The kids are back in school.
Well, at least 20 kindergartners are at Lodi Primary School for three weeks during the summer.
The mandate of school closures across the state ended on June 30 and the Lodi schools wanted to see if there was a way to get a small sample of students back into the buildings.
“Once the statewide closures were lifted, we talked about what the possibilities were to bring kids back into the building,” Lodi Primary School Principal Mike Pisani said. “We couldn’t bring everyone back, but we wanted to see who would benefit the most from this.
“We’ve been planning like cray,” he added.
On July 27, the school welcomed back 20 students into a pair of kindergarten classes. One class — the Soaring into Kindergarten class — will be compromised of nine 4-year-olds. That class will focus on showing children what to expect from kindergarten in the fall.
“It gives some kids a chance to see the classroom and get to come into the building,” Pisani said. “It helps with the transition into kindergarten and we can walk them through the process.”
The other class will be made up of 11 kindergartners from the 2019-20 school year. It allows them more instruction at that level and perhaps teach things that might have been lost on certain students during the virtual learning period in the spring.
“Three months lost from the classroom on a kindergartner is more significant than three months on a sophomore, so we’ll try to teach what was lost, too,” Pisani said.
The classes will be three hours a day — from 8-11 a.m. — on Mondays through Thursdays and run until Thursday, Aug. 13. Teachers and students will be wearing face coverings.
The basics of kindergarten will still be taught, like literacy and other forms of education. Teachers will also teach hygiene, which is always taught, but will be more extensive for the three weeks.
“We’ve heard from families who have the desire to bring their kids back and we had the desire of other kids of wanting to be with other kids,” Pisani said. “It’s a good, controlled way to get our toes in the water.”
No decision has been made on how the Lodi schools will conduct themselves to the start of the 2020-21 school year, but the School Board held a special meeting on July 29 to possibly make a decision. District Administrator Vince Breunig has said recently that a final decision will be made by the Aug. 10 school board meeting.
Pisani said that by having this short summer school program, then the Primary School, and others in the district know what to plan for when larger groups come back. They’ll also see if any of this causes anxiety in teachers or students, and if wearing masks is an issue.