The Board of Education in Bedford Central School District this week clarified remarks made during a discussion last month about the possibility of offering a remote learning period around the holiday season.
Speaking at the Board of Education meeting Wednesday, Nov. 4, vice president Edward Reder, who initially raised the prospect of instituting a remote learning option after Thanksgiving, said his suggestion was only limited to students at Fox Lane Middle School and Fox Lane High School.
Under this option, students enrolled in Special Education programs or in kindergarten through fifth grade would continue to receive services and attend school five days a week.
“Now, whether that’s practical or not is what we’re going to discuss,” Mr. Reder said.
Superintendent Joel Adelberg also assured the community that although cases have now been reported in each district building except Mount Kisco Elementary School, the safest place for children to be right now remains the classroom.
“I still think we’re doing a lot of things right in our schools, and that’s what’s allowing us to stay open as much as we are able to stay open,” he said.
As reported earlier in the school year, the district has adopted a strict series of protocols in order to minimize the risk of exposure to its students and staff should a COVID-19 case come to light. In the instance that a student or staff member tests positive, the contacts in that subject’s classroom will be asked to isolate for a period of 14 days, as mandated by the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, it is recommended these individuals be tested for COVID-19. The formation of classroom pods, a hybrid learning schedule, and mandatory social distancing and personal protective equipment also provide an additional layer of protection.
The board also noted Wednesday that a series of new guidelines implemented by New York state could reduce the need for a remote learning period around the holidays. This month the state Department of Health announced new travel guidelines that allow out-of-state travelers to “test out” of the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
The DOH also introduced a new COVID-19 micro-cluster strategy, aimed at identifying target areas with the highest transmission of COVID-19 cases in order to stop the spread and protect surrounding communities. The initiative will divide clusters and the areas around them into three categories with successively higher restrictions within each one: Red Zone, virus cluster; Orange Zone, warning zone; and Yellow Zone, precautionary zone. Restrictions could include the enforcement of stricter capacity rules or even the mandated closure of local schools. Currently, the initiative only applies to identified clusters in Broome County, Brooklyn; Orange County, Queens; and Rockland County.
In light of these new guidelines, Mr. Reder said he was looking at the upcoming holiday season differently. “While I’m still concerned ... I’m not as concerned as I was before those announcements,” he said.
To find COVID-19 hotspots by address, view a map of cluster zones, or learn more about New York’s cluster action initiative guidance, visit forward.ny.gov.