Community Updates and Information

Posted March 27, 2020
Dear Lakeland Community:

Today the Governor announced that schools will remain closed through April 15th. Since this takes us through our scheduled Spring Recess, Lakeland Schools will observe our Spring Recess from April 6th through the 13th. The recess will be a time for our teachers and staff to take some time for their families, and will not be required to send assignments during those days. Many I am sure will be in touch, as with limited travel, they may be looking for activities to fill the days, but please understand this will be optional during the recess period.

We will continue our food distribution program, and the Children's Center program for health care workers and first responders will continue except for Thursday, April 9th, and Friday, April 10th, which are official school holidays. Also, Feeding Westchester will provide pre-packaged food for those who need it, Wednesday, April 1st starting at 3:00 p.m. at George Washington Elementary School. Patrons should stay in their cars, and food will be brought to you. If walking to the site, please maintain the social distancing of at least six feet.

As you may have heard, the Governor has serious concerns about budgets this year. We are working very hard as the Budget Adoption date approaches to find a way to balance our budget and still be able to complete needed work for next year, in particular, the Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School roof. The Van Cortlandtville corridor project, the playground, the Walter Panas Field Project, and mechanical work were already budgeted this year, so all of those projects are continuing. As always, we are working to make sure our tax levy for this year remains under the mandated cap, but we certainly have a lot of work to do.

As we continue onward, we are trying to keep our Lakeland family in touch. Keep your home photos coming, and the wonderful Walter Panas Gallery One Art Exhibit that was canceled the day before the opening will be presented to you online through our social media sites. I am remaining optimistic about proms and graduations, but regardless of what ultimately happens, we will find a way to celebrate our seniors, I promise you that!

Enjoy the weekend, wash your hands, keep distance, etc, and try to get some fresh air, we are having such nice weather.

George Stone, Superintendent

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources - Update March 26, 2020


CDC - Coronavirus/COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html 
NY Department of Health - What you need to know.
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home
NYS Department of Health - Protect Yourself and Your Family
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/protect-yourself-and-your-family-coronavirus-covid-19#symptoms
Westchester County - Coronavirus Update
https://health.westchestergov.com/2019-novel-coronavirus

Understanding the Difference Between COVID-19, Allergies & Flu (Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network)
https://www.allergyasthmanetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19_3-19.pdf
https://www.allergyasthmanetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-Final-Spanish.pdf

Information about Type 1 Diabetes and Coronavirus:  https://www.jdrf.org/coronavirus/

OMH Guidance for Managing Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19
https://omh.ny.gov/omhweb/guidance/covid-19-managing-stress-anxiety.pdf


Posted March 25, 2020
Lakeland Community

I hope everyone is continuing to stay well. This morning we opened our Children's Center at Van Cortlandtville Elementary for health care providers and first responders. A great deal of THANKS to the staff involved in setting this up! If you know of families in our community serving in these roles, please have them contact the Children's Center at bohara@lakelandchildrens.com
or visit https://www.lakelandchildrens.com/emergency-child-care.

As a way of keeping our "Lakeland Family" in touch, we are establishing "Photo Boards" on our websites and social media. If you have photos of your children or the family "working from home," please email them to rcarcova@lakelandschools.org.
We will try to post as many as we can.

As far as the academic programs, we continue to learn more each day. Several educational videos are being posted, some of which can be very helpful such as the CollegeBoard online AP Classes and Review. Visit https://www.youtube.com/user/advancedplacement for the daily class schedule. Expect to see more postings as we explore how we can better communicate with you.

We also continue to disinfect and sanitize with new equipment that allows us to regularly clean the district facilities, classrooms, and buses thoroughly and quickly.

As far as school closure continuing, we expect to know something before March 31, and obviously for families and planning, the sooner, the better, but at this point, we there is no new information. As soon as we know, you will know.

All for now, stay well!
George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 24, 2020
Information for Families without the Internet, Wireless Access, and/or WiFi Challenges

If you are experiencing difficulty in accessing reliable connectivity to the internet here are some helpful contacts.
Free Service. During this time, some service providers are trying to help by providing limited free service. Although offers such as this change rapidly, to date, the following providers have publicized offers such as this:
Service Providers
Spectrum
1-855-243-8892
https://www.spectrum.net/…/coronavirus-covid-19-educational…
Comcast

1-855-846-8376 for English and
1-855-765-6995 for Spanish
https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19
Optimum

1-866-200-9522
Alticeadvantageinternet.com
Verizon 1-800-922-0204

https://www.verizon.com/…/update-verizon-serve-customers-co…

Non-technological options.

In addition, a local news agency, The Journal News, has gathered a list of resources to help families at this time. While some of the items found in this list require technology, others do not. It can be found at:
https://thejournal.com/…/Free-Resources-Ed-Tech-Companies-S…

Spanish Version

El siguiente texto fue traducido usando Google Translate. Pedimos disculpas por cualquier error.

Información para familias sin Internet, acceso inalámbrico y / o desafíos de WiFi

Si tiene dificultades para acceder a una conectividad confiable a Internet, aquí hay algunos contactos útiles.
Servicio gratuito Durante este tiempo, algunos proveedores de servicios están tratando de ayudar proporcionando un servicio gratuito limitado. Aunque las ofertas como esta cambian rápidamente, hasta la fecha, los siguientes proveedores han publicado ofertas como esta:

Proveedores de servicio
Espectro
1-855-243-8892
https://www.spectrum.net/…/coronavirus-covid-19-educational…
Comcast
1-855-846-8376 para inglés y
1-855-765-6995 para español
https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19
Óptimo
1-866-200-9522
Alticeadvantageinternet.com
Verizon 1-800-922-0204
https://www.verizon.com/…/update-verizon-serve-customers-co…

Opciones no tecnológicas.

    El Departamento de Educación del Estado de Nueva York (NYSED) se ha asociado con PBS para obtener ayuda en el área de apoyo televisivo.
    Se puede encontrar más información en: http://www.nysed.gov/edtech/pbs-live-broadcasting.
    Además, el NYSED ha identificado algunas actividades de aprendizaje temprano que no requieren tecnología. Estos se pueden encontrar en: http://www.nysed.gov/…/early-learning-non-technological-opt…

Además, una agencia de noticias local, The Journal News, ha reunido una lista de recursos para ayudar a las familias en este momento. Si bien algunos de los elementos que se encuentran en esta lista requieren tecnología, otros no. Se puede encontrar en:
https://thejournal.com/…/Free-Resources-Ed-Tech-Companies-S…


Posted March 23, 2020
Community Update from Superintendent Dr. Stone

Dear Lakeland Community:

Although I have few updates today, I will try and answer some of the more frequent questions I am receiving.

Question: "Can teachers please try and provide more lessons, video lessons, and additional assignments?
Response: Our teachers are working extremely hard to learn new methods and platforms many had never used before. Combined with all of the challenges they are facing in their own lives and establishing communication within some cases up to 150 students, the task could be overwhelming. Instead, however, we hear stories of successes and enthusiasm as we all try and work through this. Again, your students beyond their classroom teachers with internet capabilities have access to a wide world of educational opportunities. We are all partners in helping them expand their learning and educational opportunities.

Question: "Will the work be graded?"
Response: The guidance on accountability needs to come from the State of New York. We are opposed to trying to assess students on a playing field that is very far from level and believe that there will be waivers forthcoming regarding completion of coursework, requirements for graduation, as well as assessment. As soon as we know something, we will share that with you.

Question: "You had said we may need to convert Spring Recess and Memorial Day Weekend to instructional days. Is that still the case?"
Response: NO, The required two week closure has been subtracted from our 180 day requirement and therefore, we are still on track for required days. Spring Recess will now be an official school closing just as it would have been before this emergency. We won't know about the need for Memorial Day Weekend, as at this point, it looks like we may be in for an extended closure. As we receive information on this, we will immediately provide it to you.

Question: "Can't we come by the school and pick up additional items?"
Response: At this time, we are respecting the directives of the Governor and State Ed, restricting residents and students. We currently have only essential personnel on site, and that is only for essential functions. At such time as we are informed, we can provide materials or items we will establish protocols for pick up or delivery, but at this time, as our sign out front says, "Beat the Spread, Stay Home."

Question: Will events such as proms, graduations, moving up ceremonies, the budget vote, and board election all scheduled for later this Spring take place?
Response: There is simply no way of knowing at this point. What we do know is that the more people respect and adhere to the distancing requirements, the slower this will spread, and the sooner it can be extinguished. So if these activities are important, please do your parts.

Beyond this, I hope you continue to stay well, and we hope to have more definitive guidance from the Department of Education later this week.

Dr. George Stone


Posted March 22, 2020
Temporary Meal Service Announcement
Pickup meal service scheduled for tomorrow, March 23, 2020, will be postponed until Tuesday, March 24, 2020. If you are a family in need of meals for your children during the current school closing, please register for this service.  To register for meal service, please click on the following link; https://forms.gle/6zJc2zx8k3gXY9iF8 and complete the registration form. Temporary meal pick up service will be limited to one day per week every Tuesday beginning on March 31.  This week, meal service will continue this week on Tuesday, March 24, Wednesday, March 25, and Friday, March 27. Any questions or concerns should be emailed to temporarymealservice@lakelandschools.org. You can also call or text Janet Hernandez at 914-260-9383.


Posted March 21, 2020

College Board Parent Letter from Lakeland High School Principal Chris Cummings and
Walter Panas High School Principal Joseph Spero

Dear Lakeland High School and Walter Panas High School Families:

Throughout this school year, students have worked diligently in their Advanced Placement courses. As we navigate through the uncharted events regarding COVID-19, we are working to keep everyone updated with the latest information and status of culminating exams. On March 20th CollegeBoard shared information regarding the administration of these exams.

Please carefully read the key points below:

- Traditional face-to-face exam administrations will not take place.

- There will be two different testing dates for students to choose from.

- Those dates will be available near April 3rd.

- Tests will be 45 minutes in length and students will be able to take these streamlined exams on any device they have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone. Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option.

- Material assessed will only consist of the material taught up until March of 2020.

- Colleges support this solution and are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they have worked this year to earn. For decades, colleges have accepted a shortened AP Exam for college credit when groups of students have experienced emergencies.

- Should a student want to cancel their exam, they can do so with no penalty.

- Test security is also a concern which the College Board is addressing.

- The exam questions are designed and administered in ways that prevent cheating; we use a range of digital security tools and techniques, including plagiarism detection software, to protect the integrity of the exams.

- Scoring at-home work for an AP Exam is not new to the AP Program. For years the AP Program has received and scored at-home student work as part of the exams for the AP Computer Science Principles and AP Capstone courses.

As we continue to receive information regarding these exams, we will support our students and families by providing the necessary information to assist in your decision making. As educational leaders will continuously provide the necessary information to guide making these academic decisions during this uncertain time.

To read the entire College Board memo, please visit:  https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/coronavirus-updates

Sincerely,                                                      Sincerely,
Chris Cummings                                           Joe Spero
Lakeland High School Principal                    Walter Panas High School Principal


Posted March 20, 2020
Community Update

Dear Lakeland Community,

As we close out the week, my first thoughts are with you and your families, hoping that all is well. If anything good can come out of this, I know from an educational standpoint, we are exploring and learning new ways to communicate and share information with our students that can help us long after this crisis is a distant memory. Our Lakeland Central School District instructional staff has done a truly remarkable job getting these new strategies started. Every day they are learning new and innovative ways to improve the continuity of academic instruction. We are also doing our best to continue providing support services for our special need students, as well as guidance services for our secondary students. Next week we will be exploring ways to help support the social and emotional needs that are arising from working our way through this.

Our Facilities Department continues to disinfect and sanitize, Food Service is providing approximately 200 breakfasts and 200 lunches daily. As we speak we are working on establishing child care services that our health care providers and first responders may need. We should have better information ready to go early next week.

Last evening, the Board passed resolutions to ensure our employees who typically are not paid during closures will continue to receive needed income. They will continue to provide services for us, as requested. The Board also fulfilled its legal obligations in terms of posting notices for the upcoming school budget and election and discussed at length how we can be fiscally responsible to the public while still accomplishing all of the goals we have set for the future. The Board expressed their concerns for how difficult a time this is for so many families. I should also add that the Board of Education insisted on setting a good example for the community, practicing appropriate social distancing, and respecting the recommendation for no more than ten at a gathering. Some Board members attended the meeting through videoconferencing and while the public was prohibited from attending, the meeting was live streamed for anyone to view.

As time goes on, we will try and give more and more support, looking for and sharing new ways to improve the communication and information between our schools and our homes. I know how difficult this is for all, as I hear from many of you each day, dealing with both unique and common challenges. I know you count on us to help get everyone through this, and I assure you we are doing our best. I have never seen so many so willing to pitch in and help in any way they can.

I'm not sure if we are in the eye of this storm yet, but depending on how vigilant we are in following the directives, we can hopefully shorten the total duration. While I don't know what the short term future looks like, I do know that the long term future for Lakeland is bright, prosperous, and filled with great promise. Keep the faith!

As I have said on many occasions, please feel free to contact me with your concerns, questions, thoughts, and ideas. So much of what I offer others comes from all of you.

Have a great weekend!

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 19, 2020
Message from Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Dr. Gagliardi

Dear Lakeland Families,

During the time that our schools are closed, LCSD is committed to providing continuity of learning for our students. Given the nature of the challenges our country is currently facing, we think it is important that our students maintain relationships with their teachers, their schools, with one another, and with their families. As always, we are committed to the academic, physical, and mental health of our students.

Our aspiration with continuity of academic instruction would be consistent with our high expectations for our learning community. Our commitment is that teachers will make every effort to provide students with activities that are relevant, authentic, and engaging. It is not our expectation, however, that the continuity of academic instruction can be the same as classroom learning. We ask all our families to understand that this model is new for us, there will be initial glitches, and our skills will grow with time. In light of our commitment to the social emotional wellness of our students, we do not believe in a model that has students in front of screens for the length of a regular school day. Teachers will be in touch with their students on a daily basis, providing learning activities, checking-in, and answering questions.

The continuity of instruction began on March 18 and will continue every school day for as long as our schools are closed. Depending on the length of the closure, it is likely that the models our teachers use will evolve. As we continue to think through how best to provide learning for our students in these most unusual times, some of the guidelines in this document may change, as well. Be assured that we will communicate with you if and when there are any such changes.

Please remember that nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our students, staff, and the broader community. With that in mind, I encourage all to find time for self and family. Do not let school work, or any single activity, become all-consuming. Seek the healthiest balance in life as we continue to deal with many unknowns.

We hope the information will be helpful to our students and our families. Please never hesitate to reach out to us with your questions.

With sincere regards,
Dr. Karen Gagliardi
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction



Posted March 19, 2020

Resources

NYC Dept. of Health: Coping with stress during an infectious disease outbreak

NYS: Protect yourself from COVID-19 and stop the spread of germs (English/Spanish info-graphic)

State Education Department Issues Updated Guidance to Schools Regarding Novel Coronavirus During Statewide School Closure http://www.nysed.gov/news/2020/state-education-department-issues-updated-guidance-schools-regarding-novel-coronavirus

CDC's Get your home ready
  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/get-your-household-ready-for-COVID-19.html

Talking to your Children
NASP Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource

CDC’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website at https://www.cdc.gov/nCoV


NYSDOH’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website ahttps://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/ 

NYSDOH directory of local health departments  https://www.health.ny.gov/contact/contact_information/

Facts About Coronavirus


Stop the Spread of Germs

Talking With Kids About COVID-19


Posted March 18, 2020
Lakeland Fields

While we understand how closed in people are feeling and that fresh air can be helpful, this cannot take place on school fields at this time. Schools have been closed by executive order, and that includes our fields as well. Please walk around your neighborhood, ride bikes but do not plan to congregate at the schools. Starting in the next day or two construction will start back up at Lakeland High School and this is another reason we must prohibit pedestrian traffic. The grounds will be posted as they are after hours. I regret deeply having to make these announcements as I know we all love being outside, and I know how much our students miss seeing with their friends. But the directives have been issued, and we all need to respect them. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

George Stone Superintendent


Posted March 18, 2020

Dear Families of Students with Disabilities,

Please be advised that all CSE meetings previously scheduled for the remaining days in March have been canceled. In the event that you received an invitation, please disregard as all meetings will be rescheduled for future dates. Invitations for rescheduled meetings will be sent as dates become available. We anticipate resuming meetings beginning March 31, 2020 via video/phone conferencing. We appreciate your patience and understanding while we navigate through these unprecedented times.

Be well,
Steve Rappleyea, Psy.D., C.A.S.
Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services
Lakeland Central School District

Posted March 18, 2020

Parent Guide to Google Classroom

During the closure of schools, your child's teachers are using Google Classroom to share assignments, homework, and much more with your child. This guide will help you understand the tool and be able to assist your child, if necessary.
 

Posted March 17, 2020
Lakeland Central School District Pupil Personnel Resources

A repository for resources for your child as we await schools' re-opening.
http://www.livebinders.com/b/2643001


Posted  March 16, 2020
LAKELAND’S FOOD SERVICE DEPARTMENT TO PROVIDE MEALS FOR NEEDY FAMILIES DURING SCHOOL CLOSURE:

The Lakeland CSD Food Service Department will begin serving meals to needy families tomorrow, March 17th through a pickup service at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School.

A cold breakfast and lunch will be available for the district’s children ages 18 or younger.  These families will be provided meals free of charge.  Breakfast will consist of a bagel, cereal, milk, juice, and fruit.  Lunch will consist of a deli sandwich, milk, juice, fruit, and vegetable. 

Meals will be distributed through a pickup service at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  We are asking that parents register for this meal pickup service so we can adequately supply the meals necessary to meet the needs of our community.  Additional sites/services may be offered following the evaluation of community need.  Go to the following link to register. https://forms.gle/5nCycKXnZZhRNfU78 The link will also be on the district website at www.lakelandschools.org.  If you don’t have access to the internet, you can call or text Janet Hernandez at 914-260-9383 to register by phone. 

BE SURE TO CALL 914-260-9383 BEFORE MEAL PICK UP TO NOTIFY US OF ANY FOOD ALLERGIES.

 If you have any questions, or need additional information, please email temporarymealservice@lakelandschools.org.  Thank you.


Posted March 16, 2020
School Schedule for Pick Up of Chromebooks and Musical Instruments

On Wednesday, March 18, 2002, students may pick up their Chromebook and/or musical instrument at their school. Please follow the schedule below:

Lakeland High School – 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Walter Panas High School – 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School
  Grade 6 – 11:00 AM to 12 noon
  Grade 7 – 12 noon to 1:00 PM
  Grade 8 – 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
*Parents with more than one child at the middle school can choose a time frame.

Benjamin Franklin Elementary School – 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
George Washington Elementary School – 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Lincoln-Titus Elementary School – 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Thomas Jefferson Elementary School – 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Van Cortlandtville Elementary School – 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM


Posted March 16, 2020
COMMUNITY UPDATE

As many of you have probably heard by now, all New York State schools, including the Lakeland Central School District, will be closed at least through March 31, 2020. While this is by Executive Order, it appears that we must still utilize all remaining vacation days as part of the school calendar requirement for days in session regulations. As of now, although it is extremely unlikely, we will start back to school before the scheduled Spring Recess from April 6 through April 13. Should schools reopen, we will be in session through Spring Recess and Memorial Day weekend (excluding the scheduled holidays of Holy Thursday (April 9), Good Friday (April 10), and Memorial Day (May 25).

Tomorrow, we will begin our food distribution program to families in need across the District. Our Food Service Department has contacted needy families to make arrangements for obtaining meals.

We have received numerous requests from students and staff wanting to pick up materials, musical instruments, Chrome Books, etc. Principals under the direction of our Assistant Superintendent of Instruction have developed a schedule to allow this to take place on Wednesday, March 18, so that everyone can get what they need for this uncertain closure. These schedules will be posted on our website, communicated through social media, and e-blasted to all families.

We have also been requested to provide child care classroom space and staffing for first responders and health care providers in our District. We plan to establish these classrooms at Van Cortlandtville Elementary School, and shortly will have a posting with contact information. If you are a first responder or health care provider in need of this service, please contact our Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Dr. Tammy Cosgrove, at tcosgrove@lakelandschools.org The hours will be tentatively 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

As far as our Continuity of Academic Instruction Plan, teachers will begin communicating daily with their students starting Wednesday, March 18. For those with internet access, Chrome Books and other devices with Google can be used. For those who do not have internet access, teachers will be creating packets, and arrangements will be made for pick up. Grading, report cards, State Testing, Regents, and AP Exams are all on hold at this time, awaiting further guidance from the State. For now, we want to get students into the practice of working constructively and enriching the work they were doing prior to this closure.

The Board of Education will continue to hold scheduled meetings to ensure legal and procedural requirements are met. There will be no special presentations, only the regular business of the Board. The Board invites the public to email questions you would like to have answered to the District Clerk. Your email must include your name and address, just as a speaker must do when addressing the Board in Public Participation. We will do our best to either cover them in the public meeting or get back to you with a response.

I hope this information is helpful to you, and we will continue to provide you updates as we have them.

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 15, 2020

Lakeland Community:

While you begin making alternative plans from your normal routines, Lakeland Administration continues to make plans to find ways to better help you. Tomorrow (March 15) morning I will be meeting with my Cabinet, our Board Officers and our Principals to discuss where we are and where we intend to go. We also expect to hear from Westchester County Executive Lattimer who indicated on the radio Friday he will be extending the closure indefinitely. In addition, the Governor is taking similar action.

Information on the specific dates of closure will come tomorrow. We want to hear the official announcements first. Obviously this looks like an extended closing is possible.

There are a number of issues we are working on. While I wish I could give you health information, we are rapidly moving beyond that. As another superintendent has noted, the health departments seem to be assuming as one family member tests positive, the entire family may have it or will remain quarantined 14 days, so they are not even testing the rest of the family. The best I can recommend in this regard is if your family seems well, keep practicing good health practices, but also encourage your children (especially young adults) not to go out doing the things they normally do when they are not in school. Teens think they are invincible, but even if they don’t develop a serious case, they are also potential carriers.

We will be working very hard on academic plans. Other districts are starting to set up cloud based learning networks that we all may be able to plug into. Dr. Gagliardi is working with principals, curriculum directors and lead teachers to keep these programs moving forward. I know with kids looking for things to do “it can’t be fast enough!” but rest assured she is working on this 24/7.

We will also be discussing food distribution, continual cleaning and maintenance, the school calendars and vacations, ways we can help our working staff that normally lose wages during these conditions, how to help child care and nursery school centers, state testing and other upcoming major school events, how we continue school board business, and probably a million other topics, so stay tuned.

Once again, every day, I will tell you as much as I can, and try to solve as many problems as I can. Please, most of your school children have learned “Mindfulness” and other stress relieving activities, take part of the day to practice this with them. It will help keep all of you less stressed.

Stay Well!
George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 14, 2020

Rumors are continuing to spread about students testing positive for COVID-19. As of this posting Saturday, March 14, 2020, the Lakeland Central School District has no students or staff confirmed with a positive test for the COVID-19.

If we know of a confirmed case, we will let the community know as soon as possible. I understand everyone is worried. We would appreciate your assistance in helping minimize anxiety by waiting for official announcements.

Thank you for your continued support.
Dr. George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 13, 2020
Lakeland Community,

Over the past few days, I have provided you with as much information as I have regarding the emergency situation we face. In addition, I tried and will continue to answer your questions as I receive them. One question is, why we might need to eliminate Spring Recess since students may be working electronically from home. Our attempt to provide electronic communication between the schools and the homes is to help students keep working. However, there is no legal allowance to use these days as part of our required 180 days. That type of waiver can only come from legislation and the Governor. There is proposed legislation to excuse any closure days due to COVID-19. Today (March 13), the Governor indicated there would be some type of waiver and we have been advised to ensure that all remaining emergency closing and vacation days are available to meet the 180 day requirement. We have two emergency days left and one additional conference day that can also be converted to a school day. Please understand that while health and safety are our number one concerns, State Aid accounts for about twenty-five percent of our budget and is critical to our programs.

This morning, more than 50 superintendents and 20 others were on a video chat, with the Acting Commissioner of the New York State Education Department, and NY State Senate Head of the Education Committee, and the Chancellor of the Board of Regents, to discuss the COVID-19 and the impact on our schools. In all respective communities, there was a deep collective concern for the safety of our students, staff, and community. In light of these concerns, the Lakeland Central School District, along with all districts in our region, will be using two emergency closure days and again be closed on Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17. At this time, there are still many unanswered questions for school districts; as they relate to the potential spread of COVID-19 within our schools and the logistical and fiscal implications on schools. As I noted above, this will mean we are out of available emergency days, so again we hope the Governor and the Legislature will provide waivers on the 180 day requirement.

I hope we can obtain answers to our questions during this temporary closure and receive more concrete guidance from the Governor, the State Education Department, and the county and state health departments. However, if we cannot assure the health and safety of our students, staff, and community, we are prepared to extend the closure.

As I have previously noted, we completely understand the hardships that school closures place on our families. I know many will be upset, and many will understand the decision to close schools on March 16 and 17. This is not an easy situation for us, many staff members and students are considered part of the vulnerable population to COVID-19 or maybe positive with no symptoms; the only reasonable option is to protect our students and staff.

We have received the approval of our application to provide meals to families in our community. Early next week, we will be discussing a distribution plan, and hopefully, this can help our families in some small way. I hope all questions about the SAT exams have been answered, but if you still have remaining questions, please email the high school principals who are handling these matters.

Over the weekend, as I receive additional information, I will share it as quickly as possible. For now, once again, please be safe and stay well.

George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 12, 2020
Lakeland Central School District has been in contact with the College Board regarding the cancellation of the SAT test at Walter Panas High School on Saturday, March 14. The College Board will contact families about rescheduling or refunds.


Posted March 12, 2020
Update for Thursday, March 12, 2020

Lakeland Community:

We continue to work around the clock to get answers and needed testing from Westchester County and NY State Health Departments. While we are hopeful to open schools on Monday, March 16, that decision cannot be made at this time. I apologize to our families struggling with child care coverage, and financial concerns, my heart goes out to everyone, but health concerns are the current number one priority.

We understand that many of our families depend on the school breakfast and lunch given to their child, so our Food Service Supervisor has applied to the NY State to allow us to provide these meals. As soon as it is approved, we will make a plan for meal distribution as quickly as possible.

In a conference I attended today, I received information related to school matters. Most importantly, please note that the Health Department did not authorize the days we are currently closed. Still, our Chief Medical Officer strongly recommended it based upon facts and out of an abundance of caution. At this time, there is no State waiver or action on these days, and we are being advised to make sure we have snow make up days and vacation days available. Therefore, please do not make vacation plans for Spring Break. If we are required to close indefinitely, we may have to add these days to the school calendar.

We are still awaiting further direction on state assessment testing, which is scheduled to begin March 25, and on Regents testing and required seat time. I will, of course, keep you posted.

Also, out of an abundance of caution, we will be moving the location of our Board of Education Business meeting scheduled for next Thursday, March 19, 2020, at 7:30 to the District Office Board Room. The Board has pressing budget matters that must be approved by law based upon a specific timeline. The meeting will NOT be held at Lakeland High School as initially scheduled.

In the schools and administration building, We have been utilizing large sanitizing and disinfectant machines. We have cleaned the entire district, so if we are able to open schools, rest assured everything has been thoroughly disinfected and sanitized.

Once again, every day, I will be working around the clock to ensure we are doing everything we can for the community, and communicating as frequently as I have information. For now, stay well.

George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 11, 2020
Saturday March 14's SAT exam at Walter Panas High School has been canceled. We are discussing possible alternative dates


Posted March 11, 2020
A MESSAGE FROM SUPERINTENDENT DR. GEORGE STONE

Dear Lakeland Community:

As we await further testing of COVID-19 exposures, I need to inform you that again “out of an abundance of caution,” all Lakeland Schools will remain closed tomorrow, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Friday, March 13, will remain a Superintendent’s Conference Day, however our teachers will be working from home, and all after school and other activities will be canceled at least through this weekend. We are also trying to identify an alternate location for Saturday (March 14) SAT Exams scheduled for Walter Panas, and will update you as we can.

To bring you up to speed on the COVID-19 health issues, we are diligently trying to get further testing completed for family members of an individual in the community who has tested positive. Our Chief Medical Officer advises that due to the time that has elapsed in identifying the positive result and the fact that we are still awaiting further testing, we need to take these precautionary measures.

As I have noted earlier, we are in communication with County and State Health Officials, the State Department of Education, and the Governor’s Office. Our Yorktown Supervisor Matthew Slater has been extremely helpful in making necessary emergency contacts as we seek immediate action.

We appreciate the cooperation and support of our community as we try and work through this. Should the new tests come back negative, we could reopen shortly. Should the new tests be positive, we may be looking at an extended closing. These decisions will ultimately be made with direction from Westchester County and State Health Departments.

Regardless, keep washing your hands and face, avoid others with flu-like symptoms, and if you are experiencing symptoms please seek medical assistance.

We will continue to keep you updated as new information arises.

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 10, 2020
Out of an abundance of caution, all Lakeland Schools will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. While we do not have a confirmed case in our district (student or staff), we have been advised to close because of a direct connection. While we are closed tomorrow, we will be scrubbing and sanitizing all buildings and all buses. Hopefully, we will be able to reopen shortly. I will provide more details as I have them tomorrow.
George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 10, 2020
From the Superintendent:  COVID-19 Lakeland Updates

In a meeting yesterday with the County Executive, we learned that the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and NY State Department of Education (NYSED) would issue guidelines for school districts. The County Health Department would assist and make recommendations, but official guidance would come from the State. Later in the day, we learned the following:

If we have a confirmed case of COVID-19, the school will be required to close for an initial 24 hour period, to begin an investigation to determine the contacts that person may have had in the school. The investigation will determine any further closing or quarantines recommended by the local health department. During that initial 24 hour period, the school will clean and disinfect the building. Again the closure is required one day but maybe longer if the County recommends, and the State agrees.

Currently, we have members of the school community who have been tested, but as of this morning, we still have no confirmed cases. If and when we do have a confirmed case, that school community will be notified through all means necessary, including an all-call to inform of the initial closure.

We understand that emergency closures are a major disruption to working families, but we want you to know these closures will be required by the State, and we will, of course, comply, clean and disinfect.

I have been asked about the cleaning of buses. We have been scrubbing buses a number of times each week. With the new disinfecting machines arriving, we will be able to disinfect the entire fleet every day in a matter of a few hours.

If a student or staff member comes to school and is exhibiting flu-like symptoms or becomes ill during the school day, they will be isolated and sent home as soon as a contact person arrives. The County and State Health Departments will be notified for follow up and testing.

We appreciate the cooperation of our school community and how members have contacted us for voluntary quarantine and management of their condition. I also want to give a major deal of gratitude to our District Physician, Head Nurse, and nurses in all buildings for their hard work, professionalism, and commitment to our health and safety. We are blessed to have such amazing people, and they have been in contact around the clock every day.

I now have daily morning briefings from the County, and I will continue to keep you updated as I receive additional information. Thank you, and have a great day.

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 9, 2020
Please disregard any rumors you are hearing or reading regarding the COVID-19/ coronavirus at Walter Panas High School this morning (March 9). They are false. Any updates will come directly from the school or district. Thank you.


Posted March 9, 2020
Superintendent Dr. Stone: Update COVID-19 

Lakeland Community:
 
I know everyone is hoping for a perfect answer to the growing concerns about the , and unfortunately, there is not. With all situations we face and decisions that need to be made, we continue to place the health and safety of everyone as our number one priority, balanced with a common sense approach that won’t force us to act or react out of fear of the unknown. While COVID-19 is a serious public health threat, I listened to a panel of virus experts most of the day Sunday that indicated this may affect our public in very much the same way as other strains of influenza, and we should do our best to remain calm.
 
I am in constant communication daily with our Head Nurse, our District Physician, our Director of Facilities, our regional superintendents, the local and state health departments, State Education and the Governor’s representatives. Friday, I had two conferences, yesterday another conference was held, and this morning I am attending another conference with county and state officials.

Decisions to be made regarding the testing or quarantine of students and their family members continues to be guided by the county and state health departments. Should positive test cases arise and we are advised to close, the health departments will assess the risks and determine whether we should close just an individual school site or the entire district. All of these recommendations are based upon their guidelines for the spread of this infection, and the proximity between exposures.
 
I have been asked about cleaning and sanitizing. Our facilities staff have been directed to clean and sanitize all areas daily and on weekends. As you can imagine, cleaning supplies are being ordered repeatedly to help ensure supply, and we have purchased large sanitizing machines that can do all areas of the schools very quickly using the best, most state of the art cleaning products available. With all of that being implemented, it won’t stop direct close contact between individuals, and as we have seen in other areas, the need to close may still arise. Whether we are to remain closed for an extended quarantine period, or only a few days for cleaning and sanitizing, those decisions again, will be guided by the health departments and our District Physician.
 
Should we be forced to close, our curriculum, instruction, and technology departments have been working with teachers to establish communication between the home and school. While we will not be able to provide daily lesson plans for every class, teachers will be able to provide general objectives or assignments, challenge problems, and direct students to practice and enrichment websites. I know parents of students with special needs are particularly concerned, and here again, staff will be in communication as well.
 
As you have seen we are selectively postponing large group events. The reason we have not postponed all events is to allow small groups such as teams practicing, or clubs that may want to meet to continue for the time being. Spending some time with friends or a small group may help reduce the anxiety, stress or fear that our young people are most likely experiencing. Hopefully, we can help them to understand that this is another influenza that one day shall pass and we will all return to normalcy.
 
Please know we are monitoring questions, concerns, and situations continually every day. As we get new information, you will get new information. Once again, I urge everyone to try and remain calm. These complicated matters require all of us to work collectively, and as I have come to learn over the years, the Lakeland community will pull together in tough times, offer help in any way necessary, and get through this together.
 
George Stone, Superintendent
 

Posted March 8, 2020
Tomorrow, Monday, March 9, 2020, we will provide the school community with updated information on COVID-19/Coronavirus. We clean and sanitize our schools daily. We have no confirmed cases and will be open tomorrow. Our updates will be informational in nature.


Posted March 6, 2020
Rumors are circulating about a Coronavirus case in Lakeland Central School District. These are false. There is no confirmed cases in our District and no students have been quarantined.

George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 2, 2020
Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Guidance and Resources 
A new coronavirus called 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first found in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This virus had not been found in humans before. This coronavirus can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing or shortness of breath. There are thousands of diagnosed cases in China and new cases being diagnosed in a number of countries including the United States. 

What do we know? 
Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working hard to learn as much as possible about this new virus, so that we can better understand how it spreads and causes illness. The CDC considers this virus to be a serious public health concern. Based on current information the CDC recommends avoiding travel to China. Updated travel information related to 2019-nCoV can be found at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china 

How Does 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus Spread? 
Health experts believe the virus probably spreads from animals to humans and from person to person. It’s not clear yet how easily the virus spreads from person-to-person. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) is not currently a concern for the general public and is not actively circulating among New Yorkers at this time. Therefore, there is no need to cancel school or social events, and there is no need for students or school staff to wear surgical masks at school. 

Prevention 
There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • CDC recommends that travelers avoid all travel to China.
Symptoms 
Information to date suggests that 2019-nCoV causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. 

Are visitors from China being screened? 
Yes, as of February 2nd new screening protocols are conducted for individuals entering the US from China at designated airports. PreK-12 schools may have students who attend school and have traveled to various areas in Asia, including China. Students should not be excluded from school or any school activities based on race, country of origin, or recent travel (or a family member’s recent travel), including to any part of China. Schools may only exclude a student if a local health department informs the school that a student must comply with a quarantine order or the student is symptomatic of a communicable or infectious disease pursuant to Education Law §906. 

Important Health Information for Those Who Have Recently Traveled to Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and Experience Symptoms 

If you recently traveled to Wuhan, China and feel sick with fever, cough or trouble breathing; OR you develop symptoms within 14 days of traveling there, you should: 

  • Seek medical care right away. Call ahead and tell them about your travel and symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Stay home, except for seeking medical care.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Contact your local health department.
This is an emerging, rapidly changing situation. For questions please contact your local department of health or the NYS DOH Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065. 

We encourage you to keep up to date about 2019-nCoV, its treatment and prevention by visiting the following websites: 

Additional Resources

NASP Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource

CDC’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website at https://www.cdc.gov/nCoV

NYSDOH’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/ 

NYSDOH directory of local health departments  https://www.health.ny.gov/contact/contact_information/

Posted February 28, 2020
Lakeland Schools COVID-19 Virus Update

We are all trying to learn as much as we can about the Covit 19/ Corona virus outbreak and its potential impact on our school and family lives.
 
We will be providing weekly updates on what we are learning from the Department of Health, Department of Mental Health, the CDC and other authorities.
 
Yesterday we participated in a webinar sponsored by the Department of Health for a formal briefing. The Department of Health describes the current status of the Covit 19/ Corona virus outbreak as in a person to person transmission status where the focus is on containment. This focus means health officials are working to detect, track, and isolate cases.
 
The webinar also focused on the impact of the outbreak on the healthcare system and its capacity to address the crisis should the spread of the disease change from a person to person transmission to a community wide transmission. The experts on the webinar emphasized that this is a dynamic situation with the CDC issuing updates multiple times a day.
 
As with SARS, MRSA and H1N1 outbreaks, all decisions regarding public health will be made by the Department of Health, guided by the CDC. The clear advice from health officials is a firm recommendation that if you feel sick, stay home.
 
These links below are recommended for the latest updates.
 
CDC
 
NY Department of Health
All of us are being bombarded in our various news feeds with stories, advice and commentary on the seriousness of this Covit 19/ Corona virus outbreak. I found the following advice issued by NPR a few days ago to be a very helpful, plain language set of recommendations for people and their families as we enter the next couple of weeks.
 
Area School Districts
Yesterday at a meeting of area school superintendents the potential impacts of this outbreak on our schools and programs were discussed. School field trips, large group gatherings and the delivery of instruction may possibly be impacted in the future. Those decisions will be guided by the Department of Health.
 
Our Buildings
A month ago we aggressively stepped up our cleaning procedures in an attempt to contain the spread of the flu. These efforts obviously will continue. We are also grateful for the great work our nurses are doing with children and their families during this challenging time.
 
Our next update will be next week.
 
Dr. George Stone,
Superintendent

Posted February 27, 2020
Concerns Over Viral Illnesses Circulating Throughout the World

We know there are concerns over the many viral illnesses circulating throughout the world. While influenza continues to be the most prevalent viral illness locally, the fears of the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) are certainly understandable.  

At this time, there are no confirmed cases in the region. However, the district has communication with our District’s Medical Director, the Westchester and Putnam County Departments of Health, and the New York State Department of Health to ensure that we have the latest information and guidance on illnesses that could potentially affect our schools. We strictly follow the guidance that each entity provides to us so that we may create the safest and healthiest environment possible for our students.     

As a school district, we have taken some of the most proactive and thorough measures to combat the flu and other viral illnesses. These measures are proactively enacted each year around the beginning of the influenza season in our district to minimize the impact of the flu and other viral illnesses on our school community. 

Recently, the district purchased high-tech disinfecting machines to helps us disinfect in all areas of the school buildings.

  • All of our classrooms, offices, large-group spaces, the nurse’s office, and bathrooms of our schools are disinfected nightly. We will continue to do this.
  • Student daily attendance is being monitored, by homeroom and school, to determine if additional disinfection resources need to be deployed.

After a rise in absences in early February, across all of our schools, our attendance data have returned to more modest and normal levels.   

We are pleased to be able to provide this most stringent disinfection schedule to our students and staff in a safe and cost-effective manner; however, the effectiveness of our efforts is maximized when we have full cooperation from our parent community. 

We ask that if your child is ill with a fever and/or cough, the child stays out of school. The child should remain home until fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.  

We want to remind our school community about the importance of thorough hand washing with soap and water.  They universally agreed that thorough hand washing was the most effective step to curtail the spread of viral illnesses. 

Always know that the health and safety of our students and staff is and will always be our highest priority. We will continue to provide the most comprehensive cleaning and disinfection schedule, and we will promptly communicate any additional relevant information that we learn.

Resources
NYS Department of Health-https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/ 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Lakeland Central School District Website - Health Updates and Notices  (Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Guidance and Resources)-http://www.lakelandschools.org/district/health_and_safety/health_updates_and_notices.php