Pleasant Avenue plans to open four days a week

JOHNSTOWN — The city school with the youngest students will be the first to reopen four days a week for in-person instruction on March 15, the Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education heard Thursday night.

Pleasant Avenue Elementary School Principal Corinne Cotter gave a presentation on a “reopening plan” for her school in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The school teaches grades K-2.

Cotter said the plan keeps both learning models the district currently has — in-person and remote learning.

She said some students will now have live in-person instruction at the school four days week – Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. There will also be two fine arts and two physical education special classes. Those students remaining in the remote model will also have instruction four days per week.

“Our students need to be in school,” Cotter said.

She said it has been proven through education standards that students do better academically if they are in school. Although she said there is a higher rolling average for COVID positivity in the area, Pleasant Avenue Elementary School has less than 1 percent in its rolling average.

Cotter said her school’s remote-only teachers will be moved to the Knox Building.

She said there are 15 desks in the smallest Pleasant Avenue classroom and they are kept at least six feet apart at all times. She said all the normal COVID protocols will continue to be in place: daily temperatures taken, sanitizing hands, picking up breakfast before heading to class.

“Safety is a number one priority in this building,” Cotter said.

She said the school will have limited movement and masks will mostly always be worn.

A parent forum to outline the reopening will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, she said. A parent survey deadline will be Wednesday.

The four-day in-person instruction begins March 15.

District officials say they are looking next at possibly reopening Warren Street Elementary School for grades 3-6, but there other challenges to address in that building.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” board President Christopher Tallon said of Pleasant.

By Paul Wager