Despite the school closure, this June has been as busy as any other. Navigating this unprecedented health crisis amid shifting and sometimes conflicting guidance while ensuring that all our students have access to the nutrition, technology, instruction and support they need has been challenging. We are grateful to our families, staff and community for their flexibility and understanding.
Over the past several weeks, our school administrators and staff have worked hard to develop plans to recognize our students for their accomplishments, distribute belongings and close out the academic year safely and in compliance with executive orders, New York State Education Department guidance and health department guidelines.
In addition to virtual field days, field trips and performances, here are a few ways our schools have adapted their year-end activities:
Our school leaders at William O. Schaefer Elementary School, Cottage Lane Elementary School and South Orangetown Middle School have filmed orientation videos to welcome incoming kindergarten, third grade and sixth grade students and provide them with a peek inside their new schools;
- Tappan Zee High School hosted its first-ever, virtual Senior Awards Ceremony on the new TZHS Counseling Facebook page this week, with video presentations by teachers and community scholarship sponsors, to publicly recognize the accomplishments of our seniors;
- Tappan Zee Athletics has been a part of and is producing a number of virtual ceremonies and social media projects to recognize student-athletes, including:
- Rockland County Athletes of the Season Ceremony, which aired on Local Live on June 10;
- Tappan Zee Athletics Virtual College Signing Day, which will air on Local Live this Sunday, June 14 at 7PM; and,
- Tappan Zee Athletics Sports Awards Banquet, which will air on Instagram Live on Wednesday, June 17 at 3PM
- WOS, CLE and TZHS have completed their processes for socially distanced retrieval of student belongings; SOMS begins next week.
- SOMS will present its virtual Eighth Grade Moving Up Ceremony on the evening of June 21, followed by a contactless, drive-through pick up of certificates and locker contents on June 22.
Special thanks to SOCES PTA, SOMS PTA, TZHS PTSA and the TZ Red & White Booster Club, who have been extraordinary partners in terms of supporting these efforts and creating new ways to celebrate our rising fifth- and eighth-graders and our graduating seniors.
Last Sunday, Governor Cuomo announced that he would “allow socially distanced graduations outdoors with up to 150 people total beginning June 26, subject to any outbreaks or significant changes.” Based on this announcement, TZHS has surveyed seniors and parents to determine the size, date and conditions for its outdoor graduation ceremonies. Principal Rudy Arietta will communicate details directly to the Class of 2020 and their families by early next week. Year-end plans previously communicated by WOS, CLE and SOMS will remain in place as scheduled; no additional K-8 events will be held.
While it is good news that our region has entered Phase 2 of reopening, I urge you to continue practicing social distancing, hand washing, wearing of face coverings and other CDC-recommended health measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission and protect our community from a resurgence.
Regardless of the unusual circumstances, June is a time for celebration–virtual or otherwise. Congratulations to the Class of 2020 and to all of our students on a successful end to the school year!