All Greater Amsterdam School District families have the option to choose an all-remote education for their children as the school districts plans to reopen school buildings next month.
While district officials did not initially grant all families the choice, they announced on Wednesday that families could now select an all-remote option regardless of medical needs. District leaders, though, highlighted that the district’s “preferred and recommended learning model” is the hybrid format that would have students split their time between in-person instruction at school and virtual learning at home.
“This remote only option is now available as a choice for parents. No medical form is necessary,” according to the district’s online survey asking parents to choose with format they want. “Note the preferred model recommended by the school district, however, is the combined model.”
Amsterdam parents have until Aug. 14 to submit a decision to the district.
Officials said the all-remote option would be “substantive” but would not match the learning provided under the hybrid model. Families opting for the remote option must commit to do so for at least the first trimester at the elementary level and the first quarter at the middle and high school level. The model will include both live “synchronous” instruction with teachers and other independent work.
The issue of parent choice has emerged as a tricky one for school districts. While state guidelines require districts accommodate “medically vulnerable” students, many parents across the region have expressed concern with sending their kids back to school buildings as the COVID-19 pandemic still rages across the country.
When Amsterdam Superintendent Richard Ruberti presented the plan last week, he said the option was not available universally but that the district would consider family circumstances on a case-by-case basis. At the time, he indicated the district may shift to a universal option depending on family concerns.
Most other districts throughout the Capital Region have also guaranteed all families the choice to keep their kids out of school buildings, asking those families to commit to set period of time, like the quarter or semester, to help district manage scheduling complexity.