The Salem Grade School Board has approved a Return to Learn policy that will have students attending in-class two days a week.
Superintendent Dr. Leslie Foppe explained to the school board in a special meeting Monday afternoon why the change was made from the original plan to go in-person five days a week.
“Last meeting I said that our hope and goal tentatively and it was all subject to change would be to start 100% but after looking over what we would need to do….everyone thought that way, administrators did, our teacher teams did. But then the mandates and guidelines that all schools in the state must follow it made it impossible for us to have all students all five days a week as much as we really wanted them and know how important it is for kids to be here.”
Foppe says group “A” students with last names A-K will attend on Monday and Thursday. Group “B” students with last names L-Z will attend on Tuesday and Friday. Wednesday will be a remote learning day for everyone. Foppe says they selected Wednesday for a full remote learning day to match up with Salem Community High School.
Under the plan, students can arrive at both Hawthorn and Franklin Park beginning at eight am. Classes will start in both buildings at 8:30 am. The first day of class will be on Friday, August 21st, for students in the “B” group.
Foppe says dismissal times have been moved up to one pm for kindergarten, 1:30 pm for first through third grades, and two pm for grades four through eight.
“We are dismissing early for many factors but the two major ones are less time for students to wear a mask during the day and we also need time for teachers to learn with the students who are at home learning for the day. Transitional kindergarten and early childhood education will still be regular arrival and dismissal times.”
Foppe says there will be a wellness check each day as students arrive. Students will be required to wear masks while inside the buildings, but teachers will be giving frequent breaks outside where the masks can be removed. Busses will run, but parents are encouraged to bring and pick up their students if possible.
Breakfast at Hawthorn will be served in the classroom. At Franklin Park, breakfast will be split between the classroom and cafeteria. Both buildings will follow a similar procedure at lunch to keep any gathering of students at 50 or less.
Foppe says third through eighth-grade students will be one on one with chrome book computers from the start of school. Chrome books for second grade are on back-order and will not arrive until after school begins. First grade and kindergarten students will not have one on one computer and will use paper and pencil.
Registration is now open online to all returning students. New student and registration for kindergartners who didn’t attend the screening session will be done by appointment. Contact Hawthorn School for a registration appointment this Wednesday or Thursday.
Foppe says students who want the full remote learning option or want to home school need to alert school officials as soon as possible.
Photo: Salem Grade School Superintendent Dr. Leslie Foppe and School Board President John Gaston at Monday afternoon meeting.