PLAINVILLE – Superintendent of Schools Steve LePage said the district will be initially adopting a “hybrid model” when classes resume on Sept. 3.
LePage said students will be divided alphabetically by last name into two groups, “Group A” and “Group B,” with “Group A” going to school in person on Monday and Tuesday and learning remotely on the other days. Then, “Group B” will be attending school in person on Thursday and Friday and learning remotely on the other days. This will be how classes will go for the first four weeks of school, with students fully returning to school by Oct. 5.
“Think of it like you’re about to go into a pool where the water is dark, you can’t see the bottom and you don’t know how cold it is,” LePage said. “Rather than just jumping right into the deep end, we’re walking down the steps into the pool methodically and in a well-planned way.”
LePage said he wants to avoid a situation like what happened in Georgia, where he said a school opened with full in-person classes and students walking the halls like normal. This school, he said, had to close after two days due to a covid-19 spread and go back to fully remote learning.
LePage arrived at his decision after surveying local parents. Of those who responded, he said 86% of them wanted to see their children return to school and 14% of them said they will be working remotely from home.
“We had about 1,900 responses to the survey and 299 of them said their children will be working remotely,” LePage said. “There are still 400 or so parents who have yet to respond and the secretaries have been reaching out to them.”
LePage also held a parent forum last week to explain his plans.
“It was pretty well received, though there were a handful of parents who were upset,” he said. “90% of parents were supportive of our slower reopening and socially distanced classrooms approach. The parents, teachers, staff and kids are all nervous, but I assured them that their health and safety is our primary concern.”
LePage recently visited Linden and Toffolon schools to meet with the principals and look over the classrooms. He said the schools are in good shape and he will be checking in daily with teachers and principals.
“We’ve ordered all of our personal protective equipment and we’re ready to reopen,” he said. “Hopefully things will get back to normal as soon as possible and I’m hoping we’ll have a vaccine sooner than later.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.