Central Valley CSD is hard at work putting together a plan to reopen school in September.

The New York State Education Department (SED) and the Department of Health (DOH) both issued guidelines schools must follow to minimize health risks and to ensure students receive valuable instruction.

"The guidelines focus on three criteria," said Superintendent Jeremy Rich,

"First, is to practice social distancing. Second, is to wear masks whenever social distancing is not possible. Third, is to maintain 50-percent capacity everywhere in school."

Working within those restrictions, Central Valley has until July 31 to submit a local plan to the state.

On Wednesday, 29 school administrators, directors, and union members met virtually to review the state's requirements found in 160 pages of guidance from SED and DOH.

"This meeting gathered representatives from our stakeholder groups," said Rich.

"Some are employees; many are parents and taxpayers. Combining their input with what we have learned from Herkimer County Department of Health, medical professionals, and outside service providers, we are trying to create the best plan we can under the circumstances."

Rich said the challenges are endless. Working parents need their children in school or are forced to find childcare. School employees need to stay healthy. Everything has to work within the district's budget. And everything could change if Gov. Cuomo issues new orders or the school starts seeing COVID cases.

"The message we want to share is that we are working on this," said Rich.

"We also want everyone to know that the plan will cover everything from transportation and food service to technology access and how we communicate to our families.

"We ask our families and employees to be patient while we work through this process. Once we finish, we will post the plan on the district website on J. It should answer most people's questions."