All grades set to return to campus after Passover break

After nearly seven months of a hybrid learning model, NYHS will be returning to in-person learning.

BREAKING: All grades will return to in-campus instruction five days a week, NYHS Head of School Jason Feld wrote in an email Thursday afternoon. 

The decision comes after Washington state extended its vaccination campaign for teachers and childcare professionals. However, due to some NYHS families traveling or hosting guests for the Passover holiday, the week after break (April 6-9) will be fully remote. NYHS will require all students to submit negative Covid-19 test results before returning to campus.

All teachers and faculty will return to on-campus instruction – including Steve Kaufman, who has not been on campus since last year – with the exception of Director of Operations Tzippy Weins, who will remain remote due to childcare demands. 

Students who need to continue learning online will need to submit a special application in order to be approved by the administration. “Students who decide to ‘Zoom for the day’ without an excused reason will prompt an administrator to reach out to parents for a phone call,” the email read. According to the administration, the new policy will ensure that the maximum number of students possible will be learning on campus. “What we want to avoid is students choosing to come to school some days and stay at home other days,” NYHS Dean of Academics Lindsey Mutschler said in an email. “If a student or their family member has a health condition or household concern that makes them not ready to return to campus, we will honor and review those requests.”

According to Feld’s email, extracurricular activities and sports will only be available to in-person students. This is in accordance with the 11 a.m rule, which states that in order to participate in an extracurricular activity, students must arrive to school by 11 a.m.  

Junior Yoel Kintzer has not come to campus at all this year and is still unsure whether he’ll be able to return to campus after Passover. However, as an avid student athlete, he thinks that the new interpretation of the 11 a.m. rule is justified and logical. “The whole point of the 11 a.m. rule in the first place is that you’re not supposed to pick and choose,” Kintzer said. “If you’re showing up to basketball and your parents are okay with you playing a contact sport with someone else, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t come to school.”

The schedule will also change, which was hinted by Thursday’s email but not explicitly discussed. According to Mutschler, the school day will now last from 8:30 to 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and from 8:30 to 2:00 p.m. on Friday. Morning prayer will be re-added to the schedule and classes will be 45 minutes long every day except Tuesday, when classes will be 55 minutes long.

In addition, because the Text, Symbol, & Identity course has been completed, a new “enrichment” block will take its place. “For seniors, this will be a required health class, and 9th-11th grade students will select an enrichment course for the rest of the year from a few options,” Mutschler said. 

This year’s final exams will be conducted in-person for those who will be learning on campus. The students who have been approved to learn at home will receive accommodations from their teachers and complete final exams accordingly. 

Junior Esti Katzevman has not been back to school at all this year, and doesn’t plan to come back after Passover break — at least not until she gets vaccinated. Katzevman is frustrated by the school’s strict new policy that, she claims, is forcing students into returning to school. “You don’t know what’s happening in other people’s lives,” Katzevman said. “You can’t just force it.”

Katzevman is also worried that she’ll feel even more isolated than she already does, because if many more students return, she will be one of the only students learning on Zoom. On days where the juniors learn in person, Katzevman said it has been “really weird to just be online and have the rest of your class in school.” She’s worried that this new model will make that feeling even worse.