Given the timing of our academic calendar here in New York, we have had a unique opportunity to observe schools across the nation as they have navigated the reopening process throughout the summer. While each institution and each region face their own challenges, the rise of case numbers across our nation is deeply concerning. The in-person instruction of students is of paramount importance for their continued growth and education; so too are the health and safety of all community members. These are equally important and certainly not mutually exclusive. At The Cathedral School, we continue to affirm both wholeheartedly.
While case numbers in New York City have remained low (a testament to the tenacity of our city) and the health and safety measures of our school’s Reopening Plan have been carefully considered to protect our community, there is still immense uncertainty regarding the trajectory of the virus—particularly as it pertains to young people. Furthermore, we stand at a critical juncture as our city experiences an influx of people at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year.
With these considerations in mind and having accounted for the interests of all members of our community, Cathedral made the difficult decision that the school will start the year in Distance Learning from September 10 through September 25.
This constantly evolving situation necessitates that we remain flexible and able to evolve in ways that are best suited for our community. It also requires that we are able to pivot with agility between methods of instruction as the landscape changes. No matter what, our decisions will always be rooted in the safety of our entire community and the science that unfolds. We will continue to monitor all factors during these initial weeks of Distance Learning, and, if the Governor keeps schools open and we deem it safe for our school, we will open fully for in-person instruction on Tuesday, September 29. Given this change, the deadline for families to switch instructional options from in-person to telepresence or vice versa is now Friday, October 16.
Cathedral’s reopening plan is based on health guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), New York State Education Department (NYSED), and the Department of Health (DOH). New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that schools may reopen as long as they are in a region where the average rate of positive coronavirus tests is below 5 percent
over a two-week period. Should rates of infection rise above this threshold, or should guidance from health agencies or the state change, Cathedral will return to a distance learning plan.