South Orangetown Central School District

Sent via SchoolMessenger on March 19, 2021

Dear South Orangetown Families and Staff,

This afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated guidance for schools which establishes a new standard for physical distancing of three feet for elementary students. For secondary students, the standard is dependent upon community transmission. Rockland County is presently designated by the CDC as having a “high” level of community transmission; the CDC advises that middle and high school students in areas of high community transmission should maintain six feet of physical distancing. Nevertheless, this revised guidance is an encouraging step toward safely returning all South Orangetown Central School District students to school on a full-time, in-person basis.

Preliminary planning is underway as we carefully review the updated federal guidance. We look forward to receiving revised guidelines from the New York State Department of Health and New York State Education Department which reflect the reduction of physical distancing requirements and provide clear direction regarding quarantine requirements and guidelines for mealtime, physical education, music and transportation.

While it is exciting to prepare for the next phase of reopening, the health and safety of our students and staff remain of paramount importance. The pandemic is not over and, in fact, Rockland County’s rates of COVID-19 remain among the highest in the state. On Wednesday, five positive cases were reported at Tappan Zee High School alone–the highest number of cases reported in a single building on a single day to date.

We must remain vigilant in observing masking, physical distancing, hand-washing and travel-related requirements to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Thank you for your support. I will continue to update you on next steps.


Robert R. Pritchard, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools