Holiday Meal Pickups

Due to the upcoming holiday we will be providing three days of meals on Monday, November 9th, and providing two days worth of meals on Thursday, November 12th.

For Thanksgiving Break we will be providing our usual two days worth of meals on Monday, 11/23. We will also be providing a three day frozen meal kit for any family that wishes to take one for the school break. We will have a signup form for these kits at the next few pickups so we can have enough for everyone.

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Whitehall Central School District

News & Updates

Memo from the Superintendent

11-19-2020

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To the Whitehall Community:

Over the past several months, the Whitehall School community has cooperatively worked together to support a safe return to a hybrid model of in-person instruction at the elementary school for the 2020-2021 school year. By taking extraordinary steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission within our district, we are happy that we have been able to maintain our model of instruction to this point, and are excited to continue to have students in the building on a daily basis.

While the infection rate in Washington County remains relatively low, the infection rate across New York State is increasing, and the CDC and DOH are projecting an increase in community transmissions due to the holiday season. As part of Executive Order 202.68, Governor Cuomo introduced a "Cluster Action Initiative" which classifies regions, based on infection rates as yellow, orange, or red. If designated, each color requires enhanced public health restrictions, which include limits on non-essential gatherings, houses of worship, restaurants and taverns, gyms and fitness centers, personal care services, and schools. If a school is located in an area identified as an Orange or Red zone, those districts would be required to transition to a fully remote learning environment.

Yellow Zones however, do allow for schools to remain open, those schools in yellow areas must conduct random weekly COVID-19 tests on 20% of the in-person population (students, faculty and staff). For us, that would mean we would be required to test approximately 95 individuals weekly (a different 95 individuals each week) until the district can show that it is below the State threshold for the region. Before any testing of the student body could occur, the district would be required to obtain signed consent from a parent or guardian. Please note, we are NOT planning ANY testing at this time, in the event that we must test, we would notify the community and seek consent at that time.

We will continue to will work with our partners at the Washington County Department of Health to explore all options to continue our current model of instruction. It is important to note that in the event the Whitehall CSD falls within a yellow zone, it is likely that neither the district, nor the county would have the resources necessary to comply with the testing requirements that have been set forth by the state. This would likely force us to transition to fully remote instruction. We are however continuing to investigate this and look for potential solutions that would enable the district to remain open in the event that the region is identified as a Yellow Zone.

As a school community, we understand how important it is for students to be in school. In-person instruction is not only beneficial to our students' academic and social development, but also provides our parents/guardians and family members the opportunity to work without the added burden of securing daily childcare. The community of Whitehall has dedicated a great deal oftime, energy, and resources to allow the district to operate on our current model and I could not be more-proud of the work that has been done to this point. I would however, continue to implore every member of our community to continue to exercise caution and follow all recommended COVID safety procedures as we move forward; this will help to keep the regional COVID cases low and ensure that we can continue to maintain in-person instruction at our elementary facility. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the district at 518-499-1770.

Best,
Patrick Dee
Superintendent of Schools

View as PDF

Storm Damage Photos

10-23-2020

   Example of Mold Growth inside a wall

  Example of damaged 9x9 asbestos floor tile in all HS classroom spaces that must now be removed.

  Example of return air vent in all classrooms that must be cut open and remediated.

  High School Gymnasium, flooring and asbestos underlayment abated.

  Empty pool. Entire pump filter and electronics room submerged in water.

  Auditorium carpet removed.

  LGI flooring removed and used as furniture storage.

  Entire Jr.High wing set up for abatement of Asbestos flooring.

  Entire Jr.High wing set up for abatement of Asbestos flooring.

  High School Roof Damage Repair work.

  Locker Room(s) stripped out due to water damage.

  Library being prepped for asbestos abatement.

  Example of flood cuts in bathrooms due to water damage.

  Example of floor damage that must be abated.

Water Damage Update

10-21-2020

View as PDF

On August 24, 2020 the Whitehall Community suffered a catastrophic loss when a rogue storm dropped nearly 7" of water on the Whitehall Community_ As I have previously shared, the Whitehall High School suffered extensive water damage that was caused by back-up of water and sewer into our building. Our engineers have stated that this was created by a failure of our numerous outside and roof drains ability to accept the inordinate amount of water that fell during the storm. On August 27, I shared a letter with the community indicating that we hoped to have students at the High School, back into a clean and safe environment during the second marking period. I also shared that l would update the community as we knew more and if the time frame for our return would need to be extended. Today, I am providing that information.

For nearly 3 weeks following the storm, the district contracted with Service Master, a water remediation company, to evacuate the water from the building and dry-out the inside of the school to the best of their ability. Since the storm, the district has been working very closely with 'our contractors who have had to remove a significant amount of construction work that had been completed as part of our summer 2020 construction project, as it had gotten wet and could not be salvaged. Additionally, the district has contracted with lntertek-PSI to complete environmental testing and identify areas of the building that have hazardous materials that were disturbed as a result of the water damage, and to identify the spaces in the building that have developed mold growth due to the water damage.

On October 19th the District Buildings and Grounds Committee met with our Clerk of the Works, Architects as well as Environmental Specialist to receive an update on the extent of the damage as well as the timeframe necessary to complete the remaining work. We have discovered that there will be extensive abatement of asbestos floor tile that has been disturbed by water infiltration as well mitigation of mold growth that has developed inside of many of the facilities walls. All of these affected areas will then require extensive restoration and replacement work when the abatement/mitigation is completed.

The district initiated the Abatement and mitigation work several weeks ago. Unfortunately, due to the extensive area of the building that was impacted, it is anticipated that the abatement work will last into the month of March. The remediation and repair process consist of containment barriers being set up by wing, with continuous air monitoring conducted during the abatement. When the abatement is complete in a wing, additional air quality testing must be completed and "pass" before the containment barriers can be removed and the area can be turned over to the contractors for the necessary restoration work.

From a health and wellness standpoint, we cannot have students safely in the building as Abatement work progresses. As such, we hope to be able to have a partial reopening of the High School facility at some point during March. If there is a possibility of reopening, even partially any sooner; we certainly will.

While I certainly recognize that this is not the news that any of us were hoping for; it is imperative that we protect the health and safety of our students and staff. We simply cannot permit students in the facility until it is deemed a safe and healthy building by our environmental consultants.

Lastly, we continue to struggle with our insurance carrier NYSIR (New York School Insurance Reciprocal). We will continue to aggressively seek the coverage to which the school is entitled and we, as well as our experts firmly believe we possess. The Board of Education has provided approval to Litigate the matter in a Court of Law if necessary. The district is currently in process of interviewing law firms that specialize in insurance matters to do so. The Whitehall Central School District will NOT stand by and allow the insurance carrier to dictate what they will cover based upon their narrow interpretation of the policy. In the meantime, the district is developing contingency plans to utilize reserves, fund balance as well as building project dollars to complete the work necessary to allow our students to return to school.

As a I ways, I appreciate your continued understanding as we work together to overcome this significant community challenge .

In Solidarity

Patrick Dee
Superintendent of Schools

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Important Update from the Superintendent

09-29-2020

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Good afternoon,

September 29, 2020

After being notified yesterday evening of an individual who was in attendance in the Elementary Building on Friday, September 25th and then tested positive on September 28th for COVID; the elementary school was proactively closed on Tuesday to permit the Washington County Department of Health to effectively conduct contact Tracing.

The county has been making calls throughout the day to notify any known individual identified in the public health investigation who may have had direct contact with the affected person. Contact Tracers are continuing to make contact with affected individuals. Those that are identified are being informed that they must quarantine for 14 days from contact.

As the county has the names of individuals who are believed to have had contact, and are in process of completing those calls, the elementary building will reopen for instruction tomorrow, Wednesday, September 30, 2020. I do appreciate the understanding of the Whitehall community in regard to these important matters regarding student safety. Lastly, I greatly appreciate the professionalism and expertise and partnership shown by members of the Washington County Public Health Department through this process.

I look forward to seeing our elementary students back on campus tomorrow to resume their in-person instruction.

Regards,

Patrick Dee
Superintendent of Schools

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Important Notice from the Superintendent

09-28-2020

Good Evening,

September 28, 2020

I was just notified by Washington County Public Health that on Friday September 25, 2020, an individual was in attendance at the Whitehall Elementary School and has since has tested positive for Covid. As such, the district will be implementing the (1) day closure protocol to provide the Washington County Department of Health the opportunity to conduct Contact Tracing.

The Elementary School will be on Remote Instruction for Tuesday September 29, 2020. We do anticipate being able to return to school on Wednesday September 30th. I will be reaching out to the community again tomorrow to confirm our return to school timeline.

While I understand that this news is concerning, please understand that the district has been and will continue to work closely with the Washington County Department of Health to ensure the safety of our school community. The Washington County Department of Health will be in contact with the families of those individuals who may have had contact with the Covid Positive individual as the day progresses tomorrow.

When a COVID-19 related Public Health Investigation (PHI) commences, our Washington County, NY Public Health Department team obtains information regarding whereabouts, visits, events and lists of contacts of a COVID-19 positive or PUI (Person Under Investigation). Following that, lists are reviewed for exposures and the investigation continues - contact tracing begins, which is conducted by our Public Health team and/or the NYS Contact Tracing team.

Contact tracing is conducted by phone, so please be sure to keep your eyes out for and answer calls from "NYS CONTACT TRACING" / (518)387-9993 or "WASHINGTON CNTY" / (518)746-2400. Depending on your level of contact and the case specifics, you will receive further direction from the tracing team.

The district appreciates the support of our community during these challenging times.

Patrick Dee

Superintendent of Schools

In the Event of a Positive COVID Test Result on Campus

09-18-2020

September 18, 2020

Dear Parents, Faculty and Staff,

As the school districts across New York State have reopened for the 2020-2021 school year, the guidelines for the continued daily operation of the district continue to be reviewed, modified, and updated. Specifically, the Department of Health has provided a revised protocols in the event that there is a Confirmed COVID positive case in the district.

If the Washington County Department of Health has a confirmed positive COVID diagnosis of a student, faculty or staff member, the district will be applying an automatic closure and period of remote learning for the entire building in which the positive case exists for a minimum period of twenty-four (24) hours. During this period, the district will work in conjunction Department of Health, who will begin their initial investigation and contact tracing procedure. The results of the Department of Health investigation will then determine the extent of possible exposure and recommendations for further quarantine and/or reopening the district.

In the event that we have a positive case on campus, I will notify the community of that fact as well as the date(s) of the closure via Robo-Call as well as a posting on our website. As such, it is VERY important that the district has an accurate telephone number as well as email address for you. While we hope that the district will continue to remain COVID free, we want to ensure that we inform our community of the various scenarios that we may encounter.

We appreciate your continued support of the district during these trying times. If you should have any questions regarding this information, I would encourage you to please contact your child's administrator or myself.

Sincerely

Patrick Dee
Superintendent of Schools

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Memo from the Superintendent

09-17-2020

View as PDF Memo

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Staff,

As you are aware, Governor Cuomo had authorized low/moderate risk interscholastic athletics to begin on September 21st. Sports such as soccer, cross country and golf are considered low/moderate risk and would be allowed to begin. The high risk sports such as football, had been delayed until the "Fall 2" season, scheduled for early March.

Over the past few weeks, a great deal of discussion has taken place regarding interscholastic athletics and potential for the increased risk of exposure, and transmission of COVD-19, contacttracing, transportation, scheduling, and the safe management of sports. Also discussed has been how this potentially impacts the daily operation of our school districts and our ability to maintain a sound educational environment for students. In addition to these discussions, our district had to couple these concerns with the loss of our High School Facility for an unknown period of time.

Last night the Adirondack League conducted a vote on whether or not to carry out fall sports. The results of the final vote of league schools determined that the Adirondack League will not be participating in fall athletics at this time. The option to play in the NYSPHSAA "fall 2" season from March 1st, 2021-May 8th,2021 is still available for our fall student/athletes. League districts will monitor it again once we get closer to this date and make determinations based on student safety. The Whitehall CSD supports and will follow decision made by the league.

I fully understand how difficult this news is to hear; especially for our student athletes. Please understand that the district has not cancelled athletics for the year. Each season will be considered individually and we will continue to engage in discussions and explore how we can provide opportunities for our students.

Patrick Dee

Superintendent of schools

View as PDF Memo

Covid 19 Free Meals

09-10-2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the waiver allowing ALL CCS student’s to receive free meals through December 31, 2020, dependent on available funding.

If the USDA waiver expires or is cancelled you will be notified and the following will be put into effect:

  • 1. Free/Reduced Meal Program will be applied to all eligible students, ineligible students will be required to pay for meals again.
  • 2. Meal Prices: Breakfast $1.25

Lunch: Grades K-6 $1.75, 7-12 $2.00

A la Carte

(Snacks, Drinks, Ice Cream, Second Entrée)

We will not be selling ala carte items initially. Our main focus will be to make sure all students receive a healthy safe meal. Therefore, you will not need to send in money because meals are free at this time.

When we are able to reintroduce ala carte sales you will be notified. If you choose to allow your child(ren) to purchase these items you will need to send in money.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us. View as PDF

Take-Out Meals

09-10-2020

Due to COVID-19 and the recent flooding our daily school schedule is going to look very different this year. Whitehall Central School does not wish for any of our students to experience food difficulties and we do not want breakfast and lunch to be an added burden for parents. Therefore, we are offering take-out meals on school days that your child(ren) is not in the school building.

Who can receive meals?
1. All WCSD students

How do I opt-in to the meals?
1. Contact your building’s principal or the cafeteria manager via phone or e-mail to sign up

What are the meals?
1. Breakfast and Lunch
2. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the waiver allowing ALL CCS student’s to receive free meals through December 31, 2020, dependent on available funding.

What if the USDA waiver expires or is cancelled?
You will be notified and the following will be put into effect:
a. Free/Reduced Meal Program applies to take-out meals
b. All paid eligible students must pre-pay. No charging of any meals is permissible per the directive of The Office of Child Nutrition, State Education Department.
c. Meal Prices: breakfast $1.25
lunch: Grades K-6 $1.75, 7-12 $2.00

Where will we receive our meals?
1. Meals will be distributed in the loop in front of the High School from 7am to 9am. You will not need to exit your vehicle.

When will this start?
2. Monday, September 14th will be the first day of pickups

3. Monday/Tuesday in person students will pickup for every other Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on Wednesday mornings between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

4. Thursday/Friday in person students – will pickup for every other Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday on Monday mornings between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m

5. Full Time Remote Learning students - Parents pickup on Monday and Wednesday mornings between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m

Guidelines to Follow:
1. You must opt-in to receive meals
2. You can designate another person to pick up meals for your student(s) if you are unable to do so within the timeframes. The district does not have the resources for home deliveries now that in-person classes have resumed.
3. You must keep a positive balance on your child’s lunch account
4. You or your child must pick-up meals regularly
5. Communication is Key – please let me know in advance if you’re not going to be able to pick up your meals, if you wish to be removed, and if you have any questions or concerns.
6. Contact Info: [email protected] 518-499-1770 ext. 2013

View as PDF

Meal Service Plan

09-08-2020

Dear Families of Whitehall Central School District,

We want to share our plan for Meals in the Classroom (MIC) at Whitehall Central Schools. Our goal is to ensure that all students receive nutritious meals in a manner maximizing their safety. In order to achieve our goal we have made the following plans in conjunction with our district administration and local health authorities effective 9/08/2020.

Menus: While we are operating under the Maroon/White plan for the Elementary School and the full time remote plan for the Jr. Sr. High School menu options will be limited. Hot meals will be served, and we will provide at least 2 main course options. All meals will meet or exceed the USDA requirements set for school meals.

Location and Schedule of Meals:

In Person Students - School meals will be served in the classroom to facilitate social distancing. There will be no congregate dining or usage of self-serve stations.

Maroon & White Students - Parents should contact their building principal to opt into the remote learning meals. Meals will be prepared and packaged for pickup at the Jr. Sr. High School Bus Loop. Pickup times will be as follows: Monday Tuesday in person students - Parental pickup for every other Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on Wednesday mornings between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Thursday Friday in person students - Parents pickup for every other Monday, Tuesday and every other Wednesday on Monday mornings between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m

Full Time Remote Learning students - Parents pickup for on Monday and Wednesday mornings between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m

Cost of Meals:Under normal operations for SY 2020-2021, the price of meals in WSCD would be as follows: Breakfast costs [$1.25]; lunch costs [$1.75 / $ 2.00]There has been an extension of the Seamless Summer Option to December 31st, 2020, meaning that meals will be free of charge to any child in the district. This program is contingent upon funding provided by the Federal government and will continue as long as funds are available.Time to Eat: In order for students to be well-nourished and ready to learn, they must have enough time to enjoy MIC. The minimum amount of time for MIC once students receive their meal is: Breakfast 15 minus; Lunch one class period

Outside Food: Many of our students have medical conditions that involve food allergies, intolerances, diabetes, sensitivities, etc. It is the policy of the WCSD that homemade or home baked foods are not to be brought into the schools to share with other students. Food brought in for these types of activities must be commercially prepared, packaged and labeled-listing all ingredients and nutritional information and/or prepared in an approved and licensed kitchen.

Thank you for supporting our School Nutrition Program – we are dedicated to serving your students the safest, tastiest and most nutritious meals possible. This school year is a new situation for all of us. Changes to our meal service may happen with little warning, but we will do our best to keep families informed about changes in a timely manner.

To opt-in to “to-go” meals or if you have questions or need more information contact FSD Jon Ott, at 518-499-1770 ext 2013 or [email protected]

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Chromebook Pickup Note!

09-01-2020

Attention Kindergarten and 1st Grade Parents / Guardians.

VIRTUAL ONLY Kindergarten and 1st Grade students need to come to Chromebook pick up.

Students in Kindergarten and 1st Grade who come daily will get/use them in class to begin the schoolyear.

Update from the Superintendent

08-27-2020

Whitehall Central School District

Good afternoon Whitehall Families and Community,

As promised, I am providing a status update on the condition of our school buildings as we continue to assess the damage:

Elementary School

  • Some skylights were pulled from the roof due to the high winds, allowing water to enter directly into the gymnasium.
  • The majority of the water damage was relegated to the gymnasium, the cafeteria and the hallway outside of the gymnasium and cafeteria.
  • Ceiling tiles that were damaged are being replaced
  • The Gym floor will be addressed
  • Most water that entered the building stayed on the gym floor and tiled spaces
  • Mitigation staff is on site and drying the carpet that got damp in 1 cluster as well as some hallway carpeting
  • The majority of our elementary classrooms were not impacted by flood water

Jr./Sr. High School

  • 100% of the school (Classrooms, offices and common spaces have been impacted by standing water.
  • The auditorium had ankle-deep water.
  • The boiler room had at least 8” of water.
  • The pool filtration room had at least 5’ of water (pumped out by Poultney VFD)
  • The pool has been drained (Whitehall VFD & Washington Co. Emergency Services)
  • Mitigation experts are on site, all standing water has been removed
  • ALL carpeted areas in the building have been stripped of carpeting
  • Drying equipment is in place throughout the building
  • Mitigation protocols for remediation to ensure no water is remaining inside wall cavities and protect against mold growth are being formulated
  • The water damage and remediation to the building has significantly impacted the progress of the building project

The New York State Department of Education has reached out to us to learn the extent of the damage, which was assessed during a walk-through of the building with our insurance carrier. Tuesday, I met with and toured the buildings with Senator Betty Little, Assemblyman Dan Stec, and representatives from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s office, the New York State Department of Emergency Services, and Washington County Emergency Services. I am pleased to share that each of these individuals/organizations fully understand the significance of the damage and what we as a district are up against. All have offered to be of support to our district as we move ahead and better understand our needs.

So, what does this mean now that we have come to better realize the full extent of the damage and the amount of time for the repairs and remediation that have been caused by this massive storm?

I am pleased to share that we are on track for a September 8, 2020 in-person opening at the Elementary School. The schedules that Mrs. Gould has previously shared to kick-off the year still remain in effect!

The High School, which suffered the brunt of the damage from the storm is unfortunately a different story. Based on my conversations with the Architect, General Contractor, Insurance Carrier and Remediation specialists, the High School Facility will not be available for in-person instruction on opening day. Our goal is to have our students and staff back in a safe and clean building during the second marking period. If there is any way that we can bring everyone back into a safe and clean environment before that time, we certainly will. If, during remediation and repair we find that these dates need to be extended, we will let you all know as soon as possible. In summary, all students in grades 7-12 will be engaging in Remote-Learning beginning on September 8, 2020 until we can bring them back into a safe and clean environment.

Our building administrators will be in touch with families to coordinate the details involving return to school at the elementary and how remote instruction will work at the high school. Distribution dates/times and location for Chromebooks will be shared.

While much of this is news that is disturbing and difficult to hear, I believe that clear and honest communication of the information as we know it, is exceptionally important during these times. I will continue to be in contact throughout this ordeal.

In the meantime, stay safe, and remain Whitehall Strong!

Best,

Patrick M. Dee

Patrick Dee
Superintendent of Schools

Memo from the Superintendent

11-19-2020

View as PDF

To the Whitehall Community:

Over the past several months, the Whitehall School community has cooperatively worked together to support a safe return to a hybrid model of in-person instruction at the elementary school for the 2020-2021 school year. By taking extraordinary steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission within our district, we are happy that we have been able to maintain our model of instruction to this point, and are excited to continue to have students in the building on a daily basis.

While the infection rate in Washington County remains relatively low, the infection rate across New York State is increasing, and the CDC and DOH are projecting an increase in community transmissions due to the holiday season. As part of Executive Order 202.68, Governor Cuomo introduced a "Cluster Action Initiative" which classifies regions, based on infection rates as yellow, orange, or red. If designated, each color requires enhanced public health restrictions, which include limits on non-essential gatherings, houses of worship, restaurants and taverns, gyms and fitness centers, personal care services, and schools. If a school is located in an area identified as an Orange or Red zone, those districts would be required to transition to a fully remote learning environment.

Yellow Zones however, do allow for schools to remain open, those schools in yellow areas must conduct random weekly COVID-19 tests on 20% of the in-person population (students, faculty and staff). For us, that would mean we would be required to test approximately 95 individuals weekly (a different 95 individuals each week) until the district can show that it is below the State threshold for the region. Before any testing of the student body could occur, the district would be required to obtain signed consent from a parent or guardian. Please note, we are NOT planning ANY testing at this time, in the event that we must test, we would notify the community and seek consent at that time.

We will continue to will work with our partners at the Washington County Department of Health to explore all options to continue our current model of instruction. It is important to note that in the event the Whitehall CSD falls within a yellow zone, it is likely that neither the district, nor the county would have the resources necessary to comply with the testing requirements that have been set forth by the state. This would likely force us to transition to fully remote instruction. We are however continuing to investigate this and look for potential solutions that would enable the district to remain open in the event that the region is identified as a Yellow Zone.

As a school community, we understand how important it is for students to be in school. In-person instruction is not only beneficial to our students' academic and social development, but also provides our parents/guardians and family members the opportunity to work without the added burden of securing daily childcare. The community of Whitehall has dedicated a great deal oftime, energy, and resources to allow the district to operate on our current model and I could not be more-proud of the work that has been done to this point. I would however, continue to implore every member of our community to continue to exercise caution and follow all recommended COVID safety procedures as we move forward; this will help to keep the regional COVID cases low and ensure that we can continue to maintain in-person instruction at our elementary facility. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the district at 518-499-1770.

Best,
Patrick Dee
Superintendent of Schools

View as PDF

Storm Damage Photos

10-23-2020

   Example of Mold Growth inside a wall

  Example of damaged 9x9 asbestos floor tile in all HS classroom spaces that must now be removed.

  Example of return air vent in all classrooms that must be cut open and remediated.

  High School Gymnasium, flooring and asbestos underlayment abated.

  Empty pool. Entire pump filter and electronics room submerged in water.

  Auditorium carpet removed.

  LGI flooring removed and used as furniture storage.

  Entire Jr.High wing set up for abatement of Asbestos flooring.

  Entire Jr.High wing set up for abatement of Asbestos flooring.

  High School Roof Damage Repair work.

  Locker Room(s) stripped out due to water damage.

  Library being prepped for asbestos abatement.

  Example of flood cuts in bathrooms due to water damage.

  Example of floor damage that must be abated.

Water Damage Update

10-21-2020

View as PDF

On August 24, 2020 the Whitehall Community suffered a catastrophic loss when a rogue storm dropped nearly 7" of water on the Whitehall Community_ As I have previously shared, the Whitehall High School suffered extensive water damage that was caused by back-up of water and sewer into our building. Our engineers have stated that this was created by a failure of our numerous outside and roof drains ability to accept the inordinate amount of water that fell during the storm. On August 27, I shared a letter with the community indicating that we hoped to have students at the High School, back into a clean and safe environment during the second marking period. I also shared that l would update the community as we knew more and if the time frame for our return would need to be extended. Today, I am providing that information.

For nearly 3 weeks following the storm, the district contracted with Service Master, a water remediation company, to evacuate the water from the building and dry-out the inside of the school to the best of their ability. Since the storm, the district has been working very closely with 'our contractors who have had to remove a significant amount of construction work that had been completed as part of our summer 2020 construction project, as it had gotten wet and could not be salvaged. Additionally, the district has contracted with lntertek-PSI to complete environmental testing and identify areas of the building that have hazardous materials that were disturbed as a result of the water damage, and to identify the spaces in the building that have developed mold growth due to the water damage.

On October 19th the District Buildings and Grounds Committee met with our Clerk of the Works, Architects as well as Environmental Specialist to receive an update on the extent of the damage as well as the timeframe necessary to complete the remaining work. We have discovered that there will be extensive abatement of asbestos floor tile that has been disturbed by water infiltration as well mitigation of mold growth that has developed inside of many of the facilities walls. All of these affected areas will then require extensive restoration and replacement work when the abatement/mitigation is completed.

The district initiated the Abatement and mitigation work several weeks ago. Unfortunately, due to the extensive area of the building that was impacted, it is anticipated that the abatement work will last into the month of March. The remediation and repair process consist of containment barriers being set up by wing, with continuous air monitoring conducted during the abatement. When the abatement is complete in a wing, additional air quality testing must be completed and "pass" before the containment barriers can be removed and the area can be turned over to the contractors for the necessary restoration work.

From a health and wellness standpoint, we cannot have students safely in the building as Abatement work progresses. As such, we hope to be able to have a partial reopening of the High School facility at some point during March. If there is a possibility of reopening, even partially any sooner; we certainly will.

While I certainly recognize that this is not the news that any of us were hoping for; it is imperative that we protect the health and safety of our students and staff. We simply cannot permit students in the facility until it is deemed a safe and healthy building by our environmental consultants.

Lastly, we continue to struggle with our insurance carrier NYSIR (New York School Insurance Reciprocal). We will continue to aggressively seek the coverage to which the school is entitled and we, as well as our experts firmly believe we possess. The Board of Education has provided approval to Litigate the matter in a Court of Law if necessary. The district is currently in process of interviewing law firms that specialize in insurance matters to do so. The Whitehall Central School District will NOT stand by and allow the insurance carrier to dictate what they will cover based upon their narrow interpretation of the policy. In the meantime, the district is developing contingency plans to utilize reserves, fund balance as well as building project dollars to complete the work necessary to allow our students to return to school.

As a I ways, I appreciate your continued understanding as we work together to overcome this significant community challenge .

In Solidarity

Patrick Dee
Superintendent of Schools

View as PDF

Important Update from the Superintendent

09-29-2020

View as PDF

Good afternoon,

September 29, 2020

After being notified yesterday evening of an individual who was in attendance in the Elementary Building on Friday, September 25th and then tested positive on September 28th for COVID; the elementary school was proactively closed on Tuesday to permit the Washington County Department of Health to effectively conduct contact Tracing.

The county has been making calls throughout the day to notify any known individual identified in the public health investigation who may have had direct contact with the affected person. Contact Tracers are continuing to make contact with affected individuals. Those that are identified are being informed that they must quarantine for 14 days from contact.

As the county has the names of individuals who are believed to have had contact, and are in process of completing those calls, the elementary building will reopen for instruction tomorrow, Wednesday, September 30, 2020. I do appreciate the understanding of the Whitehall community in regard to these important matters regarding student safety. Lastly, I greatly appreciate the professionalism and expertise and partnership shown by members of the Washington County Public Health Department through this process.

I look forward to seeing our elementary students back on campus tomorrow to resume their in-person instruction.

Regards,

Patrick Dee
Superintendent of Schools

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Important Notice from the Superintendent

09-28-2020

Good Evening,

September 28, 2020

I was just notified by Washington County Public Health that on Friday September 25, 2020, an individual was in attendance at the Whitehall Elementary School and has since has tested positive for Covid. As such, the district will be implementing the (1) day closure protocol to provide the Washington County Department of Health the opportunity to conduct Contact Tracing.

The Elementary School will be on Remote Instruction for Tuesday September 29, 2020. We do anticipate being able to return to school on Wednesday September 30th. I will be reaching out to the community again tomorrow to confirm our return to school timeline.

While I understand that this news is concerning, please understand that the district has been and will continue to work closely with the Washington County Department of Health to ensure the safety of our school community. The Washington County Department of Health will be in contact with the families of those individuals who may have had contact with the Covid Positive individual as the day progresses tomorrow.

When a COVID-19 related Public Health Investigation (PHI) commences, our Washington County, NY Public Health Department team obtains information regarding whereabouts, visits, events and lists of contacts of a COVID-19 positive or PUI (Person Under Investigation). Following that, lists are reviewed for exposures and the investigation continues - contact tracing begins, which is conducted by our Public Health team and/or the NYS Contact Tracing team.

Contact tracing is conducted by phone, so please be sure to keep your eyes out for and answer calls from "NYS CONTACT TRACING" / (518)387-9993 or "WASHINGTON CNTY" / (518)746-2400. Depending on your level of contact and the case specifics, you will receive further direction from the tracing team.

The district appreciates the support of our community during these challenging times.

Patrick Dee

Superintendent of Schools

Information Regarding NYSIR and Storm Damage

09-22-2020

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Dear Community, September 22, 2020

On August 24, 2020 the Whitehall community was hit with a devastating storm that resulted in over 6” of rain falling in a very short period of time. That storm created significant water and sewer back-up into the Whitehall High School leaving over 1” of standing Category 3 (black water) in all areas of the High School facility with several inches to several feet of water in other areas.

The district IMMEDIATELY reached out to our Insurance Carrier, NYSIR (the New York School Insurance Reciprocal) who after several calls by the district, sent an adjuster to the building on the 25th. Since this time, we have been STRUGGLING DAILY to get a response on coverage for this multi-million dollar loss. The district has been asked for, and has provided to NYSIR all documentation requested; including a preliminary engineering report identifying the root cause of the damage being “Water and Sewer backup” that resulted from overwhelmed drains and sewer system. Of important note, the district is covered for 30+ Million Dollars for water and sewer backup, yet NYSIR continues to remain SILENT on coverage after 4 weeks.

As I sit here on September 22, 2020 in a temporary office space with our entire high school student body relegated solely to remote instruction as a result of the extensive damage to the school; we have STILL not received a response from NYSIR on coverage. We have been told repeatedly that we would receive a response “soon”. On September 8, 2020 NYSIR sent ACTUAL REPRESENTATIVES to the district for the first time since the loss. At that meeting, we were promised a response in 48 hours. That timeline has come and gone. Each and every day that NYSIR takes to make the right choice to cover the extensive loss of August 24th , the longer that our students will be precluded from being offered and receiving the in-person instruction that they deserve.

I am reaching out again today to the local Print Media as well as Television News Media to share our story. Additionally, below I share with the Whitehall Community which includes our Parents, Faculty and Staff as well as our Elected Officials and Board Of Education the contact information for the New York School Insurance Reciprocal Executive Director, Assistant Executive Director, the Vice President of Claims as well as their Board of Governors. Should you wish to reach out to any of these individuals and express your concern; I would certainly encourage you to do so.

Together, I truly hope that we can encourage (NYSIR) the New York School Insurance Reciprocal, to make the Right Choice and provide coverage for our qualified loss. Our students deserve to receive an in-person education in a clean and safe facility.

In Solidarity,

Patrick Dee
Superintendent of Schools.


New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal
333 Earle Ovington Blvd. 
Suite 905
Uniondale, New York 
11553-3624
www.nysir.org

Robert W. Lulley, Jr.
Executive Director
Ph: 516-640-3053
Email: [email protected]

Thomas “Tom” Austin
Assistant Executive Director
Ph: 607-435-8107
[email protected]

Michael Peace
Vice President, Claims
[email protected]
Tel:             516-750-3991
Mobile:      516-287-7953

BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Deborah A. Heppes, President
Orange-Ulster BOCES
Ph: 845-291-0160
[email protected]

Timothy Whipple, First Vice President
Pleasantville Union Free School District
Ph: 914-741-1400
[email protected]

Janet M. Bryan, Second Vice President
Longwood UFSD
Ph: 631-345-2782

[email protected]
Eric Stark, Immediate Past President
Carmel CSD
Ph: 845-878-2094, ext. 213
[email protected]

Dr. Stephen Lunden, Past President
Cheektowaga-Maryvale CSD
Ph: 716-631-7472
[email protected]

John Abbott
East Irondequoit CSD
Ph: 585-339-1260
[email protected]

Eric Bell
Champlain Valley Educational Services
Ph: 518-957-2230
[email protected]

John J. Belmonte
Sayville UFSD
Ph: 631-244-6530
[email protected]

Julie K. Bresett
Madrid-Waddington CSD
Ph: 315-322-5746, ext. 222
[email protected]

Anne Marie Marrone Caliendo
Half Hollow Hills CSD
Ph: 631-592-3030
[email protected]

Sharon L. Cihocki
Adirondack CSD
Ph: 315-942-9208 (option #8)
[email protected]

Richard J. Cunningham
Plainview-Old Bethpage CSD
Ph: 516-434-3050
[email protected]

Nancy Dingman
Hannibal CSD
Ph: 315-564-7900, ext. 5001
[email protected]

Dr. Wayne Loper
Valley Stream Central High School
Ph: 516-872-5610
[email protected]

Dr. Angelina Maloney
Brunswick CSD
Ph: 518-279-4600, ext. 2602
[email protected]

Jeffrey Martin
Scarsdale UFSD
Ph: 914-721-2423
[email protected]

Thomas P. McDaid, Jr., Esq.
North Merrick UFSD
Ph: 516-282-1803
[email protected]

Doug Scofield
Iroquois CSD
Ph: 716-652-3000, ext. 1001
[email protected]

Kelly Seibert
Byram Hills CSD
Ph: (914) 273-4198 ext. 5931
[email protected]

Michael Senno
North Rockland CSD
Ph: 845-942-3006
[email protected]

Kevin Sheldon
Arlington CSD
Ph: # 845-486-4460
[email protected]

Robert D. Yusko, Jr.
Glens Falls City School District
Ph.: 518-792-1451
[email protected]

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In the Event of a Positive COVID Test Result on Campus

09-18-2020

September 18, 2020

Dear Parents, Faculty and Staff,

As the school districts across New York State have reopened for the 2020-2021 school year, the guidelines for the continued daily operation of the district continue to be reviewed, modified, and updated. Specifically, the Department of Health has provided a revised protocols in the event that there is a Confirmed COVID positive case in the district.

If the Washington County Department of Health has a confirmed positive COVID diagnosis of a student, faculty or staff member, the district will be applying an automatic closure and period of remote learning for the entire building in which the positive case exists for a minimum period of twenty-four (24) hours. During this period, the district will work in conjunction Department of Health, who will begin their initial investigation and contact tracing procedure. The results of the Department of Health investigation will then determine the extent of possible exposure and recommendations for further quarantine and/or reopening the district.

In the event that we have a positive case on campus, I will notify the community of that fact as well as the date(s) of the closure via Robo-Call as well as a posting on our website. As such, it is VERY important that the district has an accurate telephone number as well as email address for you. While we hope that the district will continue to remain COVID free, we want to ensure that we inform our community of the various scenarios that we may encounter.

We appreciate your continued support of the district during these trying times. If you should have any questions regarding this information, I would encourage you to please contact your child's administrator or myself.

Sincerely

Patrick Dee
Superintendent of Schools

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Memo from the Superintendent

09-17-2020

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Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Staff,

As you are aware, Governor Cuomo had authorized low/moderate risk interscholastic athletics to begin on September 21st. Sports such as soccer, cross country and golf are considered low/moderate risk and would be allowed to begin. The high risk sports such as football, had been delayed until the "Fall 2" season, scheduled for early March.

Over the past few weeks, a great deal of discussion has taken place regarding interscholastic athletics and potential for the increased risk of exposure, and transmission of COVD-19, contacttracing, transportation, scheduling, and the safe management of sports. Also discussed has been how this potentially impacts the daily operation of our school districts and our ability to maintain a sound educational environment for students. In addition to these discussions, our district had to couple these concerns with the loss of our High School Facility for an unknown period of time.

Last night the Adirondack League conducted a vote on whether or not to carry out fall sports. The results of the final vote of league schools determined that the Adirondack League will not be participating in fall athletics at this time. The option to play in the NYSPHSAA "fall 2" season from March 1st, 2021-May 8th,2021 is still available for our fall student/athletes. League districts will monitor it again once we get closer to this date and make determinations based on student safety. The Whitehall CSD supports and will follow decision made by the league.

I fully understand how difficult this news is to hear; especially for our student athletes. Please understand that the district has not cancelled athletics for the year. Each season will be considered individually and we will continue to engage in discussions and explore how we can provide opportunities for our students.

Patrick Dee

Superintendent of schools

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Covid 19 Free Meals

09-10-2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the waiver allowing ALL CCS student’s to receive free meals through December 31, 2020, dependent on available funding.

If the USDA waiver expires or is cancelled you will be notified and the following will be put into effect:

  • 1. Free/Reduced Meal Program will be applied to all eligible students, ineligible students will be required to pay for meals again.
  • 2. Meal Prices: Breakfast $1.25

Lunch: Grades K-6 $1.75, 7-12 $2.00

A la Carte

(Snacks, Drinks, Ice Cream, Second Entrée)

We will not be selling ala carte items initially. Our main focus will be to make sure all students receive a healthy safe meal. Therefore, you will not need to send in money because meals are free at this time.

When we are able to reintroduce ala carte sales you will be notified. If you choose to allow your child(ren) to purchase these items you will need to send in money.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us. View as PDF

Take-Out Meals

09-10-2020

Due to COVID-19 and the recent flooding our daily school schedule is going to look very different this year. Whitehall Central School does not wish for any of our students to experience food difficulties and we do not want breakfast and lunch to be an added burden for parents. Therefore, we are offering take-out meals on school days that your child(ren) is not in the school building.

Who can receive meals?
1. All WCSD students

How do I opt-in to the meals?
1. Contact your building’s principal or the cafeteria manager via phone or e-mail to sign up

What are the meals?
1. Breakfast and Lunch
2. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the waiver allowing ALL CCS student’s to receive free meals through December 31, 2020, dependent on available funding.

What if the USDA waiver expires or is cancelled?
You will be notified and the following will be put into effect:
a. Free/Reduced Meal Program applies to take-out meals
b. All paid eligible students must pre-pay. No charging of any meals is permissible per the directive of The Office of Child Nutrition, State Education Department.
c. Meal Prices: breakfast $1.25
lunch: Grades K-6 $1.75, 7-12 $2.00

Where will we receive our meals?
1. Meals will be distributed in the loop in front of the High School from 7am to 9am. You will not need to exit your vehicle.

When will this start?
2. Monday, September 14th will be the first day of pickups

3. Monday/Tuesday in person students will pickup for every other Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on Wednesday mornings between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

4. Thursday/Friday in person students – will pickup for every other Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday on Monday mornings between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m

5. Full Time Remote Learning students - Parents pickup on Monday and Wednesday mornings between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m

Guidelines to Follow:
1. You must opt-in to receive meals
2. You can designate another person to pick up meals for your student(s) if you are unable to do so within the timeframes. The district does not have the resources for home deliveries now that in-person classes have resumed.
3. You must keep a positive balance on your child’s lunch account
4. You or your child must pick-up meals regularly
5. Communication is Key – please let me know in advance if you’re not going to be able to pick up your meals, if you wish to be removed, and if you have any questions or concerns.
6. Contact Info: [email protected] 518-499-1770 ext. 2013

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Meal Service Plan

09-08-2020

Dear Families of Whitehall Central School District,

We want to share our plan for Meals in the Classroom (MIC) at Whitehall Central Schools. Our goal is to ensure that all students receive nutritious meals in a manner maximizing their safety. In order to achieve our goal we have made the following plans in conjunction with our district administration and local health authorities effective 9/08/2020.

Menus: While we are operating under the Maroon/White plan for the Elementary School and the full time remote plan for the Jr. Sr. High School menu options will be limited. Hot meals will be served, and we will provide at least 2 main course options. All meals will meet or exceed the USDA requirements set for school meals.

Location and Schedule of Meals:

In Person Students - School meals will be served in the classroom to facilitate social distancing. There will be no congregate dining or usage of self-serve stations.

Maroon & White Students - Parents should contact their building principal to opt into the remote learning meals. Meals will be prepared and packaged for pickup at the Jr. Sr. High School Bus Loop. Pickup times will be as follows: Monday Tuesday in person students - Parental pickup for every other Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on Wednesday mornings between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Thursday Friday in person students - Parents pickup for every other Monday, Tuesday and every other Wednesday on Monday mornings between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m

Full Time Remote Learning students - Parents pickup for on Monday and Wednesday mornings between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m

Cost of Meals:Under normal operations for SY 2020-2021, the price of meals in WSCD would be as follows: Breakfast costs [$1.25]; lunch costs [$1.75 / $ 2.00]There has been an extension of the Seamless Summer Option to December 31st, 2020, meaning that meals will be free of charge to any child in the district. This program is contingent upon funding provided by the Federal government and will continue as long as funds are available.Time to Eat: In order for students to be well-nourished and ready to learn, they must have enough time to enjoy MIC. The minimum amount of time for MIC once students receive their meal is: Breakfast 15 minus; Lunch one class period

Outside Food: Many of our students have medical conditions that involve food allergies, intolerances, diabetes, sensitivities, etc. It is the policy of the WCSD that homemade or home baked foods are not to be brought into the schools to share with other students. Food brought in for these types of activities must be commercially prepared, packaged and labeled-listing all ingredients and nutritional information and/or prepared in an approved and licensed kitchen.

Thank you for supporting our School Nutrition Program – we are dedicated to serving your students the safest, tastiest and most nutritious meals possible. This school year is a new situation for all of us. Changes to our meal service may happen with little warning, but we will do our best to keep families informed about changes in a timely manner.

To opt-in to “to-go” meals or if you have questions or need more information contact FSD Jon Ott, at 518-499-1770 ext 2013 or [email protected]

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Chromebook Pickup Note!

09-01-2020

Attention Kindergarten and 1st Grade Parents / Guardians.

VIRTUAL ONLY Kindergarten and 1st Grade students need to come to Chromebook pick up.

Students in Kindergarten and 1st Grade who come daily will get/use them in class to begin the schoolyear.

Update from the Superintendent

08-27-2020

Whitehall Central School District

Good afternoon Whitehall Families and Community,

As promised, I am providing a status update on the condition of our school buildings as we continue to assess the damage:

Elementary School

  • Some skylights were pulled from the roof due to the high winds, allowing water to enter directly into the gymnasium.
  • The majority of the water damage was relegated to the gymnasium, the cafeteria and the hallway outside of the gymnasium and cafeteria.
  • Ceiling tiles that were damaged are being replaced
  • The Gym floor will be addressed
  • Most water that entered the building stayed on the gym floor and tiled spaces
  • Mitigation staff is on site and drying the carpet that got damp in 1 cluster as well as some hallway carpeting
  • The majority of our elementary classrooms were not impacted by flood water

Jr./Sr. High School

  • 100% of the school (Classrooms, offices and common spaces have been impacted by standing water.
  • The auditorium had ankle-deep water.
  • The boiler room had at least 8” of water.
  • The pool filtration room had at least 5’ of water (pumped out by Poultney VFD)
  • The pool has been drained (Whitehall VFD & Washington Co. Emergency Services)
  • Mitigation experts are on site, all standing water has been removed
  • ALL carpeted areas in the building have been stripped of carpeting
  • Drying equipment is in place throughout the building
  • Mitigation protocols for remediation to ensure no water is remaining inside wall cavities and protect against mold growth are being formulated
  • The water damage and remediation to the building has significantly impacted the progress of the building project

The New York State Department of Education has reached out to us to learn the extent of the damage, which was assessed during a walk-through of the building with our insurance carrier. Tuesday, I met with and toured the buildings with Senator Betty Little, Assemblyman Dan Stec, and representatives from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s office, the New York State Department of Emergency Services, and Washington County Emergency Services. I am pleased to share that each of these individuals/organizations fully understand the significance of the damage and what we as a district are up against. All have offered to be of support to our district as we move ahead and better understand our needs.

So, what does this mean now that we have come to better realize the full extent of the damage and the amount of time for the repairs and remediation that have been caused by this massive storm?

I am pleased to share that we are on track for a September 8, 2020 in-person opening at the Elementary School. The schedules that Mrs. Gould has previously shared to kick-off the year still remain in effect!

The High School, which suffered the brunt of the damage from the storm is unfortunately a different story. Based on my conversations with the Architect, General Contractor, Insurance Carrier and Remediation specialists, the High School Facility will not be available for in-person instruction on opening day. Our goal is to have our students and staff back in a safe and clean building during the second marking period. If there is any way that we can bring everyone back into a safe and clean environment before that time, we certainly will. If, during remediation and repair we find that these dates need to be extended, we will let you all know as soon as possible. In summary, all students in grades 7-12 will be engaging in Remote-Learning beginning on September 8, 2020 until we can bring them back into a safe and clean environment.

Our building administrators will be in touch with families to coordinate the details involving return to school at the elementary and how remote instruction will work at the high school. Distribution dates/times and location for Chromebooks will be shared.

While much of this is news that is disturbing and difficult to hear, I believe that clear and honest communication of the information as we know it, is exceptionally important during these times. I will continue to be in contact throughout this ordeal.

In the meantime, stay safe, and remain Whitehall Strong!

Best,

Patrick M. Dee

Patrick Dee
Superintendent of Schools

Message from the Superintendent - August 25, 2020

08-25-2020

August 25, 2020

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Community Members,

As you know, our community was hit hard and unexpectedly last night by a severe rainstorm that stalled over Whitehall, causing flooding and extensive damage throughout Whitehall. Our hearts are heavy, and we are thinking of our community members whose homes, businesses, and other property suffered damage. We are grateful that everyone is safe.

Our school buildings experienced heavy flooding and roof damage. Insurance adjusters, water remediation experts, and roofers were on site shortly after the storm last night to make assessments and begin the necessary repairs and water removal.

Based on the assessments and an expedited plan of action for clean-up and repairs, we anticipate that school will still be able to open as scheduled on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. We will keep you up-to-date on our progress.

Our community has already had our share of challenges, and together we will persevere through yet another one.

Please remember that we under a boil water advisory until further notice.

Stay safe, and stay Whitehall strong.

Best,

Patrick Dee
Superintendent of Schools