ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — This week marked the first full week of in-person learning for students at Gananda Middle School. They’re back for four days a week – with Friday a remote learning day.
Principal Elliott Butt says class size played a huge role in this – the school holds just under 200 students a day. But it isn’t everything – he says there was still a lot of work and preparation that went into this decision.
“Trying to listen as best we could to all the concerns that each individual had,” said Butt.
Butt says each school is completely different in terms of physical space. Some arrangements had to be made to free up more room in the building.
“One of the points we had to contend with was one lunchroom, so I went to the music department and they were awesome about it, I was like, ‘alright let’s convert the band room to another lunch room,” he said.
He says schedules are staggered out – so all three grade levels won’t be released in the halls at once.
And they’re not the only district to move forward with middle schoolers. Penfield, a much larger district – is doing the same starting Tuesday – using grade level cohorts, per state guidance.
State guidance says middle and high schoolers can shift from the 6-foot social distance to 3 feet – depending on community infection rate and cohort size. Masks are still required.
But it’s not possible for every school.
Brighton updated parents with this statement earlier this week saying in part:
“…Our cross teaming and cross grade level scheduling will not allow for a cohort model this school year. This is not for a lack of trying though, as we’ve looked at every mathematical way of accomplishing this and it has been determined that the changes needed would be too disruptive at this point in the year…”
Other districts have expressed concerns for state guidance being an obstacle for reopening, saying it’s too restrictive.
The Brighton School District goes on to say they are, however, committed to a full reopening in September. Students in these districts still have the option to remain fully remote.