Good afternoon PCS families,
I hope this email finds you all healthy and well. There are many updates included in this message, but I want to continue to keep all of you updated with the most current information:
Re-opening for grades 6-12 - Our intention for next Tuesday, October 13 is to welcome 100% of our students in grades PK-12 back into our building for in-person instruction. We have had zero positive COVID-19 cases recently reported to us by the Steuben County Department of Health, so we are moving forward with plans to get students and teachers together once again. As everyone knows, this is a constantly changing and evolving situation, so I will continue to monitor along with the assistance of the Steuben DOH and my medical director to make decisions that are in the best interest of our entire school community. Health and safety continue to be our highest priority.
Operoo and screening – This morning our Operoo software was not working correctly, but I found out that ALL schools using Operoo had the same issue, so it was corrected by the company quickly. We should be all set and ready to go moving forward. Please make sure to respond to this message DAILY since we need that data quickly in the morning. If people do not respond, it makes it very difficult for Nurse Doyle to track everyone down. We are doing better, but our goal is 100% participation. Thanks for helping with this.
Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Food Benefits - We want to be sure that everyone is aware of a benefit that the families of all 2019-20 PCS students have received or will be receiving. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 authorized the payment of Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) food benefits to households with children who would have received free school lunches under the National School Lunch Act, if not for a school closure. These temporary food benefits are to help cover the cost of meals children would otherwise have received at school from March through June during the 2019-20 school year. Since PCS qualified for free meals for all students last year, all 2019-20 PCS students are eligible for the P-EBT benefits, in the amount of $420 per child.
If your family received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and/or Temporary Assistance‒TA (Cash) benefits for March 2020, and you have children between ages 5 and 18 who receive free or reduced-price school lunch, you should have already received P-EBT food benefits for each eligible child in your household. These food benefits were automatically issued to your family’s current EBT card in May and June.
If your family was not enrolled in a food assistance program in March 2020, you still will automatically get P-EBT food benefits for each school-age child in your household who attended PCS last year. Benefit cards and information about when and how to access P-EBT food benefits may have already been sent or will be mailed to households with eligible children through October. Please be sure not to discard this information when you receive it, as the enclosed card is worth $420 in food credits per child. All cards have the student’s name along with a generic birth date of 01/01/1900 printed on them, and we understand that this may cause some confusion and could appear to be “junk” mail. Once you receive these cards and use them, DO NOT discard as they may be loaded in the future.
For more information on the P-EBT cards, please go to https://otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19/Frequently-Asked-Questions-Pandemic-EBT.asp. Contact information for questions about the program is available at that site.
New Return to School Information – New York State recently issued updated guidance on students returning to school. This new document is posted on our website at: https://www.prattsburghcsd.org/Page/2368. What this means is that students will need a diagnosis from a doctor that is documented through a test of some sort in order to avoid a COVID-19 test. For example, if a student tests positive for strep, they will be able to return to school. However, if a student has an upper respiratory issues or other COVID-19 symptoms, he/she will not be allowed back in school without a negative COVID-19 test. Please also remember that if your child displays ANY symptom listed for COVID-19 (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea), he/she WILL NOT be permitted back into school without first going to a doctor. Keeping your child home for any of these symptoms automatically requires a doctor’s appointment. This is the guidance that is provided to us by the NYS DOH an we have no choice but to follow it.
Please make sure to keep masks clean , especially our younger students. Having a clean mask is very important!
Remember that masks need to be thick enough to protect everyone. If you can blow a candle out through the mask or see light through the mask, it is simply too thin.
Our best mode of communication with parents right now is via e-mail. Our teachers will continue to use email since it is the most efficient way to distribute information. We have told teachers not to text, so we can’t count on that as a means to communicate.
Finally, please remind students, especially students in grades 6-12 who are returning next week, that following our health and safety protocols is crucial right now. We want to keep our school open for students, and following the rules is the best way to accomplish that goal.
Wear a mask (properly), watch your distance, and wash your hands continues to be the motto for this school year.
Thanks for your support and patience and sorry for the long message!
Kory G. Bay, Superintendent and Business Administrator
Prattsburgh Central School and Franklin Academy
1 Academy Street
Prattsburgh, NY 14873