BURLINGTON, Vt. – In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 this fall, Burlington School District will likely use an alternating day schedule, with groups of students switching between in-person and online classes.

While the district’s re-opening plan won’t be finalized until August 4, teachers and staff favored the strategy over switching midday, according to a district survey presented Thursday night at a faculty town hall event.

A Burlington School District survey of staff members found that a majority of respondents prefer an alternating days schedule over switching students midday. The proposed schedules are an effort to limit capacity and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A previous survey of students’ families found that parents would feel safer sending their kids back to school if measures to limit building capacity were put in place.

Superintendent Thomas Flanagan said there’s a plan being developed to help students who rely on school services, like students learning English, students with an individualized education plan or students with special needs.

“If we went A-day, B-day, that would mean students would be in school two days a week and there could be a third day for students who need specialized services, and that could be one way to do it,” Flanagan said. “In addition, we are going to provide specialized services to all students. Special education services, language acquisition services, those are critically important.”

A long list of probable changes were discussed at the two town hall events held this week. All are intended to promote social distancing and keep students safe, including the addition of health screening areas and new sanitizing procedures, along with physical distancing barriers.

Marty Spaulding, director of property services for the school district, has been working with the Reopening Task Force and touring schools to identify changes that will need to be made. He said they’re leaving no stone unturned as these changes are brought from concept to action.

“All of these pieces, what the day is going to look like from students getting off the bus, how they circulate through buildings,” Spaulding said. “We’re looking at our classrooms, we’ve got a full inventory of all the furniture. Lockers will be used throughout the day. This is going to require some strategic staggered scheduling.”

Details on other COVID-19 prevention measures discussed this week among Burlington School District leaders can be found here.