As Labor Day approaches, Saratoga Springs is in the thick of preparing for its next big challenge—welcoming students back to school. In order to help students maintain a safe social distance while eating lunch, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) has loaned 175 picnic tables, usually located in the back yard area of Saratoga Race Course, to the Saratoga City School District. The tables have already been delivered to Saratoga High School and Maple Avenue Middle School in preparation for the school year beginning on September 14.
The district released a comprehensive reopening plan on August 28 after spending the summer preparing for the nontraditional school year. The plan, which mandates that students wear masks at all times (except while eating) and maintain a six-foot distance between one another whenever possible, was informed by a district-wide committee made of over 100 community members. The district also involved the community in decision-making through a number of surveys, virtual forums and an online input form.
NYRA previously donated the track’s picnic tables to the City of Saratoga Springs for use in Congress Park earlier in the summer, as well as the Village of Schuylerville.
“NYRA is thrilled to loan its popular backyard tables to the Saratoga Springs City School District to assist educators with their innovative plan to enable students to enjoy lunch and learning together while maintaining proper social distancing,” says NYRA Communications Director Pat McKenna. “It will be terrific to see Saratoga’s much-loved picnic tables occupied once again by local high school and middle school students this fall. We thank the school district for their creativity to help keep students, teachers and administrators healthy and to provide a sense of normalcy during these unprecedented times.”