The Warwick Valley 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 entering kindergarten and first grade attend school in-person each day in class sizes that are approximately half the typical class size. The average class sizes vary. For kindergarten and first grade, a typical average class size would be 18 to 20 students.
Students 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. An average second grade class could range up to 22 students; third and fourth grade classes typically average 22 students. Middle School and High School class sizes are hard to generalize because of the introduction of electives and the fact that students learn from and in multiple teachers and classrooms throughout the day and week according to subject.
Students and staff grouped 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. The most common district buses seat 65 riders according to their manufacturer specifications. However, on a typical day, the maximum number of students riding a Warwick school bus per run is about 40. The district is aiming to limit ridership per run to 20 students for the fall.
An updated district Distance Learning Plan, which will include more live instruction and a daily schedule.
District to share plan with parents
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 focus on specific district functions and services, including 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. The plan will also take into account the official New York State Education Department Reopening Guidance document, which was released last week.
Reopen Pine Island as satellite school
“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. We plan to use the building to house incoming kindergarten students,” 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,” Leach said. “The safety of our students, staff and the whole community is our main concern.”