Metamora Grade School students headed back to class October 5th

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 METAMORA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Metamora school board approved a plan, Thursday evening, that will send its students back to class starting Oct. 5.

The plan is considered a temporary solution to be able to offer in-person learning. During the board meeting, Superintendent Marty Payne said a transition team narrowed down two options for students to return to class.

He said the transition team consisted of administration, members of the board of education, the staff of various grade levels including special education, health, safety, social-emotional, transportation, food service, custodial, and parents representation.

The plan, linked below, states it will divide students into two groups (A and B) with students in attendance every other day. Students residing in the same household will attend school on the same day.

Classes will be Monday-Friday from 8:20 a.m. until 12:20p.m. There will be an additional hour of remote learning time and/or at-home instruction to meet the five hours of learning daily.

Teachers will use the remainder of the day from 12:20-3:30 p.m. for lunch, planning, and preparation time and to work with students remotely.

When asked why the school couldn’t previously offer in-person learning similar to other schools in the area, Principal Tim Damery said it wasn’t feasible to have all students in the building at the same time due to the size of the school and social distancing requirements.

“Most of our elementary rooms are in older sections of the school and are generally smaller than other schools,” Damery said. “We are at max capacity in regards to rooms. Classrooms can seat anywhere from 9-11 students at six feet.”

Damery said of the options the team discussed, the current plan would be better off in the long run.

“If we are able to follow the IDPH and ISB guideline for safety, our plan A will be more sustainable for a longer period of time,” Damery said. “We will have less shutdowns due to minimal exposure of students.”

Wendy Vogel, a teacher who also served on the transition team, said just over 80% of the school’s teachers believe this plan is the most conducive.

“One, it puts students back in school where we know they are most successful,” Vogel said. “Two, it allows for in-person connections to be formed between children and educators. Three, it provides time for teachers to work with students remotely who are not in attendance.”

She said although there is no perfect plan, they have to make the best out of the current situation.

“There is no easy solution, but by working with the school and being supportive rather than critical our kids end up winning,” Vogel said.

While approving this plan, the board also agreed to meet regularly to work on another plan that will send all students back for in-person sometime in November.

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