OCSD releases specific guidance for supplies, masks and more

OSWEGO — The Oswego City School District is urging parents to make ready for the many changes and new protocols that will accompany the opening of city schools on Sept. 14.

Superintendent Dr. Mathis Calvin III on Friday announced details of what he called the “top communication items parents should know” to coincide with the advent of the 2020-2021 school year.

A “parent square portal survey” will be launched in the near future, Calvin said, where parents will be asked to complete a “basic health screening” questionnaire each morning before sending their child or children to school.

“If parents do not complete this survey each morning, they will be contacted to ensure that this information is shared with the school,” Calvin said, noting that specific details of the screening questions would be shared with parents soon.

Parents will also be asked to come pick up and take their child or children home if the student registers a temperature of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit degree when checked at a bus stop or at the school building drop off in the morning.

Board of Education President Heather DelConte told The Palladium-Times Calvin and all district staff and faculty had been "working tirelessly to ensure all our students have the most positive and effective education experience this year."

"The very complicated circumstances are redefining basically every aspect of our school system to meet all safety protocols," DelConte said, adding the effort had been "monumental" in a relatively short time frame.

The following are other important points of information for Oswego city students, parents, guardians and the community at large:

Supplies: Students should not be sent to school with any supplies or book bags as the “district will provide any necessary school supplies.” Lunch boxes/bags and water bottles are exempt from this rule.

Hours of instruction: Teacher assignment letters have been mailed; if you have not received your child’s assignment paperwork, please contact your child’s school’s main office. Teachers will begin outreach to families next week to share instructional schedules and passwords. District officials ask parents and/or guardians “assist the district by having their children online each day, ready to participate in their instructional program.”

Face coverings: Staff, students and visitors will be required to use a mask when entering any school buildings, every time and at all times. Through the day, students will be given “mask breaks, as required by New York State Education Department and New York State Department of Health guidance.”

PPE: The district says it has “secured personal protective equipment (PPE) for all students and staff.” Students and staff are allowed to bring and use their own PPE. Masks will be provided to anyone who does not have one.

Tech: Portable learning devices and wireless hotspots will be provided to all students. If you have not yet signed up for one, contact your child’s school’s main office but be aware that a waiting list already exists. Despite potential unforeseen shipment delays, the district maintains it will be “sure to provide the equipment to your child(ren) as soon as possible.

Temperature checks: All staff, students and visitors will be subjected to a mandatory temperature check when arriving at a school building. Staff and visitors will also need to respond to a brief COVID-19 questionnaire.

Walkers and drop-off students: Students who walk to school and students who are dropped off by parents will have a designated area to enter their school buildings. This information will be provided to parents by building principals “in the near future.”

Social distancing: Parents are asked to escort their child or children to school or to bus stops, if possible, and monitor their behavior for social distancing. “If that is not possible,” Mathis said, “we ask that parents reinforce with their child or children the need to socially distance themselves while walking to school and/or standing at a bus stop.”

Online support: Online support for parents and students throughout the year will be availalbe through multiple district sources. For any question about district tech or platforms, contact 315-341-2051. The district will also be broadcasting support information on the district’s public access television station WBUC. The first broadcast will air at 5 p.m., Sept. 11, 2020 and can also be found on the station’s YouTube page youtube.com/c/wbucny.

“Our goal is to support the community’s use of technology to meet the educational needs of our students,” Mathis said in closing his letter. “We hope this information will be of assistance to our parents, students and community as we continue to move forward with re-opening our schools.”

More information can be found at the district’s official website, www.oswego.org.

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