Mattituck School District’s reopening plan features hybrid model for high school students, in-person learning for K-8

Mattituck-Cutchogue students in grades K-8 will return to classrooms if schools can reopen in September, while high school students will begin a hybrid model of in-person and remote learning, according to a plan released by the district Monday.

Each school district in New York is required to submit a reopening plan by July 31 and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to make an announcement during the first week of August as to whether schools can reopen in the fall. The plan submitted by the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District is contingent upon the state allowing in-person learning.

Specific plans have not yet been released in the Southold and Greenport districts.

All districts are required to submit plans with specific procedures for full in-person learning, a hybrid model and full remote learning. Mattituck Superintendent Jill Gierasch said in a letter to parents Monday that as circumstances or guidance from the State Education Department change, the district could have to adopt a hybrid or remote learning model for all or some grades district-wide.

“Given the adjustments to create small class sizes and modifications to classroom design, we feel confident that with adherence to strict sanitizing and social distancing protocols and procedures we can provide a safe environment for our staff and children,” Ms. Gierasch wrote.

The district released a 63-page document that outlines specific procedures for social distancing, sanitation practices, transportation policies, health questionnaires, student meals, child care, social and emotional well-being and more. The plan was created based on the State Education Department’s guidance issued earlier this month as well as from input received in a re-opening survey that nearly 500 families, representing 725 students, responded to.

The initial plan calls for high school students to remain in a hybrid model of an A/B schedule until further notice to decrease the number of students in the building at one time. That means students in Group A-L would attend all classes on Tuesday and Thursday. Students in Group M-Z would attend all classes on Monday and Wednesday. The groups would then alternate Fridays in school after the first week of school. Students and teachers would work in Google Classroom when not physically in school. Consideration would be given to keep siblings schedules aligned where possible, according to the plan.

“The health and safety of our students and staff will require on-going communication, collaboration and patience from all of us,” Ms. Gierasch wrote.

The district’s initial plan is to operate a hybrid model for all grades for the first week of Sept. 8-11. Beginning Monday, Sept. 14, full in-person learning would begin for grades K-8.

If K-8 students need to switch to a hybrid model, the district will implement a similar schedule to the high school. Special considerations will be given to early learners, students with disabilities, English Language Learners, siblings (where possible) and transportation needs, the plan says.

If the district must switch to a full remote model for any grade level or school, “plans will be created with the feedback from parents and teachers in mind. Teachers who teach the same subject and/or grade will make every attempt to plan collaboratively. The full academic program will be delivered; however, schedules may be modified and/or adjusted based on the subject area and unique needs of the overall academic program.”

For in-person learning, classrooms and other instructional areas will have adequate spacing to maintain social distancing and to keep students six feet apart. The classrooms will be equipped with either a sink and/or hand sanitizer. Decals will be placed on hallway floors to direct traffic, the plan says.

A health screening questionnaire.

All staff and contractors working on cleaning and sanitization will be required to wear PPE at all times, the plan notes. Students are expected to come to school wearing a mask or face shield. Students will have their temperature checked by a staff member and if it is 100 degrees or higher, the student will be directed to the health office for further assessment. Parents are encouraged to check their child’s temperature before they leave for school.

Faculty and staff are required to submit a health screening questionnaire prior to arriving at work each day.

The superintendent and/or the COVID-19 safety coordinator will oversee a building level Pandemic Response Team that will be created “to support all planning, management and decisions making related to the district’s COVID-19 response actions.”

The plan also outlines procedures for when a student, teacher or other staff member or a member of their household has symptoms or sick with COVID-19 and has exposed others at the school. The superintendent or the COVID-19 safety coordinator will notify the county health department of any suspected or confirmed cases. Designated isolation rooms in the building will be available for staff and students until they can safely leave the building. The school nurse will record all locations that the symptomatic person has visited. Additional policies for both Cutchogue East and the junior/senior high school are outlined for how parents can pick up their child if they become sick.

The plan notes that regardless of which learning model is ultimately implemented, the curriculum and instruction “will be structured to account for the potential loss of learning that may have resulted from extended school closures. To accelerate students’ progress, administrators and educators will identify what unfinished learning standards need to be addressed.”