How is your school district reopening? Read its plan

Orange County. School officials now have to take those plans and spend the rest of this month to put the detail how to make reopening their districts work.

| 03 Aug 2020 | 11:41

As school districts await Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision on how and when to open schools this week - which he may have announced by the time this paper is on the press - anxiety continues to increase for anyone who has a connection to public education.

School officials, who know the plans they submitted to the State Education Department and the State Department of Health are fluid at best, now have to take those plans and spend the rest of this month to put the detail into somewhat the global generalities they submitted on how to make reopening their districts work.

In general, districts are offering hybrid return to school models, meaning limited numbers of students are attending school in-person for only a handful of days during the week.

How that works varies slightly district by district, for reasons that are presumably unique to each, such as student population and numbers of buildings.


The rest of the time, they’ll be home using technology to tune in to the classes they’d be required to attend in-person, following the same schedule they’d follow if it were a traditional school day ... most of the time.

That makes parents somewhat happy, as the one chief complaint tied to the last three of months of this last school year seems to be the lack of student academic routine and structure.

But how to provide classes like gym, art, music and other “specials?” Right now, those plans are just part of the overall reopening framework.

Additionally, just about all districts are also offering an all-remote model for parents who have decided to their preference is to not have their children return into school buildings.

What’s next

The next phase of planning is not easy, either. Districts have to develop greater detail for issues like school schedule formation, synchronous and asynchronous instruction, remote curriculum development, how students and teacher will interact, athletics, extracurricular activities and everything else that falls under the instructional framework umbrella districts have developed in their plans.

In addition to daily “live” in-person or remote teacher/student interaction, a district’s reopening plan tells stakeholders about important areas such as transportation, grading practices, face covering and social distancing requirements, how students are grouped, enhanced hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting requirements and even enhanced social-emotional support information, among other topics.

One thing is certain: Ask any superintendent, teacher, parent and student and they’re certain to stress one thing: In the best of worlds, kids do best when they are physically in school five days a week.

That’s not happening, at least until conditions change, or a vaccine is available for all.

For now, nerves and stress are in the danger zone, with parents, teachers and students at every grade level are wondering how this can actually work.

From first bus rides to graduations

And everyone is already wondering how many disappointments are in store for students this year, from the littlest kindergarteners looking forward to that first bus ride, to the members of the Class of 2021, who are already worried that the many losses experienced by the Class of 2020 will be their fate, or worse.

School officials continuously stress that student and staff health and safety remain the first priorities in their reopening plans, and remind their communities that a team effort, flexibility, and patience are key. How a district’s instructional plan continues throughout the school year depends on changing conditions, they add, and it’s important to be familiar with the plan for their child’s district.

All plans are required to be housed on each district’s website.

COVID summer reading
All reopening plans are required to be housed on each district’s website:
Greenwood Lake:
Warwick Valley: