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All Yonkers Public Schools Return to Learn In School 4 Days a Week on or about April 6, 2021 for Current Hybrid Students

YONKERS, NY- March 18, 2021-- At last night’s Yonkers Board of Education Stated meeting, the Trustees adopted Resolution 11.2 to amend the 2020-2021 School Reopening Plan Addendum to Appendix 6: Teaching and Learning (August 20, 2020) to provide 4 days a week of in school instruction for all current Hybrid students starting on or about April 6, 2021.  Board of Education President Rev. Steve Lopez, stated, “Since the beginning of the school year, the Trustees charge to the Superintendent and his team was to expeditiously work towards fully reopening schools following CDC, State and County Departments of Health and New York State Education Department guidance.  Aligned to the recent movements across Westchester County and Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano’s February 26, 2021 media release asking the Superintendent to explore the opportunity to open schools for four-day instruction, Yonkers families also made it clear to the Trustees that they wanted their children back in school more than two days a week.  Yesterday’s action by the Board affirms that our staff and all of our schools will be ready on or about April 6th.”

“The persistence and relentless commitment of Yonkers employees enables our District and students to consistently be the first large city in the state to break barriers.  Yonkers was the first large city in New York State to attain an 80% graduation rate in 2016 and continued that trajectory through 2020 when we were the first to reach a 91% graduation rate.  Our students are reflective of urban communities across the country - 73% Economically Disadvantaged, 19% Students with Disabilities, 12% Multi-Lingual Learners/English Language Learners, and our student population is 77% children of color.  Yonkers also was the only large city ready and able to begin Hybrid Instruction in October 2020,” noted Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, Superintendent of Schools, “These examples demonstrate capabilities of Yonkers’ outstanding staff and students.”  

Return to Learn In School 4 Days a Week is a consensus driven process with a common goal to return our students to full time instruction following Health and State Education Departments guidance.  Everyone’s collaborative focus has and will continue to be equitable solutions that are in the best interest of students.  During meetings with Dr. Quezada, the District’s bargaining unit leaderships and the Yonkers Council of PTA/PTSA (YCPTA) engaged in productive out-of-the-box recommendations.  Dr. Quezada reiterated, “No one wants children back in school more than our administrators, teachers, staff, Trustees and me.  Returning to more in-person instruction puts our students’ academic, social-emotional, nutritional, physical health and well-being back on track.  It is understandable that there will be apprehension as we move forward.  By supporting each other, the children and the adults who care for them, we will have a smooth transition for our students, families and staff.”

“I applaud the Yonkers Board of Education Trustees and Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Quezada for their tireless commitment to our students,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “Along with our parents, teachers, administrators and staff, we acknowledge the academic and emotional impacts suffered by our children when they are not in the classroom. I am encouraged by the plans set forth by the Board that keep the safety and well-being of our students a top priority. I look forward to getting our students back on the road to success.”

Carmen Goodstein, President, Yonkers Council of Parent Teacher Associations, stated, “While our parents' voices were clear about wanting four days of instruction for all schools, we look forward to learning more about the safety protocols that will be in place so our children can be safe and finish the school year on a high note.”

“The Yonkers Council of Administrators (YCA) is privileged to continue to serve our students and their families during this ongoing crisis, added Jane Wermuth, President, YCA. “A school is not a school without our children here with us. Collaboration with our families is the essence of our work and it is our deepest wish that, like a jigsaw puzzle, all of our pieces come together to make each of us all whole again.”

CSEA Unit 9169 President, Dulani Turner, stated, “We are encouraged by the Yonkers Public Schools opening schools to 4 days in person instruction. In-person is needed for our students’ success. CSEA still has some important concerns and questions on how all staff and students will be protected health wise since we are still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. A lot of our members are afraid and unsure on how we will service more students on the bus and in the buildings while remaining 6ft socially distant.  The CSEA looks forward to working with the District to make sure all parties - students, staff and the community feel safe and we can return to some normalcy.”

The Trustees and Dr. Quezada have been public and transparent about the millions of dollars spent solely to have students in class with their teachers, support staff and administrators.  The implementation of Return to Learn In School 4 Days a Week will continue to be accomplished with the health and safety of students and staff foremost in every decision, rigorously following all current CDC and County Department of Health guidance.