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Reminder on Vestal HS transition to 4 Days/Week

The Vestal Central School District anticipates being able to move to 4 days/week of in-person instruction at Vestal High School beginning Thursday, April 29, 2021.

The updated Interim Guidance for Instruction at Pre-K through Grade 12 schools from the NYS Department of Health recommends that high school classrooms maintain physical distancing of at least six feet between students for counties with high risk for transmission, and both Broome and Tioga are high-risk counties. However, the guidance mentions that a decision to reduce physical distancing to less than six feet may be made with community input. 
A survey to assess our Vestal High School community’s risk tolerance to reduce physical distancing was sent to stakeholders, including parents, students, staff and administrators on April 20. The feedback from this survey was reviewed by the Vestal Board of Education during a special meeting on April 23, and the results conclude that the majority of stakeholders support moving to four days a week in-person instruction at the high school. (Of 1,576 responses, 75.2 percent said “yes” to maintaining facemask protocols and instituting three-feet of physical distancing with no physical barriers, while 24.8 percent said “no.”)
How does this differ from Vestal elementary schools and the Vestal Middle School being able to return to more in-person days of instruction per week? Due to the ability to keep their students in cohorts, or groups of the same students who remain in their classrooms throughout the school day, attend specials together and go to lunch and recess together, these schools were able to move forward with more in-person days sooner. 

 At the high school, it is not feasible to have cohort groups of students, as high school students’ class schedules are much more specialized. Therefore, it was necessary to meet the risk tolerance requirement outlined under the NYS Department of Health’s updated interim guidelines.
If you have additional questions about this process, please see the presentation available on the Reopening School page of the District’s website.
Jeffrey Ahearn, Superintendent

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