Auburn's 2020-21 Reopening PlansDear Auburn Families,
The end of the 2019-2020 school year was nothing short of extraordinary, and it looks as though what lies ahead for the 2020-2021 school year will be just as remarkable. School districts across New York State have been working diligently to come up with reopening plans based on three models – a 100% in-person learning model, a hybrid learning model where there is a split between in-person and distance learning, and a 100% distance learning model. While developing plans for each model, districts must also incorporate all of the health and safety guidelines set by the governor, the State Education Department, and the Department of Health. Because of this, every school district’s reopening plans are going to look different.
By August 7, Governor Cuomo will announce whether school districts will be able to reopen for in-person learning in September. If he announces that students are not allowed back in school buildings, the Auburn Enlarged City School District will reopen with a distance learning model. If the governor does allow students to return for in-person learning, the district will be reopening with a hybrid learning model, which will have students attending school in person on an A/B rotation 2 days out of the week and distance learning 3 days a week.
Because of the current social distancing guidelines mandated by the state, it would be impossible for the Auburn School District to be able to socially distance students from one another due to bus and classroom capacity. The district transports 58%, or approximately 2,400 students, to and from school. Most of our buses have a maximum capacity of 66 students. With social distancing and all students wearing face masks, we will only be able to accommodate between 11 and 22 students per bus. In addition, the district’s school buildings simply do not have enough space to be able to socially distance 4,200 students.
As you read through the district’s reopening plans, the student schedules and teaching and learning sections will give parents and guardians a good idea of how school will look for each model, but below are some highlights of what the hybrid learning model will look like.
In the hybrid learning model, students will be on an A/B rotation. Students assigned to an A schedule will attend school in person on Mondays and Wednesdays and attend virtually on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Students assigned to a B schedule will attend school in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays and attend virtually on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Having all students attend school virtually on Fridays will allow teachers to prepare lessons for the following week so that students will have easy access to the curriculum.
Elementary schools will create classes and schedules to ensure students are in a ‘cohort.’ This means that students will spend the entirety of their day with the same group of students and not attend class in other classrooms throughout the building. Teachers of art, music, physical education, etc. will rotate between cohorts to help limit the number of transitions. Lunch will be provided to students in their classrooms. Cohorts will be limited to 12-14 students depending on the size of the teaching space to ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines. The junior high and high school will create classes and schedules to ensure students are in a ‘cohort’ to the extent possible.
Hand sanitizing stations will be available in each classroom. Desks will be set up so that social distancing can be maintained. Masks will not be required once students are in the classroom and seated at an assigned desk. Masks will be required for when standing or outside of the classroom. Additionally, masks will be required for secondary students as they transition between classrooms and common areas.
Masks will be required for students being transported by school buses. The buses will be sanitized after every trip. Parents will be provided with a form opting in or out of utilizing our transportation services this year. While we will accommodate for social distancing on our school buses, we recommend that parents or guardians drop off and pick up students if at all possible to ensure safety.
We can all agree that none of these learning models are ideal. We cannot bring all students back for full in-person learning because of the current social distancing guidelines. The hybrid model creates childcare issues for working parents. Distance learning creates social-emotional deficits for students. Our goal is to bring all students back to school every day as soon as it is safe to do so, and we will continue to work to come up with a plan that will allow us to do that.
Finally, it is important to understand that at any point the district may need to move into a full distance learning model depending on cases of COVID-19 in our community and region. We will all need to be flexible and adjust the best we can as we navigate through the school year. The district will continue to communicate with parents and the community on a regular basis through the website, social media, letters, emails and phone calls.
Each school will be communicating specifics about your child’s schedule in the coming weeks. Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal or an administrator with questions or concerns. We will all get through the 2020-2021 school year together.
Jeffrey A. Pirozzolo
Superintendent of Schools
Auburn Enlarged City School District
To download and view Auburn's Reopening Plan, click the image below.