Schools look at summer plans, fall returns

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OLD FORGE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Graduations are just around the corner, and while the class of 2020 marked a pandemic, the class of 2021 is looking to get back to normal, but that hasn’t come without its fair share of hurdles.

“Everybody is at a point right now, ready to take the deep breath and go ‘we made it through this school year’,” Erin Keating, superintendent for the Old Forge School District said.

High school juniors and below will be coming back to something a bit more familiar with lessons learned along the way.

School districts, like Old Forge and others across the region, are planning creative ways to battle some of the ‘learning loss’ that has occurred from having to pivot and keep one eye fixed on COVID-19. But, as Old Forge School District Superintendent Erin Keating says, they are also toeing the line between catching up and taking a much-needed break from it all.

“I get that a lot of people are burnt out after this year so we’re also building in an intervention time into the schedule for next year. After-school tutoring will run all of next year as well. If kids start to struggle or as kids need remediation, all of those services are already built into the plan for the next school year.”

At Hanover Area, officials are also getting creative.

“One is going to be a baking camp. So students that are coming in here didn’t realize that they have to do measurements, they have to do fractions, they have to do mathematics. Every day, they’re going to be doing something different,” Hanover Area School District Superintendent Nathan Barrett said.

Some have expressed that education issues have lasted since March of 2020 and any extra help is necessary.

“We’re also building an intervention time into the schedule for next year and then after school tutoring. That will run all of next year as well,” Keating said.

There have been some silver linings to the technology components of learning amid the pandemic.

“We were able to push, what was at the end of maybe a five-year plan is going to be set and ready to go for the beginning of next year,” Keating said.

But many are exhausted and may see this as a summer to escape.

“I think folks are done, they’re tired. And I think they want separation, they want to break,” Barrett said.

While there is a lot of planning to be done over the summer, many school districts, students, parents and educators are looking forward to more normalcy for the fall of next year.

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