Here is the text of Superintendent Ben Halsey's automated phone call to the district on Friday, June 18, at 4:30 p.m.:
Good afternoon, Pioneer, this is Superintendent Halsey. On Thursday, June 17, I was notified by the state Education Department that Gov. Cuomo's Executive Order no. 202.6 required the district's adherence to Department of Health-issued guidance and directives, and that such requirements and directives are still in effect. I was further notified that the state and county departments of health will be imposing fines, and withhold the district's state aid, or even close our school for non-compliance, by following the anticipated state Department of Health guidance that was not implemented.
Both I and the Board of Education firmly believe that we make decisions for the betterment of our school. Neither I or the board, however, will risk state aid, or the ability to keep our school open or the district's financial resources, when there is a total of 2-1/2 days of school remaining in the school year.
The priority has been, and will always be, the safety and security of our students, our staff and our community. With the board's unanimous support, the district's decision and response to the original Department of Health Commissioner Zucker's letter was in the best interest of our school and community. Our request for the basis of the reasons why Commission Zucker's change was not implemented has gone unanswered by the State of New York.
However, we cannot take the risk for 2-1/2 days of instruction. Therefore, we are switching to a hybrid model of instruction beginning Monday, June 21, for all students pre-K through 12. Attendance for our students is only for those students needing to take an assessment or exam, complete unfinished work, turn in devices or other materials, or to gather belongings. Faculty and staff will be working at their normal assignments and schedule, and buses will be running for those needing a ride. However, you only need to attend school in our hybrid model for the reasons just stated.
Importantly, please note that if you come to school, we ask that you follow the masking protocols previously in place.