Late last week, the William Floyd School District released their official reopening plans. The plans, which meet all New York State Education Department guidelines, were compiled by a committee of stakeholders including parents, board of education members, faculty, staff and administration.
The district’s plans include a four-stage reopening plan, beginning in September with a hybrid model, some days in school, some days remote. However, according to the district, the plan is contingent upon Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision on whether schools are allowed to reopen.
As of now, in order to reopen the region must remain in Phase 4, with a daily infection rate below 5 percent. Schools will close if the rates rise above 9 percent after Aug. 1 based on a seven-day average. A decision is also expected to be made by Cuomo on whether or not schools will be able to reopen in early August.
“We developed a four-stage plan for reopening schools beginning with the hybrid model for the first quarter of the school year [September through November],” said a William Floyd spokesperson, explaining that the plan was created with a focus on keeping students and staff safe while trying to be sensitive to the needs of the community. “This plan is based on the guidelines released by the state; we know that it can change based on any new regulations put in place by state and local government and health officials.”
The district is also soliciting input from the community in a parent survey that is open through Aug. 7. Additionally, the district is setting up a parent reopening meeting for Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 6:30 p.m. to solicit feedback from the com- munity and respond to any questions or concerns.
Due to the population size of the William Floyd School District, it is not possible to maintain the required 6-foot social-distancing requirements with all students in attendance at the same time. The district instead will be implementing a hybrid model with some days in school and some days remote, though special education students will attend school daily.
Daily Health Surveys
Before students can be put on the bus or dropped off at the school, parents will be required to complete a daily health survey and temperature check at their household. Children cannot be sent to school if they have a temperature of above 100. Staff members will also be required to complete a daily health survey and temperature check before coming to work and all visitors will be required to wear facemasks and complete the survey as well. No visitors will be permitted during Stage 1.
Facemasks will be required at all times in school when social distancing is not possible.
PPE is an unanticipated expense that comes at a time when $5 million was just cut from the district budget. The possibility of mid-year cuts is also looming heavily. Without federal intervention, there may be a reduction of up to 20 percent or $26 million from the district’s annual funding.
The hybrid model of instruction will include two days of in-person instruction in school, along with three days of remote instruction.
This will be in place for at least the first quarter of the school year, September through November. General education students will be assigned into one of two groups: Group A or Group B. All groups will be sorted alphabetically and by household across all schools to make sure that families with multiple children will attend school in-person on the same days. Group A will attend Monday and Tuesday with virtual learning Wednesday through Friday. Group B will be in school on Thursday and Friday with distance learning Monday through Wednesday. All students will be virtual on Wednesday and teachers will be in school Monday through Friday.
As for special education students, they will attend school daily. Those in ICT will attend two in-person days with three virtual, and the Resource Room will take place two days in-person and three virtual as well. Students who receive related services only will attend twice a week in-person; however, they will receive all related services as indicated on the IEP either in-person or virtually.
It is not possible for students to social distance on the bus, so the district has required any student who rides the bus to wear a facemask. Parents are also highly encouraged to drop off and pick up their children if possible. Students who do not have a mask will not be denied and will be provided a mask before entering the bus. Siblings or children who reside in the same household will be encouraged to sit together. Students who cannot medically tolerate a face covering are not required to wear one, but only with appropriate medical documentation.
The district will provide all students with meals each day, whether in their classrooms or in the cafeteria, depending on social distancing. Students working remotely will be able to pick up their meals in a grab-and-go style
IMPORTANT: The district asks that parents do not speculate about someone having COVID-19. If there is a confirmed case among students or staff, the district will inform the community immediately and consult with the health department on closing all or portions of a school, as well as institute cleaning and disinfecting protocols.