Active COVID cases in Ulster County and in the Onteora School District have never been higher. The county graph is more of a vertical line than a curve. And yet for Onteora Interim Superintendent Marystephanie Corsones, it’s business as usual.
Deaf to the many parents who have pleaded for a temporary remote or hybrid option, Corsones only went remote from January 12th to 14th, “based on staffing limitations and being able to maintain the safest learning environment for students.” Sadly, I doubt student safety has anything to do with Corsones’ decision-making, as we are shifting right back to in-person instruction after the holiday weekend, despite county COVID cases continuing to skyrocket, with 1,266 more cases reported today (Jan. 14) than when OCS temporarily shifted just three days ago.
In today’s letter to parents, Corsones says, “We continue to monitor the data to support our decisions with the goal of providing the safest and most robust learning environment for our students.” I wonder what data she’s monitoring, as we’re now looking at 7,000 active cases countywide, and half-empty classrooms as so many students are in quarantine.
The students who do attend are often monitored by substitute teachers with no grasp on the course material (teachers, too, are out with COVID and/or in quarantine). I understand the value of in-person school, but for families who can’t risk sending their children to school at the very height of this wave, accommodations should be made for an equally robust learning modality for limited at-home instruction.
The writer is an Onteora parent.