The Pioneer Central School District has unveiled part of it’s school reopen plan. It will be a hybrid instruction model if school resumes this fall.
Students would only attend two days a week. They would be split into two groups, Group A and Group B. Group A would attend classes on Monday and Tuesday and Group B would attend Thursday and Friday. Wednesday would be set aside for remote learning for students.
"Because of the size of Pioneer’s enrollment, and the 6 feet social distancing requirement, Pioneer will begin the school year with a hybrid model of re-opening for student attendance. This means 50 percent of our students will be on campus at one time, while the other half will be learning remotely. Our model will divide our students into two groups. Group A will come to school all day on Monday and Tuesday, and group B will come to school on Thursday and Friday. Wednesday will be a remote learning day for all students. Students of the same families will be scheduled to attend the same days,” wrote Benjamin Halsey, Pioneer superintendent.
Halsey notified school families through an automated message July 28. The reopen information is also posted on the district’s webpage.
In the on-line message, the superintendent noted “a perfect plan does not exist”. However, he noted they must follow very strict parameters.
Halsey stated “most importantly” this model would allow for students to remove their masks while seated in classrooms for instruction.
“I’m not crazy about the idea just because honestly I don't have time,” said Holly Nowak, mother.
Nowak has a 5th grader and 3rd grader who will be attending Pioneer Middle and Arcade Elementary. But she said this plan would create scheduling headaches because Nowak and her husband work full time.
“If they're on-line Wednesday depending on the hours, we may have to find somebody that can help them get on get their school work done,” explained Nowak.
Nowak said it could create a "financial burden" for her family if they need to hire someone to watch their children.
Kate King is Nowak's sister. She also two children in the district. Norman, 15, will be a sophomore this year. Daughter Ashlee, 8, will be in 3rd grade at Pioneer Elementary at Arcade. She's not too worried about students taking their masks off in the classrooms.
“Because they're cutting amount of time students are in the building in half. I have less concern about that and more concern about a quality education,” King remarked.
King calls the two day plan a "good compromise".
“There’s not really much with the situation that they could do to please to all parents,” King remarked. "I’m a single mother. I work from home full time. It’s definitely going to be an adjustment for our family. You know — I don’t think there is any good solution,”
Nowak says she's not fearful about her children being back in a classroom.
“But as far as wearing a mask all day long in school. I’m glad that when they're in their seated positions. They can take them off and breathe,” Nowak responded.
Photos on the webpage indicate how classrooms are being staged to provide students and teachers with safe social distancing and learn without a mask on. However, the superintendent noted students must wear a mask on buses.
“All students will have to wear a mask on the bus, and moving about the building when a 6-feet social distance cannot be maintained. "Details continue to be worked out,” Halsey wrote.
According to the district, this model would meet the requirements for transportation, social distancing on campus and allow students to still experience classes such as physical education, arts, band, orchestra and chorus.
"Today, I am calling with an update on the re-opening plan for the school district. I know how stressful this situation is for everyone. I do appreciate your extreme patience during this difficult time. Please know, we are doing all we can to provide a learning environment that is safe and healthy for all students and staff – while at the same time allowing for a school day that is… as normal as possible,” Halsey wrote.
The superintendent also stated there would be “some exceptions to the hybrid model” for Universal Pre-K, Kindergarten and self-contained special education classes. Halsey said those students “will be attending campus every day.”
“We are exploring a half-day model for our pre-k and kindergarten classrooms to accommodate seeing all students, every day. Additionally, our high school Career Tech students will be able to attend the BOCES center every day for instructional program,” stated Halsey.
The Pioneer Central schools are Pioneer Middle School, Delevan Elementary and Arcade Elementary.