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In-person rates rising in Silver Creek schools

SILVER CREEK — As New York state Guidance continues to change in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Silver Creek Superintendent Todd Crandall continues to welcome students back to school at a pretty good rate.

“Starting on Monday, May 3, approximately 86 percent of the elementary students will be back in person,” Crandall said. “We’ve done some pretty remarkable things this year.”

Silver Creek has had students in the buildings at all grade levels since the start of the year, and have constantly worked to bring more and more back. The big shift in why the elementary school in particular has been able to bring so many students back is the reduction of distancing in classrooms, allowing it to be under six feet.

“We sent out a survey at the start of a year, with 72 percent of parents wanting their kids to be in school,” Crandall said. “We got creative with the space in the school and trying to find room, with some of the teachers who were previously in academic intervention services became classroom teachers. We did another survey around Thanksgiving, and another on February 1. Prior to our last survey at the beginning of April, we were able to bring back 36 additional students thanks to the guidelines.”

The updated guidelines allow distancing to be as low as three feet in the classroom, but Crandall said it might be around five feet of distance. Either way, the classrooms will now gain extra capacity because of that reduced distance.

On top of bringing students back at the elementary level, the Silver Creek Middle and High Schools will also welcome back students on Fridays for the first time this year. The school has been doing a hybrid model all year that has allowed students to follow their normal classroom schedules from home, thanks to everyone in grades three through 12 having access to iPads. But instead of being fully remote, Fridays will now have kids in the school.

“It used to be our day to do deep cleaning and it allowed the teachers to plan,” Crandall said. “But starting May 7, we’re going to five days of our hybrid model, so kids will be in the building five days a week.”

Crandall and the rest of the administrators at the Silver Creek Central School District felt it was very important to get students back in the classrooms.

“We felt it was vitally important to get kids into the building to have interaction with staff and teachers,” Crandall said.

The entire Silver Creek Administrative Team will host a Facebook Live session at 5 p.m. today to discuss any reopening changes as a result of NYS recent reopening guidance.

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