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    Herkimer BOCES Reopening Plan

    Introduction 

    At Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego Board of Cooperative Educational Services (Herkimer BOCES), our primary commitment is to the students and families we serve. Our priority must be keeping them safe. When the 2020-2021 school year begins, on-campus school will look much different than previous years due to COVID-19 and the health and safety measures that continue to evolve.

    A BOCES provides requested services to its component school districts so we have worked closely with our component district leaders and staff as well as the BOCES leaders and staff to develop this reopening plan. Our reopening plan will define clear guidance for the reopening of our three buildings and seven programs and aligns with the regulations developed in collaboration with New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED)

    The areas outlined in this plan represent the myriad of considerations Herkimer BOCES will address to reopen programs safely and to sustain their safe operation. As a BOCES, we have to stay aligned with the needs of our component districts so our plan will work in conjunction with their plans. It is important to note that our plan retains a strong focus on academic instruction to enhance student performance and address learning loss. An emphasis on the social-emotional needs of our students is a priority and therefore have addressed this within our plan. 

    This plan includes procedures that will be followed in the following buildings and programs: 

    • WEB Complex
      • Special Programs and Related Services
      • Career & Technical Education
      • VP-TECH 
    • Remington Educational Center
      • Alternative Education 
      • LPN Program 
      • Preshool Education
      • Adult Education
    • Administrative Offices (in a community building)

    To be clear, the health and safety of our students, our staff, and their families is our top priority. We have developed a plan that intends to ensure that students and employees feel comfortable and safe returning to BOCES campuses. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

    It is possible that we may need to alternate between in-person and remote learning throughout the year due to recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies, and stay-at-home orders from the Governor. The level of infection, the spread of the virus and response to the disease in our community will be at the forefront of decision making as we move to open our schools. 

    Adam Hutchinson, our Safety Coordinator, will serve as the district’s COVID-19 Coordinator. He will serve as a central contact for schools and stakeholders, families, staff and other school community members and will ensure the BOCES is in compliance and following the best practices per state and federal guidelines.

    Of course, as with every plan being developed throughout New York State, this document is fluid and will change as necessary based on guidance from the state, CDC, and NYSED and in consideration of our families and our staff. We strongly believe the services described throughout this plan are in the best interests of our students, families, staff, and community.

    Guiding Principles 

    The development of this plan was guided by and grounded in the following guiding principles:

  1. Safeguarding the health and safety of students and staff; 
  2. Providing the opportunity for all students to access education in the fall; 
  3. Monitoring programs, students, and staff. When necessary, collaborating with our component districts to modify schedules to appropriately contain COVID-19 spread; 
  4. Emphasizing equity, access, and support to the students and communities that are emerging from this historic disruption; 
  5. Fostering strong two-way communication with partners, such as component districts, families, educators, and staff; 
  6. Factoring into decision making the challenges to the physical safety, social emotional well-being, and the mental health needs of our students caused by school closure; and
  7. Considering and supporting diversity in our schools and school districts as we provide education is essential.

    Please use the links at the left (or above, if you are on a mobile device) to view the contents of this plan.