What's the plan for reopening schools next month? It depends what district you're in

Aug 18, 2020

With schools opening in three weeks, districts are still trying to figure out how it will all work.

There are some certainties in the race to re-open schools. There are students and teachers and a virus. How a district re-opens is up to that district, subject to Albany approval. Every district is different and has its own realities to handle.

For parents, there's a whole new vocabulary out there. Try "sychronous." That's a buzz word for a classroom with a camera for remote learning in sync with that same teacher speaking to those in the actual classroom.

Williamsville Schools say it is going to do that five days a week. In Lancaster, the district is going hybrid: some days in the buildings and some days learning on the screen. Lancaster also has a list of specific students with no web access.

Credit File Photo / WBFO News

Hillview Elementary Principal Amy Moeller said her district is doing it a different way.

"Students will receive in-person instruction every other day, asynchronous, which is not live on the at-home days. Teachers will create videos. They will be very creative in how to instruct a child with distance learning and, when possible, they will be available for office hours," Moeller said.

The schools are taking attendance. What can make it complicated is if a school or a district has a distinctly different student group.

In Salamanca, the district is carefully ensuring Seneca language classes will continue in a district on the Seneca Allegany Territory. Around a third of the students are members of the Seneca Nation.

"There will be tutoring, particularly with those students who received Native American tutoring, either from the Seneca Nation or in an after-school capacity," said Salamanca Schools Superintendent Robert Breidenstein. "We did have an Indigenous Education Committee meeting last week and we have been working with the Seneca Nation Education Department and the tutors will be on-site very shortly."

Salamanca also has to deal with remote learning in a geographic area with problematic web access.