Oswego City School District holding off bringing more students back in-person

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OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — On Tuesday, the Oswego City School District announced that after looking at updated guidance, the district will hold off bringing more students back for in-person learning.

The district said that the current models in place for grades four through 12 would be extended as the updated state guidance requires smaller-group learning for any CDC-identified red zone, an area with more than 100 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population over seven days, which presently includes Oswego County.

“We understand people will be frustrated by this news and we at the district were incredibly excited to welcome back students for more,” said OCSD Superintendent Dr. Mathis Calvin. “With this new state guidance, it’s clear we can’t come back as planned next week, but we are exploring every avenue to expand our in-person options as soon as possible with a plan coming out next week.”

The district will continue to enact its current hybrid learning model for grades four through 12, while students in pre-K through third remain full-time, Dr. Calvin noted.

For secondary students in grades seven through 12, who the state defines as a higher risk of COVID transmission, would likely stay in the cohort model into the foreseeable future, officials said. However, the district is working to plan an alternating extra day per week for each cohort.

Dr. Calvin said he is optimistic about the prospects of grades four through six students returning for more in-person learning soon.

“With respect to our elementary students, we do believe that we will be able to bring the rest of our students in grades four to six back in the near future,” Dr. Calvin said. “At this time, we are thinking about staggering their return, per the guidance.”

The new state guidelines were announced Friday evening and further modifications were sent out Monday which led to the change of plans, Dr. Calvin said. He added the district hoped to have a draft of new plans next week by no later than April 23.

Dr. Calvin also called upon members of the public to help by serving on a committee of stakeholders, including teachers, parents, health officials, support staff, students and community members to help provide input to this plan. Those interested in participating in an April 22 meeting should contact the superintendent’s office at (315) 341-2001 by no later than Friday.

“Please know that the district is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our students and staff while also providing as much in-person learning that we possibly can,” said Dr. Calvin. “Thank you for your patience in advance as we work through the changes.”

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