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A Letter from the Superintendent

Dear Hendrick Hudson Families and Staff:

A great deal of information was shared last week with regards to returning to school in September.

The Governor released guidance on opening schools on Tuesday, July 14, and the New York State Education Department (SED) released guidance late on Thursday, July 16. It is vitally important to understand that while both the Governor and SED use the term “guidance,” implying that schools are being given choices, both documents are full of required protocols. Schools have little to no discretion as to how they are implemented.

These guidance documents require that school districts create plans for reopening in September, focused on the following three potential scenarios:

  • Remote learning – students attend classes online only
  • Hybrid model – a combination of in-school and remote learning
  • Full opening – students attend school full-time

We continue to seek clarification, as many details related to these plans remain unclear. Specifically, we are seeking clarification on whether or not six feet of social distancing is mandatory in classrooms if students are wearing masks. We are also seeking clarification about masks/social distancing on buses, as well as pre-screening protocols.

What's most unfortunate about this guidance is that we were given only two weeks to develop our schedules and return-to-school plans.

In preparation, our district teams have been reviewing planning documents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the NYS Department of Health, among others. We have also reviewed reopening plans from other states and have held weekly meetings with county and state officials in an effort to better understand reopening guidelines and priorities.

We have also spent a great deal of time contemplating various remote learning models. Per the guidance, this option will be available for students who cannot return to school due to medical issues and will serve as a mechanism within the hybrid model, should our region have a spike in COVID-19 cases that requires us to close again.

Lastly, we are learning more about the hybrid model, which calls for students alternating between in-person and remote learning. If the state guidance requires six feet of social distancing while students are wearing masks, we would be forced to essentially reduce our class sizes to half the number of students (generally speaking), as well as dramatically reduce our ridership on school buses. As you can imagine, physical space and staffing requirements will be the primary drivers of these decisions.

As we continue to learn more about the guidance, we will zero in on various scheduling options. We will continue to keep you posted and will post updates on our website, www.HenHudSchools.org.

Regards,

 

Joseph Hochreiter

Superintendent