Scranton School District releases in-person learning plans

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Scranton School District students could be back in the classroom in about a month, according to the timeline released to parents and staff.

The new timeline comes after the school board voted in favor of returning to some sort of in-person learning.

“I feel safe, yes,” Vivian Williams, a parent of two Scranton students said. “I think we have to go back at some point.”

Parents like Williams are ready for their children to get back in the classroom. That can come in just over a month.

“For me it is important for scheduling purposes for my children, for stability. It provides some kind of structure in their day especially with my son who has autism, he needs that structure to kind of look forward to,” Williams said.

The district announced on Tuesday that kindergarten through fifth grade students will be returning to classrooms, two weeks after 900 teachers and paraprofessionals also make their return on March 1.

Parents will need to choose whether they want their children to attend classes in a hybrid learning model or stay fully remote.

“Parents need to be in touch with their child’s principal and teachers and you know make sure that any questions they may have for their specific scenarios are being asked and answered,” Katie Gilmartin, Scranton School District Board President said.

Gilmartin says there is and will continue to be a health and safety plan put in place along with scheduling.

“The plans that the board approves are very broad and can apply across the district. Everything else will come on a case by case, building by building basis,” Gilmartin said.

Rosemary Boland, President of the Scranton Federation of Teachers, says a lot has to happen between now and the beginning of March.

“We have too many questions to ask,” Boland said. “If we had our way we would not be going back until we were vaccinated.”

Teachers across the state would not be eligible to receive the vaccination until Phase 1B, which has not yet started. Boland says she would like to see ventilation, a mask mandate, daily cleaning protocols and more.

“We would like to sit down with the district and come to an understanding about what is safe and what isn’t safe, what are our concerns, why we’re scared,” Boland said.

According to the plan, students in Pre-K through second grade will return to hybrid learning the week of March 15. Third, fourth and fifth graders will return the following week.

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