OGDENSBURG — Ogdensburg City School District will be moving to fully in-person learning starting Monday.
On April 9, the state Department of Health updated its interim guidance for in-person instruction at pre-k through 12th grade schools during the COVID-19 pandemic to include U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guide to prioritize safe in-person learning while adhering to mitigation strategies.
“The health and safety of our students, staff, and community is the primary concern of the Ogdensburg City School District,” Superintendent Kevin Kendall said in a prepared statement.
Students will return to in-person learning Monday. Parents who wish to keep their children fully remote may do so.
“I know parents and grandparents who have been helping these kids at home with technology and homework are all happy,” district Board of Education member Larry Mitchell said. “You can’t replace one-on-one contact with a teacher and I think we learned that through this pandemic. Certain kids need that interaction with a teacher in order to be successful and they’re just not getting that being remotely home.”
In-person instruction requires the weekly monitoring of the data tracker, provided by the CDC, which includes four levels of indicators and threshold for community transmission of COVID-19, as well as recommendations for physical distancing for elementary, middle and high schools at each level of transmission.
“We are beyond excited to have the kids return and I know the community is as well,” Mr. Kendall said. “The mitigations and procedures that we use on a daily basis such as the washing of hands, use of hand sanitizing, social distancing, masks, staying home when you’re not feeling well, will all be still in place and practiced.”
All employees will continue to complete a daily health screening, including a temperature assessment, and will be encouraged to have windows open when possible. Families will be responsible for screening their child each day, including a temperature assessment, and the district will continue to monitor the temperature of students when students board a school bus or enter the building.
Staff, students and visitors will be required to wear face masks and maintain social distancing in accordance with the state Department of Health recommendations. Visitors to the school buildings will be limited to those conducting essential school business. School buses and buildings will be cleaned and disinfected daily, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
“I think it’s great to get all the kids back to school,” Mr. Mitchell said. “It’s good for them socially and mentally.”
Students attending Grant C. Madill Elementary School will eat lunch in the cafeteria, on the stage and in the indoor garden area, 6 feet from others with seats that will be assigned for contact tracing purposes. Students are required to remain seated at all times, until permission is given to clean up areas.
“Temporarily students at Madill will be using a Lowes five gallon bucket as a table to keep them six feet apart, but the children are sitting in a mesh lounge chair,” Mr. Kendall said.
For students attending John F. Kennedy Elementary School, they will eat lunch in the cafeteria and the primary gymnasium and will also be required to remain seated at all times until permission is given to clean up areas.
Students attending Ogdensburg Free Academy will eat lunch six 6 apart in the cafeteria and the main gym will be required to remain seated at all times until permission is given to clean up areas.
“There’s no substitute for in-person instruction and being in front of a teacher,” Mr. Kendall said. “The students will certainly gain a better understanding of the curriculum being taught but at the same time being able to interact with a teacher right in front of them, as well as their classmates from a mental health standpoint is what we need for them right now.”