TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Ken-Ton School District announced Friday it will begin the school year in a fully remote scenario and phase in a hybrid schedule.
The district said the decision was made after reviewing extensive feedback, information and survey data.
"It was clear from the survey results that many families in our community have serious concerns about in-person attendance and would favor the option to take part in a fully virtual option as an alternative to a hybrid schedule," a release from Superintendent of Schools, Sabatino Cimato said.
Due to the fully remote start to the school year, the district says it will "make the necessary investments and preparations to ensure that all families have access to a fully virtual option which ensures the same educational quality and equity as their peers in the classrooms."
"I know this will present challenges for our families, but it’s the best available option that achieves our objectives of ensuring the safety of our students, staff, and families and providing the best, most equitable education possible," said Cimato. "It was based on all of the most up-to-date information and data including staffing and PPE acquisition."
The phased in hybrid approach will take place in five-week increments which the district describes below:
- The first five weeks of school will be remote for all grade levels. BOCES CTE students will be transported if families wish for their CTE students to attend in-person instruction at BOCES CTE sites. BOCES CTE is ready to operate a hybrid schedule, and has secured all of the necessary stockpiles of PPE.
- During this time, our schools will prepare to phase in a hybrid schedule for specific groups of students, such as Universal Pre-K, Kindergarten, Grade 1, and self-contained special education classes, while also retooling classrooms to serve in-person and remote students at the same time.
- During this phase, these students (UPK-Gr. 1 and self-contained students) may be scheduled to return to school on specific days to get to know their teacher and learn about the new protocols, procedures, and safety measures they will follow to keep them safe.
- These students would begin following a hybrid schedule starting October 13, the beginning of Phase 2.
The district says the following are its target dates, but notes the dates are subject to change depending on the circumstances of the pandemic:
- October 13, 2020: UPK, K, Gr. 1, and self-contained special education classes (the goal is for all self-contained classes to attend four days per week)
- November 16, 2020: Gr. 2-4 and Gr. 5
- January 4, 2021: Gr. 6-12 (because of winter recess)
"The additional time will allow the district to make the necessary investments so that a full virtual option can be seamlessly integrated into our daily instruction, while guaranteeing equity and access to all content areas and course options for all students," the release states. "Technology and training will be provided so that teachers will teach the students in their classrooms and the students at home simultaneously. This would enable families to access a fully virtual instruction at any point, whether they have signed up for one or not."