Important information regarding moving-up ceremonies, high school graduation, masks

Hello all Pine Bush families and staff,

As promised, I wanted to outline our plans for moving-up ceremonies and high school graduation for the end of this year.

Our moving-up ceremonies for fifth and eighth graders will occur for each school on the dates listed in our printed calendar and on our website, but the times on our website will have to be updated next week.

The principals have worked hard to figure out a way to include parents in our ceremonies and we have finally determined that this can happen, weather permitting.  If the weather is good, the ceremony will occur outside. Students will sit in one section and parents/family members will sit in a separate section.  Each child will only be allowed 2 guests, and those guests must complete a health questionnaire that they must bring with them as their entry ticket on the day of the event.  If rain (or worse) is in the forecast on the day of the event, your principal will send a robo-call out around 7 a.m. to alert you that we will have to move the ceremony indoors.  If that occurs, no parents will be able to attend.  It will be limited to in-person for students and staff only.  Whether the event is inside or outside, it will be live-streamed, and principals will alert you about where to find the link on our website.  Each school’s principal will be sending out a message next week with more details.

Our high school graduating Class of 2021 was able to select among three options:

1) a personal graduation scheduled through picAtime. Those 15-minute events will allow up to 15 family members to accompany the graduate, who will receive her or his diploma from a senior administrator and/or board member. A professional photographer will take pictures and you can also take your own pictures. 

2) Some students chose to have an on-field graduation, but that option will limit family members to two, who will have to provide the same health questionnaire (due to the size of the crowd) and graduates will not be allowed to toss their hats at the end. 

3) A few graduates indicated they would simply pick up their diplomas. Principal Hopmayer will call and/or email graduates with more details. 

All graduates are welcome to participate in our PARADE OF GRADUATES on Saturday morning, June 26.  Students can have one car each and other family members can be in the car with you.  Line up at the CVMS parking lot will begin at 9 a.m. and the parade will begin at 10 a.m. and travel up 302 to the high school and then disperse as directed by local police.  We encourage all of our Pine Bush community to find a spot along 302 or the entry/exit drives at the high school to cheer on our Class of 2021!

Finally, we learned late this afternoon that the governor and state health commissioner intend to loosen mask requirements inside and outside at schools, unless the CDC objects.  If this holds, masks would be recommended, but no longer required outdoors on school property. 

Our board of education sent a letter to the state health commissioner earlier this week requesting that mask requirements and density  limits be eased for outdoor events.  

Next week I will be calling/emailing to outline our procedures for collecting Chromebooks, charger cords and hotspots. 

Have a great evening,

Tim O. Mains, Pine Bush Superintendent

 

Addition: 

First, I want you all to know that while the governor has indicated that he plans to loosen the mask requirements for schools, he also said in his press conference that schools would make the final determination about masks. Pine Bush has not yet been able to gather our senior staff to discuss this development nor have we yet been able to consult with our medical director or the local health department about this.  So, regardless of what the governor may say in a press conference, there is no change in our district’s expectations until we’ve been able to assess the appropriate guidelines for Pine Bush.  Though I didn’t say so within the three-minute limit I have for these messages, we expect to consult with the Orange County Health Department and our medical director before issuing any updates to our guidelines.  So please still send your children to school with their masks next week.

Secondly, some folks got the impression that our school board asked for relaxed mask mandates both indoors and outdoors. I understand how my language would lead some to that conclusion, and I’m sorry that I may have contributed to that misunderstanding.  The letter that the board of education sent to the state health commissioner advocated for the loosening of density requirements and mask mandates at outdoor events like athletic contests, recess, and end of year outdoor ceremonies.  The actual letter is posted here and I encourage you to read it.

I did get to have a conversation today with one of our Orange County Department of Health officials, but that was long before the governor’s late afternoon announcement. We will continue our dialog with our local public health partners as we determine how we will ultimately respond to the potential of changed state guidelines. Please know we will continue to put the safety of our students and staff first as we push for guidelines that are reasonable based on science and research.

Pine Bush Central School District
State Route 302, Pine Bush, NY 12566
Phone: (845) 744-2031
Fax: (845) 744-6189
Tim O. Mains
Superintendent of Schools
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