By Jay Mullen

Whitehall Central School District is leaning towards a new schedule format for the upcoming school year that would provide for alternating classroom attendance.

School superintendent Patrick Dee informed the Board of Education at its July 20 meeting that he has been going over the possible outcomes to decide which path to take going forward.

Dee told the board that he would not be able to make any definite decisions or recommendations until more information became available to him. Once he receives more information, he will let the board know.

The format that Dee discussed was an A/B day schedule, which would entail the students being broken up into two groups. Those in group A would attend school in person on Mondays and Tuesdays, while those in group B would attend school in person on Thursdays and Fridays.

Whitehall Superintendent Patrick Dee

This is because anywhere a student would be or any surface that a student touches must be deep cleaned. Wednesday would be the day of the week in which the deep cleaning would take place.

Dee acknowledged that this situation isn’t ideal by any means.

“It’s going to be a different world in September,” he said. This new world is going to have new regulations for school busses and classrooms as well.

Dee said that he went through and measured every room and space within the school district. By his calculations there would only be able to be 10 to 12 students in a classroom of normal size plus a teacher.

In terms of the busses, there would only be one student allowed per seat sitting closest to the window.

That means that on a 66-passenger bus only 22 kids would be allowed with proper social distancing in place.

Dee said siblings would be allowed to sit together on the bus, but that would mean that the seat directly across from them would have to be empty to fully comply with the social distancing guidelines.

“Our primary goal is and always will be student safety,” Dee said. The school has purchased 7,000 disposable masks in preparation for the school year to begin.

But Dee said he wants parents to send their children to school each day with a new, clean mask.

“Buy masks like you buy socks,” he said.

Parents and members of the community may not be happy with where things are headed, but Dee said that he wasn’t happy about the situation either. He said that this is the situation that he and the district are in because of the Governor’s office, the Department of Health and the New York State Education Department.

“I cannot provide the best-case scenario,” Dee said, “which is all students here every day in their classrooms with their teachers.”

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