****************************** Updated 1/7/19 ******************************
January 7, 2019
Dear Onteora Community,
I wanted to update you on our new after school procedure now that we have completed the first week. Our students have been really wonderful as we work with this new structure. We want to ensure that everyone is aware of the options available to students during the after school hours. One of the concerns with our new procedure is that students are often hungry after school. In order to alleviate this issue, our cafeteria will remain open from dismissal until 3:30 for students to purchase food. While many of the items that students can purchase during the day will be available after school such as yogurt parfaits, fresh fruit and salad plates, there will also be a number of items available that are not sold during the school day. Students can also pre-order a fresh made sandwich during the day to be picked up after school. We will also have pizza available that students can purchase by the slice or they can pre-order whole pies. Our School Lunch Manager is also asking students for suggestions about what items they would like to purchase after school so that they can have options of their choosing.
We have also extended the hours of the library until 5:15, as well as room 121C/D for high school students and room 143 for middle school students. The library will be for students that want a quiet space to work, and in Rooms 121C/D & 143, they will be able to relax together, sit at tables and eat, or use their electronic devices.
Lastly, we are opening the Fitness Center from dismissal until 4:10 for those students that would like to work out afterschool. There will be a staff member in the Fitness Center to assist students with the equipment.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we put these measures in place to ensure the safety of our students and we will continue to work to provide them with options for how to spend their time while they are here.
Superintendent of Schools
December 18, 2018
Dear Onteora Middle School and High School Families:
I am writing to let you know of some changes that we will be instituting when our students return from Winter Break.
Changes to Late Bus Transportation
This fall, we had suspended the use of late bus passes to see if it would increase participation at athletic games, extra-curricular activities and other events. We have been gratified to see an increase in the number of students staying after school to support their peers at these activities, however, we have significant supervision and security concerns during the afterschool hours. Not being able to account for the students who have gone home on the late bus has created safety issues. We have therefore decided to once again require late bus passes. This will take effect when students return to school after the Winter Break. We will still transport any student who gets on a late bus without a pass, but they will be logged so that we can account for their whereabouts. Students are encouraged to remain on campus and will be provided with transportation home. If they do not follow the guidelines related to acquiring a late bus pass they will be referred to their building administrator the next school day.
Access to Buildings After Hours
We have also been highly concerned with the security of the building afterschool and have decided to put several measures in place to enhance security. As you may know, the entrance at the loading dock has always been unlocked during afterschool hours. After Winter Break, this door will remained locked after school. An employee will be stationed at the desk until after the 5:15 PM late bus departs. Spectators for athletic events will now need to enter the building at the entrance to the gymnasium.
Students who are participating in an activity will of course still be allowed to stay after school. If students are staying to be a spectator for an event, a specific area for them, with supervision, will be provided until the event begins.
Interior Access After Hours
Another area that we feel needs to continually be reviewed and modified is the level of security needed after the 5:15 PM bus when the students have left the building. This is often when community groups are using our facility.
When we return from Winter Break, we will be limiting access to many of our hallways during the evenings. After attending an afterschool activity (be it a club meeting or an athletic practice), many of our students go to their lockers before boarding the late bus. Access to hallways will be open until the 5:15 PM late bus departs, and then they will be secured in order to restrict unnecessary access.
The other situation that we will need to continually be mindful of and make adjustments for is when we have school events in the evening such as concerts, award functions, or theatre productions.
This plan is being communicated to the students several times this week so that everyone is prepared for the changes when we return from break. We know that the safety of our students is everyone’s priority, and we ask for your patience during this transition period. There are sure to be situations that we have not anticipated, and we will likely need to modify our plan as we discover gaps, but we feel strongly that taking these steps to enhance the security of the building is the right course of action.
Thank you for your patience and support.
Superintendent of Schools