HUDSON—On September 15, the day after children returned to Hudson City school buildings for the first time since March, District officials expressed happiness at the resumption of in-person classes, thanked those who worked to prepare for it and acknowledged uncertainty about state funding.
The students who came to school included pre-kindergartners, kindergartners, 6th graders, and 9th graders, according to plans developed over the summer. According to the plans, more grades were scheduled to join them at school the week of September 28.
“This has been surreal, after six months to see [so many people] here,” district Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier told the September 15 school board meeting. “We were made for people.”
“It’s been a very busy reopening but a very rewarding re-opening,” she added.
Currently, Dr. Suttmeier observed, the Junior/Senior High School “feels like a small private school.” But she said, “the true test will be the week of September 28,” when all the grades pre-kindergarten through 10th will have in-person classes.
Plans call for elementary school students to attend school every weekday except Wednesday. Sixth through tenth graders are divided into two groups: one group will attend school in person Mondays and Tuesdays; the other group will attend in-person classes Thursdays and Fridays. The rest of the time, their classes will be online.
Eleventh and 12th grade classes are 100% by online. About 500 students in lower grades will also have their classes 100% by screen, per family request, as of latest information.
“The Buildings and Grounds Department has done an amazing job!” Business Administrator Jesse Boehme listed some of the tasks required: “Rearranging desks. Taking excess desks to the John L. Edwards building. Cleaning and disinfecting.” The former J.L. Edwards school was closed before the pandemic.
Mr. Boehme also praised the IT Department.
‘This is how we do school now.’
Dr. Maria L. Suttmeier, supt.
Hudson City School District
Dr. Suttmeier added that in preparing and monitoring the school reopening, “There’s no such thing as an evening. No such thing as a weekend.”
She declared the district worthy of the phrases “Hudson Strong” and “Rise Up!”
“We changed on a dime, from in-person to remote” via video screen classes. “Now we see theory put into practice,” the superintendent said.
Grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches, bagged and delivered to students’ desks. Classes with two teachers: one teaching in-person, one teaching by video. “This is how we do school now,” said Dr. Suttmeier.
“I look at a socially distanced auditorium,” Dr. Suttmeier added. September 15 was the first in-person Board of Education meeting since March. It took place in the High School auditorium. Board members and district officials sat far apart on the stage in front of the curtain. The few spectators sat in the few widely-spaced audience seats marked as open.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t heard” anything definite on state aid, Mr. Boehme announced. “We’re waiting for the Office of Budget to issue an Aid Reduction Plan.” This is expected to happen around the end of the month.
Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement April Prestipino reported on a successful professional development program for district faculty, which took place the week of September 8.
The next meeting of the Hudson City School District Board of Education will be Tuesday, October 20, at 6 p.m., at Hudson High School.