A school district in the suburbs north of New York City is set to implement fully virtual instructions this week as the region experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The Mount Vernon City School District says remote schooling will begin Wednesday, Dec. 22, until at least Jan. 18, 2022. Depending on the trajectory of COVID-19 positivity rates, school building closures may be further extended, Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Hamilton said Monday in a letter to the community.
"We have all been watching as Broadway closed, professional sports have been affected, and some states (Maryland) have moved to remote learning. We have also seen an increase in our positive cases and quarantines," Hamilton said. "I have been very reluctant to close schools, but given the current trends in COVID cases, it would be risky not to do so."
In the letter, the superintendent said all schools in the district will still provide breakfast and lunches from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Get Tri-state area news and weather forecasts to your inbox. Sign up for NBC New York newsletters.
Before teachers and students return to class, everyone is expected to be tested, according to Hamilton, and there will also be weekly testing going forward. There will be free COVID test kits that educators and parents can pick up at their schools on Jan. 3 and Jan. 4.
The Mount Vernon schools closures come as Gov. Kathy Hochul announced her plans to safely keep schools open. She says the state will send at-home testing kids with children in COVID-affected classrooms as part of that multi-pronged effort.