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Shen district officials discuss reopening plans

Emily Burkhard
Updated: July 22, 2020 07:33 AM
Created: July 21, 2020 11:14 PM

CLIFTON PARK - Though it is still unclear if schools will be allowed to open at all this year, Shenendehowa Central School District administrators said they are preparing for in-person, remote and hybrid educational options in a virtual meeting Tuesday night.

Superintendent Dr. Oliver Robinson said bus capacity would likely be around 50 percent. Students must wear masks, sit in assigned seats, possibly with a sibling, drop offs will be staggered and buses will be disinfected after each trip. The district is also encouraging parents to drive their children, though that could create another issue.

“We do recognize the potential for large volumes of traffic because of this so we're looking at a plan for when do parents drop off versus when do buses drop off?” Robinson said. “We’re trying to have a staggered sequence between those two plans."

The district is prioritizing daily in class instruction for kindergarten through sixth grade, with eighth through twelfth graders rotating between in-class and virtual instruction in fewer, longer periods throughout the day.

There will be a reduced number of desks in each classroom, but actual class size may be the same. While some students will be in the same room as their teacher, others may not be.

"The children might be receiving some of their lessons still virtually, but while they're at school,” Arongen Elementary Principal Andrew Hills said. “It could be quite literally a teacher across the hall presenting a math lesson to the students virtually on the other side of the hall."

Breakfast and lunch will be pre-packaged and the cafeteria will have socially distanced seating. Some students may have their meals delivered to them in their classrooms.

Robinson said the district plans to submit their proposal to the New York State Education Department on July 29. District officials said vaccines could also totally change those plans, depending on when and how widely they are available.

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Robinson said any additional recommendations, mandates or funding cuts from the state could influence these plans drastically.

"We have a lot of unforeseen re-opening costs as a result each time a new regulation is formulated, a new mandate is provided we have to figure out what's the cost implication for that,” Robinson said.

The district has developed a new rubric for the hybrid model of learning they are planning on implementing this year.

Stay tuned to NewsChannel 13 for updates on this story.


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