After months of careful planning, Warwick Valley Schools successfully opened its doors on Tues., Sept. 8 to students studying in the District’s hybrid learning model. Students in Cohort A arrived to their first day on Tuesday, followed by students in Cohort B on Wed. Sept. 9. This marked the first days when students were back in the school buildings since last March, when the District moved to fulltime distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When their cohort is not in school, students are still learning virtually through their classrooms, which are streaming synchronized live instruction to them at home.
The District also launched its Distance Learning Academy on Sept. 8, for students who opted to continue with an all-remote option.
Also, in recognition of the need for its youngest students to learn with direct teacher support, the District is having its kindergarten, first-grade and second-grade students attend school five days a week.
“It is great to be back with our students, and the energy around our buildings this week – from the students and their parents and our staff – has been incredible,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Leach.
The District has about 2,900 students enrolled in its hybrid learning program and 700 students studying via the Distance Learning Academy. High school students were the first students back, and the first to step through the temperature sensors installed in the entrances of all school buildings.
Temperature sensors were one of many additions the District made over the summer to promote safety and protect everyone’s well-being. Hand sanitizing stations were installed, air circulation systems were checked and fitted with all-new filters, polycarbonate partitions were installed where needed, and staff was added to handle the increased volume of daily and nighttime cleaning.
No district building received more attention than the newly reopened Pine Island Elementary School. Along with all the same District-wide safety measures other buildings received, Pine Island was given a total makeover, including new flooring and paint, new furniture and fixtures, important technology upgrades, and more. The elementary school also got a new Principal, although he’s no stranger to the District. Acting Principal John Russo has served the District in many capacities over 40 years.
Although the 2020-2021 academic year has begun, there will likely be some challenges as the pandemic continues.
“We must all remain careful during these times,” said Dr. Leach. “Our plans and best intentions may quickly fall short without each stakeholder’s cooperation and patience. We all bear responsibility for and have the ability to protect the health and well-being of students, staff, and families. The safeguarding of our entire community will also require adhering to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.”
Warwick Valley H. S. students are socially distanced and wearing masks as the new school year begins.