Bedford school officials have begun formulating plans for the 2020-21 school year, preparing for multiple instructional scenarios as districts seek to reopen in September following the mid-March closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jean Miccio, acting assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said last week that the district has been more focused on prioritizing standards rather than what a potential schedule may look like because there are too many uncertainties.
There is the possibility that the entire student body could return for in-person classes in September, but there could also be classes held at 50 percent capacity or remote learning could continue or some combination of schooling.
Regardless of what the schedule looks like, there isn’t likely to be enough time next year for teachers to cover the entire curriculum from start to finish, Miccio said.
“We know there are going to be interruptions, we know that the schedule is not going to be the way we want it to be, at least in the beginning, so one of the things that’s probably the hardest thing to do is we asked the teachers to really take a look at their curriculum and go through the standards and prioritize those standards so that we know we’re prioritizing the most important things next year,” Miccio said.
School districts throughout the region, including Bedford, have been sharing information and their tentative plans with each other, she said. Miccio attended a regional meeting of assistant superintendents last Wednesday with colleagues from other districts.
Bedford has appointed three task forces – for academics, operations and student social and emotional issues – to help receive better guidance from parents and the community at large, said Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joel Adelberg. A survey has also been sent out to capture additional feedback.
Adelberg was adamant that the district will be better prepared for whatever type of learning there will be next school year. He said there will be better structure, much stronger direction and greater interaction between faculty and students in the upcoming year.
“We know that we need a much stronger game plan and multiple versions and variations of all different contingencies however we resume when we get back, whatever that looks like, whenever that starts,” Adelberg said.
School officials in Bedford and elsewhere will likely have a better idea about reopening plans after the Board of Regents issues its guidance, which is expected about July 13. Each district has to submit a plan to the state after that.
Board Vice President Edward Reder said Bedford should continue its preparations rather than expect firm guidance from Albany.
“We’re not waiting for the state,” he said. “We’ll take the guidance from the state and we’ll bring that into our plan, but we’re not waiting for the state to come down with the set of details.”
Adelberg assured the board last week that the quality and details in Bedford’s reopening plan will exceed whatever the state will be looking for.