Pennsbury Schools Reopen Plan Focuses On Younger Students, Special Education

Pennsbury High School West. Photo by Rick Rickman.

A new hybrid reopen plan for the Pennsbury School District places an emphasis on younger students and those with special needs reentering the classroom.

Superintendent Dr. William Gretzula presented the plan at Thursday night’s school board meeting. It reflects these results of a survey sent out to parents.

Out of more than 2500 families in the district with elementary or middle school children, nearly 80 percent preferred a hybrid model over the full time remote learning. Meantime, more high school families felt satisfied with virtual education.

Currently, the hybrid model will have students in the classroom two days per week and learning remotely the other three. This is similar to other plans in Bristol Borough and Bristol Township.

Phase one begins with students in grades Pre-K through two starting hybrid in-person learning on November 12. On the same day, students in special education will start attending four days per week.

Then grades three through six begin the hybrid model for phase two on December 7. For phase three, grades seven through nine start January 4, 2021.

A Pennsbury protestor holds a sign saying, “Special Needs need special attention! Not Virtual Learning!” Photo by Rick Rickman.

This scaffolded plan seems to reflect the demands protestors called for at a rally in late September. Many of the students at this rally were special needs or elementary school.

One week after the rally, Pennsbury School Board President T.R. Kannan sent a letter out to the community. He recognized the remote option was not working for some families.

This new hybrid plan appears to be a direct response to this protest.

Right now the expectation is for students to wear cloth face coverings while in class. The district has 14,000 face shields ready for use if needed.

The school board will look to actually vote on the plan at their next meeting. In a letter from Gretzula Tuesday, he stated the board will schedule another meeting in October.