LANCASTER, N.Y. (WKBW-TV) — Over the past few months, the Lancaster Central School District received 5,000 responses to surveys asking about reopening schools. It used those responses to put together its reopening plan with two options.
Superintendent Michael Vallely sent parents a letter explaining they must choose which option will apply to their children. Those choices will remain in effect until the end of the first semester - January 29, 2021.
OPTION 1: HYBRID MODEL
The district said 73% of people who responded to the surveys indicated they wanted children to have as "much in-person schooling as possible." In keeping with the state orders for mask wearing and safe distancing, Lancaster Schools have decided to have different groups of students in school every other day. That would mean Monday-Wednesday-Friday one week, then Tuesday and Thursday the next week.
The students would use e-learning on the days they are not in school.
Superintendent Vallely said, in his letter, that the district will coordinate schedules for families that have multiple children.
OPTION 2: REMOTE MODEL
Approximately 16% of people who responded to the surveys indicated they were not comfortable sending their children to school. To accommodate those families, Lancaster Schools are offering a 100% remote learning option in accordance with state standards.
Parents must now decide which option they want for their children. The choice will remain in effect until January 29, 2021.
The school district will be holding meetings with parents and families through next week to discuss the two options.
But 7 Eyewitness News is already getting some feedback from working families who don't like the 'every other day approach' because it will make it very hard to coordinate work schedules and child care.
"If you have a child in high school, sure, they can stay home and do the work on those other days. But I have three young kids and I don't know how it is going to work," said Jeff Wheeler from Lancaster.
Both Wheeler and his wife work as teachers in another district and are struggling to decide what will work for their family. "I have a very hard time finding one person who will say this schedule would fit their family," added Wheeler.
It is also a concern for grandparents who are being called upon to help provide child care for working parents. "We are a little concerned because we also have another son and daughter-in-law who we are babysitting for a couple of days a week," explained grandparent Maureen Wheeler.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has mandated that school districts have multiple meetings with parents before August 21 to answer questions and work out any reopening concerns.