Williamsport Area School District students make their return to the classroom

Back to School with Eyewitness News

WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — For the first time since March 13, Williamsport Area School District students are back in the classroom.

“You work through it, and you pput together the best possible plan you can. You implement the plan, and then you adjust accordingly,” said Dr. Brandon Pardoe, Principal, Williamsport Area High School.

As part of the district’s hybrid learning approach, the roughly 4000 students who opted into the plan will be split into two groups, with Group A in the classroom Monday and Wednesday, and Group B Tuesday and Thursday.

Williamsport Area High School Principal Doctor Brandon Pardoe says he expects a learning curve, but believes maintaining a typical school day schedule during remote days is critical.

“The best advice I can give to our families is make routines for your student, your children, and help them maintain those routines,” said Pardoe.

In addition to a mask mandate and socially distanced desks, the district has implemented one-way traffic patterns within the building to mitigate potential clustering of students.

At the middle school, and in lower grades, they’re taking it a step further, keeping students in their hometown for the duration of the day, as a fixed rotation of teachers comes to them.

“This school year will be the first year that they will stay in homeroom, stay in that cohort and the teachers will travel for them,” said Dr. Justin Ross, Principal, Williamsport Area Middle School.

Any student who misses an in-person class will be subject to an automatic medical screening their next day back, while students will be placed at every fifth locker to ensure distancing in hallways.

Middle school principal Dr. Justin Ross says the plan’s feasibility is due to community buy in.

“The families of the Williamsport Are Middle School, they’ve been outstanding to work with, extremely patient with us. If they’ve had questions, they’ve asked, and it’s really helped us drive the communication we need to have with our public,” said Ross.

Now per the district’s plan, each student does have the option to opt out and go full remote if they so choose. Here at the high school, the number of students to do so, about 250. That number, about 1000 district wide.

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