Local schools working to get students back in classrooms

WWNY Local schools working to get students back in classrooms

BELLEVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Schools have been wanting to get kids back in the classroom. Now, one is ready to do it.

In southern Jefferson County, Belleville-Henderson Central is set to bring some students back to school 4-days a week.

Superintendent Jane Collins says students in kindergarten through 8th grade will be brought back for in-person instruction every day except for Wednesday, which will stay a remote-learning day.

The change will begin April 15, following spring break.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control announced kids can be spaced 3-feet apart in classrooms while wearing masks, as opposed to 6-feet.

But Belleville-Henderson won’t go that far; spacing will still be 6-feet apart under guidelines put in place last August.

In fact, the 6-feet to 3-feet guidelines can’t happen until the state says so.

“As we’ve done along the way, we look to the New York State Department of Health. They really have been our guidance setters on this, and we’ve followed those rules to a T, way back from a year ago, even,” said Jefferson-Lewis BOCES Superintendent Stephen Todd.

Educators say these new CDC guidelines are promising. But there was one thing missing that General Brown Superintendent Barbara Case says is crucial.

“Unless the guidance changes on transportation, that would further emphasize the inequity for some students that didn’t have the ability to come to school,” she said.

Still, they’re preparing.

“We’re measuring classrooms to find out exactly how many students can fit into each classroom. We are getting a plan to get our extra furniture out of storage so that when we get the go-ahead, we’ll be prepared,” said Case.

But Case knows things could change and they could change fast.

“There’s a lot of unknown variables and things are literally changing every day. It’s hard to get too forward in a plan without knowing what our limitations will be,” she said.

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