FLOYD COUNTY — Grades 7-12 will continue with a hybrid schedule at New Albany-Floyd County schools until the end of 2020, but there will be some modifications, according to NAFC Superintendent Brad Snyder.
Snyder announced the district’s plan for the second nine weeks in an email sent Monday to parents. The district started school Aug. 12, and the second quarter will begin Oct. 18. New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. is providing both virtual and in-person instruction.
NAFC is now using an A/B schedule for middle school and high school students, which involves two groups of students alternating between virtual and in-person learning throughout the week.
Grades K-6 will continue with everyday in-person instruction except for four districtwide virtual days scheduled for Oct. 28, Nov. 11, Nov. 18 and Dec. 9.
According to the updated plan, the district will begin allowing certain students in grades 7-12 to attend more days in-person. Students enrolled in the intense intervention program will attend each day except for the scheduled virtual learning days, and students who are struggling academically or facing technology issues will be encouraged to attend in-person four days a week.
Snyder said he hopes the announcement provides a “layer of certainty” for students and parents and allows them to plan for the next nine weeks.
Middle school and high school buildings are well below half capacity now due to both the hybrid schedule and the number of students enrolled in virtual learning, but with the second nine-week changes, the number of students in the building could be closer to 50%.
“We’re trying to achieve balance — on one hand, we’re trying to honor the threat of COVID,” Snyder said. “We know it’s highly contagious, and we want to honor social distancing and cohorting principals. On the other side, we want to honor the need to get kids in the building to grow academically and achieve.”
According to Snyder, although there have been COVID-19 cases reported in NAFC schools since the beginning of the school year, there have been no school closures related to COVID-19.
In addition to the school calendar adjustments, the district will start reopening the use of school facilities for outside organizations after the end of the school day, but organizers will be required to provide detailed COVID-19 mitigation plans.
The district also will work with fine art teachers to find ways to showcase student talent while maintaining social distancing. For example, schools might be able to present events with a limited audience and safety protocols in place, Snyder said.
“If a kid can sing or if kid can act or if kid can play violin, we’re just looking for ways to showcase that without selling tickets and without packing an auditorium,” he said.
The decision for the first quarter in 2021 will be made later in the year, but Snyder emphasizes that “we’re following the virus — the virus isn’t following us,” and more restrictive measures might need to be put in place if the pandemic worsens.
Snyder said he feels the district is doing a good job in terms of public health and COVID-19 mitigation and the district has to follow the proper precautions until it’s safe to return to normal routines.
“It is disappointing from the student youth perspective,” Snyder said. “There are seniors out there, athletes and different groups of kids wanting different things, and it’s hard for them not having the same type of experience other kids have had. It’s the cliché, but we are all in this together.”