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Greece school district will use hybrid learning schedule this fall

Back to school for this Greece Central School District 4th grader.
WXXI photo
Back to school for this Greece Central School District 4th grader.

If Gov. Andrew Cuomo decides that schools can reopen in September, at least one local school district is planning on a combination of in-classroom and remote learning.

The Greece Central School District is working on two possible hybrid schedules and an option for families who prefer to have their children learn entirely from home.

Superintendent Kathleen Graupman said there isn't enough room in the district's school buildings to bring all students back full-time and maintain the required social distancing.

Graupman said space isn't the only problem. More adults would be needed to supervise smaller classrooms.

"You're talking about significant change in the number of adults you would need to make a model like that work at a time when our budgets are incredibly tight and also at a time when the governor has made it clear that money (state aid) is going to be taken back from us," she said.

In a recent district survey of parents, 62 percent said they preferred in-classroom learning with safety protocols in place.  At the same time, 44 percent of them said their child would not be comfortable wearing a mask at school.

Graupman said that's a challenge.

"It's a very polarized issue, and I've said this all along," she added. "We have people who are very scared. We have people who are not scared at all and want things to be completely normal."

Depending on the specific guidance that is expected from the state health department, Graupman said it's possible that masks may not be required throughout the entire school day if social distancing can be maintained.

Roughly 5 percent of the more than 5,100 parents who responded to the district's survey said they would not send their child back to school until a coronavirus vaccine is available.

The district plans to announce its final plans on July 22; the state is requiring all New York school districts to submit their reopening plans by July 31.  Graupman said a reopening task force would consider the feedback from families that was collected in the survey.

Cuomo has said he will annouce his decision on whether schools can reopen for in-classroom learning no later than August 7.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.