UTICA, N.Y. - The Notre Dame School District held two of four parent meetings Tuesday night at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Utica.
These meetings were for parents to get more details on the school's reopening plans, ask questions, and address concerns.
The first meeting was for parents who have children in Pre-K through second grade. The second meeting was for seventh grade through ninth grade parents.
Notre Dame plans to reopen for full time, five days a week educational instruction for Fall 2020.
“We felt that the social distancing guidelines as well as all other guidelines set forth by New York State and the department of health, that we could go ahead and account for everyone of those and still guarantee the safety of our young ladies and gentleman as well as faculty and staff," Executive Principal Roy Kane said. “What we’re doing is utilizing some of our auxiliary spaces, such as both gymnasiums, cafeterias on both campuses, we have a few spaces reconfigured into class rooms that were once office spaces, so we have additional space. Additionally, we’ll be looking at taking advantage of the recommendation to get out doors as much as possible.”
Kane spoke at both meetings and addressed what will happen if there is a positive coronavirus case in one of the buildings. He says if someone is showing symptoms, they will start with isolating that person and as soon as they leave the building, they will be tested.
“If it turns out to be a positive case, that gets reported immediately to the department of health, then that gets reported to us, letting us know we have a positive case," Kane said. "At that time, they’ll send a team over for contract tracing and we will go ahead and track the movements of that young man or young lady. A contracting service professionally comes in, they address cleaning, sanitation efforts, once they as well as the department of health clears us, we will then resume with activities.”
Parents who attended the meetings say they are happy with the schools plans.
"I thought it was well thought out, it was very organized, and I feel very safe sending my child here to school," Christina Gravelding, a mother of a Pre-K student said.
She said she did look at another local schools reopening plan, but she felt the best option for her child is in person learning.
"She's going to get a way better education from a teacher than from me," Gravelding said. "I have a young child, and social interaction, even if it is six feet away, is very important to their social development and well-being and I truly believe that being in school is a much larger benefit than being on a computer."
Kane says there are currently about 600 students and 675 staff members at Notre Dame. He says the number of students is increasing.
"We are being inundated, I think is a fair word to say, both at the elementary campus, Pre-K to six, as well as individuals coming over looking at what we have, our program, safety and what not and how we're going to handle this but more importantly they're excited about five days a week," Kane said.
There are two more meetings scheduled on Wednesday. The first one is at 5:00 P.M. for grades three through sixth. The second meeting will be at 6:30 P.M. for 10th through 12th grades.