Lessons in being flexible

January 5, 2022


Staff file

Concerns about Covid have kept students from gathering in large groups such as this in the all-purpose room of Patrick M. Villano School. This photo from more than two years ago shows a schoolwide assembly.

Full days, half days, and back to full days of school. Students across the area are learning more than Math, Reading, Science and Social Studies. They are learning to be flexible with their schedule due to Covid. On January 5, an email from the Emerson Public School District stated that all schools will go to a minimum day, or half day, schedule, for one week.

“As of today [January 5], twenty members of the teaching staff are observing COVID protocols. They are joined by eight additional non-teaching staff as well. These absences are felt greatest during lunch, recess, and other non-classroom instructional times. Those staff members are joined by the ongoing self-reporting of students also entering COVID-protocols. Our district-wide student absentee rate today was 14.9%,” the email stated.

Some students, such as fifth-grader Hailey Daviou, prefer a full day schedule.

“Some pros about full days of school are that you get to have lunch, recess, and I feel like you get more breaks during the day when you have a full day,” Daviou voiced. “I enjoy full days because I feel like you get more breaks and I also feel like half days you don’t really get to see any of your friends that are in the other classes.”

The decision to move to a minimum day schedule was to “remove the need to combine classes,” stated the email. It also reduced the amount of time students are unmasked while eating in the lunchrooms. Some teachers at Patrick M. Villano School will also miss a full day routine.

“I prefer the full days because it allows teachers to have more face-to-face connections with students. This helps with answering questions, students being around their peers, and more opportunities to learn in the classroom,” said teacher Brianne O’Rourke. “I am excited for full days to be coming back based on the reasons above and getting back into the routine of school.”

Some staff in charge of specials classes also hope to see the return of full days soon.

“I like having the full 45 minutes for music class so that we can dive deeper into our content and have more time for projects and assignments,” explained music teacher Victoria Ioppolo. “I enjoy having more time with students on full days. I can’t wait to dive into new units and lessons with students in music class. There is so much to do and learn!”

School is expected to return to full days on Tuesday, January 18.

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    Tina MateoFeb 9, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    I loved reading your story.

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    Tina MateoFeb 9, 2022 at 3:17 pm

    Your story was very good.