The Oneonta City School District will not reopen for in-person learning until at least October.
All students K-12 will receive remote instruction from Sept. 8 through at least Oct. 9, according to the “Framework for Reopening Schools” issued to the public Monday, Aug. 3.
“This is not and has not been an easy decision as we all want our students to be in school. However, the circumstances just do not support doing so at this particular time,” district officials wrote in the reopening plan, citing the local uptick in confirmed COVID-19 cases and the impending arrival of several thousand college students in the area.
“These students return to Oneonta from all over the state of New York as well as many other states and countries. The impact of their return from a community health perspective is unclear,” district officials wrote.
Beginning Oct. 11, students will transition to a hybrid learning format in two groups, which will each attend in-person classes Mondays and Thursdays or Tuesdays and Fridays. Three days of the week will be dedicated to online, at-home learning.
Special accommodations will be made for special education and English Language Learning students, as well as students with underlying illnesses or risk factors or whose families wish to continue remote instruction.
“The described phase-in approach is the one that appears to be the safest for all involved at the moment,” district officials wrote. “With that said, we do not truly have any good options as we are simply not in a better place relative to this virus than when we were closed in March.”
District officials coordinated with the Otsego and Delaware county health departments in developing the plan in accordance with state guidelines and will continue to collaborate and communicate as the school year progresses in order to “monitor the collective health of our community,” according to the plan.
“Reopening in some degree of in-person instruction will be done when and if it can be done in a safe manner,” district officials wrote, noting that the plan could “change at any moment with an executive order issued by the Governor.”
Once hybrid learning is initiated, the district is prepared to transition back to remote learning if the situation warrants, according to the plan. The decision, if necessary, will be based on multiple factors, including the number of students who elect to be taught remotely or are ill, the number of staff members who request to work remotely due to chronic illness, the availability of cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment and “collective community health.”
Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at email@example.com or 607-441-7213.