Chappaqua teachers back in school today to prep for start of year on Thursday
Teachers and students in Chappaqua are just days away from the start of school, and many are feeling apprehensive, especially those who are starting with in-classroom instruction.
Teachers in the district are scheduled to be back for meetings and training today as Chappaqua schools are one of the first to start hybrid learning. The first day of class for students is on Thursday.
Many teachers have told News 12 they were hoping their school district officials would follow the lead of others in the region and go with virtual learning for the month of September.
In fact, teachers held a rally just last week pushing for a delay, but school administrators said they believed going back to the classroom with their hybrid model was in the best interests of the students.
Miriam Longobardi, a fifth grade teacher at Robert E. Bell Middel School, says everyone is feeling "very apprehensive" as they put final changes on their classrooms. “We have to decide which visuals we can have, and which will stay. Because of some of the cleaners being used, it's stains paper, certain things come off the walls,” says Longobardi. "We also spoke with a local infectious disease doctors about what parents can do to keep their children safe, one thing she recommended was getting a flu shot because she says symptoms of both COVID-19 and the flu can be very similar, aside from the loss of taste or smell.”
Longobardi says desks and chairs will be six feet apart and that furniture is preset so that teachers aren't allowed to move it.
Parents are also taking extra precautions this year. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Sandra Kesh provided some insight into what parents should do if their child gets exposed to COVID-19.
"What we know is that the spread remains most commonly through droplets contact, prolonged close contact, so I think most parents will have to figure out a way to use masks within the home and still be able to provide the care that their children need," says Kesh, the deputy director of Westmed Medical Group.
Kesh says if someone in the house has a pre-existing condition or a compromised immune system, that its important parents reinforce safety precaution with their kids.
As far as still having play dates with friends, Kesh says, "Ideally you would have it with a group of kids that you know that they have been doing all the right things and their families have been doing all the right things. Make sure that they're relatively small play dates. You don't want a large group of kids."
Kesh also recommends families get their flu vaccination.