Camden welcomes students back to class; uses Monday as remote learning day to limit time between in-person classes

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CAMDEN, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Back to school plans have been in place for weeks, now it’s time to see how they work. In Camden, the first day of school was smooth sailing, according to Superintendent Ravo Root.

Class is back in session in Camden, and as they use the hybrid model, half of the students that chose in-person learning had their first day of school on Tuesday. 

“I thought it went really well. I saw and heard feedback from our teachers, from our principals, and from our students. I can tell you that our students were happy to be back,” Camden Superintendent Ravo Root said. 

In a survey sent out to families before school started, 86% preferred in-person learning and 14% of students are staying home and learning remotely. This helped the school district follow the governor’s guidelines and make sure everyone was properly socially distanced.

“When you’re talking about a school bus and you’re ensuring every student is going to have their own seat, and you’re going to space people out, it made it easier having just the 86% of the students coming in,” Root said. “Now I will say in addition to 86% of our students coming in, only 50% of our students are utilizing the bus transportation. The other 50% are being brought in by their parents or walking to school.”

If a student gets dropped off at school or if they walk, they will have their temperature taken at the door, but if they ride the bus, they will be checked for COVID-19 symptoms well before arriving to school. 

“One of the things that I’m proud of that Camden Central Schools are doing is that our bus drivers are taking the temperatures of the students before they get on the bus,” Root said. “If they register higher than 100.0, then they are not allowed to get on the bus.”

Most schools learning under a hybrid model use Wednesday as an entirely remote day for students so they can properly disinfect the school buildings. Camden, however, is using Monday as their remote day.

Root said, “We chose Monday because of the fact, first of all, there are about four holidays that occur on Mondays, as well as breaks that occur on Mondays. So, we were looking at that. In addition to that, we wanted to minimize the amount of time that lasted between when a student was in class and when they weren’t.”

Gym class is going to be a challenge for many districts. In Camden, they want to take advantage of the nice weather while it is here, and they have some unconventional physical education lessons in mind.

“One of the things in New York State is that social and emotional learning was added to our physical education classes, as part of the curriculum,” Root said. “So, we’re expanding on that too. We’re planning on, especially when the weather isn’t so great and we’re not outdoors, that we’ll be able to socially distance and we’ll be able to work on positive character traits, character building, different things that are really important to students’ lives as well.”

Day one was a success at Camden, and the Superintendent is confident in the COVID-19 plan, but he’s taking it one day at a time.

“As far as my confidence level, this is really one of those times where you take it one day at a time,” Root said. “I’ll continue to look at the numbers, I’ll continue to get the information from the county department of health, and really kind of analyze each and every day. We’re going to make decisions that keep everybody as safe as possible, but we are thrilled to have kids back in school, and we’re moving forward with that.”

For more info regarding the reopening of schools and COVID-19, click here.

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