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Mr. James Brennan

LINK: Reopening Resources Documents/Sites

LINK: 2020-21 Reopening Plans by School

LINK: FAQ's Reopening 2020-21



Dear West Irondequoit Families, 

We were informed that an Irondequoit High School student recently tested positive for COVID-19. At this time, the Monroe County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has completed contact tracing and determined that the student contracted the virus outside of school. As a precaution, the student self-quarantined and has not been on campus since October 9th. The MCDPH also indicated that the student was not a carrier of the virus prior to their last day of attendance.

If the MCDPH did not contact you or your child, there is no risk of exposure. As you know per federal privacy laws, we cannot disclose more details or personally identifiable information about COVID-19 cases. 

As you hear in the news, COVID-19 positive cases are to be expected especially as the weather gets colder. Earlier this week, I shared advice about the precautions we need to take when moving our small family and friend gatherings indoors. Like this case, we need to continue to closely monitor the possible physical signs and symptoms daily. Our staff and you are doing a great job completing your daily health screens and taking necessary precautions. Let’s keep up the good work and stay the course. Transmission will happen in the community, but we can contain the spread.

Again, thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to our children.

In partnership,

Aaron Johnson signature
Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools


Dear West Irondequoit Families, 

We were informed that a student at Dake Junior High School recently tested positive for COVID-19. At this time, the Monroe County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has completed its contact tracing and determined that the student contracted the virus outside of school and that no other staff or students are impacted.  To add to this reassurance, the student has not entered a school facility since September 29th.

If the MCDPH did not contact you or your child, there is no risk of exposure. As you know per federal privacy laws, we cannot disclose more details or personally identifiable information about COVID-19 cases. 

I believe our cases reflect a shared understanding and ownership for our community’s health and especially that of our students and staff. Thank you for buying in, for coaching your children and for practicing proper:

  • Physical distancing of 6 feet or more
  • Face coverings over the nose and mouth
  • Regular hand hygiene

News from Monroe County shows an increase in community transmission within small groups that have regularly associated with one another outdoors. As you move family and social gatherings indoors, please consider those safety measures and be cautious around those you feel comfortable with outside of your immediate family. We all travel to grocery stores, gas stations and places of business and could unknowingly become infected.

Thank you again for your ongoing support.

In partnership,

Aaron Johnson signature
Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools


Dear West Irondequoit Families, 

Over the long weekend we were informed that a staff member at Iroquois Middle School recently tested positive for COVID-19. At this time, the Monroe County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has completed its contact tracing and determined that the staff member contracted the virus outside of school and that no other staff or students are at risk. Since being informed that they had close contact with a known case last weekend, the staff member self-quarantined awaiting the results of their own test.

If the MCDPH did not contact you or your child, there is no risk of exposure. As you know per federal privacy laws, we cannot disclose more details or personally identifiable information about this or other COVID-19 cases. 

This latest case is a great example of personal awareness. Each day our students and staff report to school, they complete a health screen that asks key questions such as:

  • Do you have a fever of 100 degrees F or higher or chills?
  • Do you have any symptoms not typical to you such as a cough, headache, sore throat, runny nose, congestion, diarrhea, muscle aches or shortness of breath?
  • Has your sense of taste or smell been impacted?
  • In the past 14 days, have you been in close contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19?
  • Have you travelled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the NYS Travel Advisory?

Each is a critical question to consider before sending your child(ren) to school. To err on the side of caution, is to consider the well-being of not only your loved ones but also all of our children and staff. With cold and flu season upon us and the weather changing, it is critical that we remain vigilant and stay the course together. Thank you for the ongoing support and extra work you’re giving to safeguard our schools. Teaching and learning cannot safely continue as it is without your support!

In partnership,

Aaron Johnson signature
Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools

Oct. 8, 2020: UPDATE ON COVID-19 CASES

Dear West Irondequoit Families, 

I wanted to share with you that we have two new positive COVID-19 student cases, one at Dake Junior High School and the other at Rogers Middle School. At this time, the Monroe County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has completed its contact tracing and determined that the students contracted the virus outside of school. Neither student has been on campus since the last full week of September. 

If the MCDPH did not contact you or your child, there is no risk of exposure. As you know per federal privacy laws, we cannot disclose more details or personally identifiable information about this or other COVID-19 cases. 

Last week, the NYS Department of Health provided updated guidance on how attendance should be handled for staff and students. These easy-to-follow flowcharts are important for parents and guardians to help clarify the process and illustrate how decisions are made to quarantine or allow re-entry to school. For your reference you can find them on our COVID-19 Resources page:

As the weather continues to cool, I cannot stress enough how important it is to apply COVID-19 safety precautions when gathering indoors or in the community. Please limit your gatherings to the recommendations from the CDC on gatherings and community events and make sure to practice physical distancing and hand hygiene and wear face coverings. Regardless of whether you’re gathering with extended family or friends, we must remain committed to these safeguards. Together, we share the responsibility to protect our schools from community-based COVID-19 infections. Your child(ren)’s education depends on it.

In partnership,

Aaron Johnson signature
Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools

The NYS Department of Health just provided us with updated guidance on how attendance should be handled for staff and students. These are a must-review and easy-to follow flowcharts for parents and guardians. Find them on our COVID-19 Resources page:

Dear West Irondequoit Families,

I wanted to share with you that we have a new positive COVID-19 case for a student at Dake Junior High School. At this time, the Monroe County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has completed its contact tracing investigation and determined that the student contracted the virus outside of school. This student has not physically entered a school facility since early last week.

If the MCDPH did not contact you or your child, there is no risk of exposure. As you know per federal privacy laws, we cannot disclose any more details or personally identifiable information about this or other COVID- 19 cases.

To help you understand the protocols followed for a student exposed to COVID-19, please read the current MCDPH guidelines regarding quarantine measures and health screening. This county guidance is based on the direction of the NYS Department of Health requirements: The student is symptom-free for 14 days from the last date of contact with a COVID-19 case.

More information on local COVID-19 testing sites is located at NYS Information on Novel Coronavirus. Please direct any questions about potential exposure, testing, contact tracing or quarantining to the MCDPH. Call (585) 753-5555 or email

According to the Monroe County Commissioner for Public Health, Dr. Michael Mendoza, face coverings and physical distancing in schools are working. That, along with the contact tracing and precautionary quarantines, prevents spread and keeps our infection rates low. As Dr. Mendoza shared in a recent news article, we must carry these habits outside of school, especially as the weather turns colder. I urge you to consider the use of face coverings and physical distancing when gathering in groups indoors. If we can agree to these terms together, we can protect our children, staff and schools to sustain the excellent teaching and learning happening in our classrooms.

In partnership,

Aaron Johnson signature
Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools

Dear West Irondequoit Learning Community,

This letter is to inform you about a new positive COVID-19 student case, a Dake Junior High School student, reported today by the Monroe County Department of Public Health (MCDPH). The student has not physically attended a school building this school year and is being isolated.

Based on its investigation, the MCDPH has determined that the student contracted the virus outside of school. At this time, contact tracing is complete, and the MCDPH has contacted anyone who could potentially be at risk of exposure to this student. If you or your child were not contacted, there is no risk of exposure. As you know, we cannot disclose any more details or personally identifiable information per federal privacy laws.

As in past communications, I urge families to remain diligent outside of school and in the community. Continue to practice the recommended State Department of Health safety measures and track your symptoms daily. That includes limiting the amount of people you are around in group gatherings. If you experience health symptoms not typical to you, make sure to swiftly report them to your health care provider and initiate a precautionary quarantine.

Please direct any questions about potential exposure, testing, contact tracing or quarantining to the MCDPH. Call (585) 753-5555 or email

Thank you,

Aaron Johnson signature
Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools

Dear Families,

This weekend, the District was informed by the Monroe County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) that two new students have tested positive for COVID-19, one at Dake Junior High School and one at Irondequoit High School. 

After completing its investigation, the MCDPH has determined these cases are not related to one another. Both students contracted the virus outside of school and neither were in school buildings while infectious. The infected students are in isolation and will not return to in-person learning until being released by County health officials. At this time, contact tracing has been completed. Anyone at risk of exposure to these students outside of school has been contacted by MCDPH and placed into a mandatory quarantine. If you or your child were not contacted, there is no risk of exposure. We cannot disclose any more details or personally identifiable information per federal privacy laws.

Please direct any questions related to potential exposure, testing, contact tracing or quarantining to the MCDPH. Call (585) 753-5555 or email

To clarify information about last Wednesday's news release on positive tests: Two new cases were reported at that time – both students at the Rogers Middle School. One was found to be transmitted outside of school, and contact tracing on the other case was inconclusive on where transmission occurred. In an abundance of caution, a single class was placed in mandatory quarantine as a result. Those students and staff will not return in-person to school until released by the MCDPH.

Except for the one inconclusive case, the transmission of COVID-19 continues to occur outside of school. I urge students, families and staff to remain diligent and always practice the recommended State Department of Health safety measures. They are:

  • Remain physically distanced by 6 feet or more when possible
  • Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth when in close contact
  • Practice hand hygiene regularly

Even though the local infection rates remain low, we can continue to minimize the spread of COVID-19 through our collective commitment to these recommended practices. Together, we will continue to safeguard the joint health of our schools and the Irondequoit community.

In partnership,

Aaron Johnson signature
Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools


Here is a video message from Dr. Johnson.


The Monroe County Department of Public Health’s investigation of a Rogers Middle School student who tested positive for COVID-19 has determined that the student came into close contact with at least one other student who is in the same class. That other student also has tested positive. Although it is unclear if this transmission occurred in or outside of school and using an abundance of caution, the MCDPH has placed all staff and students in that single classroom into Mandatory Quarantine.

These individuals will not return to in-person learning until being cleared by the MCDPH. It also recommends that they remain distant from others in their households. Unless a quarantined individual tests positive for COVID-19 and is placed in isolation, other members of their households are not considered “close contacts” by the Public Health Department and can continue with in-person instruction at school.

Families and staff impacted are being notified tonight. No other students or staff at Rogers Middle School need to take any further action unless contacted by the MCDPH or School District. Any questions related to potential exposure, testing, contact tracing or quarantining should be directed to the MCDPH at (585) 753-5555 or by emailing

“I am glad we are taking assertive measures to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” said Aaron Johnson, Superintendent of Schools for West Irondequoit. “This reaffirms how important face coverings and physical distance is to preventing the spread of COVID-19. We must remain vigilant. Special thanks to our COVID-19 Safety Team and administrators along with the Monroe County Department of Public Health for quickly assessing this situation and guiding us to take these additional precautionary measures.”


Dear Families of Grades K-6 Students,

Thanks to the “can do” attitude of our staff and you, our students are settling into their respective pandemic learning models and off to a solid start. Together, we’ve tackled many obstacles to create new systems and structures to support our students academic, social and emotional needs given the circumstances. At every turn, there has been new information or changing guidance requiring flexible thinking. Thank you for trusting the process.

More K-6 families opted for the 100% remote learning model than we initially expected. Based on data from August, we expected 250 grades K-6 students to learn remotely. Since then, this number has increased to 380 students. To meet that number of more than 100 additional students, we’ve had to collapse in-person sections to accommodate the requests. The District has been committed to preserving the option for families to change their learning options. In August, we expected this to include the option for students to change from remote to hybrid at the 10-week mark and from hybrid to remote at any time. Since then, we’ve learned that the initial response rate to 100% remote learning will limit our ability to deliver on the vision we had in August.

Where does this put us? Below are the key points to understand:

  • At grades K-5, we have approximately 20 seats available across each grade level to accommodate students moving from remote to hybrid learning AFTER the 10-week mark.
  • These seats are distributed unevenly across our buildings. This is due to the unique variance to the hybrid learning requests by building and grade level. This means that at 10 weeks, students requesting a return to hybrid learning will be placed in their home neighborhood schools on a first come, first served basis. Some students may not be placed back at their home school building for this year only.
  • At grade 6, space is even more limited and complex. We will need to analyze the number of requests to return to hybrid learning to determine how to best proceed.
  • Due to the higher than expected number of requests, our 100% remote learning classes are near capacity. This now constricts our ability to deliver on the vision to allow students to switch from hybrid to 100% remote at any time. We must now limit requests to the 10-week mark. At that time, we will assess how many students are requesting a move in both directions and make decisions from there.

Please accept my regrets and apologies for overextending ourselves initially. Our District’s mindset is rooted in a spirit of service and errored on the side of flexibility that we now know isn’t possible. Understanding these limitations, we suggest the following events for families considering a change. They are:

  1. SUBMIT QUESTIONS: Families may submit questions regarding these grade K-6 changes by Friday, Sept. 25 via a Microsoft link that was emailed on Wednesday.
  2. ZOOM WEBINAR: We will host a video webinar on this at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28 to address questions submitted on the form above. Join the webinar via the link emailed to you on Wednesday.
  3. REQUEST CHANGE AT 10 WEEKS: Families must submit their request to change their learning model by Monday, Oct. 19. Access the request form via the link in the email sent on Wednesday. Students requesting a change will begin their new learning model on Monday, Nov. 9. If the number of requests exceeds our ability at this time, we will accommodate as many as possible and reconsider the remaining at the 20-week mark.
  4. REQUEST AT 20 WEEKS: Families will be given a final chance to request a change to their child’s learning model at the end of 20 weeks. They must do so by Monday, Dec. 21. Access the request form via the email sent on Wednesday. Students requesting this change will begin their new learning model on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. This will be the FINAL chance to request a change for the 2020-21 school year.

Thank you for your continued patience and partnership. This news will likely catch some by surprise and again, I am sorry. We continue to do our best to stay ahead of the changes and are doing our best to manage a structure that is new to us all while putting student and staff safety first.


Aaron Johnson signature
Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools


Dear Families,

The Monroe County Department of Public Health informed us early this morning that a Rogers Middle School student has tested positive for COVID-19. The student last attended school on Friday, Sept. 18th and based on contact tracing conducted by the MCDPH, it determined the virus was contracted outside school. Per privacy guidelines, no additional identifying information can be shared.

Following our safety and cleaning protocols, all areas of the school were thoroughly disinfected and sanitized.

The student and their family have been quarantined. In reviewing our COVID-19 Safety Plan with the MCDPH and based on its contact tracing, the MCDPH determined a very low risk of transmission. That is the result of our mitigation protocols, such as face coverings and physical distancing implemented throughout our buildings. The MCDPH also has advised us that classes should continue as scheduled and that you do not need to take any further action unless contacted directly by them. Rogers is the only school in our district impacted.

Although this is the first known case of COVID-19 occurring in our student population, we can expect that it won't be our last. If we continue to practice proper hand hygiene, physical distancing and wearing face coverings, we will minimize risk of spread and exposure. Safeguarding the health and safety of our schools and their programs starts with everyone. Please continue to practice these safety precautions with fidelity and take our daily health screens so that, as in this case, we reduce the chance of infection to others.

Special thanks to our own health and safety staff and Rogers Principal, Ms. Michelle Flood, for supporting this family and also to the MCDPH for managing this case effectively. If you have any questions regarding this or other COVID-19 related concerns, please contact your child’s building principal or me. You also will find helpful resources posted on the COVID-19 Reopening section of our website.

Thank you,

Aaron Johnson signature

Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D

Superintendent of Schools 


The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced it will continue its free meals program for schools until further notice (and at no cost to West Irondequoit taxpayers). Other than 50 cents for milk, meals served in our buildings and to remote learners are free starting when school reopens Thursday, Sept. 10th. Families that planned to fill out a Free-and-Reduced Meals application should still do so because the USDA says its program may be discontinued without any advanced notice.

FOR REMOTE LEARNERS: We’ll serve a grab-and-go breakfast and lunch for Full-Remote Instruction students Monday-Friday from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the back entrance to Irondequoit High School (Door #5), 260 Cooper Road. On Wednesdays, when there is no in-person instruction and all WICSD students learn remotely, any student K-12 can use this meal option at IHS. To see a daily Remote Learner menu, click here.

SEE ALL MENUS: Access all menus by clicking the “Food Services” quick link at, then “Menus.”

NO CASH ACCEPTED: There will be NO CASH transactions, so parents/guardians should make sure their child(ren)’s My School Bucks has funds.

 Aug. 31, 2020: REOPENING REPORT #9

Dear Families and Colleagues,

I hope this email finds you and your loved ones healthy and well. Thanks to our relentless staff and leaders, we are heading into the home stretch in the right place. Your physical and mental health and safety remain at the forefront of our plans as we anticipate seeing you back and engaged with one another. Speaking on behalf of our staff, we have missed the discussions and smiles that come with children being in school and can't wait to reacclimate them to learning.

Thanks to your feedback, we’ve worked hard to consider every aspect. With that said, these plans will only work if we all commit 100% to each other and our public health. That means completing the daily health screen and temperature check at home and staying home if there are any symptoms of illness. I remember what my parents would tell me when I was a student and felt a little under the weather; they’d say to do my best to get through the day. That isn't the case anymore. Students and staff must check their signs and symptoms daily and commit to staying home if there's any reason they think they're sick. That's a pledge we must make to each other. Together, we can and will ensure our collective health.

Below are reminders and updates regarding safety protocols. Our building administrators and staff are doing an outstanding job of communicating details through their letters. Please remember that our website has a tremendous amount of information as a resource. Additionally, look for more information soon in the form of videos about what to expect next week. It’ll be posted on our websites, YouTube channel and social media. Please continue to reach out to us with any questions along the way.


  • Schedules: Earlier today the student/parent portal opened up for grades K-12, including transportation schedules and grade 7-12 class schedules. Grade 4-6 schedules will be available this week and we will let those families know when they’re posted.
  • Masking Regulations: As an FYI, our District plan already excluded the use of neck gaiters, buffs and bandanas as acceptable face coverings. Last week, our school physician and the Monroe County Department of Public Health released information that aligned with those as unacceptable face coverings due to the increased risk of human aerosols passing through the barrier and air.
  • Mask breaks: Questions have surfaced about student masking breaks. Principals will work with their building-based teams to create a plan to reduce unreasonable masking durations. An example: Any masking period that exceeds 4 hours. A natural break from masking may include physical education, independent recess or other independent activities. Masking breaks will only be offered pending staff and student comfort. Conversations cannot occur during those breaks and a minimum of six feet physical distance must be maintained. 
  • Temperature checks/health screens: All students and staff are REQUIRED to conduct a DAILY temperature check before reporting to school. We also plan to recheck student and staff temperatures at the door using infrared scanners. Staff is also REQUIRED to complete a daily health screen, which asks an individual to rule out symptoms. Students must complete them periodically. We plan to offer a web-based health screening program before Sept. 10. Staff will be asked to complete a daily paper-based screen prior to each of our four upcoming professional development days.

Thank you again to everyone involved in our emergency planning and advisory workgroups, including students, parents, staff, administration and the Board of Education. It’s clear evidence that West Irondequoit rallies for its children. We are a community that cares.

In Partnership,

Aaron Johnson signature

Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools

 Aug. 24, 2020: REOPENING REPORT #8

Dear Families and Staff:

Please click THIS LINK to watch a video, as Superintendent Aaron Johnson takes you inside classrooms and a cafeteria, onto a playground and more. He shares more on how we plan to keep our students, staff and buildings safe as we start the school year on Sept. 10th.

Also, as per the governor's order, here are links to additional resources we shared last week on our website about: 

For all updates, visit our COVID-19 Reopening Information page to read and watch more as our plans continue to develop. 

Aug. 17, 2020: REOPENING REPORT #7

Dear Families and Staff, 

Our work to prepare our schools and self for reopening continues. Whether you will be engaged in the Remote or Hybrid (in-person) model, this dialogue and partnership remain critical. Thank you for the continued engagement through discussion forums and email. Your questions help us consider every angle and to make sure we are clear communicators. 

This past weekend the portal to request our Full Remote Instruction model to start the school year closed. Thank you for making your decision based on evolving information. We will be notifying those families this week that we did receive their request. That plan is binding for the first 10 weeks of the school year. Why the deadline? It was critical for us to determine how many students will be back in our buildings on Thursday, Sept. 10 – the first day of school – and to help us continue to build a Hybrid model that meets safety guidelines while still offering effective instruction.

Remember, students can still go remote. They can do that at any time. Those requests should now be made to building principals. You’ll find a directory of them at this link. Families who do not plan to have their children ride the bus this school year should also fill out our Transportation Opt-Out form ASAP. Constructing efficient transportation routes with children seated safely on our buses is another tall task for us. You can opt back into transportation at any time.

Regarding your instructional model of choice: If a need arises for your family to reconsider this due to an extending circumstance, please contact your child’s principal. We will continue to work with families as necessary. As mentioned above, communication is essential. As a resource for you, our website’s Reopening Resources Documents and Links page continues to grow. If you missed it, we recently added a WICSD Grades 7-12 Reopening Plan Summary. That page, along with our COVID-19 Reopening Information for 2020-21, provides access to internal and external resources and prior COVID-19 related communications. 

We also are offering three more reopening informational webinars/forums this week:

  • 6:30 p.m. today: For families of students in grades 7-12
  • 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. Aug. 18: For Irondequoit High School students
  • 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19: For families of students in grades K-6

Families will be emailed links to those sessions by grade level.

Planning for a safe reopening is riddled with stress, anxiety and at times, frustration. I am incredibly grateful for how our community has rallied around our students and staff and am thankful for the leadership of our Board of Education, administration, staff and you. Together, we will carry one another through. Our children are counting on it.

In Partnership, 

Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools

Aug. 13, 2020: More details on Full Remote & Hybrid

Reopening: What does Full Remote Learning Look Like?

This is certainly a common question from parents/guardians, so we wanted to share more details. Remember, choosing Full Remote Instruction before the Friday, Aug. 14th deadline is binding for the first 10 weeks of the 2020-21 school year. We expect after that, students may have the option to switch to the Hybrid model based on available space, staffing and safety regulations. Students may also decide to stay in Full Remote Instruction. By doing nothing before Aug. 14th, students are defaulted into the Hybrid model.

Click the links below for more details from our K-6 Director of Instruction, Mrs. Chrissy Miga, and our 7-12 Director of Instruction, Mrs. Karen Finter. We appreciate your feedback and understanding as our plans continue to develop.


Aug. 10, 2020: REOPENING REPORT #6

Dear Families and Staff,

On Friday, Governor Cuomo announced that all New York State schools would open with the proper plans in place. As most of you know, the reopening plans are listed by school on our District's website. Added to the guidance previously provided, schools must include posting the following items separately on our website:

  • Explanation of how we will accomplish remote learning
  • Testing protocols and procedures for COVID-19
  • Details about how schools will work with, support and supplement the contact efforts of their local health department
  • Public meeting dates held between Aug. 7-21 with staff (1 meeting) and families/community (3).

The conditions for remote learning, testing, and contact tracing are included in our comprehensive reopening plan posted to our websites and will be extracted and posted soon separately. As essential voices to the success of our reopening, many of you have participated in past surveys, Thoughtexchanges and online meetings. Building-specific meetings with our staff will begin routinely starting next week. We are incredibly grateful for your insight because it helped us create our best plan. Since most of these meetings were before Aug. 7, we are holding the following opportunities for additional dialogue:


For Families and Community

  • All Families, Reopening Town Hall Webinar: : Tuesday, Aug. 11 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Any residents/Board of Education meeting: Thursday, Aug. 13 – 5:30 p.m. (watch live on our website/YouTube channel) 
  • Grades 7-12: Monday, Aug. 17 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Grades K-6: Wednesday. Aug. 19 – 6:30 p.m.

(Note: Families will be emailed links to the informational sessions the day of the event)

Our informational sessions with families will dive deeper into the details of the plan at the building and classroom level. Some work remains, and we will continue to share what we know to help you prepare. This journey has been the epitome of a process that reflects a lot of input, reflection and refinement. As we've shared before, managing this pandemic will continue to be a fluid and dynamic experience. Our collaboration is critical to the safety, health and ultimately success of our children and staff.

Reflective of that process, here are a few notable points of clarification based on your questions and feedback.

Masks: Guidelines require students to wear masks on buses and allow masks to be removed when socially distanced and seated during instruction. However, the recommendation is that students wear masks at all times, and based on overwhelming feedback from parents/guardians, West Irondequoit will require that. But we will build in many mask breaks. We also will monitor and possibly adjust this as we settle into the new year. If the proper habits form and people are comfortable, we may consider mask removal during instruction if a student is seated and socially distanced.

Temperature checks: Again according to guidance, families are responsible for checking and acknowledging their students' temperature at home before they come to school. Families must comply with this state requirement. For an added layer of safety, we are finalizing plans to verify student and staff temperatures before entering the school buildings — more information to come.

Building cleaning: Extensive cleaning and disinfection will happen every single night in every area occupied by students and staff. This process will include using safe products that eliminate viruses, including COVID-19, from all high-touch vertical and horizontal hard surfaces. Our cleaners and custodians will follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines as defined on its website. Extensive training and professional development, along with a log system, will ensure these measures will happen with fidelity. These measures will minimize the risk of any potential spread between the Blue and Gold student cohorts in grades 7-12.

The engagement and productive dialogue we’ve maintained throughout this process has made all the difference. Please don't stop asking your questions and contacting us with ideas. You can email questions to our Director of Public Information, Jeff DiVeronica at We are all coming at this from a different place. I know there is no perfect plan, but I feel strongly that our plan is just that, our plan. Together, our children belong to all of us.

In Partnership, 

Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools

Aug. 5, 2020: REOPENING REPORT #5

Dear Families and Staff, 

Although our reopening plan was submitted to the NYSED on Friday, the collaboration and planning process continues. As more information becomes available, we're busy integrating it into our thoughts. As I've shared before, this will continue to be a fluid process. Please be sure to file your Request for Fully Remote Instructionand Transportation Opt-Out, if you desire, by Friday, Aug. 14. Knowing this is critical to finalizing class lists, balancing section loads, and determining bus routes. We're sharing details as they become availableI know some people would like to know more before making a choice, and hopefully today's report will provide help.

We have compiled a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document with responses to more than 55 questions you submitted for last Thursday's Board of Education meeting (CLICK TO WATCH). Similar questions were condensed, and most we were able to answer. If you don't find the information you need, please contact a building principal, Director, or me. We're prepared to share what we know and/or hear your ideas.

As the Governor stated, our families must be involved and remain informed throughout this process. The Governor also created some confusion about COVID-19 testing by schools. If you haven't heard the clarification, the guidance from the NYSED addressed this by stating, 
"It is strongly recommended that schools comply with CDC guidance and not conduct COVID-19 testing or require testing or antibody testing of students or staff members. The decision of whether a test needs to be conducted should be determined by a healthcare provider or the local department of health." If testing is warranted, we will work with the Monroe County Health Department and the DOH will provide direction on how to proceed. 

This week, we expect a final decision from Governor Cuomo on whether schools will open in-person or fully remote. I expect this news to break on Thursday or Friday and provide direction in Monday’s Reopening Report on how we will proceed. Next Tuesday, Aug. 11 we will have another opportunity to ask questions with top administrators in a webinar at 6:30 PM. It's a Q&A format. You ask questions live, but it's not a live broadcast. We'll post a video of the session later. Next Tuesday, all families will receive a link to join that webinar.  

We continue to be ever grateful for the sustained engagement and support from you. Please keep the lines of communication open. You are critical allies in educating and caring for our children. Together, we will figure this out.

In Partnership, 

Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools

Aug. 3, 2020: REOPENING REPORT #4

Dear Families and Staff,

Thanks everyone involved, we successfully submitted our District’s reopening plans to the NYSED on Friday. The insight and perspective you provided was critical to making sure we’ve considered every angle. But the work is far from finished. As I’ve noted on several occasions, our plan to offer a choice between hybrid or remote learning is fluid and will continue to evolve over the next few weeks. We’re doing our best to share information as it’s confirmed. If at any time you have questions or ideas, please contact a member of our team – either a Director, building principal or me, as appropriate. The success of our ability to reopen in some fashion is tied directly to our collaboration and support of one another.

Student and staff safety come first. During our presentation to the Board of Education on July 30 we shared details about the precautions we’ve planned to ensure this. To give you a better idea about what to expect, we’re including further details about three critical components of our plan:

  • Face coverings/masks
  • Cleaning and disinfecting
  • Social distancing

I hope this information helps you to visualize what to expect. In the end, our community’s health rests on us all. We all have to commit to these practices and execute them with fidelity. Masking, social distancing and proper hygiene isn’t a matter of courtesy – it’s dedicating ourselves to the safety of everyone involved.

Last, below is a schedule of events for your information. Please note that we anticipate a change to the first day of school for students. At our next Board of Education meeting on August 13, I am recommending that we approve a revised 2020-21 calendar to provide more time for our staff to prepare. If approved, this will make the first day of instruction for students Thursday, September 10, 2020.

    • Friday, July 31: WICSD "Living" Plan Submitted/Posted
    • Monday, August 3: K-6; 7-12 Staff Town Hall Meeting
    • Friday, Aug. 7: Expected decision date (at the latest) from Gov. on reopening
    • Early August: Reopening FAQ    
    • Thursday, August 13: BoE Study Session- Reopening Update
    • Friday, August 14: Requests Due- Trans. & Full Remote
    • Weekly "Reopening Reports:" Ongoing through School Opening
    • Mid-August: Student Schedules
    • September 2,3,8,9: Potential Staff Development Days
    • Thursday, September 10: Potential Opening Day of instruction for Students

As we work to ready to ourselves to welcome students and staff back in September, thank you again for being allies. Together we will ensure that quality teaching and learning takes place for all students in an equitable and fair way. In doing so, we will not cut any corners in keeping our students and staff safe.

In Partnership, 

Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools



Quite simply, wearing a face covering or mask is a mandatory requirement by State Education Department (SED) and Department of Health (DOH). No mask, no admittance to a building. We have purchased masks for students and staff. They must be worn whenever it’s not possible to be socially distanced. We are considering the added precaution of requiring masks even when socially distanced. The same is true for riding a school bus. Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose. Face coverings will be supplied to any student who does not have their own, at no cost. Through the day, opportunities will be provided by the teacher(s) or administration to allow your child to take mask breaks.

Educating students on how to put on, take off and clean applicable masks properly will be taught at the start of school and periodically re-visited during the required masking period. The Center for Disease Control has several helpful resources on How to Wear Masks (CLICK LINK). If you or your child need assistance with face coverings, please see your school principal, school nurse or counselor. Please also consider sharing the tips below, especially for younger students.


West Irondequoit’s dedicated staff of custodians, custodial assistants and cleaners have received ongoing training on best practices for effective cleaning and disinfecting. That must follow the latest guidelines. All schools must develop a cleaning and disinfecting protocol that follows Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and DOH guidelines. Building logs will be maintained that include the date, time and scope of cleaning and disinfection completed.

The WICSD is committed to daily cleaning and disinfecting of spaces. Daily cleaning of high contact surfaces, such as light switches, handrails, desks surfaces, door handles, faucets, toilets, etc., will take place throughout the day. Specific high-risk locations (i.e. health office) within a school will warrant a high level of disinfection regularly throughout the day. Cleaning and disinfecting frequency will be building specific.

 The cleaning and disinfecting chemicals that the district utilizes meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as effective against COVID-19.  The chemical dwell time equates to how long it takes for the chemical to kill the virus. In WICSD, we use a range of approved products throughout the day, and the dwell time ranges from 60 seconds to 10 minutes.  

 The State DOH has provided the following for you to review (CLICK LINK).

Picture of socially distanced classroom


State guidance requires classroom personnel (students, teachers, etc.) to be socially distanced (at least 6 feet apart). As recommended, we will place desks in rows with students facing the front of the room. If able, some rooms may have one larger table with two seats at each end. If masked, two people could meet safely at the table for a discussion. We anticipate using a similar model in other larger learning spaces such as art rooms, music rooms and our All-Purpose Rooms (APRs) in K-3 buildings. An APR room, for example, can be split in half and allow for two classes of approximately 10 students each.

 July 30, 2020: More Reopening details (video)

Click above to watch a replay of Thursday's Board of Education meeting when Supt. Aaron Johnson and our top administrators shared more details on our Reopening Plans.
July 27, 2020: REOPENING REPORT #3

Dear Families and Staff,

Thanks to the work of many and input from you, we have a model for reopening our schools in SeptemberIt looks to maximize in-person instruction while safeguarding student and staff health and safety in a fluid and flexible way. We know that everyone is in a different place with return to school, which makes working together critical. Recognizing how extremely challenging and unique this is for every family and staff member, we built in time for reflection, support and adjustments along the way. Our team combed through every inch of the state guidance documents and survey data to customize a structure for West Irondequoit that honors the complexity of opportunities and experiences. In the coming year, we are committed to making sure your children receive the education they deserve.We expect to hear the week of August 3-7 if Governor Cuomo decides that in-person instruction is aoptionThat guidance will determine what happens for all NYS schools.However,we believe at some point during the 2020-21 school year our model will be implemented and valuable.

Planning Process

To understand how we came to these conclusions, here’s a quick review of our planning structure:

Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools

Leadership Team and Staff

Emergency Management Team

COVID-19 Advisory Workgroups

Operations and Logistics Team

Instructional Services Team

Public Health and Social EmotionalSupportTeam

Equity, Family and Community Needs Team

Transportation and Food Services Team

This diverse group made the most of the short turnaround and available guidance. Special thanks to the many students, parents, community members, staff, administration and Board of Education members who volunteered to take part. Their dedication to our children along with your engagement was extremely helpful and critical to getting this rightHere are links to the latest guidance and WICSD family survey data reflected in our plan.

Reopening Plan

Hybrid Model

Attached is the summary of the hybrid model. All students will return in person in varying degrees based on available space. English Language Learners (ELL), Students with Disabilities (SWD) and youngest students will experience longer durations of in-person instruction depending on circumstances.

  • Grades K-6 will learn in-person Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday and remotely on Wednesdays.

  • Grades 7-12 will report for two days (either Monday/Thursday OR Tuesday/Friday) with students learning remotely the remaining three days.These students will be placed in two groups by alphabet and household to support families with coordination and planning. We will inform you of those groups in August.

Our mantra is start slowly to go fast. By having all students K-12 learn remotely on Wednesdays it allows for a midweek deep clean and disinfection of all buildings/classrooms with time for staff to reflect, plan and provide targeted supports. More details regarding remote learning days will be forthcoming. 

Fully Remote

Procedures are in-place to coordinate full remote learning for groups, buildings or the entire district given a future outbreak. In addition, we are considering a full-remote option for students with compromising health conditions or other situations that may impact a child’s ability to return. Please know that our ability to provide these options is dependent on further state guidance. To help our folks prepare for this, we’ve created a link to request this option. If interested in being considered for full- remote learning if it is allowed, complete this form by Friday, August 14

Transportation Opt-out

Like classrooms, school buses are required to maximize physical distancing, as students and staff wear face masks while ridingAs an added layer of protection, schools are directed to have windows or hatches cracked open to allow for increased fresh air flow. Knowing these safety standards, if you predict that your child will NOT require transportation normally provided by the school, please compete the following Opt-out Form by Friday, August 14

Details and Further Communication

Included with today’s report are detailed updates from our five COVID-19 Advisory Workgroups.Updates include essential questions they’ve focused on to prepare our schools to safely reopen. 

Keeping you well-informed as we finalize the details to reopen is important. In addition to our weekly “Reopening Reports” which will continue into September, we’ve added the following communications to help. Along with these touchpoints, you can also contact me or your building principal at any time with comments or questions. 

  • Special meeting of the Board of Education this Thursday, July 30. Watch it live at 7 PM at this link (or later; it will be posted). The first hour of the meeting will be a presentation and discussion of the reopening plans with the Board with the second hour devoted to answering questions from the communityIf you want to submit questions for discussion, please email them before 3 p.m. on July 30thto our Director of Public Information at

  • Conversations with staff will be held on Friday, July 31. Elementary staff (K-6) can join me at 10 am and Secondary (7-12) at 11 am via Zoom.

  • FAQ documents will be developed and available to families and staff in the next few weeks. 

All COVID related communication and resources are archived and accessible by visiting our website’sCOVID-19 Reopening Information for 2020-21

Thank you again to everyone who provided input and took part in the planning. As I’ve become accustomed to in West Irondequoit, our students really do belong to all of us and together. Together, we will create the right conditions for all children to safely learn and grow. 

In Partnership, 

Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools

 July 20, 2020: REOPENING REPORT #2

Dear Families and Staff,

Last week was busy digesting guidance from the NYS Department of Health (LINK) and NYSED (LINK) regarding reopening schools. As the State Education Department framed it in their 145-page document, our task now is “Recovering, Rebuilding, and Renewing: The Spirit of New York State Schools.” Our five COVID-19 school reopening advisory workgroups are working hard this week to operationalize this information to prepare the three plans we’re required to submit by July 31. These plans include:

•    100% In-person instruction: This is the best-case scenario that would leverage every available square inch of our schools to bring all students grades K-12 back together. Given the anxiety, this situation may have not the greatest odds to occur but will be an objective to aim for given time.

•    100% Remote instruction: This situation incorporates all students in grades K-12 learning from home. Applying what we learned from the emergency closure remote learning this spring, we’ll launch a new and improved model. Changes to streamline and enhance instruction, communication, and more direct contact with staff are all included.

•    Hybrid instruction: This plan includes having the bulk of elementary and middle school students in-person for most days. We do have the space to allow this while keeping students physically distanced. At the secondary level, students will be split in two groups by alphabet and will attend in-person a portion of each week with remote learning the opposite days. There will be a heavy focus on social-emotional and mental health supports for students and staff with time built in for ongoing planning, feedback, reflection, and professional development.

As I shared, every school must develop plans for all three scenarios. The state will then decide the first week of August which plan will occur based on the regional infection rates.

Thanks to the over 2,100 families who responded to our recent survey, we know there are varying perspectives on returning to school. With confidence levels across the board, there are differences in how people see the structures and routines needed to support teaching and learning. With health and safety of our students, faculty and staff being the #1 priority, our plans front-load time to process, monitor, and adjust to promote success. Ample time will be spent talking about emotions, rebuilding community, and teaching people how to protect themselves using PPE, social-distancing, and hand hygiene.

Included below are summaries of our current work around health and safety and instruction. As a resource to assist you, we have also expanded the link on our website’s homepage to include a running record of our school reopening communications and resources. Just click on the big yellow box titled “COVID-19 Reopening Information.” Next Monday, expect a breakdown of your feedback from the survey along with detailed updates from all five reopening advisory groups.

Until then, please continue to practice proper social-distancing and masking when needed and keep those hands clean. Together we will have our children back where they belong- in school, working hard, having fun being engaged with their friends and favorite staff learning and growing together. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call myself or your child’s principal with questions or ideas.

Thank you,

Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools


Health and Safety

We have engaged our architects and engineers from CPL to evaluate our building ventilation systems. As a result, we are switching to filters that remove smaller particles while at the same time ensure maximum air flow throughout. In certain higher traffic areas, we are investigating the use of specialized electrostatic filters. In our health offices, CPL is working with us to adjust air flow so that it is one directional and fully exhausted to the atmosphere, thereby creating negative pressure within the space. CPL is also assisting us with evaluating our buildings' footprints in order to ensure social distancing through the maximization of usable space as well as developing one-directional traffic patterns in hallways and other common areas.

The District has been purchasing masks for students and staff because their use is required whenever social distancing is not possible. Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) is being acquired, including those for health office staff. Students and staff may provide their own face coverings as well. Acceptable face coverings include, but are not limited to, cloth-based coverings, such as homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana, and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose. Soaps and hand sanitizers have also been acquired as well to support best hand hygiene practices. Instruction and promoting hygiene, cleaning, disinfecting protocols will be part of a reopening plan and are currently in place for our 12-month staff that are working this summer.

As we consider instructional delivery models and best practices, we look forward to a continued partnership with the community to achieve our mission of a comprehensive educational experience for our students. Consistent with guidance from the NYS Education Department and Department of Health, we are collaborating across several workgroups composed of a variety of stakeholders in order to create detailed plans for in-person, hybrid and online instruction.

Reinforced by the recently released guidance, the district has made the support of social-emotional well-being and mental health a top priority. Our plans include innovative structures and supports to meet these needs and to provide a consistent foundation for our students’ academic success. We also plan to build in time for teacher collaboration, so that our physical and virtual learning environments provide the rigorous and authentic instruction that our students deserve to help them achieve peak performance. As it crystallizes, our Continuity of Learning plan will keep equity and access at the forefront, considering the needs of all students, while flexibly adapting models to meet the unique needs of special populations, including students with disabilities, English language learners and students who receive academic and social-emotional interventions.

In addition, we want to ensure that our plan incorporates stakeholder feedback regarding its effectiveness. Instructional models need to be fluid and flexible, and so we will have check-in “pivot points” so we can make necessary adjustments through the start of the year.

Technology will again play an important role in each potential instructional model. Our students need consistent expectations for learning management system utilization (K-12) and clear learning outcomes. Resources for parents to support access are an important component of the plan that is in development. No matter the circumstances, we are committed to developing a plan that is fluid, flexible and ensures health and safety for all. 

 July 13, 2020: REOPENING REPORT #1

Dear Families,

I hope this email finds you well and that you are enjoying the outdoors and summer at an appropriate social distance. Thank you for the feedback you gave through last month’s Thoughtexchange regarding COVID-19 and our schools. Click this link for a summary of feedback we received. Starting today, we will begin regular weekly district communications to again keep you informed about our reopening plans. To guide this work, we launched advisory groups to focus on five key areas:

  • Public Health and Social-Emotional Support
  • Operations and Logistics
  • Instructional Services
  • Equity and Family/Community Needs
  • Transportation and Food Service

Each workgroup includes a cross-section of personnel, including staff and students along with parents and Board of Education members, to make sure we consider all perspectives. You can read in more detail about that below. Also, we emailed you a family survey, so please take a few moments to complete it. If you did not receive it, please email and he will send you the link. Your insight will play a significant role in informing the plans of these groups and, ultimately, how our reopening looks. 

Reopening Guidance - Timeline

Today, the governor provided his latest health and safety guidelines for schools reopening in September. The Board of Regents is also meeting today to review guidance collected from several stakeholder groups about reopening. In our next report, we will summarize and break down this information. Now that we have this guidance, the clock is ticking; schools are expected to submit reopening plans by July 31 to the NYS Education Department. For the next two weeks, our advisory workgroups and District administration will be working diligently to finalize the plans we’ve already started to meet the state guidelines. The week of August 3rd, the governor says he will announce a final reopening decision.

Social and Emotional Supports

Based on our experience from March to June, we know our students and staff will return this fall with an increased need for social and emotional support. Mental health and social-emotional wellness were the most referenced need by parents and staff in our Thoughtexchange. In addition to instructional practices, we have worked to embed social-emotional learning support in our classrooms. Knowing this and working with our Board of Education, we are restructuring the leadership in Pupil Services to include a Supervisor of Counseling, Student Equity and Wellness to oversee the counseling/wellness needs of students and staff. This person will have the time and authority needed to coordinate vital student services and also advocate for families, weaving together our internal and community resources to provide the best supports for every child’s unique needs.

Making this move will also allow us to create a part-time counselor position within our existing staff who will support student needs specific to COVID-19. This person will collaborate with the student’s assigned counselor to provide additional support, as needed. We know that safety, mental health and social-emotional wellness are the priority for students to learn and grow, and this position will free up resources to meet those needs. This is not a permanent role and will be reassessed once the pandemic subsides. Both new roles will be achieved while working within the approved 2020-21 school budget.

Today's update is simply a snapshot of our reopening plans. Please know that we are considering all aspects with more details to come. Whether the governor directs remote learning or allows for a return to our buildings in some form, safety, health, and wellness will always be the priority. Together, we will creatively work within the parameters to provide the best possible educational experience for our children.

Thank you for your ongoing engagement and support of our schools!


Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D, Superintendent of Schools


“Rethinking Teaching and Learning”


July 31 – Schools submit plans to State Education Department

Aug. 3 – Governor expects to announce decision on reopening this week

Sept. 8 – Scheduled as first day of classes, K-12

Workgroups below will review relevant data, address key questions and strategize toward solutions on many topics. Some are listed below:


Public Health and Social-Emotional Support

  • How will school leaders set aside time early during reopening for students and educators to re-connect, adjust and process?
  • Is there sufficient PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to protect students and staff ?
  • How will staff conduct COVID screening measures such as temperature checks? What happens if a student or staff member tests positive?
  • What number of COVID illnesses would trigger closing school?

Operations and Logistics

  • How can we reduce class sizes to accommodate social distancing?
  • Is split-scheduling, such as alternating days of the week/times of the day, a feasible strategy?
  • What additional spaces will schools need?
  • How will student contact at lunch/recess be minimized?
  • How will schools modify fine arts, performing arts, and physical education classes?

Instructional Services

  • Learning environment: How can home learning/blended learning experiences be designed to best match the needs of all? What are expectations for at-home learning vs. in-person instruction?
  • Communication: What are clear communication pathways to support students/families if we must again navigate home learning? What social-emotional check-ins will best support students remotely and in-person?
  • Grading/Accountability: How can we ensure all students are engaged and accountable for their learning? How can we track learning progress and engagement for all students?

Equity and Family/Community Needs

  • How can we assess, engage and help students/families of different socio-economic levels and races?
  • Which families will need broadband internet at home or online devices?
  • Will we be able to conduct clubs, interscholastic sports and other student enrichments?

Transportation and Food Service

  • How will bus riders maintain social distance on a bus in a full return or hybrid return to school?
  • How many buses would be needed to accommodate proper student social distance?
  • Can our transportation partners handle proper sanitizing of buses?
For information from March - June, 2020,
click here to go to the 2019-20 COVID Information page