Inside the Schools Open Full Time Right Now
What the data really tells us about COVID-19 transmission and safety in the classroom
October 21, 2020
In the expansive cafeteria in Grafflin Elementary School, in Chappaqua, New York, with its double height ceiling and stage on its far side, Carol Scappaticci extended a microphone rubber banded to the end of a yardstick in front of a student. Scappaticci, a fourth grade teacher, likes to slalom among desks in her unusual classroom this year with this homespun tool. Without it, and a set of towering speakers, her twenty students have trouble hearing each other when they share questions or comments. Other general education classes in Grafflin are similarly fanned out, in the school's library and gymnasium.
Standard-sized rooms, for music, art, and makerspaces, were also stripped of their original purposes, and commandeered for regular classes that are now split between two rooms, roughly ten children, amply spaced, in each, with a teacher and an aide shuffling between them. Giant monitors at the front of every room enable the kids to see, and fumblingly interact with their classmates next door, and those who've opted to work remotely from home.
Chappaqua is among a small minority of districts in the New York metro area with students attending school full time, and Grafflin, along with the other elementary and middle schools in Chappaqua, has undergone an extreme makeover to operate at full capacity and keep everyone socially distanced.