News From Yonkers Public Schools
A Message from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Edwin M. Quezada
Reopening Yonkers Public Schools September 2020

Friday, July 17, 2020

Updates to Keep the Community Informed and Engaged About
Reopening Yonkers Public Schools September 2020.

Throughout our planning and work towards a successful 2020-2021 school year for our students and staff, we need every parent/guardian and employee to continue to offer input, suggestions and to respond to questionnaires and surveys from the District.  Your input -- your partnership -- is key to developing a plan which prioritizes the health and safety of our students, employees and families with quality standards-based instruction, regardless of the delivery model.  Although our context may need to change, our commitment to equity and excellence is resolute. 

Governor Announces State Formula to Reopen and if Necessary, to Reclose Schools

On Monday, July 13, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the State’s formula to reopen and if necessary, reclose schools by region based on the percentage of COVID-19 positive individuals.  The region must be in Phase 4 with a 5% or lower infection rate using a 14-day average.  The State will determine by the first week in August which region’s schools will be open in September.  After the initial announcement and prior to the first day of school, if the regional virus infection rate increases to 9% or higher using a 7-day average, schools will be closed.

New York State Health & Education Departments Release Reopening Guidelines

In addition, this week the New York State Health and Education Departments released guidelines for schools to reopen for in-person as well as remote instruction. School districts must develop flexible plans to meet the needs of their students, parents/guardians and community.

The plan must include safeguards to protect everyone’s health and safety by using face coverings, social distancing, screening, monitoring health conditions, cleaning and disinfecting. In-classroom instruction is the priority especially for students with disabilities and multilingual learners. To ensure continuity of instruction, districts must establish best practices that include hybrid (in-person and remote) as well as only remote teaching and learning.

The District’s planning updates, notices, questionnaires and surveys as well as the state’s guidance documents will be posted on the District’s new 2020 September Reopening of Yonkers Public Schools website.

Important Notice for Families and Employees Traveling
Prior to Their First Day to Report to School

Governor Cuomo has issued a travel advisory requiring individuals who have traveled from states determined to have a significant spread of COVID 19 to quarantine for fourteen (14) days upon arrival in New York. 

As of July 15, 2020, those states are:

Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

Upon your return to school or work, you will be asked to complete a form asking whether you have traveled to New York from any location under a travel advisory.  If you have traveled from any of these locations within fourteen (14) days, you will not be permitted to report to school or work unless you quarantine for the required period of time or submit documentation of a negative COVID 19 test result obtained after your return to New York.  Please make every effort to plan your travel so that you are able to report for your first day of school or work.

Preparing for September 2020

What school will look like in September provokes countless questions and concerns from our learning community. Our plan will adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as state and county health departments guidance, New York State Education Department regulations and the Governor’s final determination anticipated for the first week of August.

Our common goal is a safe organized return to school for students, staff and families.  Relentless work has and continues to be done to prepare for the September opening of schools according to the State guidelines. Experts anticipate the pandemic will continue throughout the 2020-21 school year with periods of increased community outbreaks until such time as there is a widely available vaccine.  Our plans will be flexible to quickly adjust to guidance updates from health and education departments.  

Yonkers commitment to equity and excellence drives the work that is grounded in collaboration with all stakeholders which is foundational to our success.  The guiding principles include:

  • Equity
  • Health, Safety and Well-being for All
  • All Children’s Unique Needs
  • Customized Approach for Teaching and Learning
  • Quality Standards-Based Culturally Responsive Instruction
  • Parents/Guardians as Partners

The plan for the 2020-2021 school year is not the distance learning we launched last school year.  Through our spring and summer experience with remote learning and the survey responses from parents/guardians, students and teachers a wide variety of feedback and needs surfaced.  This has informed our preparation to significantly improve teaching and learning moving forward.  As we continue to plan, the District will work collaboratively with our educators to create model in-person and distance learning opportunities.  Remote learning is expected to include synchronous and asynchronous elements, which allow for students to work together or individually at their own pace and on their own schedule.

2020-2021 School Year Preparations Underway
Through Collaboration, Data Analysis and Continuous Input

In May, the Superintendent of Schools convened the 2020 Reopen Yonkers Public Schools Plan Committees to imagine the new normal for teaching, learning and operating in the school district in the age of COVID-19.  Six committees were established with representation from all stakeholder groups which included school and districtwide administrators and teachers, parents/guardians, students and Trustees.  

These committees reviewed available guidance from reputable sources as well as other state and district reopening plans. 

  • Academic – Teaching and Learning, Parent/Guardian Support
  • Operations – Digital Equity and Access, Transportation, Nutrition, School Facilities Management
  • Emotional Support – Social-Emotional Needs of Students and Staff
  • Health and Safety – Students, Parents/Guardians and Staff
  • Special Populations – Special Education, Multilingual Learners
  • Communication - Students, Parents/Guardians and Staff

The Board of Education hired Hanover Research, one of the top 50 national research firms offering educational solutions and services, to assist in designing Yonkers’ reopening plans.  Using the data gathered by the committees, Hanover Research conducted a gap analysis against New York State’s health and education guidance and provided a template for the Reopening Yonkers Public Schools September 2020 Plan.  As our plans evolve and additional guidance is provided, we will keep the community informed and, most importantly, offer opportunities for additional feedback and collaboration.

Preparing for September at Home

Our successful reopening relies on the support and collaboration of everyone.  Below are a few recommendations parents/guardians can do now to prepare for September.

  • Teach and model for your children how to maintain social distancing and use a face covering outside the home.
  • Emphasize proper hygiene with your children to wash their hands and avoid touching their face.
  • Schedule your child's physical health examination and immunizations prior to September 8, 2020.
  • Purchase or make personalized face coverings for your child.  The District will have face coverings for students and staff, if needed.
  • If financially feasible, purchase a laptop or tablet for your child. This does not require an expensive device.  The District will continue to loan laptops and tablets to students.
  • If financially feasible, ensure you have Wi-Fi available at home.

Summer Distance Learning for Students using Microsoft Teams 

Elementary summer programs offer students in grades three through eight opportunities to advance their learning in humanities, engineering and math. Multilingual learners in grades kindergarten through eight receive intensive instruction to continue their English language development and literacy. 

The Secondary Distance Learning Summer School Academy provides students in grades 7 through 12 an opportunity to earn credit for courses not passed during the academic year.  The students are being taught in online virtual classrooms using Microsoft Teams.  The academy operates through August 11, 2020. 

Virtual Academy for Parents/Guardians using Zoom and Microsoft Teams

Make the Virtual Parent Academy Your Power Hour. Absolutely FREE!. Select from more than 60 one-hour workshops designed to equip parents/guardians with useful information and skills. Browse the online catalog and register today!

Summer Food Program

Grab N Go student breakfast and lunch will continue daily through August 14, 2020 at eight school sites from 8:15 AM to 12:15 PM - Eugenio María de Hostos MicroSociety School, Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy, Roosevelt High School-Early College Studies, Scholastic Academy for Academic Excellence, School 9, School 13, Thomas Cornell Academy, Yonkers Middle High School, as well as the Yonkers Riverfront Library.

Child Care

The District continues to provide childcare for healthcare workers and first responders who are Yonkers residents at two locations: School 16 and Casimir Pulaski School.

District to Launch Dedicated Website for the September 2020 Reopening of Yonkers Public Schools 

The website will launch during the week of July 20, 2020 as a clearing house of factual information about the District’s ongoing plans for a safe return to in-person instruction that follows the guidelines provided by the New York State Education and Health Departments. Our priority continues to be the health and well-being of Yonkers Public Schools students, employees, families and community members working in our schools.

Stay Connected!

We welcome your participation in the Yonkers Public Schools communities on FacebookTwitter, & Instagram, and to connect on LinkedIn. Please regularly check the District website for news and updates. For questions about information in this Email, please contact the Public Information Office.

Copyright © 2020 Yonkers Public Schools, All rights reserved.

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