United States Education Secretary Miguel Cardona took his “Help is Here” school reopening tour to the Hudson Valley with a visit to one of the region’s largest high schools.
Cardona, the former Education Commissioner for the State of Connecticut, came to Westchester for a pair of events at White Plains High School on Thursday, April 22 and praised how the district was navigating the return to in-person learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Department of Education, during the "Help is Here" tour, Cardona visits schools that have "successfully reopened and stayed open to highlight best practices and discuss how schools can ensure reopening efforts are advancing educational equity.”
He will also visit schools that are facing challenges as they work to reopen to provide educators with encouragement, support, and technical assistance
“We can talk about barriers; we can talk about Plexiglas,” Cardona stated. “That’s all important, but is secondary to what I saw when I walked in this building. There’s a sense of community. There’s open dialogue. There are relationships. This is a relationships business.”
In White Plains, more than 90 percent of elementary school students have returned to a full five-day school week of in-person learning. Across the district, approximately 70 percent of students are fully returned to the classroom., while extracurricular activities have also resumed.
“Safe and quick reopening is my primary goal, and what I saw in White Plains is an example of what I can share,” Cardona said to CBS News. “We also have the pandemic of division and racial divide.
“If we can take the teamwork and the commitment and the student center-ness that I saw here around reopening schools and we address it with the inequities, I’m very confident that they’re going to have similar successful results.”
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