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Parent Challenges District's Classroom Space Calculations

letter to the editorThis letter was sent to the Scarsdale Schools Administration and the Board of Education by Scarsdale resident Irin Israel:

Dear Superintendent Hagerman, Assistant Superintendent Eric Rauschenbach and Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey:

This morning, through the Freedom of Information Act, I obtained architectural plans of all Scarsdale elementary schools with handwritten notes from BBS Architects (dated July 23, 2020) that list the maximum capacities of each classroom and common space. These are the District’s own architects and their calculations.

Using these numbers, I was able to easily place ALL of our current Scarsdale Kindergarten through 5th grade children in their schools full-time at six feet apart with many extra rooms unused. I am attaching those documents.

The Administration must stop stating and implying that there is not enough room in our elementary schools to fit all students and staff safely at six feet apart. According to the District’s own documents, there is clearly enough room. To continue to do so, would be blatantly lying to the community.

Additionally, as further proof, the attached email shows that BBS Architects stated that “there is socially distanced capacity for about (278) students before moving into core spaces, specials, and supports.” As of 9/1, there were 323 Edgewood students, meaning that just 45 more total students need to fit in the gymatorium, cafeteria, music room, library, and/or multipurpose room to fit the entire student body in the school. This is obviously possible.

Again, as demonstrated clearly in the Administration’s own architectural documents, which you have had since July 23, 2020, there is enough room to fit ALL current Scarsdale K-5 students and staff safely at six feet when applicable. Statements of the contrary must stop immediately.

Please explain explicitly why the Administration keeps stating that all current students and staff cannot fit in our elementary schools.

I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about space in the elementary schools at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your time and for reviewing these documents.

Irin Israel
Stratton Road
Scarsdale

EdgewoodPlan

In the document above the turquoise blue pen is Israel’s writing as he put each class in the school, the red numbers are the District architect's maximum capacities.

At the meeting of the Board of Education on December 21, Dr. Andrew Patrick responded to Israel. According to the district’s minutes, “He reminded the community that the District is using every inch of space available and using many new spaces in unconventional ways, all in order to accommodate as many students as possible. Short of asking staff members to eat their lunches alone in their cars, we are keeping people as distant and safe as possible. The Department of Health dictates that just 10 minutes of exposure to a positive person requires a quarantine, even if other safety measures are in place.”

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