A Message from the Superintendent

October 16, 2020

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

With a little over a month of school under our belts, we are pleased to see teachers and students together again engaged in learning. I want to personally thank you for your continuing dedication and perseverance toward your child(ren)’s education. As we are all aware, many factors have changed the way in which schools operate amidst these challenging times. I’m pleased to report that our students and families have adapted to these changing times in a positive way.

The Track Back to School has had some bumps, and we recognize issues with technology, connectivity, childcare and more. Yet, our Express Strong community has rallied together, proving the resilience of our students and families. We continue to work toward achievement in all areas.

Communication is Key

We have learned a great deal in the last 30 days. From collaboration with the health department to school administrators and parents, strong communication is a keystone to our planning. As such, we continue to connect with the state and local health agencies regular and navigate the nuances of COVID-19 and school operations. As a reminder, school districts in New York State are required to send a student or staff member home if they exhibit one symptom of COVID. Members of the symptomatic student’s household, like other adults and siblings, will be sent home due to likely high risk exposure.

Returning to School after Illness

Symptomatic students can return to school only with a doctor’s note, a negative COVID-19 test, and symptom free (all 3) or have ensured a 14-day quarantine. Per Health Department Guidance, siblings of symptomatic students can return to school after the symptomatic student tests negative for COVID-19. If a symptomatic student is positive for COVID-19, the sibling of the COVID positive student would also have to ensure a 14 day quarantine to return to school.

Elementary Parent/Teacher Conference Days

Elementary schools will host Virtual Parent/Teacher Conference Days on October 27 and November 12, 2020. Both of these days will be a half-day dismissal at 10:40 a.m. for Grades 3-6 and 11:00 a.m. for Grades Pre-K – 2. Dates and times for scheduled parent/teacher conferences will be sent from your students’ school.

Meal Distribution for Students on Virtual School Days

Our Food Services Department is providing meal assistance for families who would like to participate throughout the school year. If you would like to pick-up weekly meals for those days your child is learning at home, please below to register. Pick-up will be on Wednesdays. Our meal assistance distribution will be available for pick up at four school sites – Diven, Fassett, Broadway and Elmira High School. Two pick-up times are available for families to choose from on the survey (7:00am - 8:00am or 11:30am - 12:30pm). Each meal will include entrees, fruit, vegetable, and milk. With questions, please call the Food Services Office at 607-735.3236 as soon as possible. This service is available to enrolled Elmira City School District students at no charge.

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=KtLKIY3tDEGU4Az1zjSEeDlYvuLFsqJBorBnxKj64YNUMEsyR0MxOTVRVUdJMFhZUVRJRFNWODRDNC4u

Social and Emotional Support

We recognize that this is a less than ideal situation for our young learners. The pandemic and upheaval of routine for our students and families can cause anxious feelings. We have an advisory council composed of counselors, Family and Community Outreach Coordinators (parent representative), community partners, and other essential stakeholders from various disciplines to address the social and emotional needs of our students. Support is available for students – please call the school directly to discuss your needs so that we can be support you.

Community Learning Pods

Thanks to the great work of the Chemung County Childcare Council and Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, there a variety of NEW school-aged childcare opportunities in our region. We have published the full list on the District website. If you are in need of childcare during the school day, we encourage you to visit our website for additional information. www.elmiracityschools.com

When we say, “We are in this together,” no truer statement can be voiced.

Thank you for your support,

Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District




Update, as of August 19, 2020 – 4:00 p.m.


Dear Elmira City School District families,

We are writing to share the updated 2020-2021 school year calendar. The calendar can be found on our website. We have moved the Superintendent’s Conference days to the beginning of the year which places the first day of instruction with students will begin on September 10, 2020. Click here to view the Elmira City School District 2020-2021 Academic Calendar.

We experienced a tremendous response from the survey that was issued to families regarding educational format methods. Thank you to our families for providing this valuable information. We are mining this data now and working through the many nuances of transportation, staffing and unique educational needs. As we continue planning for the upcoming school year, we will be notifying our families as soon as possible regarding student cohorts and schedules. In the meantime, please continue to communicate with school building administrators with your important questions. Please consider joining an upcoming Parent Academy with school principals!

Our building administrators and teachers are putting together school supply lists and we look forward to publishing those soon as well on our website.

We thank you for your ongoing support and look forward to the start of the school year!

Thank you and be well,

Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District




Update, as of August 2, 2020 - 3:30 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

As you know, the District has submitted its educational plan for the 2020-21 school year to the state on July 31. While extensive, it is critical that our families understand the instructional models proposed before determining a decision for their students for the start of the 2020-21 school year. We encourage parents/legal guardians to review this plan as soon as possible. Elmira’s Track Back plan can be viewed as a PDF here along with a Frequently Asked Questions page with the answers to many common questions from parents.

It is our goal to provide you with the most information possible regarding our educational planning to assist you in making a decision for your child(ren)’s education for the start of the 2020-21 school year. If after reading this information you have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your school principal or email the district at trackback@elmiracityschools.com.

In our planning as required by NYSED, Elmira parents will have two choices for their children for the start of school -- an instructional model that includes (1) students attend school two days in-person and three days online each week -or- (2) 100% online from home. On Tuesday August 4, we will send parents a link to a decision form. We ask that you respond to us using the form by Monday, August 10. Further instructions regarding submitting the form and choices will be included in the notification to parents on Tuesday.

We fully understand that this a difficult decision, and that neither option may be ideal for your family. We appreciate your review of the plan and for responding promptly to the choice link that you’ll receive on Tuesday.

We anticipate further guidance and determinations from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) in the next two weeks that we must follow in order to operate our schools with students safely. In the meantime, we will continue planning strategically for a successful and safe start to school.

We are and will remain Express Strong even in these challenging times.

Thank you and be well,

Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin

Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District

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Update as of July 27, 2020 – 4:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District families,

As we close out the parent, student and staff survey and follow up surveys, we wanted take a moment to thank the over 2500 parents, students and staff who submitted their important feedback. We are grateful for your time, interest and support in providing your vital view and important perspective. This survey data is being used to help shape the school re-opening plan for the Elmira City School District. Of course, the health and safety of our staff, students and community remains our highest top priority and are at the center of our thoughts and plans.

Your feedback, in addition to staff input, is the initial step in preparing a proposal to submit to New York State Education Department for evaluation. This plan is due to the state on July 31, 2020 and will be reviewed by our state officials. First and foremost, our plan will include the important feedback we received from our families, as well as required protocols from the New York State Department of Health, New York State Education Department and recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We are currently working with stakeholder groups to develop this extensive plan for the new school year and as the state mandate directs us, our plan will outline three possible educational formats for fall: remote instruction, in-person instruction, and a hybrid schedule that would be a blend of both remote and in-person instruction. At this point in time, and based on criteria set forth by governing bodies, it is currently likely we will begin our year using a hybrid model of on-line and in-person instruction.

Once our plan is complete, we will share the plan on the District website. In the meantime of planning for a fall re-opening, our students and teachers are now engaging in many summer e-learning opportunities. From virtual enrichment experiences to online reading programs, we have many summer school offerings that are in full swing. We are particularly proud of our K-3 students who are participating in a summer reading program, our Elmira High School scholars engaged in online ACE courses, and our intermediate and middle year’s students who are engrossed in online extended learning programs like ARCADE and APEX.

The resiliency and desire to learn is proven by these dedicated summer students. While our students and teachers continue to succeed in e-learning, the intrusive impact of the pandemic lingers. This is an unprecedented time and we understand many of our students are experiencing stress and strain associated with this pandemic. We encourage you to contact our Office of Student Services for support.

Once again, we want to thank our parents, families and community for their unwavering interest in our child’s education and the health and well-being of our community. We look forward to a time when we are all together again, safely, teaching and learning in our schools.

Thank you and be well,

Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District