SMASD opts for full re-opening of schools

Photo by Amy Cherry - The SMASD plans to re-open five-days a week for the upcoming school year.
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

The St. Marys Area School District Board of School Directors unanimously voted to re-open schools a full five-days a week for the 2020-2021 school year.
Stacy McKee, school board vice-president, proposed the motion which stated if the number of COVID-19 case counts increases the school board could make a decision regarding the status of the schools at that time.
The school year is set to begin August 31, with teachers starting their inservice days on August 24.
Among the options presented before the board included the full five-day opening at all levels; a hybrid A/B model with each building operating at 50% capacity each instructional day with teachers having one day a week dedicated to professional duties with no students in attendance at schools; a mixed model in which grades K-7 would receive face-to-face instruction five days a week and grades 8-12 would be in the hybrid A/B model. This model would require moving students between buildings to increase social distancing. A completely remote option was also an option in which all students would be educated remotely in an online environment.
It was emphasized that complete virtual education is an option for all who have requested it as well as for those not wishing to send their child back for the full five days.
Superintendent Brain Toth emphasized that students will be expected to wear masks while in school and if they cannot wear a mask their parents must sign a waiver or provide a note from a medical provider.