Lyndonville reopening plan would welcome all students back to in-person classes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2020 at 10:55 pm

Grades 5 & 6 would be shifted to former elementary school

File photo by Tom Rivers: Lyndonville will move some classes to the former elementary school which closed after the 2011-12 school year. The district last year used part of the building for an expanded prekindergarten program.

LYNDONVILLE – The school district’s reopening plan would give all students, in grades kindergarten through 12, the chance to attend in-person classes every school day.

Lyndonville would have reduced class sizes to allow for social distancing, spacing desks at least 6 feet apart. The district would like to move grades 5 & 6 to the former elementary school on Main Street.

That building has been largely closed since after the 2011-12 school year. Last year it was used for an expanded prekindergarten program. Pre-K would stay at the former elementary school as part of the reopening plan.

The district submitted the plan (click here) to the State Education Department today. That was the deadline for the 700 school districts in the state to send in their reopening plans, which need to include options for in-person learning, a hybrid model with in-person and remote learning, and an option that is entirely remote learning.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo next week will announce whether schools can return to in-person learning this fall.

Lyndonville’s plan includes many safety precautions with masks or face coverings required to be worn in the hallways and on buses.

The district will also increase cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms, the school buildings, and buses.

There will be daily health checks, and promotion of proper hand hygiene. The district won’t be offering any after-school activities until at least Sept. 21.

If Lyndonville gets the state OK for in-person classes, students will still have the option for remote learning.

“Next week, each family will receive a survey to complete that will indicate your preference for your choice of instruction: either 100% in person or 100% remote,” District Superintendent Jason Smith said in a message to the community posted on the district’s website. “These surveys need to be returned by Friday, August 14th so we can plan accordingly.”

Smith said the district’s Re-Opening Committee has been meeting on a regular basis to develop the plan, and meet the required components from the State Department of Health and the State Education Department. The committee included representations from the Board of Education, administration, faculty, staff, parents, community and students.

Some highlights of the reopening plan include:

Face coverings will need to be worn during passing times, on the bus, at arrival and dismissal, and when 6 feet of social distancing isn’t possible. “It is our goal to reduce the requirement for face covering as much as possible by staying with current requirements,” Smith said. “In some cases, we are assigning larger classes to larger classrooms. We are purchasing protective barriers that can be used in the classroom and lunchrooms. Disposable masks will be made available to students if needed.”

Health screenings will be required for every staff member and student, with health checks to be done at home.

“If your child has a temperature of over 100 degrees F, experiences a new cough, respiratory distress, vomiting or shortness of breath, she/he MUST stay home,” Smith said. “I have been and will remain in regular contact with the Orleans County Health Department. We will continue to consult with the Health Department, as they will with us, of any suspected or confirmed cases, and respond accordingly by following all guidelines from State Education and the State Health Department.”

Hygiene and Sanitation – Signage and proper hand and hygiene cleaning will be posted throughout the school, and students will be given direct instruction on this important practice. Hand sanitizer will be available in every classroom and stationed throughout the school.

Transportation – Face coverings will need to be worn on the bus and we will social distance to the extent possible. Families should notify the district if they plan to transport their children. Buses will be cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis.

Staggered start the first week of school – Lyndonville is planning a staggered start to the first week of school only. Not every student will start school on the same day, but within three days, all students will be on a regular schedule.

“Do not plan on every student’s first day of school being the same, as we have done every year in the past,” Smith said. “The purpose of this plan is to introduce our students and staff to the new procedures in a structured and safe basis.”

Parent meetings will be held on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13. The Aug. 12 schedule includes noon: PreK-Grade 6; 4 p.m.: Grades 7-12; 7 p.m.: PreK to Grade 12.

The Aug. 13 schedule includes noon: grades 7-12; 4 p.m.: PreK-grade 6; 7 p.m.: PreK to Grade 12. Parents need to register for a meeting. The district sent letters to families with information about the meetings.

“We hope that all of you will return your children to school, but fully understand if you have concerns,” Smith said in his message to the community. “Again, we are offering the option for a full remote learning program, and we ask that you make that decision for the semester by August 14, 2020.”

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