Rationale & Data- increasing in-person learning
Background: After one semester in Eastchester’s Hybrid/Remote model, we observe that some students (especially our youngest students) are struggling with these modes of instruction. Concerns are mounting with regard to impacts on early learning, motivation, social-emotional health, attitudes toward school and impacts on working families. The district has made some adjustments along the way, including expanding elementary live streaming to include Science and Social Studies, and bringing in students with special needs for four days of in-person learning per week wherever possible. The district has vigorously explored alternate schedules and creative space utilization to bring in young learners for more in-person instruction, however we had not yet been able to expand in-person instruction due to significant space and staffing constraints. What we know today about the virus and about infection rates in schools is different that what we understood in the summer of 2020 when our initial plan was developed. As we learn more and observe both learning and health factors, we must evolve accordingly. Governor Cuomo’s recent announcement that the ability to increase in-person instruction is likely to be a local decision, combined with recent calls from the CDC highlighting the importance of getting more children back in to school, have prompted Eastchester to again examine what we might be able to do within the current environment to get more children back into school for more in-person learning.
- healthy and safe learning environment
- highest-quality learning experience possible
- mental health and well being of the entire school community
- conditions that allow the entire school community the opportunity to do quality work
Please find below several articles and data points that have been used to inform our decision to increade student density with mitigation strategies to bring more students into our schools to experience in-person learning:
Governor Cuomo- Full return local decision
NYSDOH Guidance (pgs. 2 &12)- master guidance document for schools
Surveillance testing with Binax Rapid Test kits available free to school districts
Position statement from Lower Hudson Superintendents
Meta Analysis- 172 research articles, 17 countries- substantially decreased transmission rate at 1 meter of distance between individuals
Comparison of infection rates between local districts using 3-6 feet of distancing with barriers and masks vs. districts using 6 feet and masks shown no significant difference.
February 2021 Survey data indicating 85% of Eastchester survey respondents report they would send children to school every day with 3-6 feet, face coverings and plexiglass where required. 15% of families are not comfortable and would choose the fully remote option.