The East Greenbush Central School District, after reviewing guidance from the New York State Education and Health Departments, and discussing plans with the district’s Reopening Task Force throughout the summer, announced its preliminary reopening plan on Monday afternoon which includes a hybrid model of in-person, remote and live virtual instruction. PLEASE READ THE PRELIMINARY REOPENING PLAN HERE.
The district’s reopening plan is required to be submitted to the state education department by the deadline of July 31. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he plans to announce whether schools can reopen or not during the first week of August.
East Greenbush Central School District’s preliminary reopening plan would essentially reduce school enrollment in each school on in-person instructional days into “A” groups and “B” groups, so each school would have classes at approximately 50% normal capacity. This would enable physical distancing in classrooms and on school buses as required by the NYS Department of Health. It would also allow each school to implement manageable and safe procedures for health screening requirements for students and ensure compliance with all NYS Department of Health and NYS Department of Education requirements.
Under the plan, all K-12 students would be guaranteed direct interaction with their teachers and some of their peers, which has not been possible since schools were closed on March 16. Each group would attend in-person classes two days a week, have live virtual instruction once a week and remote learning two days a week.
The smaller in-person class size will allow for more personalized instruction for students. Additionally, all electives, honors, AP and college-credit courses would be offered during both in-person and remote instructional periods.
Students with disabilities were particularly impacted by the closing of schools this past spring. Therefore, special education students enrolled in self-contained classes, including Transitions, Communications, Language Concepts, Academic Skills and Life Skills would have in-person instruction four days a week. Individual determinations regarding Special Education students will be made by the Committee on Special Education.
- Reduce class size (50%) to enable physical distancing in schools.
- Group A attends in-person school for a full day on Mondays and Thursdays.
- Group B attends in-person school for a full day on Tuesdays and Fridays.
- All students will receive live virtual instruction on Wednesdays.
- Teachers report to their assigned classrooms and provide live virtual instruction using classroom technology.
- During live virtual instruction days, teachers at all levels may assign students to smaller groups to differentiate and personalize learning.
- Periodically, teachers and staff will be provided time for collaboration and professional development. These dates and times will be announced ahead of time to parents/guardians.
- On the two days that students are not in school or receiving live instruction they would work on assignments and projects remotely.
- Efforts to keep siblings on the same schedule will be made.
- Parents/guardians will be informed of their child’s assigned instructional schedule (Group A or Group B) by the week of August 17.
“This approach to scheduling enables each of the district’s schools to meet or exceed all health and safety requirements and ensures that all students in grades K-12 have direct contact and live instruction from teachers 3 out of 5 days per week,” said Superintendent Jeff Simons.
The preliminary reopening plan outlines specific health and safety guidelines, such as a physical distancing in classrooms and on school buses, face coverings for all students and staff, daily temperature checks and health screenings before entering school and rigorous and ongoing cleaning and disinfecting.
“As a district, we’re confident that the procedures we’ve developed, many of which are being utilized by our Summer School Program at Columbia High School, will create a safe and healthy environment for our students and staff,” said Mr. Simons.
The East Greenbush Central School District evaluated various hybrid plans and how they would affect health and safety, teaching and learning, social and emotional needs, transportation and food services. The district has also sent surveys to parents regarding access to technology, transportation and child care. All of this information and data was discussed among school administrators and the Reopening Task Force which is composed of teachers, support staff, school nurses, the district’s medical director, students, parents and community partners.
“The benefits of our preliminary reopening plan provide equity for all K-12 students, it returns students to their home school and it preserves important programs such as special education, AIS, related services, art, music and physical education,” said James McHugh, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.
Chromebooks would be supplied by the district to all students in grades 2-12 to facilitate the remote learning part of the hybrid plan. Where practicable, the district will provide devices for K-1 students whose families cannot provide one. The district will also be addressing locations where our students live that do not have internet access and, if possible, develop a plan to remediate that need.
The district recognizes the challenge that remote learning days may create for some families, and would continue to have without a full return to in-person instruction. To assist parents/guardians who cannot be home with children on remote learning days, the district is collaborating with various community agencies including Greenbush Child Care and the YMCA to ensure the availability of full day child care services. Before and after school care will remain at the elementary schools and Howard L. Goff Middle School for in-person days. Further information will be released by the district and community child care providers in the next two weeks.
Concerns from Individual Families Regarding Return to School
Families who have concerns regarding their child returning to in-person learning are encouraged to contact the student’s principal to discuss those concerns.
The district will be presenting the proposed reopening plan to the community at the public Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, July 29 at 7:00 p.m. Students, parents, staff and community partners are invited to watch the virtual presentation and provide feedback.
The district has also scheduled two Virtual Parent/Community Input Sessions for Wednesday, August 5 at 6:30 p.m. and Thursday, August 13 at 6:30 p.m. Both sessions will require advance registration. More information about these presentations will be available at www.egcsd.org/reopening.