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Orange Schools Slowly and Intentionally Return to Normalcy

Orange Schools Slowly and Intentionally Return to Normalcy

Orange Schools are slowly looking a bit more like they did pre-COVID in a variety of ways.  On February 28, Orange Schools made mask-wearing optional for students, staff and visitors.

“The transition has gone quite well as reported by our building administrators,” Superintendent of Schools Vince Scarpetti said.  “In addition, positive COVID cases have been minimal.”

He refers parents to the COVID-19 dashboard on the district’s website for continued weekly status updates which includes the most current number of staff and students who are quarantining due to being COVID positive or having had a close contact.  This data is compiled by information that families and staff share with school nurses.

“If you were to look tonight, we’ve had one case this past week,” Scarpetti said.  Since mask-wearing has become optional, administration has received many questions and inquiries regarding events at the schools.

“We have developed a procedure,” he explained.  “Any member of the PTA or PTO would go to the building principal with a request form detailing what the event would look like.  The form will then be reviewed with the principal and myself before it is reviewed by the health department.”

Parents are receiving information about events with details on any guidelines.

“Slowly we are going back to the way things used to be and there is a lot of excitement in the schools because of that,” he said.  “However, even though things are looking like they used to, we are moving slowly and intentionally.  Today was a perfect day to open the windows and get fresh air circulating through the schools and we are continuing to improve our systems in the school.”

As schools are returning to normal, certified staff had its first district-wide professional development program in over two years.  ‘Improving School Climate to Support Student Achievement’ was highly interactive and gave teachers the opportunity to explore the impact of school climate on student success and engagement, according to district Director of Curriculum/Instruction & Personnel Evelyn Russo.

“We discussed various strength-based models and examined the impact of adult responsibility and role-modeling on the development of a safe, respectful and culturally competent professional learning community,” she said.  “It was very well received, especially after how everybody has been feeling.”

By Melissa Nicefaro – Orange Town News Correspondent

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