Superintendent’s update on school start times; transportation

Good afternoon,

We know there remain a lot of unanswered questions about what the start of school will look like in September. Schoharie CSD itself is waiting for answers to our own questions. New York State still has not released any guidance regarding what schools will be required to do for reopening for the 2021-22 school year.

One thing that we have been advised to account for by the Schoharie County Department of Health is reduced density on our buses. County health officials have directed us to plan for contact tracing and having to temporarily isolate students for the duration of the 2021-22 school year. One of the more effective ways to do this and reduce impacts on families is to reduce capacity on buses.

What this means is we will continue to plan for two bus runs and two start times – an earlier run and start time for the Elementary and a later run and start time for the Jr./Sr. High School. This decision was not made lightly, as we know this will have impacts for our families. When we surveyed families at the end of the last school year, it was clear an overwhelming majority of families favored an earlier start for the Elementary.

As we previously communicated:

  • The Elementary School day, including Pre-K, will begin at 7:45 a.m. and end at 2:06 p.m.
  • The Jr./Sr. High School day will begin at 8:55 a.m. and continue until 3:24 p.m.

We know that this decision is not without its impacts. We worked to mitigate these as much as we can. These efforts include:

  • Accounting for CTE students by transporting them directly from their homes to BOCES.
  • Working with organizations in our area to plan for possible after school care.
  • Starting sports practices soon after Jr./Sr. High School dismissal and accounting for athletics competition schedules.
  • Scheduling bus runs to be as efficient as possible and avoid students having long rides. Bus runs are still under development and will be released later this summer.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. As we send this information out, the pandemic seems to be ramping up once again. We see this around the country and the world; there are reports of new mask mandates and COVID regulations going into effect as the Delta variant continues to spread. We know this is frustrating, but we sincerely appreciate your patience as we continue to plan for the 2021-22 school year. As soon as we have updated guidance from New York State, we will adjust our planning accordingly and keep you informed.  If you have questions or concerns please call the Superintendent’s Office. (518 295-6679.

Thank you,

David Blanchard, Superintendent of Schools