In-person after-school academic support offered; extracurricular activities anticipated to start soon

While the Fayetteville-Manlius School District continues to plan for the eventual return of more students for in-person learning, administrators and school faculty are preparing for more in-person activities, including after-school academic support at the middle and high school levels. 

On March 1, F-M High School students began to receive in-person after-school academic support. Virtual after-school support, which had already been an option, will continue. Students must sign up to meet in-person to ensure staff do not have more students present than their classrooms can accommodate while observing the current requirement of six feet of social distancing. 

High school late bus runs also began March 1. Students use a Google form to register for a seat on the bus each day that they need transportation. This ensures buses do not exceed their capacity, which is limited due to social distancing guidelines. 

Students have been virtually participating in such student clubs as Student Council, Broadcast Journalism, Science Olympiad and yearbook. Some musical groups, such as Jazz Ensemble, have been meeting in-person. The week of March 15, high school officials hope to begin more in-person student club meetings. 

“We will be following the same health and safety protocols that are in place during the regular instructional day,” F-M High School Executive Principal Ray Kilmer said. “We will be closely monitoring our protocols and, if necessary, make adjustments.”   

The district’s two middle schools plan to begin offering in-person after-school academic support on March 15 during the schools’ typical enrichment periods, which will take place from 2:45-3:15 p.m. Students in cohort C who are learning remotely may participate virtually on designated days. 

Like at the high school, students will need to sign up via a Google form to ensure classrooms do not exceed their capacity. There will be middle school late bus runs for those students needing transportation home. 

Middle school students are currently participating virtually in some activities, such as Wellwood Middle School’s Student Council and Community Wide Dialogue to End Racism at both middle schools. Both schools are also planning virtual drama productions. 

The district is exploring whether more activities could be offered in-person once the weather becomes warmer so that they could be held outdoors. 

“We look forward to these ‘baby steps’ toward normalcy for our students and staff,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “We are already planning for when the six-foot social distancing guideline will eventually be relaxed so that we will be ready to welcome back as many students as possible for more in-person instruction.”

Beginning March 1, each of the district’s three elementary schools added 10 more minutes of instructional time to the regular school day by shortening student arrival time. 

The elementary schools previously held a 30-minute window in the mornings in which student drop off was staggered. Administrators found that the organization and implementation of each school’s arrival system had become efficient enough that it could be shortened by 10 minutes. 

All buildings are continuing to follow the health and safety protocols outlined in the district’s school reopening plan, including requiring face masks on school grounds, limiting visitors to district facilities and encouraging proper handwashing and use of hand sanitizer.