Lockport City School District

COVID-19 Update

April 27, 2021

Four Day In-Person Instructional Model Grades PK-4

Since the Information/Input session and the discussion last Wednesday during the Board of Education meeting, additional thoughts and concerns have been expressed by board members, parents, administrators, and members of the Lockport Educators Association. Thank you to all who provided input and feedback. The feedback is very much appreciated. Both parents and educators look forward to the day when all children are back in school more regularly and under better conditions.

After continued review since last week and as we make our way through the end of this school year, students in prekindergarten through grade 4 will be able to begin a four day in-person instructional model on Monday, May 3. This allows for our youngest population of students to have a more regular learning routine and develop relationships with others. Some students will remain in the remote model. Parents are asked for their continued support, cooperation, and understanding. Children will be required to wear masks in the classroom and on buses. This could be very tricky and even uncomfortable with warmer weather approaching. Please review the importance of wearing a face mask with children. Parents will need to continue to monitor their children’s health everyday by checking for symptoms and by taking their temperature daily before leaving for school. Children should not come to school if there has been possible exposure to the virus or they do not feel well. The child’s doctor should be contacted and the school nurse should be informed. Parents should be prepared for any sudden shifts in the instructional model should a classroom or school closure be necessary, including any required quarantining. Although physical distancing has changed, determining close contact has not changed and is defined as being within six feet for more than 10 minutes of an infected person. With the decrease in physical distancing to three feet, the number of people required to quarantine could increase. The typical quarantine period is 10 days.

Following a continued review of the challenges and concerns at Emmet Belknap Intermediate School (EBIS), students and staff at EBIS will remain with the current two day hybrid model and the full remote model. Teachers and administrators expressed concerns with the sizes of classrooms and the number of students in classrooms which would make learning environments very very tight. Classes could include up to 28 students at this level. Other challenges include incorporating full remote students into an in-person instructional model, hiring additional staff this late in the school year, and rearranging bus schedules. Remaining in the hybrid and remote models at EBIS may be very disappointing and upsetting to many people, but much effort and thought was involved in the review. Let’s work to make it through the remaining weeks of the school year and reset for the fall once guidance from the NYSED and the NYSDOH is provided to school districts this summer.

This has been an agonizing and emotionally charged situation for so many of us and managing the COVID-19 pandemic remains extremely challenging. It is clear that whatever decisions are made, some people will likely be disappointed, dissatisfied and unhappy. A continued cautious approach should be taken including continual reference to school guidance and consultation with the local health department. All people need to continue to wear masks, practice physical distancing, wash hands frequently, and monitor their health regularly.

Prek-4 principals will continue to communicate with teachers and parents regarding further details of the four day in-person instruction plan.

The Lockport City School District will continue to refer to NYSDOH school guidance and coordinate its efforts with other Niagara County school districts as well as the Niagara County Department of Health.

Thank you to everyone for their continued patience and understanding throughout the pandemic. Our teachers and administrators continue to go beyond expectations in meeting the needs of their students and communicating with parents. Students will be excited to be in school and teachers will welcome them with open arms and big hearts.

A special thank you to all members of the Lockport City School District Board of Education members for their time, interest, and ideas in working through this matter.

School Facilities for Four Day In-Person Instruction

Effective Monday, May 3, 2021, the following Prek-grade 4 schools will operate in a four day in-person instructional model:

  • John Pound Early Childhood Center

  • Anna Merritt Elementary School

  • Charles Upson Elementary School

  • George Southard Elementary School

  • Roy B. Kelley Elementary School

The Prek-grade 4 schools will continue to operate with the same start and end times. Students will attend school four days a week for in-person instruction on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Some students will remain in a full remote instructional model. Remote Wednesdays will remain in the schedule and be used for synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Students in grades 5-12 (LHS, LHSWCC, NPJHS, and EBIS) will continue in the two day in-person hybrid instructional model with a continuation also of the 100% remote learning instructional model option.