each of our school’s employee Family and Community Outreach Coordinators and, in addition to your school building leadership, they are an available resource and can be reached by email. Contact information is available at elmiracityschools.com/student_services

The social and emotional well-being of our families is one of many of our priorities during this time of uncertainty. Anxiety and uncertainty are natural responses for young people impacted by this global health situation. In the case your student would like to talk to a counseling professional throughout the time of this closure, we have school counselors available for video and/or telephone communication. Please email covid19@elmiracityschools.com and a member of District personnel will be in touch.

Finally, we are also working in partnership with the Chemung County Child Care Council to assist families during this time. The Council has updated information for parents about available childcare during school closings related to COVID-19. They will provide additional assistance for health care workers and first responders. To access this service, contact Chemung County Child Care Council at 607-734-3941 or www.chemchildcare.com.

We all have a social responsibility to follow the guidelines issued by our government officials. This is certainly an historic time for public education and our nation. Thank you for following the protocol to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Be well and take care,

Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

____________________________________________________________________________________



Update, March 18, 2020 - 12:15 p.m.


Dear Elmira City School District Families,

We are pleased to announce that beginning Thursday March 19, Elmira City School District Food Services will deploy three mobile feeding sites in the locations below. These mobile feeding sites are in addition to the feeding sites at all school building locations, open daily 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, and are open to all students of Elmira ages 18 and under.

East Hill Fire Department
266 Jerusalem Hill Road
Elmira, NY

Golden Glow Fire Department
214 Hendy Creek Road
Pine City, NY

Wellsburg Fire Department
147 Main Street
Wellsburg, NY

Additionally, volunteers from the Family Reading Partnership of Chemung Valley have provided free books for students to take home at the time of food pick-up.

Another important update is regarding pre-kindergarten registration. Pre-K registration was originally scheduled for March 25-April 3, 2020. Pre – K registration will be combined with District-wide Kindergarten registration and will occur May 4th-May 15th, 2020. The registration will occur at Washington Avenue School, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Registration packets are available at each of our Pre-K – 2 buildings and by visiting our Pre-Kindergarten registration page under Student Services.

The Board of Education of the Elmira City School District will hold the regular board meeting virtually by Zoom online tonight at 6:00 p.m. To join the Zoom meeting, please visit https://zoom.us/j/358267871 and you’ll be prompted with instructions. Further, members of our community interested in running for the school board in the upcoming election, Board Packets will be available for pick-up at the District Administration Office at 430 W. Washington Ave. in Elmira, NY. These packets will be available for pick-up by appointment only. Interested parties are encouraged to call the District Office phone number at 607-735-3000 to make an appointment.

We are grateful to the many partners who have contacted the district, near and far, with their generous offers of support. As our families are aware, the school district is, in many ways, a cornerstone to their daily lives. During this time of uncertainty we are pulling from our strengths and focusing on the things we can do well. From assuring families of food security to continued learning opportunities, there are amazing people in this community helping to make it happen.

 As I've said all along, we appreciate your patience and understanding. Stay healthy!

Sincerely,

Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of School

_____________________________________________________

Update, March 16, 2020 - 2:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families and Community,

This afternoon feels a bit surreal as we suspend classroom and extra-curricular programs and begin this short hiatus from school. However, the health and safety of our students and staff is most important. We are grateful to our local government officials for their leadership during this time of uncertainty. It has been amazing to see the community rally together for the greater well-being of our region. I’ve been witness to the leadership of our dedicated officials who have made difficult yet decisive plans in a swift manner. This foundational work has allowed the school district to focus on what we do best – provide for the needs of our students and families.

In many ways, it feels as though the collaborative relationships we’ve built over the years with our community contingency has prepared us for this unprecedented era of global health. From meal distribution to book giveaways, counseling services and instructional support programs, the services we have in place for our families is plentiful. Please access the District’s website often for updates regarding food assistance, counseling services, and supplemental learning resources:

Food Assistance Information: https://www.elmiracityschools.com/news/what_s_new/kids_eat_free__meal_assistance
• Supplemental Learning Materials: https://www.elmiracityschools.com/families_and_students


Although nothing can replace the direct classroom instruction provided by our teaching staff, we do know that it’s best for our families and students to follow the clear guidance from local and state health authorities. It’s worth repeating that we all have a social responsibility to follow the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control, like keeping social distance, washing hands well and often using soap, disinfecting high touch surfaces and covering coughs and sneezes properly.

During this time of school closure, we want to ensure there are open lines of communication between our schools and families. That said, there will be a limited number of staff on duty to take phone calls. We encourage you to continue accessing most up-to-date information on the website at www.elmiracityschools.com/covid-19 or by emailing the covid19@elmiracityschools.com address.

It is our intent to serve our families and staff in the most meaningful ways possible. Thank you for your support through these unprecedented times.

Sincerely,
Hillary Austin
Hillary. J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

_______________________________________________________________________
Update, March 15, 2020 – 4:00 p.m.Kids Eat Free

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

As promised, we have two important updates for our families regarding food assistance and supplemental instructional planning throughout the school closure.

Supplemental Learning Materials for Home

Monday March 16, teachers will distribute resources and activities intended to help our students stay engaged in learning during the closure. This is material for students to do at home by themselves or with support from an adult or an older sibling throughout the suspension of school.

These assignments and activities are focused on review and enrichment for all students, and are tailored to individual grade levels, kindergarten through 12. This material is not meant to replace in-person classroom instruction and will not be graded or count as extra credit.

Current student learning software will be available through the district website, under the Families and Students section. We will be posting grade level folders on the district website as a resource for parents and students to use during this period of time. This information can be found here: https://www.elmiracityschools.com/families_and_students.

We also encourage our students to read during this time. As we become aware of additional activities and resources that our students and families might find useful, we will post them to our website and social media.

Food Assistance

The Elmira City School District received approval from New York State Child Nutrition Program Administration to provide “grab-and-go” meals for children while school is not in session.

As a District, we understand the educational disruption the next few weeks will cause. Moreover, we understand the hundreds of students who depend on the free meals they get at school. It is our commitment to provide continuity of the free meal service throughout the coming weeks.

Pre-packaged breakfast and lunch will be available at all schools for pick-up, Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., at all school locations throughout the school suspension. Children 18 and under are eligible to participate and can pick-up food from any feeding site location.

Each site will have a bright yellow or green flag with the words “Summer Feeding Program” and will be placed on school grounds just outside the pick-up location. Meal sites will provide one (1) breakfast and (1) lunch per student. The menu items will follow the typical meal pattern with grain, protein, fruit and/or vegetable, milk. Examples include PBJ sandwiches or yogurt and string cheese, assorted fruit, and other items.

At this point, it’s likely that menus will not be available on the website. For those familiar with the Summer Food Service Program, the meals will be very similar.
The meals will be to-go and provided for students to take home and consume.

There will not be an on-site dining area. In the event you are unable to access meals you need, please contact the school district.

During this time, we appreciate the ongoing support from our families and community. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out.

ELMIRA CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT FEEDING SITES

 Meals Served Daily, 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.   Pick-up Locations at Schools
   
 Beecher  Library Entrance
 Broadway Elementary and Broadway Academy  Auditorium Hallway Entrance
 Coburn  Main Entrance
 Diven  Cafeteria Entrance
 Ernie Davis Academy  Cafeteria Entrance
 Elmira High School  Main Entrance
 Fassett  Library Entrance
 Hendy  Main Entrance
 Pine City  Main Entrance
 Riverside  Main Entrance

Thank you,
Hillary Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

___________________________________________________________________

Update, March 14, 2020 - 1:01 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families and Staff,

Under advisement of the New York State Department of Health and by order of Chemung County Executive Chris Moss regarding the suspension of all classroom and extra-curricular functions for prevention efforts against COVID-19, the Elmira City School District will be closed for students beginning Tuesday, March 17 through April 13. If at the end of spring recess, the situation is deemed clear by health officials, students will report Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

Schools are scheduled for regular session on Monday, March 16 in order for students and staff to prepare for this extended suspension of classroom and extra-curricular functions. Students will be dismissed at the end of the school day March 16 until schools reopen. Monday, April 13, 2020 will be a Superintendent’s Conference Day.

Pre-packaged breakfast and lunch will be available at all schools for pick-up, Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., at all school locations throughout the school suspension. Children who are enrolled in the Elmira City School District, along with their siblings under the age of 18 that reside in the same household, are eligible to participate. Detailed information regarding food distribution will be available on the District’s website on Monday, March 16, 2020.

In the next few days, we will be following up with information for staff and for parents regarding educational programming and other important items regarding this closure.

Thank you for your concern for our children and their safety. We encourage everyone to take precautions during this time by reducing travel, maintaining social distance, and practicing good hand hygiene.

________________________________________________________________

Update, March 13, 2020 - 2:00 p.m.


Cancellations, Effective Immediately:

-School-sponsored travel, including field trips, will be discontinued until further notice.
-Field trips, school-sponsored staff and student travel to off-campus professional development or conferences,
-All fine and performing arts events are cancelled through April 14th.
-All Spring Athletics may PRACTICE ONLY. (No formal events or scrimmages until further guidance).
-All Outside Organizations are now PROHIBITED from using the school facilities until further notice.
-The Junior Prom will be postponed at this time
-Hendy Craft Show will be postponed at this time

A full list of Frequently Asked Questions has been posted below.  Further cancellation updates will be posted by Monday March 16, 2020.

_________________________________________________________________

Update, March 13, 2020 - 2:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

It is our goal to provide up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 to our families. As you are aware, many updates are being announced at a rapid rate. Please be assured that on behalf of the school district and families, we are in constant communication with our local and state officials. In addition, we have set up an email address for our families and community members to utilize if you have questions or concerns, specific to Coronavirus. The email address is covid19@elmiracityschools.com. Our Central Office team will be monitoring this email address and responding accordingly.

As of the date and time of this letter, a list of Frequently Asked Questions has been posted to our District website. You can download the document PDF by clicking here. The information posted will answer many of your important and meaningful questions regarding the status of school and related activities. It is important to note that, as we receive guidance from state and federal agencies, our status will evolve quickly. Please check-back frequently to our website for updated information.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended their recommendations to practice social distancing in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We are working on a full list of cancellations and postponements that will be posted on our website by the end of the weekend. In the meantime, the following cancellations and postponements have been determined:

• No field trips until further notice
• No staff or student travel to off-campus professional development or conferences until further notice
• All fine and performing arts events are cancelled through April 14th
• All spring athletics may PRACTICE ONLY. (No formal events or scrimmages until further guidance)
• All outside organizations are now PROHIBITED from using the school facilities until further notice
• Junior Prom - postponed
• Hendy Craft Show - postponed

All outside groups who were scheduled to use our facilities this weekend have been notified that they will be unable to continue until further notice. We will continue to keep you updated as new information is shared with us by governing parties.

The social and emotional well-being of our community is in the forefront of our minds. We’d like to remind you of resources, available on the website of the Centers for Disease Control, which provides guidance on how best to talk about this with our children and answer their questions honestly and accurately. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/talking-with-children.html

We are carefully considering the implications related to the impact of our families during this time. From school-based meals to instructional resources, our administrative team is working with our strong team of partners locally and at the state level to provide as much continuity as possible during this time.

This is a time of unrest for many of us and we thank you in advance for your patience as we navigate this unprecedented territory. The well-being of our students, families and community is our top priority. We are all here to support one another and our students.

Sincerely,
Hillary Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District


Update, March 11, 2020 - 12:30 p.m.


Dear Elmira City School District Families and Staff,

As we track the Coronavirus, now called COVID-19, it is our goal to communicate with our families regularly to ensure access to accurate and up-to-date information. Our planning efforts are coordinated with our county and state agencies. Please keep in mind that there is a large volume of information circulating in the news. We continue to add helpful links to our website as a resource for factual information from our partnering agencies. Please continue visiting this webpage for updates.

Schools, working together with health departments, play an important role to ensure students have safe and healthy learning environments. Our school health staff and administration have been meeting regularly with the Chemung County Health Department and regional medical community to discuss precautions, protocols and planning. We will continue to collaborate, share information, and review plans with local health officials to help protect the whole school community. As necessary, we will send information home to our families. This is a good time to make sure the District has your most recent contact information so that we can reach you effectively.

Health officials advise to continue diligent healthy steps recommended to help reduce the spread of seasonal illnesses, such as frequent hand-washing, diligent disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue. These effective strategies build on our everyday school policies and practices. We also encourage you to teach and reinforce these strategies at home. It’s also important to underscore that we all have a responsibility to stay home when sick. We encourage you to consult with your physician to understand when it is safe for you and/or your child to return to school and work, both for your family’s health and for the health of the rest of the school and community.

As public conversations around COVID-19 increase, children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear. CDC has created guidance to help adults have conversations with children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease. Please visit their website for further information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/talking-with-children.html.

As always, please feel free to reach out to our District Administration Offices or District Health Personnel with further questions or concerns. Thank you for your understanding and support as we address this health issue together.

Regards,
Hillary J. Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
_________________________________________________________

Update, March 4, 2020 - 2:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families and Staff,

As we continue to learn more about the Coronavirus, now named COVID-19, we will continue to share updates from our local, regional and federal agency partners. Below is a helpful link to the CDC's guidance for schools planning document:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-for-schools.html

Regards,
Hillary J. Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
_________________________________________________________

Update, February 28, 2020 - 12:30 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Parents/Guardians and Staff,

We understand staff, parents, and students may have questions and concerns about the coronavirus disease, now called COVID-19. As we track the Coronavirus, we are writing to share important updates that we have received from the Center for Disease Control and others that we feel will be helpful to our families.

Our school health staff and administration works closely with the Chemung County Health Department and our regional medical community to ensure we have the most up to date information. Our Health Services office follows guidance provided by the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Education Department. The precautions, protocols and planning we undertake as a District are in accordance with guidelines from these governing health agencies and medical professionals. Health officials advise to continue the diligent steps recommended for seasonal outbreaks of the flu, such as frequent hand-washing, diligent disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and encouraging staff and students to stay home when sick, are important to prevent the spread of contagious health conditions.

Student safety is our top priority. Please be assured that all of our District cleaning staff have been trained in the proper procedures for the cleaning and disinfection of school buildings. Our cleaners have appropriate disinfecting and cleaning supplies to use when cleaning our schools. They are vigilant when cleaning, especially contact surfaces such as door knobs, counters, physical education equipment, etc.

This is an emerging, rapidly changing public health situation. We encourage you to keep up to date about COVID-19, its treatment and prevention by visiting the following websites:

Download the Coronavirus Fact Sheet from the Chemung County Health Department

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html


https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

https://www.health.ny.gov/contact/contact_information

www.schoolhealthny.com

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/pdf/handwashing-poster.pdf


https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

Regards,
Hillary J. Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools