The Cato-Meridian Central School District plans to send students in different grades to school on different days in the fall.
The district's new schedule beginning Sept. 8 was emailed to district families and is also available on the district's Facebook page. The schedule is broken up between the elementary school, which will have pre-K through sixth-grade students, and the recently-named Cato-Meridian Junior-Senior High School, which will encompass seventh through 12th grades.
The district announced in April that the district's middle school would be closed and the district was planning on reducing staff due to financial issues related to the coronavirus outbreak and declining enrollment. Superintendent Terry Ward said in an email Wednesday that the school consolidation resulted in two teachers, one support staff member and an administrator getting laid off. He also said the space that was set to be vacant is now classroom space again.
"We needed the space in order to have our pre-K-6 students in school every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. We will have approximately 10 students per classroom so we can social distance," Ward said. "Also, recently we created a partnership with the Citi BOCES Public Relations Department. They will be renting a small portion of the space as well. Most of the vacant space will now be used during the pandemic."
For the fall, pre-kindergarten to sixth grade students will have in-person learning Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, while Wednesdays will have "mandatory online learning for all students."
For days when students are in the buildings, for pre-kindergarten to third-grade, morning transportation will be 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., the student's day will be 7:35 a.m. to 1:40 p.m.; afternoon transportation will be 2:05 to 3:05 p.m. and a teacher's day will be 7:30 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.
For fourth through sixth grade, transportation will be from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., a student's day will be 8:35 a.m. to 2:40 p.m., afternoon transportation will be from 3:05 to 4:05 p.m. and a teacher's day will be 7:50 a.m. to 3:10 p.m.
For seventh through 12th grade, a student's schedule will depend on their last name, the schedule said. Students with last names beginning with A-K will attend in-person learning Mondays and Thursdays, with mandatory online learning Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Students with last names ranging from L-Z, there will be in-person learning Tuesdays and Fridays and online learning on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
For seventh through 12th grades, morning transportation will be from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., a student's day will be 9:35 p.m. to 3:40 p.m., p.m. transportation will be 3:40 p.m. to 4:40 p.m., and a teacher's day will be 8:50 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. Schedules are subject to change, the school district said, depending on future state mandates.
A letter from Ward to families said the district's team spent hundreds of hours reading guidance documents from the state Department of Education and "had over 500 parent comments to consider as we made our district schedule." The letter said the district goals as they devised the schedule included maximizing safety for students and staff, making a district schedule to maximize in-person learning, prioritizing in-person learning, making a schedule that allows students to take their masks off once their seated in a classroom, reduce child care needs for families, create time for teachers to collaborate and more.
Ward's letter said next week the district will create a video with more details on the district's reopening strategy.
Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.
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