Kendall can accommodate all students for in-person learning

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 August 2020 at 10:13 am

District adds extra class in kindergarten and first grade to space out students

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Kendall Elementary School is pictured last evening in Kendall. The district’s reopening plan would welcome all students back for in-person learning with precautions in place.

KENDALL – The school district’s reopening plan would allow for in-person learning at all grade levels from Pre-K to Grade 12.

Kendall is fortunate to have the space in classrooms where students can social distance at 6 feet apart, district superintendent Julie Christensen said during a forum last week.

Kendall would add extra classes in kindergarten and first grade which would put the average class size in those grades at 12-13 students. In second through fourth grade, the average class size would be 13 to 16 students.

That is if the families choose in-person learning. Kendall will also give parents and guardians the option of remote learning for students. In 438 surveys, about 5 percent said they will choose the remote option for students.

Students who do remote learning can log on and be a part of some classes through Zoom video conferencing.

The district plans to stagger the end of class periods in the middle and high school levels, so all of the students don’t spill out into the hallways at once.

The district will offer the array of classes, including music, art and physical education.

Kevin Watson, middle school principal, and Carol D’Agostino, the high school principal, both said students and teachers will be working diligently to meet state standards while also having fun at school. The district has new bleachers at the soccer field, with more room. They could be used for homecoming and some other events at school.

“We’re working on ways to get out of classroom so they’re not cooped up,” Watson said during the forum on July 28.

The reopening plan was submitted to the state on Friday and posted to the district’s web site. (Click here to see the document.)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will announce by the end of the week whether schools will be allowed to offer in-person classes to start the school year.

Screenshot from Kendall community forum: Kendall will have desks spaced out at least 6 feet apart, with hand sanitizer, signs about proper hygiene and fountains for filling water bottles only.

In Orleans County, Kendall and Lyndonville both said they could offer in-person classes at all grade levels, every school day. Albion and Medina said they could do in-person each day from Pre-K to Grade 6, with a hybrid at grades 7 to 12, with two cohorts alternating in-person and remotely. Holley is looking at two days of in-person learning and three days of remote for all grade levels.

Smaller schools have an advantage because they can space their students out more in a classroom. Bigger schools don’t have the space or staff to meet the social distancing requirements of 6 feet apart in classrooms.

Kendall will require masks be worn on buses, in hallways and when social distancing isn’t possible. Students, once they are seated at their desks, won’t have to wear masks because they are 6 feet apart.

Wearing a mask is a “non-negotiable,” Christensen said in the community forum. If students refuse they will be directed to remote learning.

The district will provide “grab and go” breakfasts and lunches will be served with students eating in the cafeteria, overflow areas and in classrooms to ensure social distancing. Students in remote learning can also have lunch but it has to be picked up at the school.

Kendall also plans to add two day cleaners for sanitation, with those cleaners sanitizing bathrooms, door handles, classrooms when teachers at lunch and other parts of the school buildings.

The district also plans to make Chromebooks or tablets available for all students. Kendall will be prepared for a shift to remote learning if a change in the health statistics prompts the state to close schools. Last school year, Kendall students were forced to do remote learning beginning on March 16 until the end of the school year in late June.

Parents and guardians will need to do a daily health screening before they send their children to school. If kids are sick or have temperatures at 100 degrees or more, they should stay home.

“This is where we really need your help as parents,” Christensen said. “We are asking you to be partners in this.”

The reopening plans aren’t final documents. After the governor’s announcement this week, districts will continue to work on the reopening plan the next month before school is scheduled to start.

“Things are subject to change,” Christensen said.

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