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Elementary reopening on track in city

School reopening in Dunkirk is going well so far, according to the reports received from each of the building’s principals at this week’s Board of Education meeting.

Pupils in kindergarten to grade two will be returning to the buildings, if the parents choose, on Monday. Grades three to five will return on Oct. 5.

Principal Angie Penhollow at School 3 shared that all but 25 students showed up for orientation as of Sept. 15. Also, she said, three families had not been contacted yet, but they were working on that.

School 3 will have three sites for entering the building which are all labeled and color-coded — one each for busers, walkers and drop-offs. Each of the three sites and coordinating maps are on the school website. At the drop off zone a staff member will greet the child, take their temperature and then walk them into the building.

Principal Kimberlee Texter at School 4 shared there will be two entrances at the Central Avenue site. The main entrance will be used by kindergarten, first and second grade as they are located downstairs, while the south entrance will be used for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders. After students are screened their parents can leave and there will be a grab-and-go breakfast; all but one family came in for orientation.

David Boyda at School 5 said his building has a similar setup to School 4. The main lobby will be used for kindergarten, first grade and special education students, which will be on the first floor. Second to fifth will enter through the second entrance as they are located on the second floor. There will be one-way staircases to try and limit student exposure. According to Boyda, every family has been contacted.

At School 7, Principal Connie Meginnis stated that there will be two entrances for arrival. The kindergarten through second grade will enter through the main entrance while third through fifth will enter through the hallway entrance by the back parking lot. Orientation went well, those that were unable to show up rescheduled.

Meals will continue as normal. All breakfast will be grab-and-go, lunches will be held in the classrooms and there will continue to be meal distributions from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the middle school as well as School 3 for those families who are remaining fully remote or on remote days.

Child care was also discussed at the meeting. The district has partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County to administer the program at Dunkirk High School.

The club will use the auxiliary gym and the three classrooms.

The program will start Monday for students in grades three to six who are signed up for the hybrid program. Drop-off will begin at 8 a.m. at the auxiliary gym entrance with pickup at 3 p.m., an after-school program will be offered, but there is no starting date for that as of yet.

On Oct. 13, the board will review how the elementary schools are fairing and decide on when to open up hybrid for the middle and high schools.

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