“I can’t understate the work of our staff and administration for making this happen,” Dr. Dickerson said. “I really want to thank Mr. [Jon] LoBiondo for his work in dealing with the challenges to transportation. I know he spent many hours making this work. Also, to our contractors and drivers who have helped this succeed. It is much needed for our students to have that personal connection and have the chance to attend school. Parents are excited and there is a lot of joy on the faces of these kids when they come into the building.”
Dr. Dickerson explained that the most challenging school is Milford Central Academy as the school has been dealing with overcrowding for several years. Now, with the need to social distance students at least three feet apart in the classroom and six feet in the cafeteria, the need for additional space has become clearer. Currently, MCA students are attending only three days per week in person, although all students, both virtual and hybrid, are learning in a concurrent method.
“The concurrent method means they are still engaged with teachers four days per week,” Dr. Dickerson said. “Some are engaging with teachers five days as Wednesday is a support day where kids who need a little extra help can work with the teacher. The first day today, seeing our kids back in school, I cannot thank our administration, teachers and school leaders enough in welcoming them back.”
Dr. Dickerson also praised the families of Milford School District students, stating that this has been a long process for families as well.
“They have been on the outside supporting our remote students and now they are supporting our in-class students as well,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We appreciate their willingness to work with us and to support our kids in everything they have had to endure. A lot of community members have been behind our kids as well. I have talked about the daycares who have gone above and beyond to help our kids.”
School board member Jean Wylie asked about the spacing of students in the classroom and how that was managed. Dr. Dickerson explained that each school was different as Ross had larger classrooms, but Banneker’s were smaller.
“Our older schools tend to have larger classrooms,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We did have the Department of Health Liaisons come in to review what we are doing to be sure it is safe under DPH and CDC guidelines and they did approve it.” Wylie also asked about providing food to students and Dr. Dickerson explained that children were receiving food, both those attending in person and those who were remaining in remote learning. He stated that in the cafeteria because masks are not worn, the schools had to be a little more creative to keep children six feet apart, but schools were managing.
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