Yonkers, NY– On Monday, December 21st, Superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools Dr. Edwin Quezada sent a letter to the Yonkers Public School community informing them that all instruction would become 100% remote from Monday January 4 until Friday January 8th. Dr. Quezada also informed the community that while students would remain home, teachers and staff would continue to go to school to deliver instruction.
“While a holiday pause is most certainly a prudent step in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, one week simply is not enough time as we learned from the shortened pause after Thanksgiving break when numbers shot up. We must err on the side of caution and provide at least a two week pause,” City Council President Mike Khader shared with Black Westchester. “Moreover, the option to remain at home during remote instruction should also include teachers and staff. Our district has shown it is able to function 100 percent remotely, educators included. COVID has proven that it does not discriminate and we must do everything we can to keep everyone safe during these unprecedented times, while always adhering to CDC guidelines.”
Yonkers Federation of Teachers President, Samantha Rosado-Ciriello agrees we must learn from the Thanksgiving break and pause for a minimum of two weeks following the Winter Break.
“With nearly 100 COVID positive cases in the weeks since Thanksgiving, 41% of which represent students, 59% representing staff and hundreds of individuals quarantined it is evident that a holiday pause for a minimum of 2 weeks with students learning remotely and staff having the option of teaching remotely from their homes is the safest approach for our community,” said Rosado-Ciriello.
Multiple teachers unions came forward arguing for a “holiday pause” and taking a break from in-person learning in order, following Thanksgiving to slow the spread of the virus.
Councilwoman Shanae V. Williams (District 1) feels Yonkers Public Schools should follow other schools throughout Westchester.
“There are 21 other schools throughout Westchester County that have implemented a holiday pause giving teachers the option of working from home or from the school building, Yonkers Public Schools should follow suit,” Councilwoman Williams shares with Black Westchester. “The fact that we are leading in positive COVID cases is exactly why a holiday pause is necessary. Let’s also keep in mind that children and instructional staff are also at risk of contracting the virus and so they should be protected at all costs. I commend the leadership at YFT and its members for bringing this matter to the forefront.”
Councilwoman Tasha Diaz (District 3) who serves as the education chair also supports the longer holiday pause.
“As education chair I support the pause as I see it being beneficial in combatting the spread,” said Councilwoman Tasha Diaz. “As numbers continue to rise I feel it would be proactive to coincide with our neighboring school districts for the betterment, safety, and well being for all. I look forward to pressing the reset button so our precious children can get back to some normalcy.”
The Yonkers Public Schools employees 3,579 employees and serves 27,000 students in grades PreKindergarten-12 in New York’s 4th largest school district.
Since its inception in 1881, Yonkers Public Schools has changed in many ways, but remains steadfastly committed to challenging the city’s youth to aspire to their highest potential, and to inspire a life-long love of learning.We are the fourth largest school district in New York State, located in the lower Hudson Valley, immediately north of New York City.