Holley’s reopening plan would have students back for in-person classes 2 days a week

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Holley Elementary School will have up to half of the students in classes on Monday and Tuesday, and then the other half on Thursday and Friday, according to the school district’s reopening plan. Wednesday will be remote learning for all students in the district.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 August 2020 at 8:23 am

Most students would do remote learning the other 3 days

HOLLEY – The school district’s reopening plan would have students in school for in-person learning for two days a week, while the other three days would be remote learning at home. That includes all grade levels.

Splitting the student body in half for in-person classes will allow Holley to maintain social distancing in classes with desks spaced at least 6 feet apart, which is required by the state for in-person learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wednesday would be a designated day for remote learning for all students. That would allow Holley to do a “deep cleaning” of school buildings.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would announce by Aug. 7 if the state will allow in-person classes to start the school year. He said if regions stay under a 5 percent positive rate for Covid-19 tests, he expects they will get approval to open schools.

The positive rate has been about 1 percent in the Finger Lakes Region and state-wide.

Holley’s plan (click here) has options for in-person classes, a hybrid model with in-person and remote learning, and plan for remote learning only. Holley like other districts was forced to go remote learning for all students on March 16, which continued the rest of the school year.

“The question I’ve been asked the most these past few weeks is, ‘What will school look like for Holley when you open in September?’” Brian Bartalo, district superintendent, said in a letter to the community on Friday. “In truth, our reopening plan covers a lot of requirements and possibilities, but the answer as to exactly what will be in place when we open is still unknown.”

The next step for Holley will be the announcement from the governor this week about how much districts can do with in-person learning.

“Following that announcement, we will work on specific details that we will share with families and parents for exactly how we plan to open,” Bartalo said. “Therefore, although our plan is submitted, there are still a lot of questions to answer and work to do to be prepared for students and staff starting school in September.”

Holley proposed hybrid plan includes:

• Cohort A: Monday & Tuesday – In-person instruction; Wednesday – all students remote learning & staff meet/connect/plan/professional development; Thursday & Friday – remote learning.

• Cohort B: Monday & Tuesday – remote learning; Wednesday – all students remote learning & staff meet/connect/plan/professional development; Thursday & Friday – in-person instruction.

Holley’s plan would also have special education students in self-contained classrooms for in-person learning four days week, instead of two days. Wednesday would be the only remote learning day for students in special education.

“Our philosophy for reopening our school district has been to consider a safe, phase-in approach,” Bartalo said. “We believe this is smart and will allow for flexibility and the ability to respond to whatever condition is allowed or required, especially given the COVID-19 situation, which is unpredictable.”

Holley will survey parents after the governor’s announcement. If in-person learning is allowed, Holley wants to know if parents will be sending their children to school and if they will be riding the bus.

“With so many new rules that we will need to enforce and mandates (daily health screening, hygiene routines, wearing masks, staying distant in building spaces and on buses, etc.) that we will need to learn and adhere to, we expect to have to spend considerable time to start the year going through all it with students and staff,” Bartalo said. “We also know that all these mandates will change how staff members have worked with students, both in-person and remotely. However, we will have high expectations for student attendance, learning and achievement, no matter how we reopen.”

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