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Drinkwater School plans return to in-person learning

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Apr 06, 2021
Source: File photo

Northport — The School Board voted March 15 to return to full-time in-person instruction when students at Edna Drinkwater School return after April vacation April 26, according to Superintendent Peg Long.

Long said the K-8 school, which has 112 students, will return to its pre-pandemic schedule of 4 1/2 days a week following the break, but will have a plan for remote learning in case it is needed.

At present, Drinkwater has a hybrid learning plan with cohorts of students attending in person either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday, and all students learning from home on Friday. There is just "a handful" of students who are doing fully remote learning, she said.

The school's website contains results of a survey of parents and staff released March 8, to which a total of 57 families and 27 staff responded. Among families 58% said they wanted the school to move toward a full-time schedule, 24.5% wanted it to remain hybrid and 17.5% said they would support either plan. Among staff, 55% wanted to move toward full-time, 30% preferred to stick with the hybrid plan and 15% supported either option. Detail about the survey can be found at drinkwaterschool.org.

Regarding the possibility that the parents of the remote students might object to sending their children back to school, Long said the school lacked the resources to offer a remote option once the bulk of students are back in the building full-time.

She said the district is eager to welcome all its students back to school, and to that end has implemented a number of measures designed to reassure parents and keep students safe, including daily disinfection of the building, installing HEPA filters in the air handling system in all classrooms and putting handwashing sinks in the classrooms. In addition, masks must be worn by everyone in the building, desks are arranged to allow for adequate social distancing and students will remain in their cohorts to limit their exposure. One more safety measure is that teachers for music, art and other special classes come to the students in their classrooms, rather than having children move around the building, Long said.

The school's outdoor learning center will also see increasing use as the weather gets warmer, she said, allowing classes to be held under cover outdoors in a wooded area with socially distant seating.

"We're very proud of our school," Long said.

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