Changes of school during the 2020

General McLane’s complete “Return to School” plan is located on the district’s website

Sydney Ferraro, Reporter

    The students of General McLane High School faced a difficult change when coming back to school this year due to Covid-19. All students had the choice of physically returning to school on a half-day hybrid schedule, or stay home all day, everyday on a fully cyber schedule.

    The half-day hybrid schedule is a Tuesday through Friday schedule where students are grouped into cohorts dependent on the first letter of their last name and switch from attending classes in the mornings or afternoons  The students go to two classes each day and when they go home, they are to complete their other two classes online asynchronously. The next day they switch.  On Mondays, all students in the district stay home for cyber learning. 

         Schools across Erie County and the country adopted a variety of different approaches for scheduling this school year ranging from all cyber, in person every other day, half-days, to full capacity every day. Principal Dan Mennow provided an explanation why GM’s plan was chosen for the high school stating, “We felt that the plan we picked was the safest for our school.” 

      While in class, students are staff are masked and practice social distancing.  Meals are not an issue, as students do not eat in the building. 

     Although the half day and cyber options were adopted by the entire district, the high school is the only building in which students alternate between morning and afternoon schedules on the hybrid plan.  While the middle school is focused more on core classes, the high school has many classes to worry about. The rotating schedule allows for students to still participate in elective courses which often prepare students for careers and life after high school.  

     Mennow explained that the middle school is also on a different schedule because they coordinated with the elementary schools.  Administration felt that it would be best for high school students to switch each day, morning or afternoon for sleep purposes.  Some students felt it was unfair if they were going in the morning everyday, and not able to sleep in like the afternoon  students. 

     Mennow feels the plan is the best option right now, but is dealing with students not performing as well as they typically would academically. In person classes do allow for social interaction of students, but a number of students are falling behind with their at-home work.  Cyber students, who are not seeing their teachers at all unless they have Teams calls with them, are also underperforming. Interventions and added support for students are being implemented by staff.  

The half day cohort and cyber options will continue until the spread of the virus slows significantly With three area schools recently transitioning to all cyber due to small outbreaks, a return to a normal all day in person schedule may not be in the foreseeable future.  If an outbreak did occur in our district, we may be forced to shut down and cease extracurricular activities.  Superintendent Rick Scaletta recently addressed students in a video message, stressing the importance of responsible interaction with friends and family outside of school.  He stated, “Now more than ever your responsibility extends  beyond the school walls to everyone in the school.  So please, be thoughtful, be careful, be systematic, wear your mask and stay six feet apart.”