CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 INFORMATION PAGE

March 27, 2020

Dear Tuckahoe Community:

As you may have heard earlier today, the Governor has now closed schools through April 15 by executive order. 

In every crisis there is opportunity. I have been dropping in on Zoom faculty meetings where teachers and principals have embraced the opportunity to grow, opportunity to serve, and opportunity to provide excellent educations to our students through this national crisis. Our collaborative culture empowers teachers and support staff with the administration to take action and implement plans. Thank you for those of you who reached out to complement our teachers as they implement instruction to your child during this very difficult time. 

Families across the country are adapting to the evolving changes in daily life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. None of this is easy, but it helps to stay focused on what is possible in order to reinforce a sense of control and to reassure children that they are okay, and that the situation will get better.

I am sending this advice out again, with mental health links: https://www.tuckahoeschools.org/covid_19_health__wellness_resources. There are suggestions for children as well as adults. Remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. Acknowledging some level of concern, without panicking, is appropriate and can result in taking the necessary actions that reduce the risk of illness. Teaching children positive preventive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety. This is also a tremendous opportunity for adults to model for children problem-solving, flexibility, and compassion as we all work through adjusting daily schedules, balancing work and other activities, getting creative about how we spend time, processing new information from authorities, and connecting and supporting friends and family members in new ways. 

In addition, please note we are here for you, you can also reach out to the school or district. Please reach out to your school administrator, counselor, school psychologist, behavior consultant.

If you are having trouble structuring your child’s time at home, or your child has special needs, please contact our behavioral specialist, Jenna Mazzillo: mazzilloj@tuckahoeschools.org 


Finally, we do know how hard this is on our senior class.  For all our students, and especially them, we will be planning activities even if they are virtual.  I refer you to the NY Times article specifically addressing this age group, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/19/well/family/coronavirus-covid-teenagers-teens-parents-kids-family-advice.html?smid=fb-share#commentsContainer

In every crisis there is opportunity. Take this opportunity to connect with your family.  It is a rare occasion in our fast paced world to have a family dinner or either talk to each other. There are many platforms such as google hangouts, zoom and facetime, to reconnect with family and friends. Most of all, stay healthy. This too shall pass. Please email me with any questions.  

Respectfully, 

Amy Goodman
Interim Superintendent

March 26, 2020

Dear Tuckahoe Community, 

As of this writing, we have not yet received direction from New York State regarding further closure of our schools. We are, however, anticipating that our district will be closed for a longer period of time, and are preparing for this eventuality. 

Our teachers are working diligently to provide distance learning to our students. This is a new practice and we will continue to deliver quality instruction remotely using an increasing variety of methods as time goes on.  We will be sending guidelines on behavior expectations for students on live video-conferencing. Thank you for your patience as we all transition to these new tools and new way of teaching and learning. Please note that our faculty with our administration have been leaders in this effort, and I am proud to be serving with them. 

Spring Break
We have been working to ascertain what will happen to the scheduled Spring Break. The Governors Order exempted school districts from the 180 instructional day requirement by the number of school days in the mandated school closure, for districts closed by executive order. We will therefore be closed for Spring Break from Monday, April 6-Tuesday, April 14, as originally scheduled. 

To be noted, regardless of the Executive Order, we did not utilize snow days, and Tuckahoe teachers and staff have not missed a beat. They have worked from day one of what was, for us, an unexpected closure, whereas, most other school districts took days off to plan. Again, we are thankful for their flexibility and professionalism. 

Finally, please expect that, as usual, our teachers will be providing some light school work or enrichment resources that students can do over the break for continued continuity of learning. Teachers will be using this time to refresh themselves and their skills. 

Daily Attendance
Please know that daily attendance (Monday-Friday) to posted lessons, assignments, projects is expected.  Teachers will make note of students who are not attending to regular expectations and if necessary, will contact building administration, who will contact parents.

If your child is sick or not able to participate in remote learning, it is important that you contact the school’s attendance secretary. The respective building principals will be emailing you with specific procedures.

As always, I thank our entire school community for their cooperation and collaboration during this time. I refer parents/guardians to our website page where you can find contact information for a variety of questions and the latest updates. With compassion and grace we will get through this together.  

Respectfully,

Amy Goodman
Interim Superintendent of Schools

March 20, 2020

Dear Tuckahoe Community:

Preventative measures are most effective if we embrace and implement them as a community. We all play a vital role in this effort.  Social distancing has proven to be one of the most effective ways to lessen the impact of an epidemic, by limiting the number of people an infected person comes into contact with before they show signs of the virus. As we enter another weekend of the current pandemic, please take note of the below recommendations and encourage students to all do their part by making the daily choice to distance themselves from each other as much as possible and choosing to stay (with parental monitoring) connected using phone or technology. We all have parts to play as responsible community members and social distancing will have a massive impact on the health of our community and our nation.

  • Keep contact with others at a minimum. The general guidelines that have been issued by the White House and the CDC are not to gather in groups of more than ten people and to maintain a distance between you and other people.  Please be mindful that even small numbers of people together, even for a limited time, can easily spread Covid-19. This is because they will all likely touch the same surface. The virus can live on surfaces for days.  
  • Food should not be shared. 
  • Avoid public places as much as possible.
  • Maintain six feet from others and avoid shaking hands.
  • Handwashing and keeping your hands away from your face is essential.
  • Anyone with respiratory symptoms or fever or anyone with a household contact with these symptoms should stay home and immediately contact their care provider. 

Social distancing can take a toll. The CDC offers tips and resources to reduce this burden.  The American Psychological Association and the National Association of School Psychologists also provide resources on strategies to cope with the added stress during this time.

In furtherance of the necessity for social distancing, I would also like to take this opportunity to remind all parents/guardians that the turf field at Tuckahoe High School should not be accessed by the public unless there is a school sponsored event or a gathering approved to use the field by the District pursuant to Board policy. At the current time, turf use is prohibited and access is locked. We ask that you speak to your children about accessing the turf, even if it is unlocked, and not to climb the fence. Unfortunately, I have received word from the Eastchester Police that this continues to be an issue. 

Thank you for working together for the health and safety of all our children.  Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

I would also like to advise you that the New York State Department of Education suspended the administration of the 2020 elementary- and intermediate-level State assessments for the remainder of this school year. The suspension includes:

  • New York State Grades 3-8 English Language Arts Test;
  • New York State Grades 3-8 Mathematics Test;
  • New York State Grade 4 Elementary-Level Science Test;
  • New York State Grade 8 Intermediate-Level Science Test;
  • New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) in Grades K-12; and
  • New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) for students with severe cognitive disabilities in Grades 3-8 and high school.

Our Board of Education, administration, faculty and staff, are keeping students as their number one priority.  I remain grateful to them, and to you, for your partnership as we face these unprecedented times. 

Respectfully, 

Amy Goodman
Interim Superintendent

March 18, 2020

Dear Tuckahoe Community: 

As you know, at Tuckahoe UFSD our teachers, administration and staff rapidly pulled together and implemented e-learning opportunities for our students when we were made aware of the possible school closure. This rollout has been nothing short of remarkable. 

Our schools are currently closed through March 31, however it is important that we be prepared for a possible extension. Friday, March 20, is on our calendar as a Professional Development Day. I have asked all faculty to spend the day working remotely on professional development focused on e-learning with the support and coordination of the administration. 

I would also like to inform parents that the New York State Education Department (NYSED) has suspended the shipments of Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) Tests that were originally scheduled to begin March 25. This action was taken in response to the school and district closures due to COVID-19. The opening of the computer-based testing window for ELA, scheduled for March 23, has been suspended as well. 

During these times of uncertainty and new demands, I would like to thank our faculty for stepping up to the plate in a day’s notice and putting together the best plan to meet our students’ needs.  Now that we are extended through March 31, I know that keeping this day of professional development as originally scheduled will continue our staff on the trajectory of providing the best possible education for our students with our distance learning platform. 

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

Respectfully,

Amy Goodman
Interim Superintendent

March 16, 2020
Dear Tuckahoe Community, 

In light of the Governor’s announcement and the County Executive’s State of Emergency declaration earlier today, Tuckahoe Schools will now be closed through March 31, 2020, although this could be extended. Please know that we share many of the same questions and concerns as you with regard to how this affects the number of required school days, our school calendar, state aid, standardized testing, and more. Despite the fact that this is a fluid and changing situation, our local and state officials are working around the clock to address these matters. The district will continue to provide updates and resources as they are available and our principals and teachers will continue to provide information regarding e-learning.

In the meantime, I know that this time is very hard for our families. Some students may feel anxious and worried. The following guidance is from the CDC and the National Association of School Psychologists. 

Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.  

When adults remain calm, children will also remain calm. Make sure children understand they are safe. There are many things you can do to support your child:

  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
  • Be a role model.  Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.

Learn more about helping children cope. Additional resources:

Video interviews with therapists about helping children manage anxiety around Coronavirus:
https://gozen.com/coronavirus-anxiety/

Here are some articles about structuring time during the school closure: 
https://parenting.nytimes.com/preschooler/coronavirus-schools-lessons

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/well/family/coronavirus-school-closings-homeschooling-tweens-teens.html

Here is guidance on speaking to your children about Coronavirus:
https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-(coronavirus)-a-parent-resource

Finally, if you are having trouble structuring your child’s time at home, please contact our behavioral specialist, Jenna Mazzillo: mazzilloj@tuckahoeschools.org 

For any emotional concerns please contact your school psychologist or guidance counselor. Please contact medical intervention for serious immediate concerns.  

Also know that I constantly check my emails, goodmana@tuckahoeschools.org 

I thank you again for your continued understanding and patience during this trying time. I am amazed at how our administrators, faculty and staff worked together within our families to support our students. Tuckahoe Strong. 

Respectfully,

Amy Goodman
Interim Superintendent

March 13, 2020
Dear Tuckahoe Community: 

Thank you for your continued understanding during the current health crisis. Despite a short lead time, our teachers and administrators have successfully implemented e-learning opportunities for our students. I am incredibly grateful to them for enabling our students to continue their educations during these difficult times.  Please note the following contact information should you require support in these areas:

For any difficulties with devices: mcdonnelle@tuckahoeschools.org

For questions about e-learning, please contact your child's specific teacher OR  

If your child is having anxiety or unease around the current state of events: 

THS college application questions: perilloj@tuckahoeschools.org or costab@tuckahoeschools.org 

For information on the current school closure, please check our webpage on the matter here. If you have additional questions or concerns on the matter, please contact me at goodmana@tuckahoeschools.org

Thank you again for your ongoing support. We are thankful to all of our faculty, administration and staff, and Board of Education for their professionalism during this time and are extremely grateful to our local partner organizations for their support including the Village of Tuckahoe for their support in distributing food to students who need it and the Town of Eastchester for facilitating information from government officials. We thank our parents for their understanding and support and our students for their hard work and perseverance. 

We remain committed to sharing any further developments as they are available.  During this critical time our continued partnership and care for one another is essential to successfully navigating this challenge. 

Respectfully,
Amy Goodman
Interim Superintendent

March 11, 2020
Dear Tuckahoe Community, 

We remain strongly focused on the health and well-being of your child and our school community. As you know we were notified by the Governor’s office and the State Department of Health that our schools had to close from March12-March 25. We have been working with state and local officials to ascertain various details related to the closure of our schools. We are cognizant of the difficulty that this closure presents and the questions and concerns around it. 

The information below is based on what we know right now. We are committed to keeping the school community informed of any changes as we are made aware of them.

What does this containment mean? 
The State has created a containment area within a 1-mile radius around the center of where the outbreak started in New Rochelle. The purpose of establishing the containment circle is to identify an area that will be aggressively cleaned and restricted with regard to large gatherings like schools, places of worship, and other places of assembly where large numbers of people gather in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Under the Directive of the NYS Department of Health and the Governor's office our schools will be closed from March 12-25. 

Please note there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our school community. 

What are the plans for continuity of education? 
The district will use “eLearning”  and work packets that were sent home to maintain instruction during the school closures. We are ensuring the  opportunity for our students to continue the learning process.

Please see the letters from the TMS and THS principals regarding expectations at the upper schools. Parents/guardians of Cottle students will receive a letter from their student(s) classroom teacher(s) with instructions.

Is anyone allowed in the building?
No members of the public will be permitted in either building until we are informed otherwise. There will be no before or after school activities or school related events. As this applies to our buildings, and in keeping with the intention of this closure to limit large gatherings, this will include postponing the scheduled March 16 Board meeting. The Board meeting on March 30, has been changed to a business meeting. 

How will the buildings be cleaned? 
We have been informed that the National Guard will clean and sanitize our buildings. 

Will spring break be cancelled? 
We are awaiting guidance from New York State Department of Education.

Will students on the free/reduced lunch plan have access to meals?
We have been coordinating delivery of food with the Governor’s office. If students receive free or reduced lunch or if students are in need of food because of school closure, we will have breakfast and lunch at no cost on a grab and go basis at the Tuckahoe Community Center. More information will be forthcoming this evening, please watch for an additional email.  

Will out-of-district placed students still go to their programs?  
We are transporting Tuckahoe students who attend private and parochial schools as well as out of district full day programs during our district school's closing.  Please check if your private school is open. 

What will happen to the State ELA exam scheduled for March 25, 2020? 
We have posed this question to state officials and will report back when we know more.

Who can I contact with additional questions about the school closure or its impact?
We understand that community members may want additional information and/or have continued questions. District and building administration will be working to answer any questions which are received via email. We will also be providing regular updates and will ensure that frequently expressed questions and concerns are addressed in our wider communications. We strongly encourage the community to continue to contact us via email with any questions or concerns, and follow our regular updates for responses.

Please check our website which I will update regularly or email me your questions. 

Will district meetings continue to take place?  
Given the guidance and restrictions we have received, the District feels strongly that any public meetings, including Board meetings, would run counter to these recommendations. The Board meeting on Monday, March 16 is cancelled. We will hold a board meeting on March 30, which will be a business meeting open to the public. 

How Should I Talk to My Child About Coronavirus COVID-19?

  • Remain calm and reassuring. Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.
  • Make yourself available to listen and to talk. Make time to talk. Be sure children know they can come to you when they have questions.
  • Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma. Remember that viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person’s race or ethnicity. Avoid making assumptions about who might have COVID-19.
  • Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online: Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.
  • Provide information that is honest and accurate: Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child.
  • Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the Internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information. 
  • Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs.
  • Remind children to stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick.
  • Remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.
  • Get children into a handwashing habit.Teach them to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not available, teach them to use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Supervise young children when they use hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol, especially in schools and childcare facilities.

Where can I get more important information on health matters?
DOH Hotline and Phone Numbers:

  • People under self-quarantine or exposure to known case, call (866) 588-0195
  • NYS Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline (888) 364-3065
  • Westchester County COVID-19 Information Call 211

For those of you who want accurate and vetted information about Covid-19 the best source is the CDC website which you can access here. The key messages for individual citizens have been well summarized on the county site (see here).

We are grateful to everyone in the various corners of our school and local community for pulling together during this time. By working together in challenging times, we serve as examples of collaboration, empathy and leadership for our students. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation.

Respectfully, 

Amy Goodman
Interim Superintendent