LOWER MERION, Pa. (CBS) — One of the biggest school districts in the Delaware Valley has made plans to bring students back into the classroom. It’s a slow process which is designed to keep kids safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Lower Merion School District has finalized plans to allow for a hybrid learning environment for its nearly 8,700 students.
Beginning on Sept. 29, all kindergarten students will return to in-person classes.
“So we have a.m. and p.m. kindergarten in Lower Merion half-day kindergarten. Our kindergarteners will be returning to school five days a week, either in their a.m. or p.m. cohort,” school district spokesperson Amy Buckman said.
In the weeks to follow, beginning Oct. 5, special education students and grades first through third will return in hybrid groups, ultimately integrating grades fourth and fifth and sixth through 12th by Oct. 19. Additional safety measures have been added to ensure the safe return of all students.
“We’re putting in layers of precautions. We’re looking at the community transmission rates, the incidents, the positivity and making sure they’re at a reasonable threshold,” Buckman said. “On top of that, we’re adding masking. On top of that, we’re adding distancing. On top of that, we’re adding cleaning protocols.”
District officials say they will be monitoring COVID-19 case counts and community transmission rates very closely and admit returning to all remote learning may be a possibility, if necessary.
“It may be possible that we have to go back to go to all virtual instruction at some point. We may be transitioning between models throughout this year,” Buckman said.
Parents who still just don’t feel comfortable sending their kids back into an in-person school setting have the option of being all remote for now.