BREAKING: CONFIRMED CORONAVIRUS CASE LEADS TO SCHOOL CLOSURE
March 8, 2020
This just in: all Scarsdale schools will be closed from March 9th through (at least) March 18th. This decision was made following the diagnosis of a Scarsdale Middle School teacher with the COVID-19 virus.
The district hopes to have plans for online learning in place by March 16. Is this a week of extra vacation that SHS students should be grateful for? Or is this just an excuse for extra research papers and monotonous independent studying?
This question worries some students—what will they do with all of this time? “School provides structure and schedule to life and I don’t want to be left to [study] in front of my own device for over a week,” responded Genie Enders ’21 when questioned on the stresses of school cancellations and disruptions.
Many teachers won’t give students much of a break at all. Some faculty are beginning online learning for their classes even earlier than the district has proposed. Will google classroom assignments and graded homework count as online learning? That is up to each teacher’s discretion.
Teachers have already begun contacting and planning online lessons with their students. “It is important to continue our class discussions in some sort of productive way. After all, wouldn’t you feel more comfortable coming back to class primed and ready to go?” says SHS chemistry teacher Kevin Viviano. Amidst the chaos and adrenaline following the district news, Viviano also advises students not to “make assumptions or spread misinformation. That only causes hysterics which will not help this issue.”
The safety of students is and has always been the priority of Scarsdale administration. Before the announcement of the cancellation was made, the custodial staff was taking all necessary precautions to keep school safe as it was planned for classes to be in session this week. According to an email sent out earlier today by SHS Principal Kenneth Bonamo before the SMS coronavirus case was confirmed, “the custodial staff used both a wiping technique as well as an atomizing machine to disinfect all the spaces” in SHS.
Much is still not known about the coronavirus, including its said-to-be varying degrees of effects on its victims. According to the email received earlier today from Superintendent Thomas Hagerman, “The impacted faculty member is exhibiting mild illness, and the District’s response is designed to demonstrate vigilance and recognition of individuals who may be immuno-compromised.”
Additionally, the CDC claims that “serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions—such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, for example—seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.” Closing school was recommended by the Westchester County Health Commissioner, mostly out of “an abundance of caution.”
It is still unclear whether this closure will mean that the time missed from school now will lead to school days made up later in the year. Although there have been no school cancellations because of snow yet this year, it is unclear whether cancelled classes will need to be made up during spring break or even summer vacation.
As of now, many students are panicked in regards to the annual Senior class game of marker tag, the spring play, their plans for spring break, and standardized testing. As new information arises, the district, as well as other organizations holding events and tests in Westchester, will address these issues as they continue to arise. Hagerman makes clear that “principals and Central Office administrators will be available through email, and we will make every attempt to address your questions and concerns, as time allows.”