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COVID-19: New School District In Westchester Going All-Virtual Due To Cases

The New Rochelle "yellow zone."
The New Rochelle "yellow zone." Photo Credit:

The New Rochelle school district has become the latest in Westchester to transition to all-virtual learning through the rest of the month.

New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Alex Marrero issued a notice on Thursday, Nov. 19 advising parents that the entire district - aside from a cohort of special education classes - will revert to its full distance learning model beginning on Friday, Nov. 20.

Marrero said that students will continue remote learning through at least Thursday, Dec. 3.

“We have made this decision in consultation with the Westchester County Department of Health because a large portion of our district has been designated as a yellow zone by New York State,” he added. “This designation indicates a concerning increase in the spread of COVID-19.”

New Rochelle had been dealing with a staffing shortage as COVID-19 cases mounted and hundreds of students and staff members were instructed to quarantine due to possible exposure to the virus.

Before allowing the special education students back into the classroom, under state guidance, 20 percent of students, faculty, and staff members must be tested for COVID-19.

Marrero said that the district is working with Montefiore to establish protocols to ensure that testing is completed seamlessly to allow the cohort to continue in-person learning.

“Montefiore has assured us that they have the capacity to test 20 percent of this population on a weekly basis, if required,” he said. “The implementation of a reliable, consistent and sustainable testing plan will help us mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and maintain and preserve the hybrid learning experience for our special education students that we have been able to offer so far this school year.”

During the closure, food distribution will continue on school days, Marrero added.

“Since the pandemic began, we have responded swiftly and thoroughly when individuals have tested positive for COVID, identifying those who were in contact with the individual, and temporarily shifting to distance learning for specific classes as warranted,” he said.

“Now that the number of COVID-19 cases has risen enough to designate us as a yellow zone, we expect that cases would become more frequent if school buildings remained open,” Marrero continued. “For these reasons, we will switch to our distance-learning model until the situation in New Rochelle improves.“

Click here for a link to the map showing the New Rochelle yellow zone.

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