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                                      is an equitable learning community cultivating health, knowledge, skills, and values for productive global citizenship.

Picture of Superintendent of Schools

Dear Onteora Families, 

As I write this letter, I am eagerly anticipating the return of students to our school buildings. By the time you read this, students participating in our in-person learning model will have already returned to their classrooms. 

It is my hope that going forward, we will be able to keep our schools and classrooms open as consistently as possible. We watched as some Districts that returned to in-person learning during the month of January
experienced building closures due to quarantines, but thus far, these closures have been more of the exception than the rule. This gives us hope that we will also be able to keep our buildings open for in-person learning. 

We have asked our families and our staff to provide us with consent to participate in COVID-19 screening testing in anticipation of Ulster County being designated as a microcluster zone. We have no clear indication of when or if that designation might happen, but in order to plan, we need to know if we would have the appropriate number of individuals willing to participate in the screening. This information allows us to plan for our future as we continue to watch this pandemic and its evolving impacts on education.

Although this year has been a year unlike any other, our students continue to achieve and shine. Among their many notable achievements are the High School student newspaper, The Talon, and Onteora’s literary magazine, The Reservoir. The student newspaper can
be found on the High School website at this link: https://ohs.onteora.k12.ny.us/clubs/school-newspaper-the-talon.

The depth and breadth of subject matter and the high level of writing in these two publications are a tribute to the hard work and dedication
of the students. Much of the content rivals or surpasses what I have seen in professional publications.

We are also anticipating a return to athletics for our secondary students based on the Governor’s recent announcement that he has approved high risk sports to proceed, pending approval of the local Department of Health for each District. 

At the elementary schools, we have seen really creative instruction at all levels. During the holidays, our Bennett Elementary School musicians created incredible videos showing that even a pandemic cannot stop our talented students from sharing the joy of music. Onteora students always bring passion as well as dedication to all of their musical endeavors, which have the power to inspire and
unite us all. Thanks to the hard work of our faculty and the assistance of a retiree, the community can watch our Bennett students perform by clicking on “news” at the bottom of the Bennett webpage: https://bennett.onteora.k12.ny.us/. There is a video of both the orchestra and the band to view. 

Throughout this pandemic, I have been inspired by all of the caring that has been demonstrated across this community. Our students,
staff, and families have shown boundless resilience and have supported each other in ways that are heartwarming and humbling to see. I look forward to seeing what hopeful news the spring may bring.

Sincerely,
Victoria McLaren
vmclaren@onteora.k12.ny.us
845-657-6383 ext. 1010