Yonkers School District announces school year will begin with fully remote learning

The fourth-largest school district in the state of New York, Yonkers, has announced, just three weeks away from the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, that students will begin the semester on September 8 fully remote.

The district's nearly 30,000 students in grades K through 12 will learn from their homes, while teachers can expect to sit in empty classrooms, at least for the first month.

“I have to accept the challenge that as of today, I do not feel that by September 8, we will be 100 percent ready to say that we can open safely,” said Dr. Edwin Quezada, the Superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools.

Quezada said he was hopeful up until last month that he could bring his 27,000 students back to the district’s 39 buildings, but his hope ended up being in vain.

“COVID-19 has us on a rollercoaster,” Quezada said. “There’s a great deal of apprehension, there's a great deal of fear that prevents us from allowing our children to return to school.”

Quezada also blames the lack of cleaning supplies and PPE equipment the thought every building would have in a few weeks, but he says the school district is still awaiting a shipment.

Now, parents face the challenge of more remote learning. Quezada is urging them to begin preparing for the start of a school year unlike any other.

“Please invest in your children,” Quezada said. “Rather than going to Walmart and buying all of the school supplies that are needed for the opening of school, buy a Chromebook for your child.”

For parents who cannot get a Chromebook for remote learning, you can apply for one on the district’s website. Meanwhile, the school lunch grab-and-go program will be extended for another month.

Children are expected to be back in the classroom by October 5 for blended learning, but there are no promises. 

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