Schools refine opening plans

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 7/29/20

Throughout the summer, the Marlboro and Highland School Districts have been developing scenarios on how the 2020-21 school year will open, what the year will look like and how they will deliver …

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Schools refine opening plans

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Throughout the summer, the Marlboro and Highland School Districts have been developing scenarios on how the 2020-21 school year will open, what the year will look like and how they will deliver instruction to their students.

Marlboro Superintendent Michael Brooks said the administration and the school board will be discussing their plans for the 2020-21 school year in more detail at their July 30 school board meeting. To listen in and also view the related documents, go to the Marlboro website and click on the You Tube page.

Brooks said the district will submit their plans to the state by Friday of this week, “and that will be our first draft but it’s going to grow and meander as the month of August goes along. We will adapt to whatever changes and we’ll make whatever revisions we have to, but we’ll have our full return plan, our full online plan and we’ll have a hybrid plan [a mix of in school and remote learning at home] that everyone can inspect and look at and comment on and get themselves prepared for any of these options.”

Brooks expects in early August the Governor will offer some direction on how school districts will proceed. Brooks said, “we have pretty much everything nailed down that we can nail down, it’s just unfortunate that we have a lot of things flying around in the air that we can’t nail down. That’s something that we need more from the Governor and the state education department.”

The Highland School District, under Superintendent Thomas Bongiovi, is approaching the 2020-21 school year in a similar fashion.

The plan they will be sending to the state has students k-12 divided up into two groups [cohorts]. Students in the same family will be in the same cohort.

Students A through L will attend classes in their schools on Monday and Tuesday and students M through Z will attend in school on Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays will be used for doing “at home’ work; provide small group connections while allowing for deep cleaning of the buildings between cohorts. Any instruction will be taught remotely, except the BOCES Career and Technical Education program.

The high school will have a normal start time of 7:35 a.m. but will be released 45 minutes earlier at 1:30 p.m. The Elementary school will arrive 1 hour later at 9:30 and leave school the normal time of 3:15 p.m. These times are approximate as the school will be revising the class times and the bus runs.

The in school classes will have students remain as a class in their particular rooms and teachers will come to them. The Food Service will provide normal breakfasts and lunches on in person days and possible M & W pick up days for at home days.

The district is also laid out a plan for an All Remote Learning scenario for students whose parents are not comfortable with sending them to a school building. They highlighted those who may be a fit for this type of learning program: students who my be at high risk for covid-19 or who live with those who are, unless otherwise ordered by New York State and remote students will have a separate teacher of record from the in-person students. This later category may mean that one teacher handles multiple grade levels and that a teaching pool will be taken first from medically compromised staff and then will be assigned as needed from other staff.

The remote experience will be designed specifically as a virtual experience and not as a watered down version of the in-class instruction.

Students will have a daily video conferencing time with their teacher(s) and a more structured schedule than the spring.

Bongiovi said if a parent chooses to keep their child home and be all virtual the district will provide instruction.

“It is not the same as home schooling as the parent takes all the responsibility; this is if a parent decides I am not sending my child in because they are worried, understandably, then we can provide an all virtual instruction,” he said.

The district is also working to refine a plan to take the temperatures of every student every day who is coming to the campus.

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