As the summer goes on, members of the Newburgh Enlarged City School District [NECSD] are anxiously waiting to hear when the school district will be able to physically open again.
As of now there is no set opening date from the state. The district is currently working on preparing an action plan for this fall. The state is expected to decide when schools reopen by the beginning of August.
“As the HOH [Horizons-on-the-Hudson] PTO [parent teacher organization] President and a Newburgh Enlarged City School District parent, I couldn’t be prouder of our district,” said Kate Clark, HOH PTO President.
“The way they have navigated and guided our families through these uncharted waters of COVID-19 has been tremendous. In theory, our students didn’t miss a day of school,” said Clark. “And the district made immediate efforts to bridge the gap of unequal access from home for some of our students. The district’s Food Services Department staff hasn’t skipped a beat either ensuring all our scholars are fed.”
Still, the reactions to opening schools up again are mixed.
“If Harvard is staying closed, so should other schools?” said Natasha Dennis, Newburgh resident on Facebook.
The district is currently taking on a thought exchange for parents.
“Now in making the decision for how and when to reopen schools, the district has a little time to prepare and they are making every effort to make sure they look at every possible scenario with the safety of everyone at the forefront,” said Clark.
“The district is including everyone in the conversation, even our parents,” said Clark. “The district has set-up an online Thought Exchange (forum) for parents to voice their questions, comments, and concerns regarding reopening schools and has also invited parents to join NECSD administration, staff, and teachers on the Operation Reopen Task Force which meets every week to discuss the various scenarios for reopening schools.”
The district has developed several advisory teams focused on components of education such as transportation, health and wellness, teaching, learning, and social emotional learning.
“Ultimately,” said Shoy Colbourne, member of the district’s social emotional learning advisory team. “I believe the focus of the district remains on the most vulnerable populations and the necessary supports for a safe reopening of schools and I feel engaged and heard as a community member during the reopening process”
One of the biggest concerns over reopening schools physically this fall is the possibility of students being vulnerable to COVID-19. Although New York State is taking immense strides to consistently decrease the number of COVID-19 cases, there are still concerns over the possibility of a second wave or even a sudden increase in cases.
As of Monday, Orange County had 10,899 positive cases of COVID-19. There have been 488 deaths. There have been 1,319 discharges. As of Tuesday, the county has had 14 hospitalizations, five of these hospitalizations are confirmed to be COVID-19.
In the City of Newburgh there are 1,543 cases. In the Town of Newburgh there are 754 cases. In the Town of New Windsor there are 875 cases.