Union Free School District
- Hastings-on-Hudson U.F.S.D.
Farragut Middle School Students to Step Back into Classrooms
Students at Farragut Middle School are set to step back into school in person for a full five-day week on April 12.
As part of Hasting-on-Hudson School District’s all-in model, the middle school will see its students returning to full time in-person instruction for the first time in more than a year. Although administrators maintain that they want the re-entry to follow every precaution possible, they also want the transition to take the well-being of students into account.
“Our goal is to ensure that every student feels safe, comfortable, and welcome in the school,” said Farragut Middle School Principal Jennifer Spirelli. “It’s a new transition for many students who haven’t been in the building since September and it's a chance for all students to see classmates they haven’t seen from the other color or cohort.”
For seventh and eighth grade guidance counselor Jennifer Bellas, the transition is an opportunity to allow students to have a bit of fun. With help from her seventh grade leadership team, Bellas was able to get a student perspective on the re-entry and develop community- building activities for the week of the re-entry.
The occasion will be marked with music played in between classes, the playlists curated by students, and the distribution of some school spirit wear such as pencils and wristbands. The week is scheduled with themed days designed by the students themselves such as crazy sock day and pajama day.
“Everyone is an individual and this whole experience over the past year has been different for each of us,” said Bellas. “Our focus is creating a kind of excitement and celebration of our school as a community and making sure even the students who are still at home feel included.”
“Our goal is to celebrate everyone being back,” added Spirelli. “We’re trying to make it special for them and we’re also trying to attend to any social and emotional needs with this additional change.”
While it may seem like just a celebration of welcoming students back, Bellas said that there is more to it than that. For the middle school and its guidance counseling office, giving the returning students a welcoming environment with the support they need is paramount.
“In collaboration with the administration, our counseling department in the middle school wanted to welcome students back,” she said. “There’s a lot of emotions and feelings about coming back to school for five days so we wanted to provide a space where everyone can build a community and participate in something right away.”
While supporting the students' needs, administration will also focus on their safety. In accordance with the school’s re-entry plan, students and staff will follow the updated guidelines during the transitional period and afterward. While this plan is readily available to parents and staff online, Spirelli said the new procedures also will be reviewed with students.
“These expectations and protocols are going to be reviewed and explained at an assembly for each grade,” she said. “These things will help prevent overcrowding such as only visiting your locker twice a day.”
With an exciting week ahead, both Bellas and Spirelli are awaiting to see students in the halls again.
“We want this to be a celebration of who we are as a school and who each of our students are as individuals,” said Bellas. “We look forward to seeing them express themselves and we want to make sure everyone is able to connect, that is the most important thing.”
“We’re thrilled to have them back,” added Spirelli. “We are really excited to have everyone back in the building.”
The full re-entry plan for Farragut Middle School can be found here