Scranton School Board discussing health and safety plan

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s the biggest decision of the school year in Scranton and officials have a week to make the call: Should students go back to school or learn from home?

Or will parents demand a hybrid solution? That was the focus of a heated meeting Monday night. Scranton School District board members laid out two models for going back to school: hybrid and virtual.

“This is uncharted territory. We are all trying to move through this cautiously, carefully and considering all the different pitfalls and roadblocks,” Katie Gilmartin said.

The hybrid model divides students into groups to limit how many are in the building at once.
The proposed schedules allow each elementary and secondary student two days of in-school learning a week.

Students who are siblings will be scheduled on the same day. The school district will provide masks, which all students and staff are required to wear. But teachers like Angie Kriger say the plan won’t work for younger kids.

“In a hybrid model, I just think its impossible to expect 4-year-olds and even 5,6,7,and 8-year olds to wear a mask all day,” Kriger said.

For the virtual model: five full days of instruction online. Students would get a combination of live interaction and individual work. Teachers still report to school and students tune in from home.

“All students will receive a district-issued device; a chromebook or iPad,” Ann Grebeck said.

Board members say the district will go back to a regular grading system instead of pass/fail.
Both models allow special education students and English language learners full in-school instruction. Parents of any student can opt for full virtual learning.

“No matter what the vote is, they just need to contact their principal and that will be no problem at all,” Missy McTiernan said.

Some things still undecided; backpacks, school lunches and a support line for parents and students.
Board members say once they choose a plan, they’ll have a better idea.

The Scranton School District will post a school community survey Tuesday. People have until the end of the week to give feedback. The school board will vote on a plan August 10th.

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