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Governor will decide on school openings

DUNDEE--The Dundee Central School District held its Thursday, July 9 board meeting where Superintendent Kelly Houck detailed the district's current efforts to devise reopening plans for the fall. Houck said with the district still waiting for guidance, the best they can do is craft multiple plans and be ready to make changes with upcoming state and federal guidelines.
"We have planned for multiple scenarios because no parameters have been given to us from state agencies," Houck said.
Along with state guidelines, which Houck said she expected on Monday, July 12, there will be additional measures to keep students and staff safe.
"I anticipate (Center for Disease Control) guidelines, Department of Health guidelines and New York State education guidelines," Houck stated. "Hopefully they align and don't conflict with one another. Once we get those parameters... a district plan must be submitted for reopening to the state by the 31st of July."
Along with keeping an eye out for guidelines for reopening, Houck said the district has been reaching out to other stakeholders, including students and parents, to determine what they would like to see once school is back in session.
"As the board and I discussed at the last meeting we are going to take every step possible so that every child has the right to go to school every day," Houck said. "As part of that we are preparing, but we also want to make sure all voices are heard, so we put out a survey on social media asking what people in the district would like to see."
While being clear those preferences will not change the realities of a pandemic as it relates to the guidelines, Houck said it is informative if the district is provided flexibility in reopening plans.
"What was interesting is that it broke down almost evenly between schools, and so far not one person has said they are in favor of virtual learning only," Houck stated.
At the end of the day, Houck reminded everyone it is Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the governor alone who will determine if schools will reopen in the fall.
"The governor will make the decision for all of New York state," Houck said, adding, "I would like to think there are options that would allow us to bring back kids on campus, but it will look different."
Beyond reopening, Houck said that she was very pleased with how the graduation ceremonies for the seniors of 2020 went despite the restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I wanted to say thank you to everyone in our community who came for graduation," Houck said. "Just knowing that people did exactly what we asked them to do, it was a great show of respect to not only our district but also the kids."
While admitting things were slightly different, Houck said the socially distanced ceremony surprisingly led to a great amount of intimacy.
"We got a lot of compliments about the grounds and the event," Houck said.
Board members also expressed their happiness with graduation, despite the fact that some said the audio quality at the beginning of the ceremony was affected by the wind.
During the beginning of the meeting, newly re-elected board members Robert Neu and Brittany Gibson were both reaffirmed as board president and vice-president.

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