The Groton Central School District is offering to families the opportunity to have their children return to full-day, in-person instruction, which will begin on April 12.

According to a survey sent out by the district to families, 73.9 percent of respondents said they are in favor of moving back to a full-day, in-person learning model. The decision to permit full-day, in-person instruction was made based on the responses to the survey and the recent change to the CDC guidelines for schools, which now states that three feet of social distancing, not six feet, is sufficient for the protection of students and faculty when in the facilities.

District families will now have the choice between sending their children to school in-person for a full day of instruction, or have their children attend school only virtually.

At a Board of Education meeting on March 29, Superintendent Margo Martin said the goals for the district when full-day, in-person instruction returns is to (1) provide more intervention and academic support to address learning gaps with students and (2) help students get acclimated to a full-day (6.5 hours) schedule.

“I think a full day will give us the opportunity to provide more intervention for our kids that we just can’t do right now,” Martin said. “We are also really concerned about stamina, and so goal number two over the last 10 weeks is to get those kids back ready and geared up for the climate that comes to them with a full day of structure, because they are not used to that and we have seen issues with that all year long.”

Universal pre-kindergarten through fifth grade will be coming to school Monday through Friday.

Students at the Junior/Senior High School will be attending school for a full day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays will be a half day (just periods one through four) so that teachers who are teaching students in-person and virtually will have more time to manage the workload between both settings.

The following safety protocols will be required: complete attestation statements on a daily basis; mask wearing is required; student work areas will need to be wiped down after use; nightly cleaning and disinfection of facilities; cleaning and disinfection of school buses.

Grab-and-go meals will still be provided to students and will be consumed in either classrooms or by grade level in cafeterias. Hot meals will be offered as well. Students learning remotely will still be able to pick up meals at the elementary school between 9 and 11 a.m.

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