Letter to 'Blue Devils Community' from City Schools superintendent
Dear Batavia Blue Devils' Community,
When I started my tenure as your Superintendent of Schools I never thought that within my first two months we would be dealing with a pandemic and being forced to close schools until further notice. These are definitely new and constantly evolving times for our students, families, staff, community, and nation. Please know that the decision to close schools is never an easy one as our schools are the support and gateway to resources for our kids and families.
Please know that we're working closely with public health experts and while we don't have a confirmed case in Genesee County as of yet – a State of Emergency was declared for our region last night. We believe with proper healthy habits and social distancing that many of us remain at low risk for contracting COVID-19.
What is social distancing you might ask? It is the practice of reducing close contact between people to slow the spread of infections or diseases. Social distancing measures include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings and canceling events.
Therefore, the guidance is that if we close schools, we will be able to slow down a community spread and assist our public health system in being able to test, treat and slow down the spread of COVID-19.
The BCSD Leadership Team and I met today, and we have developed the following Closure Plan that will be in place effective Monday, March 16, 2020. Phase One of the plan focuses primarily on food distribution, instructional resources, staff reporting, and facility access.
Closure Plan: Phase One
· Food Distribution: “Grab and Go” breakfast and lunch will be available for students and family members under the age of 18, from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m., Monday through Friday at the front entrances of Batavia High School, Batavia Middle School, John Kennedy Intermediate School, Jackson Primary School, and Robert Morris. We are also currently working with community partners and agencies on providing late afternoon/ evening meal options.
· Instructional Resources: Teachers have prepared instructional lessons and activities for students to stay engaged with schoolwork while school is not in session. Please visit the following link to access your school’s Closure Resources: https://www.bataviacsd.org/Page/7546
· Staff Reporting: All essential staff will report to allow us to answer school phones, clean buildings, distribute meals and support any questions or concerns.
· Facility and Building Access: Teachers and High School students will be afforded an opportunity on Monday, March 16th to come in and pick up any personal items or classroom materials they will need during this closure period. Specific communication regarding this opportunity will come directly from school Principals.
The district has also created a COVID-19 webpage that will list a variety of resources and information on our district website. I would encourage you to check the website and our Batavia City Schools Facebook page regularly for ongoing updates.
Please be assured that the Batavia City School District will continue to act out of an abundance of caution to protect everyone’s health and well-being. We will monitor our Closure Plan on a weekly basis and look to make necessary adjustments as needed to support our students, families and staff.
I know we will get through this together!
WE are BATAVIA!!! #BetterTogetherBatavia
Anibal Soler Jr.
Batavia City Schools