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District moves forward to fine tune a hybrid learning model for September

on July 21, 2020

The Warwick Valley Central School District took another step forward in its planning for the fall by choosing to develop a hybrid learning model that will include both in-person classes and remote instruction.

“As long as infection rates remain low and the Governor permits us to be in session, then we will begin the school year with a hybrid model,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Leach. “This model allows for ample physical distancing, and, while not ideal, will allow us to maximize in-person instruction during this difficult time.”

The Reopening Task Force made the recommendation to the district after weighing data collected during the recent Reopening Schools Survey and reviewing New York State guidance documents.

The district has created the following framework for its hybrid model:

  • Students who are entering kindergarten and first grade attend school in-person each day in class sizes that are approximately half the typical class size.
  • Students who are entering grades 2-12 attend school in-person on average every other day in class sizes that are approximately half the typical size. They will participate in distance learning on the days they do not report to the school building.
  • Students and staff grouped and remain in the same room as much as possible.
  • Students and staff observe standard physical, social distancing throughout the school day.
  • Reduced capacity for students on school buses.
  • An updated district Distance Learning Plan, which will include more live instruction and a daily schedule.

The task force has now created implementation teams to assist the district in developing and fulfilling a reopening plan, which will be submitted to New York State by July 31. Once developed, the reopening plan will be shared with parents and guardians. 

The reopening plan will address the following areas: Health/safety, facilities, nutrition, transportation, social-emotional well-being, school schedules, budget/fiscal, attendance, technology, teaching/learning/special education and bilingual education/world languages.

The implementation teams will each focus on specific district functions and services, and include an Instructional Team, a Buildings & Operations Team, and a Safety & Health Team. The teams will utilize data collected by the district, the latest reports on the evolving public health crisis, and team members’ shared experience and expertise in the district. The plan will also take into account the official New York State Education Department Reopening Guidance document, which was released last week.

“With our implementation teams we are authoring a plan, and as part of that plan the district is anticipating it will reopen Pine Island Elementary as a satellite school. At this time we are thinking it will be used to educate our kindergarten students,” Dr. Leach said. “While plans have not been finalized, this is a strong likelihood because it would provide the additional classroom space needed for full in-person education for our youngest learners while reducing the overall student enrollment in each elementary school.”

“We will need to remain attentive to the changing circumstances of the pandemic, stay flexible, and be responsive to them,” said Dr. Leach. “The safety of our students, staff, and the whole community is our main concern.”

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