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Hudson schools adjust to limits of ‘new normal’


HUDSON—Ongoing adjustments to the changed world dominated the Hudson City School District Board of Education meeting November 17.

The meeting began with a curriculum workshop for the Junior High School, which has grades 6-8. Teachers Thomas Super and Susan Voellm demonstrated a video math lesson. Principal Derek Reardon presented the results of a survey of 7th graders, in which 48% of respondents said they were learning about the same “during remote lessons compared to regular school”; 34% said they were learning less; and 18% said they were learning more.

Mr. Reardon, who is also district athletic director, announced that the only winter sports that can start practice December 14 are bowling and swimming. The state allows “low to moderate risk sports.”

The high school pool is again ready to use, announced Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier. However, swim meets will consist of the different school teams watching each other on video screens showing the races, Mr. Reardon said. Basketball and volleyball may or may not get the go ahead in January.

District Business Administrator Jesse Boehme reported he is reviewing suggestions from attorneys on how to maximize the chance that, if schools shut down and later resume, school buses will restart carrying the students on short notice. Earlier in the month he reported one bus company saying it would need about 30 days notice.

In addition, Mr. Boehme said, the state is directing school transportation aid to cover only transporting students, not new functions like delivering meals. But “there has been push-back from districts” to change this policy.

Dr. Suttmeier reported that since November 1, four students and two staff members have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Whether any of these individuals has had symptoms was not discussed. Of the four students, three were already “fully remote.” Of the staff members, one works in the district office and one at Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School. Some individuals are now in quarantine, attempts are being made to trace contacts, and, “We no longer have administrative team meetings in person,” said Dr. Suttmeier, adding, “We can’t afford to put entire sections away for 14 days.”

Because people have followed regulations, Dr. Suttmeier said that the virus has not spread within the buildings.

‘We no longer have administrative team meetings in person.’

Supt. Maria L. Suttmeier

Hudson City School District

Internal Auditor Michael Wolff reported on the results of the District’s annual risk assessment. The report stated that during the last school year (2019-20) school year the pandemic had the most influence on the “risk environment of the district” and resulted in strain on the district’s finances.

The report’s recommendations include:

• Update written operational procedures to adapt to the possibility of remote operations

• Update board policies for petty cash

• Remind employees of procedures they must follow before making any purchase

• Develop procedures for “ensuring attendance at conferences”

• “Review board policies and practices for vetting and monitoring charter bus services for special runs and/or field trips”

• “Continue to evaluate any implementation of procedures for extra-classroom activity funds in a COVID environment.”

Also at the meeting:

• Dr. Suttmeier reported that the National Honor Society inducted several new members, including those attending school 100% remotely as well as on school grounds

• The superintendent said, “I feel proud of our re-opening plan.” She credited its success to “our stakeholders” who contributed to the plan’s design

• Board member Sage Carter said the portion of the Empire State Trail in front of the Junior/Senior High School buildings is “on track” for completion November 24

• Dr. Suttmeier announced that Sage College has awarded a doctorate in educational leadership to Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement April Prestipino

• Ms. Carter said the district should not let its use of the John L. Edwards building for storage interfere with efforts to sell the building.

The next meeting of the Hudson City School District Board of Education will take place Tuesday, December 1, at 6:30 pm, in the High School auditorium.

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