NEW YORK – Students in two Westchester County school districts will start the new year with remote learning due to the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases.

Yonkers Public Schools and the City of New Rochelle School District both announced Friday they will be switching to virtual learning when students return from their winter break on Monday, Jan. 3

The disitricts intend to reopen schools for in-person learning the following week.

Both schools made the decision to go remote due to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in their communities.

“We are confident in our current Remote Learning process that has been working well over the past three months for the classes that have been quarantined.  Please remember we are returning from a long recess, and it may take a day or more to put everything in place. Be patient and respectful as our school administrators and teachers prepare for your child’s instruction,” Yonkers Superintendent Dr. Edwin Quezada said in a letter to families.  

Families within the Yonkers Public Schools district in need of internet access or devices must contact their principal on Monday. 

The school district is also giving out free COVID-19 rapid tests for students and staff on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

No appointment is needed. Click here for list of locations.

Students in New Rochelle were asked to take home their Chromebooks. Anyone with questions about accessing virtual learning should contact their teacher or the school district Director of Technology.

During this time, extracurricular activities, including sports, will not be held, according to New Rochelle Superintendent Jonathan Raymond.

“Your school district understands that virtual learning is not ideal for some families. We continue to believe that in-person learning provides students with a vital sense of identity and belonging while helping students advance academically, socially, and emotionally. We look forward to safely reopening our buildings and thank every member of our community for your resilience, patience, and understanding as we navigate this unprecedented time in our history,” Raymond said.

The decision to go remote comes as Gov. Kathy Hochul laid out her “Winter Surge 2.0” plan, that details what needs to be done to keep New Yorkers safe.

Among her five components in the plan is to keep children in school with consistent testing.

The state is sending shipments of at-home test kits for students as several counties implement the Test-To-Stay program to help ensure as many students stay in school as possible.