January 12, 2022

Hastings Family and Staff,


I am writing with the first of what likely will be several updates over the next week on our procedures for mitigating the spread of COVID-19. We are anticipating a set of changes approved by the Westchester County Department of Health (WCDOH). We will notify you promptly and implement any changes as soon as possible.


Please remember that each step we take is within the public health and medical framework provided by the New York State Department of Public Health and ultimately, the WCDOH. Regardless of what you hear in the media, or are told by families in other school districts, we must follow the guidelines of the WCDOH.


Immediate Change – Five-Day Quarantine/Isolation for Students and Staff


The WCDOH notified us late on Tuesday (1.11.22) that all students and staff may follow the five-day isolation/quarantine procedure. It entails a series of medical requirements, which are spelled out in the WCDOH Memo 1.11.22.  Please note that all district staff already had been following a five-day isolation/quarantine protocol per the WCDOH.


We will implement the new quarantine/isolation for students starting on Thursday, 1.13.22. We need one day to get organized. Nurses already are reaching out to those currently in isolation/quarantine to give them new dates for return and to review the requirements. 


For those in isolation/quarantine, the return after five days is dependent on an individual meeting the requirements spelled out by the WCDOH.  Please review the WCDOH Memo 1.11.22  carefully.   


Possible Future Changes to COVID-19 Policies & Procedures


We are tracking closely these possible changes:

  1. Reductions in requirements for Contact Tracing (although the Governor announced changes earlier this week, the final decision has been left up to each local health district—in our case WCDOH);
  2. Adoption of consistent "Return to School Protocols" across the state;
  3. Increased vaccination and booster access; and,
  4. Increased capacity for frequent testing, using Rapid and PCR tests.

All area districts are holding off on any changes in policies or procedures related to these four areas until we receive advisories from the WCDOH.  Thus, Hastings will stay with our existing COVID policies and procedures until we hear formally from the WCDOH and know the approaches of area districts.  


Rest assured that school superintendents across Westchester County are well-organized and advocating strongly for policies and procedures that strike an optimal balance between ensuring in-person schooling and maintaining the health of students and staff.  I have been impressed with the expertise and dedication of my colleagues across the County—they are standing up for all students and staff.


Thank you for your hard work and patience–it is essential to keeping us all healthy.


Be well.

William S. McKersie, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools