The COVID-19 – Coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it. Challenges and uncertainty are the new normal. Things may never go back to the way things were, that includes what will the 2020-2021 school year look like in the County of Westchester? Right now not even the Governor or the area school superintendents know.
With the threat of a second wave in the fall, when the first wave seems to have no end in site, students and teachers would normally be beginning summer vacation. But administrators in area schools are not sure how to prepare for the next year. Do they order new books or prepare more online classes for students at least the first half of the school year?
CNN talked to administrators, teachers and parents of the Greenburgh Central School District, Monday. Now navigating a new normal, faculty closed out the 2020 school year in buildings with no students. Now, as they enter summer break, they still don’t know if school is going to open again in the fall, and if it does, which new guidelines they’ll have to follow. (see CNN video below).
After watching the CNN coverage, Black Westchester reached out to area school superintendents to discuss their plans for reopening schools in the fall, to see what will school reopenings look like in Westchester County.
Even as the the number of cases of coronavirus is spiking in more than half of the country, in Westchester County we have flattened the curve, but some parents fear allowing their children to go back to school in the fall until a vaccine is found. There are discussions of students being in class half a day and online at home half the day. One thing is certain, nothing is certain at this very minute, when plans are usually being made to prepare for the next school year.
Greenburgh Central School District Superintendent Dr. Tahira Dupree Chase says their will be the need to have multiple plans in preparation for whatever is going to happen in September. Plans include sending groups of students to school on a half-day schedule to keep the building emptier to allow social distancing, as well as maintaining a voluntary online-only “virtual academy” for students whose parents want them to stay home..
“As we meticulously plan for the possible reopening of schools, the health and safety of students and staff remain our utmost priority,” Dr. Chase shares with Black Westchester.
When asked when does she feel plans need to be put in place for the fall, she replied; “Actually, we don’t have much time because there has to be a point of planning. There has to be a point of then communicating that plan, because we do have parents who are apprehensive.”
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that regular school reopening in New York — both for young children and college-aged students — are at risk if the coronavirus continues to spread in other states.
New York is planning for reopening classrooms and instruction, Cuomo told Chuck Todd Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“It’s two months away,” Cuomo said of the beginning of the school year. “Anything can happen in two months. You look back two months, and you see how many things have changed.”
He added, “If this continues across the country, you’re right Chuck, kids are going to be home for a long time.”
His comments came as New York reported five deaths related to coronavirus in the past 24 hours. That’s the lowest number of deaths reported since March 15, Cuomo said.
What does that means for the 2020-2021 school year? Stay tuned to Black Westchester to for all updates on the new school year. We will be looking at Mount Vernon City School District, the City School District of New Rochelle and Yonkers Public Schools next and keeping you informed on any updates at Greenburgh Central School Districts.
Any Superintendents, administrators, teachers in Westchester who has any information or or parents and students with questions, email us at BlackWestchester.com.