COVID-19: Westchester School District Pushes In-Person Learning Into November

The school district in Westchester is hitting the pause button on the start of in-person instruction for more than a month due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Mount Vernon School District Offices
Mount Vernon School District Offices Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

Mount Vernon Schools Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton said that the district was forced to adjust its plans to transition to a hybrid learning model due to “mitigating factors” that impacted their plans and “influenced their decisions.”

The revised plan calls for the beginning of in-person learning in mid-November.

“Our plan focuses on bringing students back to school while maintaining social distancing and recommendations from the CDC and other governing health organizations,” Hamilton wrote to parents. “Two key factors have prevented us from our original plan of a hybrid learning environment.

“We have listened to parents and students and realized that instruction continuity with their current teacher is a high priority,” he continued. “Transportation companies have not been able to completely fulfill contractual obligations. Other mitigating factors impact our plans and influence our decisions.”

Citing the abrupt closures of many districts in the region due to COVID-19 outbreaks in students and staff, as well as the rise in cases in younger children, Hamilton said it was the best option to postpone the start of in-person learning districtwide.

“Although our plans have changed, our goals have not. We remain committed to keeping students, staff, and their families as safe as possible while trying to provide the best educational programs and supports given our current circumstances.”

The new plan calls for remote learning through the end of the first marking period on Friday, Nov. 13. At the end of the first marking period, the district will begin reopening in three phases, two weeks apart.

For parents that selected in-person instruction, the district will reopen on the following dates for the following students:

  • Monday, Nov. 16: Pre K-3;
  • Monday, Nov. 30: Grades 4-8;
  • Monday, Dec. 14: Grades 9-12.

Cohort A will attend school in person on Mondays, Tuesdays, and alternating Wednesdays. Cohort B will attend school in person on Thursdays, Fridays, and alternating Wednesdays.

Hamilton said that the cohorts will be established by the secondary schools. The classroom teachers will teach both the in-person students and fully remote students at that time. Minor adjustments to schedules may occur; however, students will maintain the teacher they had for the first marking period.

“Circumstances like state mandates and peaks in COVID infection along with Influenza may dictate additional changes,” Hamilton added. “These factors are beyond our control, so we must remain as flexible as possible.”

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