More in-person instruction in Remsen, VVS districts

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More in-person instruction opportunities for Remsen and Vernon-Verona-Sherrill (VVS), a spotlight on physical education adjustments in Rome, and an additional COVID-19 case in Oneida are among school district updates relating to the pandemic.

Remsen — Starting this week, “all seventh grade students will no longer be on a hybrid schedule and will be learning in-person five days a week,” Superintendent Timothy Jenny said Friday in a letter to parents and guardians.

“Remsen Central School has demonstrated that abiding by strict safety protocols limits in- school transmission of COVID-19,” the letter also said. “As we slowly move away from the high school hybrid schedule, one grade level at a time, we will analyze our progress and continue to work on plans for the remaining grade levels.”

The district’s schedule has included grades K-6 in-person every day while grades 7-12 have been in a hybrid format for two student groups on alternating schedules each 5-day school week; one group receives in-person instruction three days during a week, followed by the other group doing so the next week, with the other days remote.

Jenny explained Monday the district was able to “work things out” to be able to fit in the students in accommodating all seventh-graders in-person while abiding by health and safety requirements. The district can “hopefully continue to figure out ways to get more students back” in-person five days a week, he added, expressing hope that perhaps federal and state guidelines might be revised such as for social distancing.

The district has about 440 students in grades K-12 overall.

• VVS — “We have begun to transition to four days of in-person learning for our middle and high school hybrid learning students,” Superintendent Martha Group said Friday night in a letter to the district community. Students will be on an all-remote schedule one day a week.

“This is occurring gradually to allow the schools, transportation department, and dining services to make the necessary logistical adjustments for the increased number of students present each day,” Group added.

The change will result in grades 7-12 being on a schedule similar to the K-6 format, according to the district office on Monday. The hybrid schedule for grades 7-12 has previously included two student groups each receiving in-person instruction two days a week, with three days of remote instruction, according to the district office.

VVS had “a great first week back from February break, with only one new positive case in the district,” Group’s letter also said.

School districts’ schedules regarding in-person and remote formats have varied depending on such factors as their overall numbers of students, plus their available classroom space and other building accommodations to be able to meet safety requirements amid COVID-19.

• Rome — In its “February spotlight” on the physical education department, a district Facebook page announcement described the department’s instructional efforts during the pandemic including adjustments for hybrid and remote schedules.

The district opened its academic year in mid-September on an all-remote basis for general education and moved to a hybrid schedule Oct. 26, but then shifted back to all-remote in early December before resuming a hybrid schedule at the start of February. Requirements for the district’s in-person phys ed classes include 12-foot spacing and no shared equipment, said Superintendent Peter C. Blake.

Among examples of remote phys ed instruction cited in the district announcement, John Joy Elementary School teacher Renee Bledsoe said staff compiled a short-list of items around the house that could help students learn, such as pool noodles or small balls. She also mentioned “how-to videos” created by many phys ed teachers to share with students. Staley Elementary School teacher Reanna Zappavinga described remote activities like scavenger hunts, minute-to-win-it games, tossing-and-catching challenges, dance, and virtual skills stations.

Middle-school phys ed instruction has included covering the five components of fitness; sports within the district and their history, rules, and explanation; and workouts such as HIIT (high-intensity interval training), the announcement said. It also said high schoolers have done a unit on personal wellness and mindfulness and have used an interactive “Nearpods” program built for distance learning, hybrid, and school-based settings; the Nearpods have been developed for various sports.

Oneida — The district learned a staff member in the transportation department tested positive for COVID-19, interim Superintendent Kathleen Davis said Friday in a letter to families and staff.

After conferring with the Madison County Department of Health, added Davis, “due to limited contact, no further action needs to take place.”

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