Amity Regional High School on Friday, November 13, informed its families that high school students would be learning from home starting Monday, November 16. The two middle schools, however, where cases were fewer, would remain open in the hybrid instructional model, with only half of the student population attending school at any given time.
The decision came on a day when 18 people at the high school were isolating because they had tested positive, and approximately 170 were in quarantine. In addition, the Amity Transition Academy had one positive case and 22 quarantining. Those numbers are fluid, cautioned School Supt. Dr. Jennifer Byars in an email to this reporter, as individuals move in and out of isolation and quarantine, and officials were still contact tracing for the latest batch of positives.
In her letter to parents, Byars said the decision to cancel in-person classes was made in consultation with the Orange Health Department and the Quinnipiack Valley Health District. The closure affected all school programming, including athletic and extracurricular practices and competitions.
Meals for students continue to be available for pick-up at the high school daily between 11 am and noon.
This period of remote learning was limited to three weeks, including the week after the Thanksgiving recess, with all students returning to partial in-person learning on December 7.
Dr. Byars said as of November 13, the number of cases at the middle schools remains low. There were three positive cases at the middle school in Bethany, with 16 in quarantine; and two positive cases in Orange, with 19 in quarantine. The middle schools will remain open in the hybrid instructional model until the Thanksgiving recess.
The week after Thanksgiving, however, all district schools will operate in a remote learning model through December 4, as had been planned previously. By working from home — which is being done in many districts across the state — schools are allowing those who traveled to get tested before they return to school, and families to quarantine as needed.
By Bettina Thiel – Orange Town News Correspondent