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Harrison SD announces fully online option in addition to hybrid learning following concerns from parents

The Harrison Central School District announced that a fully online learning option will be offered this fall in addition to hybrid learning with in-class instruction.

News 12 Staff

Aug 12, 2020, 9:29 PM

Updated 1,378 days ago

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The Harrison Central School District announced that a fully online learning option will be offered this fall in addition to hybrid learning with in-class instruction.
The decision comes following an outpour of concern from some parents.
Harrison Central School District's superintendent says parents are understandably and justifiably confused by inconsistent public statements on the matter.
The superintendent said that the decision to offer remote learning as an option is in direct opposition to the mandates given to school by the state.
White Plains City School District's superintendent took to Facebook late Wednesday afternoon to announce a remote learning option as well, saying their decision was made despite not having clear guidance from the state Education Department as to whether this option will be allowable.
Harrison Central School District says it will provide details on the fully remote option at a parent meeting next week.
Harrison Central School District Superintendent Dr. Louis Wool said in a statement:
The Harrison Central School District developed its reopening plan based on directives from the New York State Department of Health, New York State Education Department, and the Governor’s office. The Reopening Plan required three Return to Learning Models: 100% in-person instruction, hybrid Instruction (in-person & virtual), and 100% virtual learning.
The guidance explicitly directed school districts to open schools and “prioritize efforts to return all students to in-person instruction at this time...due to the dynamic nature of local community transmission of COVID-19 a phased-in approach or hybrid model combining in-person instruction and remote/distance learning may be necessary at times throughout the 2020-2021 school year.” (NYSDOH guidance, July 2020)
The only exception for students returning to in-person instruction are those who are medically fragile (as defined by the CDC) or if a student has a medically fragile family member. It appears, without any change in guidance from the New York State Education Department, a new Executive Order, or any change in the directives under which schools can safely reopen, this exemption will now apply to all students, not just the medically fragile. In this confusing rhetoric, the question remains: other than the medically fragile, is it safe to open schools for all healthy students?
The guidance from the New York State Department of Health reiterates that if COVID infection rates remain below 5%, it is safe for all students, teachers, and staff except the medically fragile, to return to school. The Governor announced it was safe for schools to reopen based on an infection rate of less than 1% on August 7.
Parents and Superintendents have consistently been told that New York State is “following the science” to determine if it is safe for students to return to school and that the COVID infection rate is the barometer. It appears now New York State is not using the 5% barometer to determine if schools are safe for all students.
Parents are understandably and justifiably confused and frightened by inconsistent public statements. The shifting standards for the safe reopening of school also cause grave concern among faculty and staff.
Parents or school districts have not caused this dilemma, and inconsistent statements by public officials have made it difficult for parents to make informed and thoughtful choices about the well-being of their children.
After careful consideration, the Harrison Central School District will add the option of a fully virtual learning model for any student. Details of this option will be included in our updated plan and shared at our parent meetings next week. This decision is in direct opposition to the mandates given to school districts in creating their reopening plans by the New York State Department of Health, New York State Education Department, and Governor Cuomo.
Finally, I wish to thank and commend the faculty of our district. I met today with the Harrison Association of Teachers, and they have agreed to support our decision to add a virtual learning option. As always, the dedicated administration and faculty of the Harrison Central School District will do everything possible to make each experience of in-person, hybrid, and virtual learning meaningful for students.
 
 
 


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