District unveils reopening framework plans for the 2020-21 school year  

The Minisink Valley School District is continuing its planning for reopening schools this fall by focusing on a hybrid instructional model framework that will include both in-person classes and remote instruction.

The district is in the process of finalizing the following preliminary, global framework for its hybrid model:

  •  K-1 students would attend school in-person each day in smaller class sizes, adhering to all social distancing mandates and requirements.
  •  Students entering grades 2-12 would attend on an alternate day cycle, in smaller class sizes, and participate in distance learning on the days they do not physically attend school.  Both groups participate in daily interactions with their teachers.
  •  Students and staff will be grouped and remain in the same room as much as possible.
  •  There will be a reduced capacity for students on school buses.

This preliminary framework follows the district’s review of three scenarios: the hybrid model, full return to school or a full remote model.  This framework also correlates to findings in Minisink Valley’s recent parent/guardian survey, where a majority of respondents support a hybrid model of instruction, if necessary.

“As long as our region’s metrics allow, and Gov. Cuomo makes the decision for us to be in school, our plan is to begin school year with a hybrid model,” said Superintendent Brian Monahan. “This continued effects of this pandemic are requiring us to make very tough decisions which we realize are not optimal. But this allows us to have the physical distancing we need plus the ability to maximize in-person instruction opportunities, along with all the important academic, social and emotional needs of our students.”

The work of the Board of Education members, district administrators, faculty, staff, union leaders, parents and age-appropriate students to address the volume of necessary work continues in various committees.

In addition to this framework, the reopening plan will address topics such as: health/safety, facilities, nutrition, transportation, social-emotional well-being, school schedules, budget/fiscal, attendance, technology, teaching/learning/special education and bilingual education/world languages.

As additional examples, the plan will include information focusing on:

  • Daily “live” in-person or remote teacher/student interaction
  • Grading practices
  • Daily student/staff health screenings
  • Face covering and social distancing requirements
  • Organization of student cohorts
  • Transportation capacity issues
  • Enhanced hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting requirements
  • Enhanced social-emotional support information
  • Department of Health testing, monitoring and containment protocols
  • Athletics and extracurricular activities information*
  • And more
    * On July 15, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced preliminary guidance for the 2020-21 school year.

The committees continue to  focus on and take into consideration all issues unique to Minisink Valley. including: how to best serve 3,600 students and 600 staff in all buildings while maintaining social distancing; how to ensure all students have equitable access to technology for instructional purposes; and how to manage student transportation safely in addition to plans that mitigate risk and provide for best practices in health, safety and instruction and student emotional/social support.

“This important to again emphasize: How our instructional plan continues throughout the school year depends on changing conditions,”Mr. Monahan stressed.  “Our greatest wish and goal is to have a full return to school during this school year and avoid any full remote option. We all must stay flexible and adaptable. The, health, safety and welfare of our students, staff, and school community will always be our first priority and guide us in all our decision making.”

A detailed plan will be submitted to the State Education Department on Friday, July 31, and available for public viewing at that time.