HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — One local school district is beginning the process of getting kids back in school. But how will they make sure it’s safe? Eyewitness News spoke with the Hanover Area School District superintendent to find out.
It’s all based on the positivity rate, something Superintendent Nathan Barrett says they’ve been watching closely. And as that number went down, Barrett says virtual learning seemed like it was doing more harm than good.
The Hanover Area School District will transition from virtual to hybrid learning, starting October 5th.
“Getting your students back into the classrooms is a peace of mind for me because I know that the equity is there then. Because then you will have the opportunity to receive the same education as everybody else,” Barrett said.
Barrett addressed parents Thursday evening on Zoom.
“Over the last month we have been anywhere between two and three percent positivity rate for the community that we encompass. That’s when we began to take steps to move forward to have kids back into the buildings,” Barrett said.
The district has been virtual since August 28th. The biggest hurdle being equity, according to Barrett, with kids having to share devices and deal with wi-fi problems.
“We are running into the same issue that most districts are running into nationwide which is a shortage of laptop computers for our students,” Barrett said.
Students will return to school with protective desk shields, required masks, adjusted schedules, and a security system that monitors body temperatures throughout the day.
“It begins to track and puts a dot on that student. That’s a downloadable memory that we can use for contact tracing,” Barrett said.
But not everyone approved of the safety measures.
“It’s difficult to hear people when they’re talking behind a mask and if you’re also behind a barrier, that’s going to make it doubly difficult I think,” a parent identified as Elizabeth said.
One parent wanted to make sure students get the same education, as they won’t all be in the building at the same time.
“Will class then go on as normal with the kids who are in class but then the ones who are home that week will kind of be behind a little bit?” parent Melissa Williams said.
The hybrid model will be complex, but Barrett says they’ll make sure students get what they need. Parents still have the option to keep their student on the virtual learning program.
Barrett says the district will schedule a follow-up meeting for parents who have questions about the new security system. It will be installed next week.