CHAZY — While most Clinton County school districts went fully remote for several weeks following the December break and only just brought students back into their buildings Monday, Chazy Central Rural School has continuously operated its part-hybrid, part fully in-person model.
Since the beginning of the school year, students in grades five through 12, divided into Groups A and B, have alternated between in-person and remote weeks. Kindergarten through fourth grades been in-school full-time since a few weeks into the new school year.
Districts who opted to spend January in a fully remote modality did so with the hopes of allowing any holiday surges in COVID-19 cases to subside, in part since quarantine orders could affect whether adequate staffing was available.
"We decided to maintain our weekly hybrid model to the extent that we could ensure the safety of students and employees," Superintendent Scott Osborne said.
"We chose a five-day model to help promote the continuity of schooling for a solid week of scheduling, so that special area classes and related services could be carried out in a predictable way."
MAXIMIZE IN-PERSON DAYS
According to the Chazy Union Free School District's COVID-19 Report Card on the state Department of Health's website, a total of 14 students and employees have tested positive this year.
Though exposures have necessitated some quarantining and isolation, disruptions to the district's schedule overall have been minimal. Positive cases led all second-grade students to temporarily shift to remote learning in November and all students in grades seven through 12 to engage in distance learning from Jan. 19 through Jan. 21 due to staffing impacts.
Osborne said he would attribute that to a variety of factors, the most important being diligence on the part of students and employees.
"We're also finding that our five-day hybrid approach works well," he continued. "In the case of a potential exposure on any given school day in the school building, that group of students would be learning remotely the next week anyway.
"This has allowed us to hold as many in-person school days as we can. We're around the 89th day of school; many CCRS elementary students have been here for 85 of those days or more."
But Osborne acknowledged school personnel know that, academically, they are not reaching all students in the way they'd like to.
"There's a lot of great work going into remote learning, but nothing can replace the student-teacher dynamic in the classroom."
Regarding new variants of the coronavirus scientists and public health officials are finding to be more contagious, Osborne said Chazy CRS continues to collaborate with other schools and liaise with the Clinton County Health Department.
"I'm confident that as new variant strains are identified, and we're provided updated guidance and research, we'll respond accordingly."
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