Temperature checks, assigned seating on school buses and alternating days of in-person instruction are a few of the things local school districts are planning for this fall if schools are allowed to reopen their doors to students this fall.
Most districts throughout Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties have yet to reveal safety plans that would allow students back inside the classroom for the first time since the coronavirus forced schools to switch to a virtual model in March.
The deadline to submit plans to the state’s Department of Education is July 31. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce next week if schools can reopen.
But around half-a-dozen districts have already made plans public ahead of Friday’s deadline, including Queensbury. Lake George is expected to release its plans Thursday night.
Glens Falls is expected to adopt a hybrid model that would include two days of in-person instruction and three days of virtual learning, although nothing had been made official as of Thursday afternoon.
Other districts like Corinth, Hartford, Granville, Salem and Whitehall have also released plans. Each vary, but all include masks, reduced class sizes to maintain social distancing and strict disinfecting protocols, in compliance with state guidelines.
Here’s how things are shaping up.
Parents will be required to check the temperature of their children before sending them to school. Anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or more will have to stay home, and parents will have to submit documentation that temperatures have been taken.
In-person learning for grades K-5 will take place every day. Students in grades K-4 will attend classes at the elementary school, while fifth grade classes will be held at the middle school.
Grades 6-12 will follow an alternating schedule, with half of the students coming to class for two days while the other half attends classes virtually via Google Classroom.
Lockers will not be issued, and middle school students will be required to stay in the same classroom throughout the day. High school students will continue to change rooms, but must follow directional arrows to ensure social distancing.
There will be no changing clothes for gym class, and school bus seating will be assigned. The district plans to add additional routes to compensate for the limited seating.
The school district released an in-depth, 35-page document, detailing everything from where parents can drop students off to how counselors will address student mental health issues.
Students will have to undergo daily temperature checks, and staff will be required to clean commonly touched surfaces daily. Shared supplies will be limited, and those materials that must be shared, like library books, will be taken out of circulation for three days, in compliance with CDC guidelines.
On-site learning will take place every day for grades UPK-7, while grade 8 will use an alternating model, with half of students reporting for in-person instruction every two days, while the other half attends classes virtually via Google Classroom.
A failure to log in virtually with the camera on will count as an absence.
One group will meet on Monday and Thursday, while the second will meet Tuesday and Friday. All students will attend classes virtually on Wednesday when the school closes for a deep cleaning.
Grades 9-12 will use a similar model, but due to limited capacity and social-distancing mandates required by the state, the district plans a fully online model for students that will alternate every five weeks.
Those in grades 9-10 will spend the first five weeks of the school year alternating between in-person and virtual learning, while those in grades 11-12 will attend virtual classes only. The two groups will switch every five weeks.
A full plan for Salem has yet to be submitted to the state, but initial plans were released on the district’s website earlier this week.
Daily temperature checks will be required, and the district will follow a hybrid schedule that combines in-person and virtual learning.
Students will remain in the same classroom throughout the day to reduce contact in hallways. Lunch will also be eaten in the classroom, except for grade 6.
Class size will be reduced, and students will attend in-person classes for two-consecutive days and learn remotely three days.
The district has not released a formal re-opening plan, but a hybrid model is being considered, according to Superintendent Patrick Dee.
Dee, during a school board meeting last week, said the model would likely consist of two days of in-person learning and three days of virtual learning.
The district also plans to reduce school bus capacity and will reduce class size to comply with social distancing guidelines put in place by the state.
Superintendent Andrew Cook released the school’s plan recently by video for parents and students.
The plan will be submitted to the state for approval.
Elementary students UPK-5 will learn in person Monday through Friday; middle school students will attend on Mondays and Tuesdays and certain Fridays, with remote learning on Wednesdays and Thursdays; high school students will come in person on Wednesdays and Thursdays and certain Fridays, with remote learning on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Superintendent Cook said desks will be spaced 6 feet apart, so students won’t have to wear masks while seated. Students who leave their seats will be required to wear a mask.
The school has purchased masks for students that will be available in August.
The school conducted a transportation survey and to adhere to social distancing guidelines the 66 passenger buses will have a maximum capacity of 22 students. The alternate attendance days will allow proper social distancing on buses, according to Cook.
Adam Colver contributed to this report.
Chad Arnold is a reporter for The Post-Star covering the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George. Follow him on Twitter @ChadGArnold.
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