SOMERS, N.Y.- The Somers Central School District will stay closed through March 27, with the potential to keep its doors shut even longer.
Athletic and extracurricular activities are also canceled.
Superintendent Dr. Raymond Blanch sent out a note to families Sunday, March 15, about the decision based on the understanding that the county is likely to declare a state of emergency on Monday.
The district also provided the following information:
Faculty and staff have worked diligently to plan for distance learning in this unprecedented situation. Somers teachers will use online tools to communicate detailed distance learning plans with students and families. Please note the following schedule:
School buildings will be open Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for students to pick up any needed learning materials. Teachers will not be present.
Virtual learning will take place from March 18 to March 27
During distance learning, teachers will respond to communications from parents and students within 24-hours of receipt of the message during the school week. The outline of the learning plan is as follows.
Primrose and Somers Intermediate Schools
Teachers will use email to communicate a daily message to each student. This message will include resources, guidance, and instruction on how parents can help their children continue to learn and maintain a close connection to their teachers, as well as how much time should be spent on each content area. Special area teachers at both Primrose School and Somers Intermediate School will communicate instruction through this message as well.
In addition to sending learning materials via email, teachers at Primrose and SIS will be using eLearning tools such as DreamBox for math instruction, RAZ-Kids for reading, and Learning com for digital literacy. Students and families can easily access these platforms and more via the district’s online Clever portal. Video instructions on how to access these resources can be found here.
Distance learning at the elementary level is a uniquely challenging task. For the last few years, our district has been developing new ways to promote engagement in our schools by curating appropriate technology resources. It is our hope that the resources available will support our students in working to the best of their abilities.
Somers Middle and High Schools
Teachers will use Schoology as the platform for communicating with students. This includes the posting of assignments and general announcements. Many technology tools are embedded within the Schoology platform, and teachers may ask students to use eLearning platforms such as Discovery Education, Castle Learning, Gizmos and others. The expectation in our secondary schools is that each class will provide no more than 30 minutes of assignments and activities per day, and faculty will demonstrate flexibility regarding deadlines. Teachers will be reviewing student work regularly to gauge student understanding; however, no formal grades will count toward final course averages.
In the coming days, each family and/or student will receive communication from teachers.
The district’s technology help desk will be staffed even if the buildings are closed, and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or (914) 277-3998.
At this point, determining makeup days due to COVID-19 school closure is a moving target. Essentially, once we have exhausted all possible makeup days (spring break and the scheduled days off around Memorial Day), we will receive a waiver from the state even if we fall below the previously required 180 days.
If the state of emergency in Westchester County is extended through our scheduled spring break (April 6-10), then school will be in session in the days around Memorial Day but the rest of the days off would be excused.