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Letter to the Editor: School District’s Failure to Lead

letter to the editorThis letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Irin Israel
There is a real cost and impact to our children not going to school. Peer school districts have moved mountains and left no stone unturned and have been able to provide their children with substantially more live learning – either in-person or via live streaming. They accomplished this weeks ago and adhered to NYS health and safety guidelines.

“But this type of planning, ingenuity, and initiative makes plain an essential determinant for why certain districts, with the necessary resources, have full-time in-person schooling: the will of the leader.” (NY Magazine, 10/19/20, David Zweig)

Superintendent Thomas Hagerman and the current Board have become a unit of naysayers rather than striving for solutions to get our children as many live/synchronous hours of education as possible. It appears they are looking to put unnecessary roadblocks in front of every idea, and they often refuse to explain their reasoning, even though they claim that getting the children back to school is a priority.

There is a reasonableness standard, which can be assessed the NYS Department of Health’s definition of safe practices and what other communities are doing successfully. No superintendent, board member, administrator, teacher, union, parent, or anyone else in the community should have the right or ability to deny our children education based on the belief that their opinion on safety supersedes that of our NYS experts.

We owe it to our children to deliver the best education possible as long as it can be delivered in the safe manner prescribed by our own experts at the NYS Department of Health.

Examples of the Board/Administration’s shortcomings:

-When the use of physical barriers was suggested to achieve social distancing, the Board relied upon the wrong restart guidelines. According to the proper NYS health and safety guidelines, barriers may be safely used for social distancing and do not require 6-foot distancing as well. This can be used with masks and cohorts. This method is being used safely by peer schools to enable more students to be in-person, yet the Board has not allowed for this analysis.

-When cameras were suggested for live streaming, the Board declared that it was not possible.  When asked why, they explained that it was complicated. They have finally attempted some live streaming, but it has been rolled out in a haphazard manner that does not lay the foundation for success.

-When tents were suggested prior to the school year, the Board declared that it was insurmountable. Now, the warm weather has passed.

-When trailers were suggested, the Board declared that there was a six-month approval process. They have still not put in for approval.

Somehow other competent school districts have been to achieve all of the above – successfully and safely. No one is saying the solutions are simple, easy or perfect. But why are these options not being seriously examined and the obstacles they present being tackled?  Our District is lacking the planning, ingenuity and initiative that other districts have shown.

Please attend the BOE Meeting: Monday 11/2 6:30pm SHS

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