HUDSON—Feedback needed from parents, the school calendar, and athletic facilities, in addition to preparation for school reopening, received attention at the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting August 4. (See story that follows for more.)
Parents and guardians will be asked to tell the district whether they want their children to get their schooling 100% online or to come to school in person if and when possible; and whether they intend to drive their children to school, or have them take a bus. The district needs this information in order to allocate classrooms and determine school day schedules.
Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier requested that when families commit to a lesson model and transportation mode they stick with it for an entire semester.
Other factors in determining space and time use include “the space we have and the staff we have,” Dr. Suttmeier said.
Changes are possible for to both the beginning and the end of the school year. Dr. Suttmeier spoke of devoting the four days after Labor Day to professional development and teaching teachers how to teach better online.
The latest plan envisions classes beginning the week of September 14.
The end of the school year might also be influenced, if the observance of Juneteenth is made a state holiday, Dr. Suttmeier said. But she noted that in 2021, June 19 is a Saturday.
The district has received requests concerning sports facilities used by High School students on the grounds of Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School (MCS). One request is to extend lighted hours for the tennis courts. The other concerns the fence around the baseball diamond. Both requests are being looked into.
‘We don’t know how October will look.’
Supt. Maria L. Suttmeier
Hudson School District
For reopening the schools, “health and safety” are the main concern, said Dr. Suttmeier but she added, “We need a curriculum so that students are prepared for the next grade.” She emphasized that the reopening plan is a “work in progress” that looks at September. “We don’t know how October will look,” she said.
Two important aspects of health and safety, Dr. Suttmeier said, are wearing masks and taking temperatures. She suggested giving children lessons in wearing masks correctly, covering both the nose and the mouth.
Temperature screening may take place on buses. Consultants advised against screening at bus stops, where weather can distort results. Furthermore, not all children have someone at the bus stop who can take them home. A child found sick on a bus goes directly to an isolation room at school. But what about people who rode the bus with the child? They will follow Department of Health guidelines based on answers to a series of questions.
Dr. Suttmeier also told the meeting:
• The district is working on how to teach art, music and science labs, and serving juniors and seniors, perhaps get them into school in person. The plan has them learning online
• For students not in school, meals will be provided, as was done in the spring
• Students will be evaluated for what social emotional support they need
• Fire and other safety drills in some buildings will have to be done twice: once for each in-person group.
“I have been proud on how we put this plan together, with over 80 stakeholders,” said Dr. Suttmeier.
Business Administrator Jesse Boehme praised the Buildings and Grounds staff. They have been “very busy” rearranging classrooms for a new configuration.
Question and answer sessions about school reopening were scheduled for earlier this week and will place at 4 p.m. for Hudson High School families August 13, and Junior High families August 14.
The next meeting of the HCSD Board of Education will take place Tuesday, August 18, at 6:30 p.m. by livestream.
Hudson schools will offer two approaches depending on grade
By JEANETTE WOLFBERG
HUDSON—Children in the Hudson City School District will participate in either a Hybrid Model—partly online, partly in person—or an all-online Virtual Model, depending on their grade. The classes start in September, according to reopening plans the district submitted to the state, as required, at the end of July.
Asked whether Governor Andrew Cuomo’s August 7 announcement on school reopenings would change the plan, Superintendent Dr. Maria L. Suttmeier responded on August 8, “No. He has given districts the approval to reopen according to plans submitted, unless we hear otherwise from the Department of Health.”
Still, the reopening plan is “a living document,” cautioned Dr. Suttmeier, at an overview information presentation by District officials July 30. She said the district has time to make changes even after school starts. (For more details see Page 3)
Meanwhile, school-specific information sessions were scheduled August 12 through 14 at 4 p.m. And by August 14, districts in the State must post three plans: Remote Learning; COVID-19 Testing; and Contact Tracing.
According to the July 30 presentation, the Hudson City School District (HCSD) reopening plan stipulates that with few exceptions:
• Pre-kindergarten through 5th grade will attend school in person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesdays, when the schools undergo thorough cleaning, all lessons will be remote.
• Sixth through 10th grade will be divided into a Blue Group, which will attend school in person Monday and Tuesday; and a Gold Group, which will attend school in person Thursday and Friday.
• Eleventh and 12th grades will be 100% remote.
• Students in self-contained special education classes will attend school four days a week, regardless of grade, said Kim Lybolt, Director of Student Services
• Students in Questar III BOCES programs will follow their program’s model
• Students whose parents or guardians request they study 100% online will follow the Virtual School Option, Dr. Suttmeier said.
Most students slated for some in-person classes are to start the school year online. Pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, 6th grade, and 9th grade are to have their first in-person classes the week of September 14. First, 2nd, 7th, and 10th grade are to have their first in-person classes the week of September 21. Third, 4th, 5th, and 8th graders are to have their first in-person classes the week of September 28.
Students, faculty, and staff will have their temperature taken daily, said Business Administrator Jesse Boehme. Anyone with a temperature 100 or greater “must go home.” Children with elevated temperatures will be sent to an isolation room until a parent or guardian can pick them up.
In school, Mr. Boehme said that except for students with a medical excuse, students will have to wear a face covering, except when eating and during short regular “mask breaks.”
Breakfast and lunch are likely to be served and eaten in classrooms. However, each building will set its own meals policy. There will be no sharing of food or drink except among children who live in the same household.
Buses are limited to 22 riders, with designated seats. Only students who live together will be able to sit together.
Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement April Prestipino said that some educational standards were relaxed during last spring’s shut down, but for this year the “state Education Department has made it clear that everything has to be taught,” and students will be graded by the standards. Attendance will be important. The state has yet to announce the content and form of standard assessment tests.
The District will provide its mandated services, including for English language learners.
Dr. Suttmeier said that the shape of high school sports is in the hands of school athletic associations.
Ms. Prestipino said that art, music, and physical education would be “worked into school as we get better at getting students in.”
Dr. Suttmeier said that initially the 100% online option would offer fewer elective courses. Further plans will come when “we see how many” families choose the all virtual model and how many choose the hybrid model.