Utica City School District releases reopening plan

Local News

(WUTR) — The Utica City School District’s plan will be almost entirely virtual, but only at first.

“It’s a three-phase plan. It’s a phase-in system,” said Utica City School District Superintendent Bruce Karam. He presented the plan to the Board of Education Tuesday evening, where they approved it.

The first phase, which starts with the opening of school, will just feature elementary students coming to school.

The second and third phases are the middle and high school levels.

Students will also attend school only two days a week when their phase allows it. They will be divided into groups, called cohorts.

Those dictate which days of the week they’ll be coming to school.

For example, a student in the “A” cohort may go to school on only Monday and Thursday, and learn virtually the other three days of the week.

If the district reaches Phase Three, opening the high school, Proctor will have four cohorts instead of two, due to its size.

Students in one cohort will come to class during the first half of the day, leave and then students in another cohort will come to class after lunch.

Teachers will not be part of this cohort system.

“The teachers will be reporting to their buildings, whether they’re in person with students or online,” said Karam. “The online instruction will occur from the classroom.”

None of the electives offered to middle and high school students will take place in person.

“The social distancing guidelines for Physical Ed, Music are even more stringent. They have to be even further apart,” said Karam. “And with… the large number of students that we have in the district, it’s impossible.”

Students will be moving within the school, even though Karam said they were trying to limit it. He said they can’t make a plan without having students move in between middle and high school classes. Locker use also will not be an option.

“The lockers are too close together and there’s no way to social distance,” said Karam.

Karam said that, while details are still being ironed out, he expects this plan to be approved by New York State.

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