• Reimagining 2020-2021: Reopening Our Schools


    Brian J. Polito

    A Message from the Superintendent


    Dear Families,

    You recently received a copy of our reopening plan, “Reimagining 2020-2021: Reopening our Schools.” That plan outlined several educational options for your child, including a hybrid instruction plan that combined both in-school and remote learning.

    Since the publication of that plan, changing circumstances have caused us to reconsider how we can safely and smartly resume operations in 2020-2021. I’m writing you now to explain important changes to your child’s educational options.

    Pending approval of our Board of School Directors, we will start the 2020-21 school year remotely and delay the start of the year, from Monday, Aug. 31 until Tuesday, Sept. 8. The School Board reached an informal consenus on the plan on Aug. 5; a formal vote is scheduled for Aug. 12.

    The decision was prompted by two important factors:

    • The ever-evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising case counts in Erie County.
    • The need to undertake extensive renovations to ventilation systems in some of our school buildings.

    Our ultimate goal is to welcome all students back to their classrooms and, indeed, we tried very hard over the past several months to put plans in place that would accomplish just that.  But the health and safety of our staff and students must come first. Reopening remotely gives us the time and ability to address our ventilation needs while we continue to monitor the effect of the pandemic on Erie and Erie County.

    All regular education students, preK-12, will participate in remote instruction for the first quarter of the 2020-21 school year, through Nov. 4.  

    All elementary school students will return to school for in-person instruction at the beginning of the second quarter, following completion of renovations to ventilation systems. The decision of how to resume in-person instruction will be made under the guidance of local and state health agencies.

    Due to extensive renovations involving the ventilation system at Edison Elementary School, Edison students will participate in in-person instruction at East Middle School when in-person instruction resumes in the second quarter. East students will continue working remotely.

    All middle and high school students will work remotely until at least spring, with the goal of resuming in-person instruction as soon as possible. High school students enrolled in Career and Technical Education programs housed at Erie High School will receive individualized schedules that allow for some in-person, hands-on instruction at Erie High. Instruction would take place in properly ventilated classrooms.

    Special education students in self-contained classrooms will have the option to return to school full time, five days a week, for direct instruction starting Monday, Sept. 8. Instruction will take place in properly ventilated classrooms.

    Remote instruction will follow the school day schedule. Classes will be livestreamed, allowing students to participate in lessons and interact with their peers and teachers in real time. Families with students who are unable to follow a traditional school day schedule should consider enrolling in the EPS Cyber Choice Academy, the district’s K-12 cyber school. Complete information about the Cyber Choice Academy is available at eriesd.org/cyber.

    We recognize the challenges remote instruction will pose for many of our families, and are committed to supporting those families in every way that we can. Answers to some of your most frequently asked questions regarding technology, attendance and dress code policies, special education services and more are included here. We’ve also created a dedicated email address, EPSreopen@eriesd.org, to address any concerns you may have.

    Thank you for your ongoing patience and flexibility as we work together to help make this year a success. From my family to yours, have a safe, happy, and healthy summer.


    Brian J. Polito signature

    Brian J. Polito, CPA

    Superintendent, Erie's Public Schools 


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