School districts seek feedback for reopening

Photos by Tom Rivers: Junior high students in Orleans County sing on March 7 at Kendall during the All-County Music Festival. The auditorium at the Kendall Junior-Senior High School was packed for the concert. A week later, the school districts in Orleans County announced their buildings would be closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Reopening plans for schools will likely include social distancing, wearing masks and reducing the capacity in the buildings for large crowds.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 July 2020 at 3:37 pm

Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina have online surveys

School districts want to hear from the community about possible scenarios for reopening schools this fall.

Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina all have online surveys, asking for feedback about on-line learning and returning to school in classrooms.

Albion also has formed a committee that is meeting to develop a plan for reopening schools this fall.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday said New York will finalize guidance to reopen schools by July 13. School districts need to submit reopening plans by July 31, with the state to make a decision on reopening during week of Aug. 1-7.

The state won’t have a blanket policy for all 700 districts in the state because different regions of the state have different levels of infection from Covid-19, Cuomo said.

The governor said student safety, as well as the health of teachers and staff, remains the priority on how schools will operate in the fall.

“We know we have a lot of work to do, and we need input from our families,” Brian Bartalo, the Holley school district superintendent, said in a message to the community. “It’s important to note that although we need your input, the final decision about schools reopening and how schools will operate this fall will be determined by the Governor and the State Education Department.”

The districts in the surveys ask parents if they will send their children to school if the state allows in-person classes.

The districts ask parents their level of concern with having their children ride a school bus, sit in classrooms and participate in sports and other activities.

“We need to be ready for an opening of school with safety considerations (masks, sanitizing, distancing, etc.) for all students and staff, a ‘hybrid’ model where students attend school in person on a rotational basis and do some ‘distance learning,’ and a model where students are again learning remotely, like we ended this past school year,” Bartalo said. “It goes without saying that all of us at Holley CSD are hoping and planning for as much in-person learning as is allowed by the State, the CDC and our Health Department officials.”

To see Holley’s survey, click here.

To see Kendall’s survey, click here.

To see Lyndonville’s survey, click here.

To see Medina’s survey, click here.

Kayli Miller of Albion kicks the soccer ball during a modified game last September against Barker. The sports programs could be different this year due to precautions against the spread of Covid-19.

Medina asks how the pandemic impacted your family with the following responses: no impact/no change; some impact, does not change daily behavior; noticeable impact; significant daily disruption; and severe daily disruption, immediate needs unmet.

Medina asks if the disrupted school had an emotional or mental impact on children. Medina and the other local districts had their last day of in-person classes on March 13.

Parents are also asked whether they are satisfied with the way distance learning was implemented during the pandemic.

Parents are asked if their homes are set up for distance learning, and what could be done to make that work better, whether it be WiFi access at home, a device for the student to do school work, more support with instruction and childcare.

Parents are asked if they would feel more comfortable sending their children to school if the buses and classrooms were at half capacity, rather than full capacity.

Mark Kruzynski, Medina’s school superintendent, said the parent responses will help the district as it considers its reopening plan.

“Because we will always follow all directives from the health department, local, state and federal government, many decisions about what school will look like in the fall may be ‘out of our hands,’” he said in a message to the community. “However, for those things that the district may be able to control, we want to make the best decisions possible for our students and families.”

In one of Medina’s questions, parents are asked if students/staff return to school in September, which measures are most important at school? They are also to check all that apply.

  • Wearing masks at all times
  • Wearing masks only in situations when you cannot be 6 feet apart
  • Hand sanitizer in each classroom and common area
  • COVID-19 testing for staff and students before re-entry in the fall
  • Daily testing of student/staff temperature
  • No lunchroom use for students
  • No playground use for students
  • Limited hallway travel and changing of classes
  • No sharing of any classroom resources or materials such as books, games, supplies
  • Staggered start and end times to the day

Among the questions asked by Kendall, was there too little or too much communication from the district/administrators during the shutdown, or was it just enough.

Lyndonville asks parents what is their expectation regarding student athletics, performing arts, and extra-curricular activities if students return to school in the September? The responses include:

  • I FULLY expect these events to be provided for student participation in a traditional format with reasonable safety measures.
  • I am CONCERNED about students participating in these events because of social distancing challenges while participating.
  • I would NOT allow my student(s) to participate in these events at this time.

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