Students, faculty and staff are returning to classrooms in all eight buildings in Huntington UFSD for the first time in almost six months as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has required a long list of changes in traditional practices in a nod toward safety.
While the modifications are many, including temperature checks at the doors of every school, students will find the same energetic faculty waiting to work with them in the classroom and virtually when they aren’t in the building.
District officials have been working for many months to craft plans for the reopening and to establish various safety protocols that are required to be followed.
Most students will be following a hybrid schedule the features a mix of in-school classes and studying at home via a livestream virtual format. Some have decided on an all remote format.
Kindergarteners and students in 15:1:1 and 12:1+(3:1) special education programs will be attending classes full-time. Youngsters in grades 1-6 will attend twice a week and every other Monday. Students at J. Taylor Finley Middle School and Huntington High School will attend in-person classes once a week and every fourth Monday. When the students aren’t at school for classes, they will be studying at home via a livestream virtual format.
“While uncertainty and anxiety within the school community are certainly understandable, all in Huntington have worked diligently and cautiously to prepare for this moment,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “We are excited to get the year started and welcome students back into our buildings at long last and we look forward to continued positivity and progress. As always, we are committed to making this a great year for our students and staff. With that said, we ask for everyone’s ongoing patience and cooperation in light of the ever-changing dynamics of the situation.”
When conditions allow and when state officials give a green light, the district intends to increase the opportunity for in-school attendance as Huntington UFSD inches toward resumption of a regular academic and extracurricular program. When that will be, no one knows.
Principals and custodial staff have worked closely with district executives to implement changes necessitated by the pandemic. Modifications touch on every aspect of regular school operations from buses and the food service program to visitors to schools and physical education.
Teachers have been learning and adapting to the many modifications they will have to navigate through as they deliver daily lessons. Masks will be worn at all times by everyone, although several “mask breaks” will be provided in a physically distanced manner.
While Huntington UFSD is reopening under conditions never before seen, everyone associated with the district, including the PTA at each building, is committed to giving students the best possible experience.