South Orangetown Central School District

William O. Schaefer Elementary School welcomed students back for full-time, in-person learning on April 6. Ninety-three percent of families registered their K-2 students to attend school full-time; the remaining families opted to have their children remain fully remote for the remainder of the school year. Cottage Lane Elementary School is preparing for the return of students in grades 3-5 on April 12. Ninety percent of CLE students have committed to full-time, in-person learning.

“The pandemic has presented many challenges to our students, families and staff. I am proud of the resilience and effort made by all toward making this return to school a safe and productive experience,” said Superintendent of Schools Robert Pritchard, Ed.D. “I’m hopeful that this will position us for a return to full-time, in-person learning in the fall with minimal learning loss for our students.”

This marks the third phase of the District’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which began with distance learning in March 2020, shifted to hybrid instruction in September 2020 and is now transitioning to full-time, in-person instruction in accordance with state and federal guidelines. Last month, the CDC released updated guidance for schools which reduced the social distancing guidelines for elementary schools to three feet regardless of levels of community transmission.

Middle schools and high schools in areas of high community transmission must maintain physical distancing of six feet. However, planning is underway to prepare South Orangetown Middle School and Tappan Zee High School to move forward once conditions allow.