Whitehall Superintendent Patrick Dee

By PJ Ferguson

As the news develops around the COVID-19 pandemic, the Whitehall Central School District faces some changes and more questions than answers moving forward.

While school budget votes and school board have been postponed statewide until at least June, it still remains to be seen if school will reopen at all for the remainder of this school year.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order closed all schools statewide until April 15, but an extension past that date has yet to be ordered.

“I do believe it is highly unlikely we will be returning on this date,” wrote Whitehall superintendent Patrick Dee in a statement on the school’s website, noting that without an order from the governor’s office, they will be required to resume classes on Thursday, April 16.

With spring break scheduled for April 13-17, due to the governor’s executive order the school will continue providing instruction and meals every weekday throughout the recess period.

The district has not drafted any plans yet in preparation if they were to close for the remainder of the year as they are looking for guidance from the State Education Department and the Governor’s Office before making those “monumental” decisions

“We have been left in the lurch by the governor on what we’re supposed to be doing,” Dee said, “We’re very hopeful he’ll stop playing games with these two-week closures and give us guidance.”

Dee noted that 31 superintendents from surrounding counties came together for a meeting last month and decided to close schools until April 26, only a few days before the governor issued his own executive order to close schools until April 16.

“These two-week closures are no help to anyone,” said Dee, “he’s really making it difficult for families.”

As of Friday, April 3, the district will be making another change to their student meal delivery system.

Meals will only be delivered on Tuesdays and Fridays, with Tuesdays’ deliveries covering Wednesday and Thursday, and Fridays’ deliveries covering Monday’s meals.

Included with meal deliveries will be a menu to be followed to help parents prepare the meals for their children. Meals will be delivered to the location that your child is picked up on Tuesdays and Fridays, meaning meals will not be separated by the district for two household families.

This measure is being taken to “reduce exposure for staff as well as the community,” Dee said.

Board of education meetings will continue to take place at the regularly scheduled time on the third Monday of each month at 6 p.m. Though, the meetings will occur online and a link will be available on the school’s website, allowing the public to tune in.

The next scheduled meeting is on Monday, April 20 at 6 p.m.

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