In wake of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s approval of reopening schools, Superintendent Chris Pettograsso gave a presentation that outlined the Lansing Central School District’s plan for reopening this fall at a Board of Education meeting on Aug. 10.
Pettograsso covered several facets of the district’s plan in her presentation, beginning with health screenings. Families will be required to perform the screenings of their children at home before coming to school on a daily basis. (Children of families that are unable to screen at home will be screened when they arrive at school.) Families as well as staff will use a health screening app offered by the Cayuga Medical Center to complete a health questionnaire on one’s device. Pettograsso said there will be a separate presentation on how to use the app in the near future.
“That questionnaire will determine whether you receive a red light or a green light,” Pettograsso said. “The red light means … you’re not allowed to go to school on that given day, and that you will be directed to make an appointment for a telehealth appointment to determine what your next steps are. If you get a green light, we’re happy to let you in the school and have you for the day.”
Like most local school districts, Lansing is offering its district families the choice of two learning plans – a hybrid model of in-person and virtual remote learning and a solely virtual remote learning model. Depending on how many families want to participate in either model, Pettograsso said the district will consider adjusting the plans.
“Our hybrid model plan of having students here – the number of students here on any given day – are based on all students wanting to choose the hybrid plan,” she said. “We are able to do that; if everybody chose the hybrid plan we would be able to meet that need based on the schedule we created. If we continue to decrease the number of students that actually want to be a part of the in-person learning, we will look at that. We will determine whether we are able to increase the number of days that students can come to school, or if we make specific days just for virtual education so our teachers can connect more with all students being virtual.”
During her presentation, Pettograsso clarified a misconception regarding the weekly day-off, which will be every Friday, for all students from in-person learning being a day for a “deep cleaning” of the district’s facilities. She said that day will be used for professional development and planning for staff. Deep cleaning of the facilities will take place every night.
Contact tracing will be done through attendance (who is on campus and where on campus they are located throughout the day), schedules and visitor logs.
In terms of nutrition, the elementary school will have breakfast and lunch delivered to each classroom daily. Middle and high school students will eat in the cafeteria. They will stand in line socially distanced when getting their food. Other protocols regarding the cafeteria space are still being developed. The district will send food for the following week to the homes of all students during the 100 percent virtual remote learning day on Friday. The option to pick up the food will also be available to families.
Scheduling will vary among grade levels. For kindergarten, students will attend school in person for half-days, either during the A.M. or P.M., Monday through Thursday. Virtual learning will take place opposite of the in-person learning schedule.
First grade students will attend school in person for four full-days Monday through Thursday. Friday will be a virtual learning day for all students. Students in grades two through four will attend school in person for full-days every other day also Monday through Thursday. Virtual learning will occur on the opposite days of in-person learning. Friday would also be a virtual learning day for all students. Grades five through eight and nine through 12 will follow the same model as grades two through four.
The district is hoping to offer childcare for students and their families, but it is not a given at the moment. Pettograsso said the district is currently looking at what facilities are available to host childcare while also upholding the necessary safety standards.
“We will be looking at space at the Methodist Church,” she said. “We believe we can get approximately 60 students in the Methodist Church that are able to socially distance and follow the same type of guidelines. … We have our gymnasium here in the elementary school and some other spaces that we might be able to squeeze out in the other buildings. We are working closely, hopefully getting around one to two hundred – at most 200 – spots for students for daycare.”
A community discourse regarding any questions individuals may have about the reopening plan will be held via Zoom from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday Aug. 13. A link to the discussion will be posted on the district’s website.