Amsterdam school district looks to increase in-person learning

File Photo

File Photo

AMSTERDAM — Families in the Greater Amsterdam School District have until Nov. 2 to opt to move their students into the district’s in-person learning option, which may expand to more days in the coming weeks.

Superintendent Rich Ruberti on Monday said district officials are also looking into options for expanding the number of days students attend class in person, including increasing in-person classes from twice a week to four times a week.

With about 40 percent of students opting to learn remotely at the start of the school year, Ruberti said, the district has the capacity to increase the number of students learning at school.

He said the first few weeks of in-person learning have run smoothly and that educators in the district are ready to increase the amount of direct instruction delivered to students in school. He said he was hopeful the smooth transition back to in-person school would convince families it is safe to send their child back.

“We were hoping to reassure parents that we are prepared,” Ruberti said. “I am hopeful they are ready to send their kids back.”

The district has already allowed some students to shift from learning remotely to in-person. Officials will have to work out the details of increasing in-person school, Ruberti said.

According to data provided by Ruberti, 60 percent of students rotate between two days in person and three days learning remotely. On any given day – except Wednesday, when all students learn remotely – about one-third of the district’s students attend class in a school building.

Ruberti said he thinks the district could accommodate about 15 percent of the remote-only families opting to go back to school, while also increasing the number of days students attend class in person.

While families have until Nov. 2 to change their selection of a learning format, the new choice would take effect sometime later next month: Nov. 16 for high school and middle school students and Nov. 23 for elementary school students. Families are asked to contact their child’s school to make a change.

Ruberti reiterated that parents can still choose the best fit for their child, but said remote learning will never replace the teaching and learning that happens in a classroom – at least not without significantly more time and resources to develop online learning.

“You can never fully implement a program that mirrors the same on site versus remote,” Ruberti said. “It would take years to do that.”

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