Saturday, May 28th

District Provides the Lowdown on Back to School Rules

schoolbusSchool administrators presented succinct plans for the opening of the Scarsdale Schools next week at the August 19 meeting of the school board. They told parents, “Though the Delta variant remains an obstacle, we hope that vaccinations and risk mitigation efforts will help us open school in a more traditional way.”

The plan offers details on all aspects of the school program and can be reviewed here:

However, here are some of the highlights:

COVID Statistics

Assistant Superintendent Eric Rauschenbach provided the current COVID metrics as defined by the Centers for Disease Control.

Here were the statistics as of August 19, 2021:

-The positivity rate was 3.8% in Westchester and the trend is slowly increasing

-The seven day total for cases per 100,000 residents is 139.

-The infection rate was 1.16 per person.

-Westchester County is an area of high transmission. Though the positivity rate is low, the seven-day rate at 139 puts the county in the highest tier.

-75% of those over 12 are fully vaccinated and 81% have received at least one dose

Rauschenbach explained that the NYS Department of Health guidance is no longer in place so the Scarsdale Schools will use guidelines from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Westchester County Department of Health can adjust quarantine guidelines and contact tracing rules. He said, “All the guidance recognizes the value of live in-person instruction.”

Dr. Hagerman said, the district no longer has to provide testing data to the state. About vaccines, he said, “We are monitoring the vaccination status of our faculty and will survey parents on their children’s vaccination status.”

He continued, “We will be fully open to all students beginning Wednesday September 1, 2021 and we are celebrating a return to school the way we aspire them to be. We will return to norms for the most part. We are not planning on offering hybrid or remote learning unless we must.”

Rauschenbach continued, “The priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, wellness and social emotional well-being, risk mitigation efforts and to provide as normal a schedule and as many of these activities as we can under the circumstances. There will certainly be some restrictions around overnight trips. We will do everything we can do safely. As the situation improves we hope to lift restrictions.”

Social Emotional Well-Being

Rauschenbach said, “What assessments do we need to support our students? We will continue to partner with Scarsdale Family Counseling and outside consultants if needed. Each building has psychologists and we have two district psychologists and retirees who are willing to come in if needed. We ran courses this summer about positive psychology during professional development. We stand ready to receive our students and understand where they are at and intervene if necessary.”


Masks will be required universally indoors for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. Outdoor masking is optional but masks are recommended for those who are not vaccinated and for large gatherings like graduation and the elementary school picnics. Masks will be required at Board of Education meetings.

COVID Mitigation

The district will continue to provide hand sanitizer and hand washing opportunities and has a stockpile of masks and gloves for those who need them. They will provide PCR tests for faculty and staff and outside providers in regular contact with students. The schools cannot require students to be vaccinated but they strongly recommend that parents provide information on student vaccinations.

They are sending a survey about vaccination status to parents with kids 13 and up and the county will provide free testing to school districts for K-12 students.

Physical Distancing

The CDC is recommending 3 feet of social distancing in school and the district will maintain 3 feet of distancing in regular classrooms . At some special activities like band and choir more distancing will be required. Music classes may have to be broken up into smaller groups and they not be able to have musical performances.

Lab activities will be resumed and equipment will be cleaned in between uses.

The school libraries will be open.

Physical education will be outside for as long as possible.


Lunch will be served in traditional and non-traditional settings. Tents will be used at the middle school. Elementary food service will offered as pre-ordered package lunches and at the middle and high schools there will be hot and cold lunch options.

Students will be asked to wash their hands before and after lunch. Barriers will not be used, but students will be six feet apart at lunch when masks are off. The schools will use all available spaces to spread kids out during lunch.

Academic Intervention

Academic intervention services are fully in place. Students who are at risk of not achieving state learning standards will be assessed and given extra services if needed.


Athletic Director Ray Pappalardi said, “We are happy to offer all sports during their traditional seasons.” The good news is that 95% of student athletes are vaccinated. The 29 varsity athletes who are not vaccinated will be tested weekly. All sports will practice and compete during their traditional seasons using guidance and there will be no daily screenings. However students who are symptomatic should stay home and present a negative test to return. Face masks must be worn indoors and on buses but they will not be required for cheerleading while stunting and tumbling.

For outdoor sports masks are not required, however those who are not vaccinated are encouraged to wear a mask.

Spectators may be asked to distance three feet or more. The school will use locker rooms and allow access for indoor teams, but they will not plan any overnight travel.
When there is a positive case the district will follow their protocol. Games will be live streamed and home and away spectators will be permitted.

Cleaning and Ventilation

Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey reviewed cleaning and ventilation plans and said that last year’s enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols will continue. There will be daily cleaning and wiping down with Viking Pure water and there will be a focus on elementary schools due to the vaccination status of the youngest students.

About ventilation he said, all ventilation has been upgraded to the fullest extent possible. He said, we will allow fans and window air conditioning units and windows will be kept open to the fullest extent possible.


Bus transportation will return to normal and students and staff will be masked on buses with windows open as much as possible. Buses will board from back to front and will be cleaned and disinfected daily. There is an increase in bus usage and this will help to reduce car traffic around the schools. In addition, no left turn will be permitted on Weaver Street from the Quaker Ridge School which should alleviate traffic.


Students or staff who have symptoms of COVID 19 must remain home. To return to school they must have a negative test or permission from their physician. Nurses will follow up on absences.

Quarantine Rules

The new quarantine rules are complex and summarized in the chart below:


If students are quarantined they will no longer have remote access to their classes. The district is in conversation with the STA (teachers’ union) on how to provide instruction to students who are quarantined.


In order to safeguard the school community there will be restrictions on visitors during instructional time. All visitors will be screened and will be asked to wear masks. For after school activities and PTA activities held in school, masks will be required. Outside entities can apply for usage of the schools but will need to follow district rules.

See the entire presentation here:


Dr. Hagerman provided the following district enrollment numbers. Overall, the district is down 127 students from the projections, due somewhat to families moving out of state and internationally. More information on trends will be provided at the next meeting.

Here are the counts by school:

Elementary schools

The total projection for the five elementary schools was 2052 and there are now1982 enrolled, down by 70 students.

Edgewood has 11 few students than projected

Fox Meadow has 31f ewer students than projected

Greenacres has 25 more students that projected

Heathcote has 12 fewer than projected

Quaker Ridge is down 41 students from the projection

Scarsdale Middle School enrollment is at 1131, which is 19 students less than the projection of 1150.

Scarsdale High School has 1,477 student enrolled, which is 38 students less than the projection of 1,515.

Other News

Community Read: “The Person You Mean to Be” by Dolly ChoughPersonYouMeantoBe

Board member Bob Klein said that the faculty is reading “The Person You Mean to Be, How Good People Fight Bias” by Dolly Chugh and encouraged the community to read the book. He said, “It’s an easy read and shows the bias in our society and the extent to which your background informs your unconscious biases. We can learn more about ourselves and others by reading this book.”

Moseley to Retire in August 2022

Dr. Hagerman announced that Rachel Moseley, the Director of Data Technology and the Chief Information Officer for the Scarsdale School District will retire in August 2022. He said, Rachel has been here since 2013 and called her a “phenomenal part of my team and the district and touched so many lives.” In her retirement letter she said, “It has been a privilege to work with all units” and “she has cherished building, leading and mentoring in her department.” She spoke of the “joy I found in working with everyone,” and plans to spend time with her family and pursue her varied and interesting hobbies.”

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