Massena school announces plan

Massena Central School Superintendent Patrick Brady has released the district’s proposed plan for reopening in the fall. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — All students in the Massena Central School District will have at least one day of remote learning from home in the fall under the district’s proposed reopening plan.

“Mondays will be remote learning for all. Then there will be four days of instruction using the hybrid model. We are not in a position to reopen with all our students” because of staff, space and transportation issues, Superintendent Patrick Brady told school board members on Thursday.

Mondays have been designated as “digital days” for all students and how many days they take part in in-person instruction during the week depends on their grade level.

Pre-kindergarten students would be broken into A and B groups and would attend a half day, either in the morning or afternoon. The A group would be in school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the B group would attend on Wednesdays and Fridays. They would take part in remote leaning the other days.

Kindergarten students will take part in in-person instruction in smaller groups for half days Tuesday through Friday. They’ll be divided into morning and afternoon sessions.

“We will have to add buses” to take the morning students home and bring the afternoon students to school, Mr. Brady said.

First- and second-grade students will also have face-to-face learning in school Tuesday through Friday.

“We feel with the number of students in those grade levels that will need remote learning, we will have room for our students to be in school every day,” he said.

He said they opted to bring those students in because those were critical grades in the learning process.

“Whether we were open for all or remote, we knew we had to prioritize grade one and two with intervention. We’re going to have to add sections to first and second grade in order to have those classes back,” said Jefferson Elementary School Principal Duane Richards, who chaired a “Teaching and Learning” subcommittee for grades pre-kindergarten to six.

Grades three through 12 will operate on a hybrid schedule, with Mondays as digital days and two days of face-to-face instruction in school every other day — remote learning on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and in-school sessions on Tuesday and Thursday. The schedule will include classes such as physical education, art and music.

Mr. Brady said students with “complex needs,” such as special education and Seaway Tech will be in school all week.

“We need to prioritize students who will be in the building every day,” he said.

Whether they’re at home or in school, he said attendance will be taken and they will be required to perform the required school work and meet the New York state standards.

“They will be assessed whether they’re in the classroom or learning from home,” Mr. Brady said.

He said teachers and administrators have been working on the proposed reopening plan for several weeks using guidelines from the state Education Department and Department of Health.

“Under the guidelines, it would be impossible to bring everyone back,” he said. “No matter what plan... people are going to be concerned.”

He said they surveyed parents in areas such as their intention to send their children back to school, if they had internet access and if they would be providing transportation to students returning to school.

“Transportation is going to be very important,” Mr. Brady said.

Students on the bus will need to be masked, and they’ll be assigned seats to maintain social distancing, he said.

All staff and students will be screened before entering the school.

Some families indicated in the survey that they would not be sending their children back to school, but the instruction will be the same whether they’re in school or at home.

“It’s the same instruction, it’s just where the student is working,” Mr. Richards said.

If families decide to begin sending their children to school after they’ve been at home with remote learning, Mr. Brady said they’ll have to handle those on a case-by-case basis. If they start in school and decide to change to remote learning, that will be allowed.

“We need to be planning for that,” he said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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