Rye City School District Prepares for Fall Reopening
By Peter Jovanovich
As reported earlier, The Rye City School District has established a School Reopening Task Force to guide the District in restarting instruction this fall. The Task Force comprises students, teachers, staff developers, administrators, parents, and Board of Education trustees, and is broken into various subgroups, including, instruction, social and emotional issues, operations, communications, etc.
As Superintendent Dr. Eric Byrne explained at the July 7 School Board meeting, the Task Force is somewhat hamstrung by the fact that Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Board of Regents, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health have yet to announce the guidelines that schools must follow. The governor’s office has stated that no decision will be announced until early August.
The Task Force reported on the results of the District survey that was sent to students, parents, and teachers. Kaitlyn Sassone, Director of Technology, relayed that about 2,000 parents responded. Parents preferred either a “hybrid alternating model with students attending one day on and one day off”, or a split day with attendance either in a morning or afternoon session. Dr. Byrne interjected: “Everybody ‘s preference for the most part is that everyone is back at school. However, in anticipation of the necessity to reduce the number in the building, we proposed alternatives for full-day schooling.”
About 600 students, from grades 6-12, expressed interest in an alternating day or split day – in the event full-day instruction is not possible. One specific request from students was to be allowed to perform schoolwork independently and then meet with their teachers — remotely — at dedicated office hours to discuss their work. Teachers were split regarding the students’ preference; some preferred a synchronous approach with the full class in attendance.
Some many details as to how the District will reopen schools this fall depend on decisions made at the state level. Until something firm is announced, the Task Force and its subgroups will continue to work on outlining alternatives.