With a COVID-19 vaccine now available, many Fayetteville-Manlius School District families have been inquiring about when students can return to a five-day in-person instructional week.
The district recently added a mid-year update to its Frequently Asked Questions section of the district’s school reopening plan to address many of the questions that have been asked and many others that families are probably wondering about.
The district continues to follow its state-required reopening plan that it submitted in July to the New York State Education Department (NYSED). As part of that plan submission to NYSED, Superintendent Craig J. Tice certified nearly 90 assurances about protocols that would be followed when schools are in session. Commissioner Betty Rosa of NYSED indicated this week that the guidance remains in effect until an executive order changes or modifies those guidelines. Accordingly, the district is compelled to abide by its state-submitted plan and assurances.
District officials are monitoring state and local guidance regarding the pandemic so that they can make any necessary adjustments to F-M’s reopening plan as quickly as possible.
To prepare for more students to return to the classroom, administrators have been assessing square-footage to determine the maximum number of students that could be accommodated in each classroom, as well as spaces such as cafeterias and gymnasiums.
Transportation officials have also been reviewing how many students can be accommodated on each school bus, and how the department will continue to deliver instructional materials to students who are remotely learning while also transporting other students to and from school each school day.
The food service department will need to increase staffing, which has been operating with a reduced staff.
“There are many factors that come into play when we talk about shifting back to a five-day in-person instructional model, especially since we anticipate that many of the families who have opted to have their children learn from home will likely continue to do so,” Tice said. “We are in the process of developing a plan so that we will be positioned well to welcome back as many students as possible for a five-day in-person learning experience while still providing high-level instruction to our students who are learning remotely. This will allow us to pivot quickly in order to expedite the return of the students.”
The district will continue to follow the health and safety protocols outlined in its school reopening plan, including requiring face masks on school grounds, limiting visitors to district facilities and encouraging proper hand washing and use of hand sanitizer.