Poughkeepsie schools to go hybrid

Morse Elementary School on Mansion Street in Poughkeepsie.

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Poughkeepsie City School District is preparing to institute hybrid learning on November 30, contingent upon COVID testing rates, according to District Superintendent Dr. Eric Rosser. The district’s plan will also require the approval of the State Education Department along with the state and county health departments.

In a November 16 letter to district parents, Dr. Rosser said, “The district will use a phase-in model to transition students from remote to hybrid instruction. The phase-in model has been noted as a successful method for transitioning students back into buildings in other school districts.”  The district’s website has a link to the hybrid plan that directs viewers to a page that is unavailable.  The link is scheduled to make the plan available to the public when it has been completed.  The Poughkeepsie Public School Teachers’ Association (PPSTA) President Heather Martino is disappointed in the delay of the plan’s release.  “We have yet to see at this time a plan that provides the necessary information to gain confidence and comfort in returning to the schools without fear of adding to the rising statistics of those infected and who have fallen ill to this horrible virus.”

District officials have been working with parents to solve transportation issues for students that will be transitioning from remote learning to the new hybrid method of instruction.  According to Dr. Rosser’s communication, “The district created a survey providing parents with the option to choose between remote and hybrid. The original survey close date was November 7, 2020, which has now been extended to November 17, 2020. Parents who are seeking to opt-in to their children participating in the hybrid model will need to complete the survey no later than November 17, 2020. If the district does not receive a response from parents, it will be assumed that those parents want their children to remain in remote learning. Given the complexities of planning for hybrid instruction, students who are engaged in remote learning will not be able to opt-in to hybrid until the third quarter which begins January 25, 2021.”

Martino and her fellow educators are cautious about returning to the classroom.  The veteran educator said, “The teachers of the Poughkeepsie City School District share the optimism that central administration has conveyed to the community in regards to returning to work. We are very much looking forward to seeing our students again. We miss them terribly.”  Martino also expressed health concerns for the students and everyone involved. “We would like them to return to a safe learning environment that does not potentially endanger their health or the health of their families as well as the health of the staff and their families.”

Stressing that the November 30 date is contingent upon factors related to the pandemic, Dr. Rosser said that the hybrid schedule is as follows:
November 30th (Week 1) – Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades , & Districtwide 12:1:1, 15:1:1, 15:1, 8:1:1  

December 7th (Week 2) – Pre-K, 3rd, 4th and 5th, 6th Grade and 9th grades –

December 14th (Week 3) – 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades

Rosser said “If the New York State Department of Health or Dutchess County Behavioral & Community Health deems in-person instruction to be a risk to public safety before or during hybrid instruction the Poughkeepsie City School District will adhere to state and local mandates. In the event this was to occur all students participating in hybrid instruction would transition back to remote learning.”



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