Dear Oneida City School District Parents, Guardians and Staff,

I hope that you are all having a wonderful summer! I am writing to share updated information on our plans for returning to school in September. I would also like to take a moment to thank the parents and community members who attended (both in person and virtually) the Community Forum on Monday evening. I appreciate your viewpoint as we make these difficult decisions.

We have heard from many parents regarding their questions and concerns around our return to school on September 7th. The New York State Department of Education issued a 
health and safety guide to all school districts on August 12th.  The guidance included is based upon recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The goals of the Oneida City School District are to listen to parents and community members; study the guidance from NYSED, CDC and other local, state and federal health organizations; and to ultimately provide for as normal a return to school as possible while keeping staff, students and community safe.

Based upon the parent & community concerns, guidance we have received, and our school facilities capacity, the plan for returning to school for Oneida City School district is as follows:

Fall 2021 Plans (effective August 24, 2021) –

  1. All K-12 students will attend school for “in-person” instruction five days a week - Given the significant learning and social – emotional needs of our students, the district believes that it is imperative to return all of its students to school five days per week for “in person” learning immediately. The district will not be offering remote or hybrid learning opportunities.  Any parent who feels that their child has a medical condition that precludes them from attending in person should contact the Oneida City School District central office at 315-363-2550 and ask for a “Remote Learning Request Form.”  Parents should have the form completed and returned to the district no later than Friday September 3rd. The district will review the form with our medical director and make a determination on a case-by-case basis. If the request is approved, the district will communicate plans for remote instruction to the family.


  1. Special Education and Student Support Services - All Special Education, English Language Learner, Academic Intervention Services and 504 plan service accommodations will be provided in accordance with IEPs, 504 and student support plans.

  1. Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) and Committee on Special Education (CSE) Meetings - In support of our students, the district will continue to have CPSE and CSE meetings for its students. In an effort to ensure the health and safety of all meeting participants, the district will continue to hold these meetings virtually throughout the school year.

  1. Technology Support - In support of our students and in an effort to continue to leverage student outcomes, the district will continue to provide Chromebooks for all students, PK-12. The district will also provide a mobile hot spot for students who lack internet access at home. New students will receive their Chromebook when school starts. More information about the 1:1 program can be found on our website under Parent Resources.

  1. Athletics - The New York State Public High School Athletics Association (NYSPHSAA) has determined that all interscholastic sports team will be practicing and having contests throughout the school year. It should be noted, athletic related health risks will be evaluated throughout the year, and all athletic program offerings are subject to change based upon the COVID-19 related health risks and/or concerns. Additional information will follow from our Athletic director and Superintendent.

  1. Extra-Curricular Activities - The district will be offering all extra-curricular clubs and intramural programs throughout the school year. School administrators will be reaching out to parents to inform them of these offerings. Please be advised that all clubs and intramural program offerings are subject to change and/or review – based upon health conditions due to COVID 19.

  1. Transportation - The district will provide safe transportation for all students who will be attending “in-person” instruction. Students and staff will not be required to socially distance on buses but will be required to wear a mask while on buses. Every effort will be made to sit relatives and/or members of the same household together while on buses. The district’s transportation department will be contacting parents and/or guardians to clarify transportation arrangements in the near future.

  1. Masking - In keeping with the recommendations of the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics and per recent guidance from our District Medical Director, we will be requiring all students, staff and visitors to wear masks while indoors. When outdoors, students, staff and visitors will not be required to mask. Mask breaks will be provided for students multiple throughout the school day.

  1. Social Distancing – The district will continue to maintain the current CDC and NYSDOH recommendations for social distancing. This involves 3 feet of social distancing in classrooms where possible, 6 feet of social distancing in cafeterias, music spaces (for vocal and instrumental) and during all physical education classes.

  1. Cleaning and Sanitization - The district will continue to follow all of the most recent CDC and NYSDOH cleaning – sanitation protocols. Our goal is to ensure and maintain clean and well sanitized learning environments throughout the year.

  1. Food and Nutrition Services - The district will continue to provide free breakfast and lunches for all students, per NYS COVID-19 pandemic requirements. Students will be socially distanced by 6 feet during all meals.

  1. The CDC is no longer suggesting daily screeners for staff.  School nurses will notify parents of any students who are exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19.

As outlined above, our goal for the 2021-2022 school year is to return as many of our students back to school full-time for “in-person” learning while also providing all extracurricular opportunities students had available prior to COVID-19. All OCSD staff are looking forward to as normal a return as possible. However, please understand things may change in the future based upon guidance we receive and/or community spread. Should changes to our plan become necessary, we will share them with all of you as soon as we can.

With that said, please know that each week leading up to our district reopening, district administrators and I will be reaching out to our learning community to share more information (i.e. any guidance that we receive from the State or the County, the district’s revised reopening plan for the 2021 -22 school year, school specific information, etc.). Our intention is to make sure that our community has timely information that will ensure a smooth transition back to school in the fall.

Thank you again for all of your patience and for your consideration of this information.


Matthew T. Carpenter

Superintendent of Schools