The East Williston school district has outlined a tentative plan to reopen schools in the fall that calls for students in kindergarten through seventh grade to be in the classroom every day while older students would mainly have virtual classes.
School Superintendent Elaine Kanas sent a survey to district parents on Thursday asking for their views on the plan. The district will shape its plans based on the feedback from parents, a district spokesperson said, and other plans will also be presented and discussed at a Board of Education work session on Wednesday.
The questionnaire spelled out the challenges facing the district in the coming school year.
“We do not have enough physical capacity to have all of our students in school at the same time and meet recommended NYS Department of Health social distancing guidelines. While we cannot have all of our students physically in school at the same time, it is essential to us that we still ensure a full educational program for our students,” the questionnaire said.
The questionnaire then put forth a tentative reopening plan. Under this plan, grades kindergarten through seven will be in school every day, following a normal schedule while complying with physical distancing measures.
Grades eight through 12 will have classes four days a week, three of them virtual and one in-person. The student’s in-person day of learning will consist of “half the number of students in the class with their regular classroom teachers in order to comply with social distancing guidelines while the other half will be home participating in a blend of independent and structured work for which there will be a method of student accountability,” the proposed plan said.
On the fifth day, the students will work at home on independent and structured work with guidance counselors, social workers and curriculum specialists.
The questionnaire then asks parents if they are satisfied with the proposed plan. Parents have the option to say they find this plan acceptable or they have suggestions to make and to leave a suggestion in an area below.
Under state guidelines, school districts must submit reopening plans by Friday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will decide on reopening schools in the first week of August.
The next question on the questionnaire regards transportation. It opens by saying that state Department of Health guidance recommends that school districts encourage parents to drop off students at school to reduce density on the buses. Everyone on a bus will be required to wear a mask at all times.
In order for the district to plan for bus procedures, it asks parents to identify what grade their children are in and whether they plan to send their children to school via bus, if they are eligible.
The results of the survey and community input will be taken into account and the district will present a set of potential reopening plans to be submitted to the governor at a work session for the Board of Education on Wednesday in the auditorium of the Wheatley School where further discussion with the community will be held. A capacity limit of 40 people has been set for this meeting, according to a district spokesperson.