SOMERS — Joe Price, Superintendent of Somers Lakeside School District, says the district must remain flexible this year with coronavirus.
He told MTN that the majority of parents want their children to return to in-classroom learning in the fall.
"Probably about 15% of parents are saying they want to stick with remote learning right now," said Price. "But of course that means about 85% coming back."
Price explained that the district has created a plan to keep in-classroom learners safe. Face shields will be worn in classrooms and a max of 20-28 students, depending on their ages, will be in a classroom at once.
Price said that face shields in the classroom are preferable to cloth masks, adding that students need to be able to see a teacher's face while they're learning.
"It's important for students to be able to see your lips and your face and to know that you're smiling at them," he said. "When we're teaching reading part of phonics is learning how to form those sounds."
Classrooms will look a little different. Price said that instead of switching classrooms for different subjects, students will stay in their home rooms and different teachers will come to them.
For remote learners, Price said that the district provides real-time virtual learning. He wants to dedicate certain teachers only for remote learning so no teacher is doing both.
"If we have 20 students in first grade that want to stay with remote learning," said Price. "Then, we can devote one of our first grade teachers just to providing that particular education for that group."
When it comes to transportation, Price says only 50 students will be allowed on a school bus at a time with assigned seats. He said that buses must be sanitized in between, which could delay students getting to school on time.
Price said that the district is asking parents to step up and offer to drive their child to school. He said that a parent survey found around 80% of families do have transportation other than a school bus.
"Really asking parents to provide transportation if they can is going to be our best solution to getting everybody to school," said Price.
The district is also asking parents to do health screenings for their child before they come into school, like taking temperatures and asking questions if their child is feeling well. He added that the district is asking parents to come up with a sick plan if their child doesn't feel well.