The Board of Education for the Whitesboro Central School District voted Tuesday evening that they would be going fully virtual until 2021.

A memo was posted to the school's website citing plans for the remainder of the 2020 academic year.

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"Dear School Community,

As you know, our region is experiencing staggering increases in the numbers of COVID-19 positive cases, close contacts, and quarantines. For reference, on our first day of school, Oneida County had 67 positive COVID-19 cases. On October 1, that number increased to 93, and on November 1, it had grown to 264. As of November 17, that number was 852, an increase of 1270% over the total number of positive cases on the first day of school. Our District has experienced similar significant increases. The cumulative number of students and staff who have either tested positive or been placed on quarantine has grown to 361, with significant increases in recent days. At this rate, we anticipate unavoidable and unpredictable closures of our building(s) and/or District.

After careful consideration and discussion of the many variables impacting our school community, and with student and staff health and safety as its priority, the Whitesboro Central School District’s Board of Education voted on Tuesday, November 17, to transition to a fully-remote instructional program beginning Monday, November 30, 2020, through and including Tuesday, December 22, 2020. In-person, hybrid instruction is scheduled to resume on Monday, January 4, 2021, after the scheduled holiday break.

Depending on cohort, this results in a change of 8 or 9 in-person days to fully-remote days for elementary students and 5 or 6 in-person days to fully-remote days for secondary students, as many of the days were already scheduled to be fully-remote (for students on the hybrid model).

It’s important that we acknowledge and celebrate the tremendous success we’ve had to this point. Reopening our schools safely and on time is an outstanding accomplishment made possible by the extraordinary efforts of our entire school community, including students, parents, staff, administration, and our Board of Education.

The decision to transition to a fully-remote instructional program has been made with the specific intent of providing as much stability as possible during what is anticipated to be another unpredictable and disruptive phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, while accounting for the anticipated increases in COVID-19 cases that typically follow holidays. The increases in positive cases, isolations, and quarantines in our District that followed Halloween is a very recent and striking reminder of this pattern. We consider this transition important and necessary to achieve our goal of maximizing in-person learning opportunities for our students over the course of the entire school year.

Thank you for your continued understanding and cooperation as we navigate the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. Together, we will continue to find ways to be successful and provide the best educational opportunities for our students.

Be well, and stay safe.

Dr. Brian K. Bellair
Superintendent of Schools"


 

Whitesboro is joining several other schools going virtual for the remainder of 2020, including Little Falls and more.