Sent via SchoolMessenger on December 9, 2020
Dear South Orangetown Families,
First, I’d like to express my gratitude to the staff, students and families who have demonstrated an enduring commitment to keeping our school community healthy and our schools open for in-person hybrid learning during this difficult year.
Unfortunately, our capacity to sustain in-person hybrid learning is rapidly eroding due to the impact of the number and frequency of positive cases reported, particularly at the secondary level. Post-Halloween quarantines at South Orangetown Middle School and Tappan Zee High School forced both buildings into extended remote learning periods in mid-November. More than 140 students and roughly 50 staff members have been mandated to quarantine since Thanksgiving Recess, requiring both SOMS and TZHS to shift to fully-remote learning through December 23.
Based on our experience over the past five weeks, we expect these challenges to continue. Therefore, to minimize the risk of exposure to our students and staff, all South Orangetown schools will shift to fully-remote learning starting Friday, December 18 (Superintendent Conference Day/Elementary Parent-Teacher Conferences) through Friday, January 8.
Calendar as follows:
- Friday, December 18: A preliminary review of Hybrid Learning Survey responses indicate that many students would benefit from a day to review and catch up on assignments. Students are expected to use this day for that purpose. Teachers will not post any new lessons, assignments, activities, homework or require that new work be turned in. If your child will not be available to work on assignments on December 18, please report their absence to their school.
- Monday, December 21 through Wednesday, December 23: Classes will be held virtually as normally scheduled. December 23 is a half-day for students and staff.
- Thursday, December 24 through Friday, January 1: Schools closed for December Recess.
- Monday, January 4: Classes resume virtually as normally scheduled.
- Monday, January 11: In-person hybrid learning resumes.
Food Service: Weekly school meal pick-up will be held at the SOMS Auditorium entrance, 9AM-12PM, on Monday, December 21 and Tuesday, January 5.
Food Pantry: Families who have registered in advance may pick-up food supplies from the SOCSD Food Pantry at the former Tappan Zee Elementary School on Tuesday, December 22, 4-7PM.
Transportation: Transportation for out-of-district placements will operate as usual during remote learning. CTEC students will participate remotely from December 18 through January 8.
Athletics: Athletics will be suspended while schools are operating on a fully-remote basis and will resume when in-person, hybrid learning resumes on Monday, January 11.
Our students and staff bear the burden of the choices we make. Additional temporary or extended school closures may still be required between now and December 18. Please keep your children home if they aren’t feeling well, continue to wear masks, maintain social distancing and take every reasonable precaution to keep yourselves and our school community safe.
Robert R. Pritchard, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools