District Ready To Host All Students Again, Although Opening Day Will Be Different

Students arriving for their first day of school on September 9 won’t be greeted by clap-ins, as they have in years past, due to Covid concerns. (File photo.)

There won’t be any fanfare, like the clap-ins of past years, when students arrive at district schools early in the morning of September 9, but it will still be a special day.

That’s because it will be the first time since March of 2020 – a full 18 months – that all students will be in all township schools.

Students throughout the district who opted for the distance-learning program for the 2020-2021 school year will have their first classes in their buildings, and in some cases, new buildings.

Schools Superintendent John Ravally said the district is ready.

“It’s going to be a little bit different than the typical first day of school, but the excitement will be there,” he said.

“Really what we’re going to do is get everyone in in an orderly way, and just get the day going,” Ravally said.

District officials over the past several weeks have been holding webinars with parents to explain to them the “new normal” of in-person learning. That means, among other things, masks worn on buses and in the schools, desks kept at least 3 feet apart, a different approach to physical education and more structured lunch periods.

Just like last year, students will be expected to keep a 6-foot buffer between themselves when in hallways, Ravally said.

During lunch, students in grades Pre-K to 8th will have assigned seats in their cafeterias and other spaces targeted for food consumption, and high school students will pick their seats through a QR Code system.

Gym class will not be as strenuous as it has been in past year; the curriculum has been changed to provide only those activities that can be accomplished while wearing a mask.

Group learning will take on a new look, Ravally said. Instead of a group of students gathered around a large round table to complete an exercise, they will all be facing one way and social distanced, he said.

That also holds true for groups such as the literary circles, where students gather to discuss a story they read, Ravally said.

Having all the students face one way may not “have that same impact where a literary circle has, but we still get the main goal accomplished which is getting the kids talking about the story,” he said.

Middle and high school students who want lockers will be able to get them, Ravally said, adding that the schools will do their best to socially distance students at the lockers.

Lockers will be disinfected from the outside after each period change, he said.

Ravally also said the schools are asking that students do not share lockers.

“We’re going to do the best we can and hopefully everybody cooperates,” he said.

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