Genesee County central school districts unveil plans for reopening this fall
Genesee County central school districts have sent their reopening proposals to the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office and to the New York State Education Department.
It must be noted that the governor ultimately will determine whether or not schools may reopen. He is expected to announce his decision sometime next week.
Complete reopening plans can be found on the schools’ websites. All plans must comply with guidelines set forth by the state Education Department, Center for Disease Control, Genesee County Health Department and the governor’s executive orders.
The Batavian posted the Batavia City School District’s hybrid reopening plan on Tuesday.
Superintendent Catherine Huber said the district is proposing a hybrid reopening plan, based on the building capacity and in alignment with the aforementioned guidelines.
It includes designating Wednesdays as a virtual day for all students “to allow us to engage in scheduled deep cleaning on a weekly basis in addition to our regular daily cleaning routine.”
- Prekindergarten through fifth grade – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in school.
- BOCES CTE – Monday and Tuesday at BOCES, Thursday and Friday in school.
- Sixth through eighth grade – Monday and Tuesday in school, Thursday and Friday virtual.
- Ninth through 12th grade – Monday and Tuesday virtual, Thursday and Friday in school.
- Special education/English language learning – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in school.
Superintendent Mickey Edwards released the B-B plan, which (like Alexander’s plan) divides students into five groups – one with 100-percent in-school learning, three with a combination of in-school and remote learning and one with 100-percent remote learning.
- Universal Prekindergarten through fifth grade (elementary school) – All students in school.
- Cohort 1, sixth through 12th grade – Students with last name A-L – Monday and Tuesday in school; Wednesday through Friday remote learning.
- Cohort 2, sixth through 12th grade – Students with last name M-Z, Monday through Wednesday remote learning; Thursday and Friday in school.
- Cohort 3, sixth through 12th grade students with special considerations – Every day except Wednesday in school.
- Virtual Cohort, K-12th grade – 100-percent remote learning for students whose parents have opted not to send their children back to school.
Superintendent Ned Dale said his committee “collectively agreed that the safest plan would be to have 50 percent of the students come every other day.”
He said the goal is to review the wellness of our students and staff on Oct. 1 and then every two weeks after that to increase capacity.
Two groups of students, Maroon and White, have been established based on last names to “allow them to sit on the bus together, possibly sit at a cafeteria table together, as social distancing is not required with members of the same household.”
Dale said that a 50-percent model will allow students to not wear a mask when they are seated in the classroom. He also noted that districts are required to accommodate students and families that choose to do distance learning and that students with special needs may be required to attend more often.
Superintendent Merritt Holly advised that the district has formulated a hybrid plan model, dividing the students from kindergarten to 12th grade into two groups – Team Jell-O, which will be in school on Monday and Tuesday, and Team Oatka, which will be in school on Thursday and Friday.
Wednesday has been set aside as a full remote or virtual learning day for all students.
- Team Jell-O – Monday and Tuesday in school; Wednesday through Friday, remote learning.
- Team Oatka -- Thursday and Friday in school; Monday through Wednesday, remote learning.
“This allows us to have half our student population (in school) on Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday,” he said, adding that if parents don't feel comfortable sending their child back to school, the district is offering remote learning five days a week.
He said parents can choose one option for their child, either in-person instruction on two days, remote three days OR full remote five days.
The reopening plan is divided into the following categories as recommended by the state Education Department and Department of Health -- communications, operations, health & safety, transportation, food service, facilities/building procedures, academics/schedule, social emotional learning, athletics/extracurriculars.
Superintendent John Fisgus said the plan is to have 100-percent in-person learning and teaching for the fall.
The start of classes is delayed until Sept. 11 for extra training and guidance for staff. Fisgus said that this is made possible by utilizing two additional superintendent conference days at the beginning of the year.
“We are in a lucky spot that we can social distance our students while in the classrooms so students can remove their masks during instruction time,” he reported.
The O-A reopening plan is divided into seven categories – communications, operations, health/safety protocols, building procedures, academics, athletics, social/emotional supports.
Superintendent Kenneth Ellison said the school’s reopening committee hasn’t reached a final decision on which of the three options submitted to the state – in-school, remote learning or a mix of the two – will be set into motion at the outset of the school year.
“We will continue to work on what school will look like in September once Governor Cuomo makes his final decision on school reopening on August 7th,” he said. “Despite the scope of the state Education Department document, we still have many logistics to sort out to strike the balance between offering a program that is both educationally strong and meets the numerous health and safety requirements dictated by the state.
Ellison noted that the state Education Department defines these plans as “living documents” so changes will be made as new information becomes available.
Superintendent Matthew Calderon reported that the district is giving all K-12 parents the option for 100-percent online/remote learning or in-person learning, with the district set to send parents a summary of the details in an automated message before the plan is posted to its website.
He issued the following information:
- Students who participate in 100-percent online/remote learning must commit to do so at least on a quarterly basis, and will use the Google Classroom Suite and ClassTag to participate in lessons and receive information about learning expectations.
- Students who participate in-person will follow a normal schedule. Teachers will use the Google Classroom Suite and ClassTag to enhance the learning experience for students who attend in person. The district will rearrange classroom spaces and use clear desk shields to maximize social distancing and reduce the need to wear masks.
- By using the Google Classroom Suite and ClassTag, the district will be prepared to quickly transition to a hybrid/alternating-day schedule and/or 100-percent online/remote learning for all, if needed. In such cases, students with disabilities and students with extenuating circumstances would be prioritized to continue with in-person learning to the fullest extent possible, if permitted.