Implications of Updated State Guidance for In-person Instruction 4.12.2021


Implications of Updated State Guidance for In-person Instruction 4.12.2021

April 12, 2021

Dear Warwick Valley School Community,

We ended last week on a high note, with all grade-levels returning daily. As we all have learned during this pandemic, however, the District’s plans must change when confronted with factors beyond our control, such as infection rates in the school community and changes in requirements from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). Unfortunately, this is one of those times. 

Throughout New York, and particularly our region, schools were on the precipice of reopening five days a week, as we have been in grades K – 2 since early September, Grades 3 – 4 since March 15, and, most recently, in grades 5 – 12 since April 6. However, to accomplish this goal in many schools throughout the state, including at Warwick Valley, it requires a move to shorter physical distances between students, especially at the secondary grade levels.  

This weekend, the NYSDOH updated its COVID-19 guidance for schools, which was originally published in August. The new guidance appears to align with the most recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including reducing physical distancing to 3 feet between students in our classrooms. However, it does so with some important exceptions.

The NYSDOH informed us that we will now follow four levels of indicators and threshold for community transmission of COVID-19, which are low, moderate, substantial, and high. The CDC has identified, and our local health department has confirmed, that at this time Orange County is an area of high transmission. This information can be viewed at this link:

Once identified as a community of high transmission, the NYSDOH will allow schools to reduce physical distance between students to 3 feet at the middle school and high school only when the school maintains cohorting (i.e., self-contained, pre-assigned grouping of students). The District will continue to “cohort” students, to limit potential exposure, in grades K – 6. Our approach in grades 7 – 12 cohorts students to a much greater degree than traditional schedules; however, given this new requirement and the nature of the secondary grade schedules (grades 7 – 12), we are not able to meet this new requirement and must return to the hybrid model at this time. According to the new state guidance, if and when we are able to provide five days of learning in grades 7 – 12 will depend on the rate of infection and the rate of positive tests dropping in Orange County. 

Throughout the weekend, staff met to review the NYSDOH’s new requirements and the new implications on our current plan of offering in-person instruction, five days per week. The District made further enhancements to better align with this new guidance; however, it is not feasible for a district our size to meet these requirements in grades 7 – 12.

Therefore, on Tuesday, April 13th the following will be implemented:

  • Grades K – 4 students will continue with their current model, five days per week, in-person instruction or Distance Learning Academy. 
  • Grades 5 – 6 students will continue with their current model, five days per week, in-person instruction or Distance Learning Academy. 
  • CHANGE: Grades 7 – 12 students will receive remote instruction tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13th and Wednesday, April 14th. Beginning Thursday, April 15th, students currently receiving in-person instruction in grades 7 – 12, will return to the hybrid model, with Cohort A (E day) meeting in person on Thursday, April 15th. 

This change in learning models in grades 7 – 12 continues to preserve extracurriculars, athletics, and every other day in-person instruction. With fewer students reporting daily in the middle school and high school, we will be able to maximize physical distancing and likely reduce quarantining. 

We apologize for the inconvenience. Please know that we have taken every measure to provide instruction five days a week for all students and we hope to return to that model for our grade 7 – 12 students as soon as the regulations allow us to do so. Though we share in your disappointment, we thank you for your continued support of the Warwick Valley Central School District.



David Leach
Superintendent of Schools


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Comments are closed.