Superintendent Updates

Superintendent Update as of November 15, 2021 – 4:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

We are writing today with important updates regarding new health guidance issued from the New York State Department of Health and the Chemung County Health Department. Please find information below on new “Test to Stay” strategy as well as information on an upcoming OPTIONAL Chemung County Health Department COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic for ages 5+. Please note, COVID-19 vaccinations are not a requirement for students to attend school.

TEST TO STAY | New Health Department COVID-19 Guidance

Per the NYSDOH and Chemung County Health Department, the Elmira City School District will implement a Test to Stay (TTS) strategy beginning on Wednesday November 17, 2021. This strategy allows asymptomatic and unvaccinated direct contacts, identified through school tracing, to avoid exclusion from the academic part of the school day by testing negative with an antigen test (ex. Binax NOW/CareStart) on each school day for seven days after exposure.

1. All identified students/staff may take advantage of this free testing option. The District must have a signed parent consent form completed prior to performing the testing (see example attached). This form will be available at the testing location.

2. The daily test will be conducted at District Administration Offices located at Washington School in Elmira (430 W. Washington Ave., Elmira NY 14905) beginning at 7:30 a.m. daily. Results will be received before the school day begins. Upon arrival, please enter parking lot from Lincoln Street.

· If negative, the student/staff proceeds to class.

· If positive, the student/staff is sent home and existing procedures are followed.

· Parents/guardians must accompany their students during testing. Adults accompanying students must wait 10-15 minutes for the test results before transporting them to school for the day.

Other Parameters:

· Students will not be permitted to ride the school bus in the morning prior to receiving their test. However, with a negative test result, students can ride the school bus home at the end of the school day.

· The direct contact who is allowed to remain in school through TTS must still be quarantined outside of school instruction/academic periods— No community activities or extracurricular participation including clubs, sports, arts/performance activities is permitted while the student remains in quarantine. The student/staff member may only go from home to school for instruction and back home again.

· If the exposed person who is allowed to remain in school through TTS develops symptoms, they must be excluded from school per current school guidance.

· Home tests will not be accepted.

· A school test is not required on weekends and holidays when the seven-day TTS period is still active.

On Behalf of the Chemung County Health Department | Upcoming COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics (5+)

The Chemung County Health Department will hold two vaccination clinics on Friday November 19, 2021 from 4-6 p.m. Vaccination clinics will be held at Beecher Elementary and Fassett Elementary schools. Parents/guardians will be required to accompany children to the vaccination clinic. Second dose vaccines will be offered on Friday December 10, 2021 from 4-6 p.m. for those students receiving their first dose on November 19, 2021. Pre-registration is required. Please find registration links below:

· Pfizer 1st Dose Pre-registration Appointments at Beecher Elementary for ages 5+: https://apps2.health.ny.gov/doh2/applinks/cdmspr/2/counties?DateID=D09CC46C974D0246E0530A6C7C15701C

· Pfizer 1st Dose Pre-registration Appointments at Fassett Elementary for ages 5+: https://apps2.health.ny.gov/doh2/applinks/cdmspr/2/counties?DateID=D04A4A2A43A1016EE0530A6C7C1530EF

Thank you and be well,
Hillary Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District


Update as of October 27, 2021 – 4:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families:

We are writing with a few updates. First, we wanted to follow up on our communication from yesterday regarding the social media trend with a potential threat to schools. This social media post, deemed noncredible by law enforcement, continues to circulate around the state and nation. A modification of the generic snapchat threat was airdropped to a few Ernie Davis Academy students today. Law enforcement investigated these posts and have deemed them not credible. I wanted to assure you that we will always investigate any claim of this nature, thoroughly, in partnership with law enforcement.

We thank you for your support and for your partnership in ensuring students know the appropriate use of social media, including telling an adult if a post concerns them. Having open conversations at home with your students about social media, its benefits, and its risks, can promote positive social media usage.

Secondly, we wanted to share an update from our Food Services partners at the Greater Southern Tier BOCES. The Food Service Department is experiencing supply-chain interruptions due to limited product availability, nation-wide transportation challenges, and supplier’s labor shortages.

The Food Services Department is making every effort to avoid last minute changes to the menu but will respond will food substitutions when necessary. School meal menu changes are highly likely during this time and may cause students to have to make changes to their meal selections.

Please know the Food Services Department is working diligently to minimize the effect this may have on our families. We are especially grateful to our food services staff for their daily contributions in our cafeterias. Free breakfast and lunch are available to all Elmira City School District students every school day. You can find menus and Food Services updates by clicking through to the GST BOCES Food Services website here: https://elmiracafeteria.gstboces.org/

If you have questions or concerns, or if your child is in need of support, please contact your school office.

Thank you and be well,
Hillary J. Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District



Update as of October 26, 2021 – 5:00 p.m.


Dear Elmira City School District Families:

You may have heard of a new social media trend regarding the threat of violence in schools. We recently learned that our neighboring district Corning-Painted Post was mentioned in one of these posts. Law enforcement from across the region and nation have investigated these posts and have deemed them not credible, but any threat made to a school is taken seriously. The Corning-Painted Post Area School District has been working with local law enforcement to support their students and schools.

We wanted to make you aware of the situation since this type of trend can expand to other areas and cause disruption and concern for students, staff, and families. As always, safety is our top priority and we too take any threat made against a school seriously. We thank you for your support and for your partnership in making sure our students know the appropriate use of social media, including telling an adult if a post concerns them.

If you have questions or concerns, or if your child is in need of support, please contact your school office.

Thank you and be well,

Hillary J. Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District


Update as of Thursday, October 7, 2021 – 3:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

On Friday October 8, 2021, the Elmira City School District Bus Garage will be understaffed by 16 drivers. As a result, the ECSD school schedule will be modified to tackle this bus driver shortage. Secondary schools will begin on a one-hour delay and elementary schools will be released following a typical Wednesday-early release schedule (please see below for a reminder of release times). Transportation WILL be provided.

Schedule changes for Friday October 8, 2021 are as follows:
• Broadway Academy (grade 9), Ernie Davis Academy (grades 7-8), Elmira High School (Grades 10-12) will begin on a one-hour delay on Friday October 8, 2021. Food services will provide breakfast for all students.
• Elementary Schools will release at their “Wednesday Release Times” as follows:
- Primary (Diven, Fassett, Pine City, Riverside) – 1:45 p.m.
- Intermediate (Beecher, Broadway, Hendy, Parley Coburn) – 1:25 p.m.

New Day and Kids World programming will run on October 8th with normal Wednesday hours. The ARCADE program will be CANCELLED for Friday, October 8th.

These modifications are for Friday, October 8th only and will allow us to condense and combine transportation runs with our available drivers.

We are learning that flexibility is a must during these unprecedented items. We continue to discuss alternative options for any staffing shortages that arise throughout these challenging times.

Thank you for your continuing support and be well,

Hillary Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District



Update as of September 28, 2021 - 4:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

As we find ourselves in the final days of September, we wanted to write to you regarding back-to-school updates. Below you’ll find information regarding communications related to COVID-19, Live Express Athletics Streaming, Parent Portal information and more. As always, please feel free to reach out to your school principals with questions and clarity.

Support Express Athletics | Watch Live Events from Anywhere!

You can now LIVE Stream athletic competitions played on the Ernie Davis Academy turf! The new HUDL camera is at EDA turf field, so all games played are streamed LIVE from the webpage below (free link). Thanks to our Elmira High School WEHS crew for making this happen for our community! #GoExpress

https://www.youtube.com/wehstv

COVID Communications | Weekly Report and Letters to Families

At the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, we began publishing COVID-positive cases reported to our schools on the District website. We published this case counter as a way to keep our community informed. Since that time, NYS also published a COVID report card for all NYS school districts. This report card is populated by data reported daily by districts and maintained by the state. This week, we will re-establish the District COVID Case Counter and adjust it to include weekly reports of new cases. We believe this will be the most efficient and accurate way to keep our community informed. >>Access the 2021-2022 COVID Case Counter here.

Open and transparent communication is a high priority for the District. When positive cases are reported to our school buildings, students and families affected will receive letters indicating the positive case and contact tracing information (both close contacts and others in the classroom). Please check your elementary student’s folders and secondary student’s Schoology accounts often for updates from your principal.

If you have questions about COVID protocols and procedures, including illness, symptoms and return to school criteria, please feel free to call your student's school for further guidance.

Stay Connected | Login to Parent Portal and Schoology, Update Your Records

Family engagement is key to student success. Are you registered for our Parent Portal? Parent Portal provides you important information on your student's academic schedule, grades, attendance and more. Click here for instructions to register for Parent Portal.

The sounds of students back in our school buildings has provided a regained sense of school spirit! We are #ExpressStrong!

Thank you and be well,

Hillary J. Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District


 

Update as of September 2, 2021 - 4:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

We look FORWARD to welcoming students across the Elmira City School District to the 2021-22 school year. The challenges we faced together in the last year have strengthened our staff, students and systems. As we are again facing more health and safety planning for this year, I wanted to first express my gratitude to you for your fortitude, patience, and thoughtful support.

As we prepare for the upcoming year, our objective is to return all students back to five days weekly of in-person instruction. The District will continue following guidance set forth by the New York State Education Department, as well as the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For those that were a part of the District last year, the year will begin very similarly to how it ended in June 2021. In accordance with the Commissioner's Determination issued pursuant to 10 NYCRR 2.60, any person over the age of 2 (including all students, personnel, teachers, administrators, contractors, and visitors) must wear masks at all times indoors in P-12 school buildings and school buses, regardless of vaccination status. Mask-breaks are planned for students and staff throughout the school day. Masks are not required for outdoor events.

2021-2022 Re-Opening Plan | Looking Forward to a Healthy Future

In the following pages linked here, you’ll find a range of health and safety protocols the District is implementing. Please note that this is a living document that will be updated as new guidelines and guidance is recommended from health officials. >>Download the printable 2021-2022 Elmira City School District Re-Opening Plan | Looking Forward to a Healthy Future

Health Screening | GST BOCES StayWell

A healthy school environment begins at home. The ECSD will continue to utilize the “Stay Well Questionnaire,” an at home on-line screening tool. A screening questionnaire will be provided to parents/guardians by the school. Please make sure you are completing and submitting this questionnaire to the school as instructed.

The last year has taught us that as public health conditions change, we quickly need to update our robust health and safety planning. District leaders of the Elmira City School District will continue its efforts to work closely with state and local agencies. It is our goal to continue to make health and safety, high quality instruction, family engagement, social and emotional support, and strong communication the forefront of our District planning.

We LOOK FORWARD TO A HEALTHY FUTURE with our strong Express community! #GoExpress

Thank you and be well,
Hillary J. Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District



UPDATE as of August 25, 2021- 4:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

We are looking FORWARD to a healthy future.

As we head into the 2021-2022 school year, the top priority of the Elmira City School District is to have students learning full-time in safe and healthy school environments. In order to accomplish this, precautions are necessary in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our schools and to keep our students, faculty and staff safe.  On Tuesday, August 24th, Governor Hochul announced that New York State School Districts will be required to implement universal masking in PreK-12 facilities.  We are awaiting further guidance on the specifics of this mandate but we wanted to get this information out to all of you, as soon as possible, for planning purposes.

As we begin the 2021-22 school year, Chemung County is in a much different position than it was at the end of the 2020-21 school year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chemung County is now listed as high risk for COVID-19 transmission. Health officials are concerned with the recent spike in cases nationwide caused by the Delta Variant.

Schools play a significant role in promoting equity in health and education for all students. As we face a resurgent and ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic in our community, the Elmira City School District stays committed to a layered mitigation strategy that emphasizes student and staff safety. 

The Elmira City School District will continue to partner with our county health department in order to offer COVID-19 vaccinations for eligible staff and students.

Under current plans, students and staff can expect to wear a face mask, (regardless of vaccination status) and continue social distancing, to the extent possible, under CDC guidelines.

The County continues to collaborate with school districts and the following recommendations are based on the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State Department of Education and include a layered approach to mitigation: 

  • A strong emphasis being placed on vaccination for all eligible individuals. 
  • The use of masks indoors and on buses regardless of vaccination status. 
  • Maintaining a physical distance of at least three feet. 
  • Routine cleaning and disinfection. 
  • Following proper hygiene procedures and maintaining respiratory etiquette. 
  • Staying home when sick and getting tested. 
  • Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, where necessary.  
  • Students and adults should follow these same school-day policies and procedures during sports and extracurricular activities.

We will continue to keep you updated with more specific information.  Please be sure to check our website for the latest updates and information.  We are excited to welcome our students back to a new school year!

Thank you and be well,

Hillary J. Austin

Superintendent of Schools

Elmira City School District 


Update as of August 20, 2021 – 4:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

We are writing to share the latest details we have regarding school re-opening plans. The New York State Education Department released guidance on August 12 which restated many of the CDC guidelines. NYSDOH, NYSED and Chemung County Health Department continue to be our guiding agencies related to health and safety. As an ongoing practice, our District leadership continues to collaborate with local county health officials and surrounding school district superintendents. We are in regular consultation with our county partners to monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening and testing in order to guide decisions. We’ve worked as a team, collaborated, and facilitated meetings and we plan to provide a consistent approach heading into the new school year.

We are anticipating guidance regarding masking from the Governor and NYSDOH and will consider this critical information before any decisions are made for the Elmira City School District. We will update our families as soon as we have these important details. This update, and future updates, will be published on this page.

What We Do Know, as of today, August 20, 2021:

• We plan to bring students back to five days of in-person instruction
• Our classrooms are being designed for 3’ social distancing
• Cleaning and disinfecting will continue to be a priority
• Masking is known to be a definite for all people riding a school bus (as stated above, we are anticipating guidance regarding masking in schools from the Governor and NYSDOH and will consider this critical information before any decisions are made for the Elmira City School District. We will update our families as soon as we have these important details)
• Afterschool programming will operate regularly and will follow the same health guidelines outlined for school days
• Free breakfast and lunch offerings continue as an available resource to all District families

The District is working hand-in-hand with health officials to ensure a safe, joyful and enriching return for all of our students this fall. All schools will safely serve every student in accordance with current CDC guidance.

Health and Safety Starts at Home

A healthy school environment really begins at home. Students should stay home when they feel sick. Families should be mindful of indications their children may exhibit COVID-19 symptoms and to seek testing when symptoms are present. The District will continue to ask families to complete a daily health screen electronically through the StayWell app.

New Student Registration, Including Pre-K!

It’s not too late to register your child for school. Do you have a student turning four before December 1? Pre-K Registration for the 2021-2022, Class of 2035, is being accepted Online and In-person! Drop-off of paper copies in the secure drop-off located at District Administration (located at 430 W. Washington Ave). >>click here to access registration information

Teacher Assignments

All schedules for all students and schools will be available in the coming weeks. If you do not receive a notification or have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your student’s building principal. Need to contact the school? >>click here to access a full list of school contact information

Back-to-School Supply Lists

Our school principals have put together these suggested supply lists for back-to-school. Supply lists are now published on the District website, organized by school and grade level. >>click here to access your student’s school supply list.

Fall Open House Schedule

Parents and students are invited to fall open houses. Join us to meet your student’s teacher, take a tour of the school and connect with your school family. >>click here to access the Fall Open House schedule.

School Start and End Times

We can't wait to welcome our students to a new school year! To help families, we have published a list all of our school's start and end times for the upcoming school year. Join us for breakfast when doors open! >>click here to access a full list of school start and end times.

Afterschool Programming

Increasing educational opportunities for children and youth requires us to rethink the traditional school day. The Elmira City School District, committed to the Community Schools model, utilizes innovative approaches that expand learning opportunities before, during, and after school, during the summer and/or by extending the school day and year. >>click here to learn about grade-specific afterschool opportunities for your student(s).

Transportation Information

Information about transportation, including pick-up and drop-off times, bus stop location and bus number, will come out next week. Please stay tuned for these details.

Parent Portal

The Schooltool Parent Portal is one of many ways to keep in touch with your child's academic progress and is available to all parents in the Elmira City School District. The Parent Portal allows parents and legal guardians to view their child's class schedule, bus information, grades, assignments, attendance record, discipline history, and contact information from nearly any device that can access the Internet. New to Parent Portal? Stay connected. >>click here to register for Parent Portal

Family and Student Resource Guide and Code of Conduct

Communication between school and home is a critical component for the success of our students. The Family and Student Resource Guide includes the 2021-22 District Calendar, School-specific Communication Flowcharts, District Code of Conduct and transportation policy. >>click here to access the Family and Student Resource Guide

Community Schools | Roster of Student Services and Programs

We are committed to whole-child, whole-community development by removing barriers and delivering support services as a way to achieve academic excellence in an evolving community. The Elmira City School District partners with the community to integrate strong instructional programming with student-centered health services, after-school academic enrichment, mentoring, parent engagement, and more. >>click here to read about our programs and download the Community Schools manual

As we have learned in the last months, decisions and plans are fluid and can change quickly. Our District leaders will continue to be in close contact with these agencies for guidance and protocol. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your student’s building principal(s).

Thank you and be well,
Hillary J. Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District



Update as of August 11, 2021 – 4:00 p.m.

Dear Elmira City School District Families,

We hope this finds you happy and healthy in the last weeks of summer. We are writing to touch base with you regarding New York State’s back-to-school planning relative to COVID-19 and subsequent health and safety regulations. We have not received definitive information from New York State regarding health and safety requirements for the new school year.

However, at this time the Elmira City School District plans to bring all students to school for five days per week at all levels. There are other important details yet to be determined (ex. masking, testing, distancing, etc.).

Our District leadership team is proactively working closely with the Chemung County Executive’s Office, Chemung County Health officials and surrounding school districts to develop plans that will bring our students and staff back to school safely.

Please log on to www.elmiracityschools.com for Open House dates and times, Parent Academy sessions, back to school supply lists, health physical information, and more.

We thank you for your continued patience as we are working to do what is best for all students, in consultation with local, regional, and state authorities.

Thank you and be well,
Hillary J. Austin
Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District