October 16, 2020
Dear Hastings Community,
In my September 25, 2020 update to the community, I indicated information would be provided this week regarding the month of November. The experiences of the last few weeks have fostered a greater appreciation for our time in school. We value your input, understanding, and patience as we take one day at a time while we also prepare to pivot when necessary. Our faculty, staff, and administrators are dedicated to making the experience of children engaging and purposeful. I appreciate their professionalism and perseverance as they navigate through these challenging times.
Plans for November will be discussed at the Board of Education Work Session on October 20, 2020, 5:30pm-7:30pm. The Work Session is virtual and the Zoom link is here. Administrators and Union Leaders will share information with the Board about the:
- Successes and drawbacks of the hybrid learning model;
- Suggested changes to improve the hybrid model, including Flex Wednesday;
- Prospective phase-in of other grades along with staffing needs and resources;
- Impact of the hybrid learning model on students with IEPs, English Language Learners, and the social-emotional learning needs of all children;
- Operations of physical education instruction and athletics;
- Impact of increasing the number of students in schools on faculty, staff, administrators, and students; and,
- Considerations for facilities and transportation.
As you know, on November 3, Hastings High School and Hillside Elementary School will be used as election polling locations. With this development, November 3 became a remote learning day. After further consideration, a recommendation will be made to the Board of Education at its’ October 26 meeting to approve the following calendar changes:
- Designate November 3 as a full day for parent-teacher conferences with no school for children;
- Designate November 4 as a school day; and
- Maintain November 12 for evening parent-teacher conferences.
In a short time, each school will provide information about the schedule for parent-teacher conferences.
We realize when adjustments are made out of necessity or through new developments or mandates from Albany, families have to scramble to change work schedules and childcare plans and arrangements. We do not enter into these decisions lightly and without consideration for all families knowing some will feel the impact more than others. While regional COVID infection rates remain relatively low, we are in the seasonal allergy, strep throat, influenza, and common cold season. Additionally, fall and winter weather will limit our opportunities to utilize the lovely outdoor spaces enhanced through a generous grant from the PTSA, SEPTA, and Hastings Education Foundation. We continue to thank them and you for making this possible.
Please continue to bear with us and know that we want our schools to remain safely open with children in their classrooms. Thank you for helping us meet this objective by enforcing mask-wearing, social distancing, and frequent handwashing. Don’t let your guard down when the school day ends, during weekends and holiday breaks. Let’s work together to keep our schools open.
Valerie Henning-Piedmonte, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools