On Friday at the New Paltz Board of Education meeting, a decision was made to postpone the start of in-person instruction for the 2020-21 school year. “This decision was not easy, but was driven by our responsibility to provide a safe environment for all, one that will incorporate all of the protections, protocols and procedures required under the guidelines from the Department of Health and the NYS Department of Education,” said superintendent Angela Urbina-Medina in a letter on the district’s website.
The superintendent explained that there are significant delays in the supply chains preventing the district’s ability to acquire many of the necessary elements needed for a safe reopening.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday that all New York State schools could open, but also shared several other additional steps for schools to complete as they move toward reopening. Inclusive in those steps are three opportunities to talk about the reopening plan with the public and solicit feedback. A separate conversation will be scheduled in New Paltz for instructional staff members. In addition, three plans will need to be developed and made available on the district’s website that describes its contact tracing process, testing process and its distance learning plan.
“I know that the issue of reopening schools is fraught with emotion, opinions and passion,” said Urbina-Medina. “The disruption to our lives has been comprehensive and of the highest stakes. Much of what we have had to grapple with these past few months has caused tremendous anxiety as these events and the management of them has been out of our control. As unpopular and problematic a decision like this might be for families in this district, I could not in good conscience advise that we continue to move forward with in-person instruction in September when such significant supply issues exist. The health and safety of our school community is my priority.”
On Tuesday, August 11, Urbina-Medina will provide an update on the reopening plan, the next meetings and answer questions. Check the district website for updates and the official NPCSD Facebook page which will launch on Monday, August 10 and can be found at http://www.facebook.com/NewPaltzCentralSchoolDistrict.
New Paltz schools will open with remote learning only for grades K-12 on September 7. The board of education will revisit offering in-person learning at the end of September.