On Monday, Aug. 17, Seaford Superintendent of School Dr. Corey Miklus presented a return to school plan to the school board. The plans will combine both face-to-face in school and remote learning. The board voted, 5-0, to approve the plan. Seaford schools will reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 8 in both modes.
“It has been since March 13, that any staff or students have been in our buildings,” Miklus explained to the board. “There has been a lot of frustration and our people want to move forward with getting our students back into the classroom. I understand that people are scared, and I am here to reassure them this plan will be implemented with the highest amount of safety we can offer, and we will do what is right for our community. Our staff is up to the challenge.”
Seaford Superintendent Dr. Corey Miklus, standing, presents the district’s school reopening plan during the school board meeting on Monday, Aug. 17. The board voted, 5-0, to approve the hybrid/remote learning plan. You can go to the district’s website at www.seafordbluejays.org for further reopening information or contact your school. Photo by Scott Bleile
Governor John Carney has issued plans for school to be able to open. There are three areas of criteria that need to be met for reopening. Green means all can open with no restrictions, yellow means can open in hybrid or remote and red is where no schools can be open and remote learning only. Carney said the state falls in the yellow category which is both remote and hybrid. However, schools also have the flexibility to start the year remotely should districts find they cannot meet health and safety requirements, such as social distancing in classrooms and on buses. The state has paired each district with a liaison from the Division of Public Health to help determine if reopening is possible.
“We will set this criterion; we will provide the guidance,” Gov. John Carney said. “The districts themselves will make the final decision.”
Miklus explained what the district plan will be for the reopening. “How do we do it? We took the task and have had to figure it out. There was no way to tackle it head-on. When we came to a stumbling block, we sat it aside to come back to it. Several other schools in the state are going to the hybrid model of some kind. We sent out surveys and got 2,358 responses from a student enrollment of 3,327. The survey closed on Aug. 10. Each school is working to call all families to reach every single student. The information collected in the survey will be kept confidential and only used by school officials. The survey showed that the choices between hybrid and total remote are just about split. 52 percent wanted hybrid and 48 percent wanted total remote. We faced two big issues. The first was transportation because we can only have 23 students per bus and the second was to make sure all families have access to the internet for remote learning. We are working on the transportation issues and have also partnered with a company to help with internet connections. Parents can contact the schools for more information about the internet connections. More information about the buses will be forthcoming.”
“I am proposing the following plan for our schools” Miklus said. “The first day of school for students is Tuesday, Sept. 8. Whatever choice is made the student, based of the parent survey answer, will be in their plan for the first marking period. If you selected remote instruction for your child(ren) they will begin remotely on the 8th. If you selected the hybrid option for you child(ren), they will also start on Sept, 8. There are two cohorts for in-school learning. Cohort AA is Monday, Tuesday and the other cohort BB will be Thursday, Friday. Wednesday is a remote instructional day for all students. Each school is working on plans of how students will be divided into the cohorts. We are working with parents to try and keep students within the same families on the same day. Everyone needs to understand this is a monumental task. We all need to work together to get this to work. The district will work closely with the Delaware Division of Public Health to monitor the amount of community spread that is occurring with COVID-19. Each week, we will analyze these numbers which will help us in our decision-making process. We all must do our part in order that employees and students stay healthy. Masks will always be worn. The best guidance to stay healthy is to wear a mask and to remain socially distant. Our custodial staff has done a great job acquiring all cleaning and PPE supplies needed for reopening. Our priority as a district is to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students.”
Director of Building and Grounds, Doug Henry explained the safety procedures for the schools to the board.
“Safety is our top priority. Each school will follow specific cleaning procedures such as; all classrooms, lobby areas and hallways will be cleaned after each use and/or every 15 minutes to two hours, disinfect doorknobs and light switches, disinfect desk tops, tables and chair bottoms/backs, disinfect countertops, sinks, window ledges and window sills and disinfect phone, keyboards and technology equipment along with many other procedures. Restrooms with also be cleaned and disinfected often. Desks in the classrooms are properly social distanced. Hand sanitizer is available in all classrooms and we have purchased over 40,000 disposable masks for the students will get a new one each day,” he said,
More information can be found at the district’s website at www.seafordbluejays.org.