JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WTAJ) — With school looming around the corner, officials from the Richland School District discussed their plans for in-person instruction this fall.
“At this point, approximately 90% of our parents and families have opted for returning for traditional instruction five days a week,” said Arnold Nadonley, Superintendent of the Richland School District.
Students are itching to get back — and Nadonley says the other ten percent have opted for remote learning or their cyber academy.
Nadonley compares in-person learning to parenting.
“The best parenting occurs face to face not on cyber, not remote and the best instruction occurs face to face,” Nadonley continued. “Employers look at that and they see the difference, they see the socialization skills with kids. They see the mental well-being, kids coming back need the socialization.”
Richland has about 1,500 students across their elementary and high school — both of which will see changes, including in the cafeteria.
“Mealtimes in years past where you’d have all of the kids in the cafeteria, now we’re going to have them in different rooms that we can socially distance appropriately throughout the course of the days,” said Tim Regan, Principal of Richland High School.
Lunch periods would typically see between 250 and 275 kids but Regan says that will be a lot lower.
Director of Educational Services, Brandon Bailey, says masks will be provided to all students adding that they’ve put in seven machines that check for temperatures.
“We have our temperature scanner set up. Come through, wrist up, take your temperature,” Bailey said.
Elementary School Principal Gregg Wilson says the elementary school will see lots of scheduling changes.
“We feel with our younger students specifically we’re going to try and limit how they’re transitioning in the hall,” Wilson said.” We’re going to try to limit how many teachers they have or how many classrooms they’re in.”
Another big change is how kids get picked up.
“When busses had cleared out of the parking lot then all the parents would physically come into the building and sign their children out in our main entranceway,” Wilson continued.” You might have anywhere from 60 to 100 families in a matter of about 10-15 minutes.”
He says this year will look different.
“They’re going to come and they’re going to have a sign on their dashboard with the children they’re picking up and then we will bring those children to the car so they won’t have to come into the building and congregate in a small area.”
As this is a difficult time for everyone — Richland staff ask parents to be patient with these new procedures.