Onteora returned to in-person learning April 26 for the first time since a staff member for the district’s transportation contractor tested positive for Covid-19, forcing a switch to remote learning on April 20.
The positive result required quarantining of drivers and caused a staffing shortage at First Student Transportation. The company could not provide enough drivers for the district.
“There are a few staff members there who are ill, but contact tracing which was done in conjunction with our medical director and the Ulster County Department of Health did lead to a large percentage of their staff having to quarantine which then interrupted their ability to provide service to our students to bring them into the buildings,” Superintendent Victoria McLaren said.
Middle and high school students in the hybrid model will once again attend classes four days per week soon because of precautions being taken in the building to make it safer, she explained.
“The majority of the desk shields that were ordered for the classrooms have arrived. And they are also restructuring the lunch and cafeteria plans, so they can maintain proper social distancing of students during lunch,” McLaren said.
“If everything goes as expected, they believe they may be able to shift to four days a week at the beginning of May, but they (the principals) will send out a separate email notification next week, making sure that everybody knows what the plans are and when they are absolutely set prior to making this change.”
Because of the switch to remote learning, state testing was delayed.
The middle school English Language Arts (ELA) was set for April 26 and April 29 and the elementary ELA was rescheduled to April 26 for Bennett and April 28 for Woodstock and Phoenicia.