ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Schools are finishing up their plans for state regarding reopening — but until next week, nothing is in stone.
Faculty and staff at Nativity Preparatory Academy are among those schools feeling the pressure of the fall semester quickly approaching. The school will offer the option for students to continue with a full day, five-day a week in-person learning schedule. They will also offer the option for parents and their students to choose a remote learning experience.
Smith said the planning process for reopening hasn’t been easy, but he and staff have been putting parents first, and feel confident in the options they’re providing.
“We’ve had consistent calls from parents about what our plan is what were trying to accomplish as an organization,” said James C. Smith, president of the school. “My principal Jennifer Kramer and my team and myself have talked to families answering questions, it really is a partnership.”
For the in-person learning route, students stay in the same room during the day, while teachers rotate as needed. Tables are spaced out in the cafeteria, with students facing in one direction. The school currently has 60 students, in grades 5-8.
“We looked at institution and space and the challenges, and said we had space here to be socially distant within our classrooms,” said Smith. “We can have our six, seven and eighth grade groups move together in their own space, basically not crossing over. We have the supplies and hygiene checklist if you will, to ensure our students can learn.”
Smith said the planning and work going into ensuring the in-person plan is safe is worth it.
He said while the virtual experience allows students to engage and ask questions in real-time, the face-to-face learning experience was crucial to include, too — even if everyone has to be six feet apart.
Smith said individuals will be asked to wear a mask, get health checks, social distance, wash hands frequently and utilize additional sanitation and disinfectant.
“The disconnect that has happened has been difficult for them to process so we thought strongly we can do five days a week,” said Smith.
Smith said for the parents and students who want to take the remote learning option — that’s okay too. Virtual students can stream into the class, in real-time.
“Moving forward we are enhancing that experience trying to make that better. If a family chooses to stay home we have ability to stream into that classroom – they’re seeing the same thing that they would see in the classroom,” said Smith.
At the end of the day — Smith said it’s all about the safe space they provide to under-served students. As long as their support is there, whether it be virtually or in-person, he said it’s important to give the students the opportunity they deserve to succeed.
“It’s paramount to us as educators and supporters to invest in each and every child to invest in each and every child we can to provide that opportunity,” he said.
If Governor Cuomo gives the okay for schools to open with their plans in place, Nativity Prep will open their doors on Sept. 9.
McQuaid Jesuit, another local preparatory school for young men grades 6-12 also announced their plans to reopen on Friday afternoon. They said in a statement they plan on opening to students for regular in-person learning in the fall, with proper precautions and PPE in place. The statement said they’re prepared to offer hybrid or virtual learning if occupancy in the building needs to be cut down.