Mount Vernon pushes back in-class learning until November
Mount Vernon school officials have decided to keep kids learning from home a little longer.
Students will not be going back to school until mid- to late-November, with some even mid-December.
The school district announced there will be a phased reopening for in-person instruction, with students in pre-K through third grade starting Nov. 16. Fourth grade through eighth grade will start Nov. 30 and high schoolers will start Dec. 14.
The school district was hoping to start hybrid learning in October, but the superintendent of schools says they have been keeping a close eye on what has been happening at schools in the Hudson Valley and around the country - and it's raised concerns. Some of the concerns are cases of COVID-19 among students and staff rising, and schools being forced to close.
Additionally, the district has laid off nearly 80 employees because of budgetary issues and may have to cut more.
School officials say classroom sizes have been affected and a number of extracurriculars have had to be scaled back or done away with completely.
Kenneth Hamilton, the schools' superintendent, says right now they also don't have buses available for students because of contract issues with their bus company, First Student.
"They did not provide service during COVID and we didn't pay for those services because they didn't happen...and I can understand the position of our transportation companies, of course. They haven't been able to stay afloat, frankly, and pay people... But we just have to make sure that we are being as fiscally responsible as possible and maybe there's some way we can reconcile this somewhere in the middle," he says.
This decision is not sitting well with all parents. Some believe learning remotely is much safer, while others say it's not practical for parents who need to work.
The district tells News 12 the student body is split nearly 50/50 - choosing remote learning or a hybrid schedule.