With students’ mental health in mind, High Point presses ahead with all-cohort plan

Wantage. The teachers’ union, fearing a Covid outbreak from spring break travel, opposes the plan to bring all students together on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

| 25 Mar 2021 | 03:15

High Point Regional High School officials are pressing forward with their plan to reopen the school to all cohorts four days a week starting April 12, despite a recent mandated closure because of a Covid-19 outbreak, and a plea from the teachers association to go remote for a week after spring break.

The full-day schedule combines all four cohorts with a school day that begins at 7:35 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

The director of curriculum and instruction, Seamus Campbell, said at the March 16 school board meeting that supporting students’ mental and emotional health is paramount in the fourth marking period.

“We believe more time interacting with their peers in person will support that,” he said.

Campbell said the school has kept the class pattern the same. The periods will roll out the same as in September because teachers and students want consistency.

Mondays and Tuesdays will be red days and start with periods 1-3. The cohorts will have separate lunch periods before Monday finishes with blocks 5 and 6. Tuesdays finish with blocks 7 and 8.

Thursday and Friday will be silver days, which will start with blocks 5-7 before the alternating classes and lunches. Thursdays will finish with blocks 1 and 2, and Fridays will finish with blocks 3 and 4.

Wednesday will remain remote for all students.

“Wednesday allows for all four groups to have consistent instruction on the same platform,” Campbell said.

The High Point Education Association president, Carla Mancuso, asked at the school board meeting for a one-week remote period after spring break.

“We heard from students that they’re traveling out of state,” she said. “Everybody is going everywhere, and they told us they’re going everywhere, and it’s scary.”

Principal Jon Tallamy said everyone is working to make the environment as safe as possible on April 12.

Superintendent Scott Ripley said this plan requires that everyone adheres to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, which includes wearing masks and ongoing sanitizing. On March 19, the CDC reduced its social-distancing requirement for schools to three feet.

In lieu of plastic barriers, students will be facing the same direction.

“Because it’s also the fourth marking period, we will be opening windows to increase ventilation to be a mitigating factor,” Ripley said.

He classes and lunches can move outside as the weather gets milder.

“We heard from students that they’re traveling out of state. Everybody is going everywhere, and they told us they’re going everywhere, and it’s scary.” Carla Mancuso, High Point Education Association President