School Districts Release Proposed Reopening Plans

Students get off the bus at Southwestern Central School. P-J file photo by Jordan W. Patterson

School districts within Chautauqua County are beginning to release their proposed 2020-21 reopening plans as required by the state Department of Education.

The plans include different options to handle student instruction as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers through the summer.

The Southwestern Central School District developed three scenarios for instruction in 2020-21: face-to-face, remote learning and a hybrid model.

“Due to social distancing requirements, the district has determined the use of a hybrid model (partial in-person learning, partial remote learning) is the best option for the start of the school year, with a hope to increase student capacity at a future date by utilizing physical barriers,” the district said in its reopening plan. “The district-wide task force emphasized keeping families on the same schedule is a top priority. Families will be assigned a “Red” or “Blue” day schedule for in-person learning. The opposite day will consist of remote learning.

“All family members, regardless of which school building they attend will be on the same schedule. Some students with disabilities will be recommended to attend every day.”


The district will begin the school year on September 8, 2020 with a hybrid schedule dividing every class by 50 % and dividing the student body into two groups — the Red Group and the Blue Group. Students in the Red Group will attend school in person on Mondays and Thursdays and students in the Blue Group will attend in-person on Tuesdays and Fridays. On Wednesday, all students will learn remotely, as they will also do on the days they do not attend in person.


Students in grades PreK-6 will attend school in person Monday through Thursday and students in grades 7-12 will attend school every Friday. On days when students are not in school, students will be required to attend and participate in online learning.

Students in grades PreK-6, will attend school in person Monday through Thursday in order to maintain proper social distancing guidelines, a typical SCS classroom will allow for 10-12 students and a teacher. All students will have face-to-face access to their regular teachers on an equal basis. For example, a third grader will be in-person with their assigned teacher at least two days a week, while the other two days they will be in a “Zoom Room” watching their teacher broadcast the lesson into their room. The “Zoom Room,” when at all possible, will have a certified teacher supervising and assisting students with the lesson. When a certified teacher is not available, a teacher aide will assist students. To limit exposure, students will remain in their classroom for lessons when at all possible, with morning and afternoon breaks built into the schedule. Teachers will rotate between rooms on an equal basis. Special area classes like Physical Education will be offered in an alternative form.

Students in grades 7-12 will attend school in-person every Friday of each week. Students will use these Fridays to meet in-person with each of their teachers, take assessments, conduct any in-person social/emotional counseling that is needed, and conduct classes with their special area teachers. Students will be assigned in cohorts and will remain in the same room during all instructional periods. There will be no need for locker use on Fridays as students can place their personal belongings in their assigned rooms.


All students in grades UPK-6 are scheduled to participate in learning in-person. Cleaning and disinfection will take place in between the scheduled sections. Students in grades K-6 will be broken from two sections into three sections in order to decrease the room capacity and allow for all students to be seated 6 feet apart while in the classroom.

All students in grades 7-12 will be broken into two groups by administration. These groups will be communicated prior to the start of the school year. Both groups will participate in their courses simultaneously. One group will participate in-person and one group will participate remotely. This will decrease the in-person attendance each period to approximately 50% on a daily basis. On a student’s remote scheduled day, they will be required to participate remotely in their four core courses (ELA, Math, Science, & Social Studies) and Spanish. All other courses will only follow an in-person schedule.


Pre-kindergarteners, kindergartners, and grades 1 through 4 will be taught in-person every day with detailed safety precautions.

Grades 5 through 12 will adopt a hybrid model. At the middle and high school level the hybrid plan will bring all students to school every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.


All students in elementary and junior/senior high school will attend school Monday-Thursday of each week.

Friday will be a day to deep clean the buildings and allow teachers time to prepare more effective remote models should the need arise. Print-based packets will be sent home for students’ instruction.

Attendance will be taken daily including on the remote Fridays.


Students in all grade levels have been split into two cohorts, Bue and Gold, and will atend on alternating days during the Hybrid Learning Plan.

While in school, students will attend their classes in their eight-period schedule. Throughout the school day, students will remain in groups for the majority of the day to reduce mixing of student populations when feasible.


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