New Roots Charter School has announced its reopening plan for this fall, stating it will bring students back in a hybrid format.
The school will limit the building's capacity at 50 percent, incorporate "affinity cohorts" that will group students with "similar academic and elective interests and requirements," plus the school is introducing a new enrollment cap. As for in-person learning, the school will bring students into classrooms, in different groups, two days per week, then have remote learning online for two days. The final day of the week will be spent doing "outdoor, place-based class projects and electives."
While the plan was "developed in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidance," the school's announcement does not specify whether or not the state has officially approved the plan.
“Our hybrid model will blend quality remote instruction with safe in-school learning experiences and outdoor fieldwork and community service projects," New Roots founder and superintendent Tina Nilsen-Hodges said. "With a schedule and academic calendar designed to orient students to the rhythms of college and career, we can design unique pathways through the fall semester tailored to students’ interests and needs, with the opportunity to redesign the spring semester as needed.”
School reopening plans were due by the end of July, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the state will be approving plans during the first week of August. Ithaca City School District submitted its plans to the state in the past week, and has stated that it will not be adopting a hybrid format, though New Roots is obviously separate.
“Developmentally, adolescence is a sensitive period for the development of personal identity in a social context,” Nilsen-Hodges said. “We are thrilled to be positioned to offer our young people an opportunity to continue to work on developing the professional social skills so critical to success in college and career, while expanding their ability to navigate online social environments.”