Governor extends school closings

KINDERHOOK–As part of an executive order issued on Friday, March 27, Governor Andrew Cuomo has extended the date that schools in the state will be closed until at least April 15. Most of the school districts in the county had planned to reopen on April 1 or 2 but now are making plans to be closed for another two weeks.

On Sunday, March 30, President Trump said the lockdown nationwide would continue until the end of April. Both dates depend on the status of the pandemic in New York State.

The governor’s order says “that all schools shall remain closed until April 15, 2020, at which time the continued closure shall be re-evaluated. No school shall be subject to a diminution in school aid due to failure to meet the 180-day in session requirement as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, provided their closure does not extend beyond the term set forth herein. School districts must continue plans for alternative instructional options, distribution and availability of meals, and child care, with an emphasis on serving children of essential workers, and continue to first use any vacation or snow days remaining.”

Ichabod Crane Central School District sent out an email to parents Friday evening, and Hudson City School District posted a similar message on its website, saying in part, that April 15 falls in the middle of spring recess, which was supposed to start April 10 and run through April 17.

Both districts’ statements say, “We, along with many school districts in our region that face a similar situation, will look into what this means for our school.” Both district’s promise to update students and parents to add updates “as we have more information.”

The email from Ichabod goes on to say, “We understand the challenges the school closure creates for families. Hopefully, this extended closure will help keep our students and community healthier as we look forward to getting past this pandemic and getting back to our normal routines.”

The district announced on March 22 that there is a high school student who had a confirmed case of COVID-19. The announcement said the district was in regular contact with the health department and “they are actively working to identify and get in touch with anyone who’s had close contact with the student. Anyone identified will be contacted by the health department. If you are not contacted, we’ve been told it is because they have not identified you or your child as a close contact.”

As for food service, all the public school districts in the county–Chatham, Germantown, Ichabod Crane, Hudson, New Lebanon and Taconic Hills—all have plans to get food to students in need. Hudson has organized a breakfast and lunch program. Taconic Hills announced on its website that “this week we modified our meal distribution to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We will continue with that plan ongoing.”

Chatham announced that the district’s schools would be closed until April 15 and has decided to cancel all field trips through May 20. “The district will continue to deliver meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to children whose families are in need of them. Starting this Monday, we will provide emergency childcare through our partnership with Chatham Kids Club for children of parents who work in healthcare or other essential services,” says a statement on the Chatham website.

Local school District district websites:

• Chatham

• Germantown

• Hudson

• Ichabod Crane

• New Lebanon

• Taconic Hills

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