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Edgemont Schools to Open with Hybrid Learning for All Grade Levels


librarySocially-distancedn libraryOn September 14th all Edgemont students will return to school, whether in-person, remotely, or in a hybrid model. The hybrid model calls for all students attending in person to be in school 50% of the time, with virtual learning for the balance of the school day. The district has pledged to offering extensive training to faculty, staff, students and their families on public health policies and protocols to be delivered in age appropriate ways. Protocols will include hand hygiene, proper face covering procedures, social distancing, and respiratory hygiene.

The reopening plan utilizes a hybrid approach that varies somewhat between the elementary and middle and high schools. Whether students are at home or in their classrooms, School Superintendent Dr. Victoria Kniewel says the district remains committed to providing the very best educational experience, while prioritizing community building and relationships along with excellent academics. To make this happen, the district has promised that students will be “Remote But Connected” through teachers using such techniques as morning meetings, student engagements, responding to writing prompts by other classmates, and group projects assembled in-person or virtually.handsanitizerHand sanitizers have been installed at the entrance to all buildings.

Elementary school children will attend school daily, either for the morning or afternoon session. They will receive work to work on remotely for the other portion of the school day. The middle school and high school students will attend school mornings or afternoons, with remote learning to be provided the other times. This distance learning will be both asynchronous and synchronous, with students utilizing a variety of technology resources to engage in real-time learning.

Dr. Kniewel has stated that it is possible that the district may need to alternate between in-person and e-Learning throughout the year due to recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies, and stay-at-home orders from the New York State Governor. The level of infection, the spread of the virus and response to the disease in the community will be at the forefront of their decision making as they move to open Edgemont schools.

Here is a link to Edgemont’s Reopening Plan. It goes into extensive detail on all aspects of the reopening including:

Communication/Family and Community Engagement - stakeholder involvement, signage, etc. -


Health and Safety - screening, testing, contact tracing, etc.


Facilities - alterations, additions of tents, ventilation, etc.


Child Nutrition - school lunches


Class Schedules - set for the elementary schools; still in progress at the ms/hs


School Activities - arts, music, school clubs and sports


Teaching and Learning Methods - online methods, hybrid methods


Special Education

schoolinstructionsSafety instructions have been posted.Commenting on the plan, parent Stephanie Newman said, “Edgemont’s hybrid approach seems well thought out and offers a compromise between the classroom and remote environments.

The reopening plan—splitting time equally between in person and on line, half in am, half in pm, masks required (at least at the high school where my son is a rising senior)—seems well thought out. While there was some initial disappointment at not being able to seeing friends assigned to the other shift, kids have figured out they can meet off-campus in small groups to eat or study together in between shifts.

By reducing group sizes and lessening the intensity and frequency of in person engagements, the administration has found a way to prioritize safety, which is something all of us value right now.

Obviously there are no perfect scenarios right now, but the current plan seems to offer a good solution—though many of us are holding our breath, waiting to see how things evolve this school year.”

Cathy Rosen, a mother of four, was also happy with the plans. She said,” I couldn’t be more pleased that my kids are going to school 5 days a week, in person for 1/2 of the day with remote learning the other half. I feel that those making the decisions for Edgemont school district understand that our kids ideally need in person instruction and have their best interests in mind. They also understand those who have reasons for their kids have full time remote instruction and have provided that option as well.

Personally I think anything we can do to offer our kids some normalcy during this time is just as important as providing a safe environment.AhallsignageSignage to direct flow of traffic and taped markings to keep students socially-distanced while waiting in hallway

With that said I am also pleased that Edgemont is doing all they can to provide sports options to our kids with in the State guidelines. I do wish we would follow our surrounding states with regard to football and volleyball but that is out of the districts hands.

Bottom line is - we all got through the last two quarters of last year the best we could with everything changing and happening so quickly. I feel that the district proved to be extremely thoughtful and provided the best plan possible at this time."

And Jennifer Rosin Klion said,"It is obvious that the Administration has put a great deal of thought into creating a scenario where the children’s’ Social-Emotional well-being is as important as their Academic well-being. Fingers crossed! “

Here are some FAQ’s of interest on the District’s reopening plans:

For the Elementary Schools:

Scheduling challenges:

If we make use of the larger and outdoor spaces, can’t more students come for in-person learning at once?

We are counting on outdoor spaces as places for mask breaks and some activities but are not scheduling the outdoor space as a full-time instructional spaces as we could not design them in such a way to support all of our instruction.

What will the remote portion of the day look like? Will students be interacting with their teachers from home?

We are working to ensure a robust remote schedule and instruction during the remote portion of the day. The students will have an opportunity to interact with teachers as well as teacher aides and assistants while at home synchronously via our hybrid instructional model.

Is live-streaming from the homeroom class a possibility?

We are looking into if this is possible for our teachers and students given the infrastructure of our buildings and classrooms. Our goal is for our students who are remote to remain connected to the classroom learning which can happen in ways other than via live-streaming, e.g. via the use of Google Classroom and Google Meets.

Specials, Breaktimes:

Will students have specials? Will specials be held during in-person school time?

All students will continue to have specials. We are still determining the best way to conduct the specials classes and anticipate that they will be taught predominantly remotely with some in-person instruction as well.

Will students have recess?

The students will have an opportunity for a mask break and snack in the AM session. There will be no scheduled recess time on either schedule.

How will bathroom breaks be handled?

Students will be allowed to use the bathroom if they need the bathroom. Students in classrooms with internal bathrooms will be permitted to go one at a time under teacher direction and supervision (younger children). Older children who use communal bathrooms will be permitted to use them on a schedule. We are considering having our teacher aides assist us in managing bathroom traffic to ensure that social distancing is in place.

For the Middle and High Schools

Scheduling:

Why did the district choose an AM/PM hybrid program? Other districts are doing it differently.

The district considered many different hybrid schedules. The AM/PM schedule is the one being proposed because:

-Students are on campus every day with this model, providing a daily structure for students and parents.

-Students do not eat lunch on campus. This avoids the health concerns of students needing to eat and remove masks.

-We have longer class periods and fewer periods (6 instead of 9) during the day. This means we have fewer transitions on campus during the day.

-Students wear a mask half of the day, not all day.

-The plan limits students' screen time by only having elearning half of the day.

Why is full-day, in-person learning not an option?

The school does not have enough space to socially distance all students on campus for a full day. The alternating full-day model with two separate cohorts was discussed. We moved away from the full-day approach because students wouldn't be on campus every day, would need to have lunch on campus, and would interact with more students in a day with the traditional 9 period schedule.

What are students expected to do during free periods? Where should they go? Why are these periods still part of their schedule?

Students will be able to access the library as well as the cafeteria for use during free periods. In addition, students might use that time to meet with their counselor or teachers. There are academic classes scheduled during every period of the day; while one student may have a "free," many other students will be in a class.

Can students of any age leave campus during free periods?

With permission from a parent/guardian, students will be permitted to leave campus during a free period, provided they follow the school's sign-out procedures.

Specials:

Are Band, Chorus, and Orchestra able to happen?

Yes. Students will be required to sit 12 feet apart. Teachers will be creating opportunities for students to meet and practice during free periods.

How will physical education occur?

Physical education will occur outdoors when weather permits. When inside, students will participate in non-physical learning activities.

How will art classes occur?

Art classes will meet either 2 or 3 out of 6 days in the cycle.

Technology:

Will all classes be live-streamed for students at home?

Live stream is an option for synchronous instruction that can be used when teachers feel this is the best option to support students.

How much control will teachers have over the form of eLearning in their individual classes?

Teachers will be designing learning experiences to maximize student growth. Each learning activity may be differentiated to ensure this.

Testing:

Will Regents exams be given this year?

Regents examinations for 2020 were cancelled. We have not yet received guidance on examinations for 2021.

Are there any alterations to the AP curriculums or exams?

The College Board has not yet released information or guidance about the 2021 AP exams.

Extracurriculars:

Will there be after school clubs?

We expect to offer opportunities for school clubs to meet this year. School clubs may meet in person and virtually. When meeting in-person, club members will need to follow social distancing expectations.

What is happening with fall sports?

The beginning of fall sports has been delayed to September 21.

Will programs like Chamber Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Band, etc. still be able to happen?

Yes, though students will need to meet in much smaller groups to adhere to the 12 feet of separation guidelines provided by the state.

Will there be theater productions this year?

We are hopeful that there will be theater productions this year. Details will be forthcoming.

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