Superintendent Update regarding MS/HS schedules

on April 16, 2021

Message from Superintendent headerApril 16, 2021

Dear MWHS and MWMS families,

We have learned many things during this extended COVID crisis, not the least of which is the ability to alter course as necessary. With each decision we make at a district level, there are many outside factors that must be considered, including updated guidance from the New York State Department of Health and infection rates in the region. 

As always, our primary focus remains on keeping our school community safe. As I noted in my recent communication, the district received updated guidance from the New York State Department of Health on Friday, April 9. This document addressed new guidelines for in-person instruction, social distancing and the reopening of schools.

Unfortunately, these new guidelines impact our ability to initiate five-day-a-week instruction at the secondary level as originally planned on Monday, April 19. In-person students will continue to follow a hybrid schedule. District teams and health professionals are working to create a plan that is compliant with the updated guidelines and ensures a safe reopening of Monroe-Woodbury Middle School and Monroe-Woodbury High School. 

We are excited to share that, beginning next week, we will welcome back remote students who have requested a return to in-person instruction. Although we are unable to invite them back five-days-a-week as originally planned, we will be offering them a hybrid schedule. Families will receive specific information regarding cohorts and student schedules from building principals. Transportation information will be available later today in the Parent Portal.

There is one major factor outlined in the guidance that has driven our decision to delay the full reopening at the secondary buildings. The CDC has identified, and our local health department has confirmed, that Orange County is considered an area of high transmission at this time. (You may access the data at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#country-view.)

Page 8 of the guidance reads: “In counties with high risk of transmission, elementary schools can maintain physical distancing of at least three feet between students in classrooms and cohorting is recommended when possible. However, in middle and high schools three feet between students in classrooms is recommended only when schools can use cohorting. When schools cannot maintain cohorting, middle and high schools must maintain physical distancing of at least six feet between students in classrooms.”

While we are able to meet this requirement at the elementary level where students typically spend the majority of their school day with the same classmates, this is not feasible at the secondary level with schools the size of MWHS and MWMS.

Be assured that the district will continue to collaborate with key stakeholders to facilitate the return to five days-a-week in-person instruction. We will keep you updated as planning progresses.

Thank you for your flexibility and understanding as we continue our work on behalf of our students.

Warm regards,

Elsie Rodriguez
Superintendent of Schools