It's been a summer of question marks for the Lehighton Area School District. Administrators have been surveying families as they piece together reopening plans.
"Students wanted face-to-face interaction as an option. Almost 80-plus percent of the surveys we received recommended that face-to-face instruction," said the district's superintendent, Jonathan Cleaver.
All kids will get the option to learn in-person. Elementary and middle school students will come to school five days a week. But because the high school does not have space to allow for social distancing of its entire population, those students will split into groups, attending school on some days and learning remotely on others.
"It's definitely more of a self-paced type model that the older students can handle," said Cleaver.
Families at all grade levels will also have the option to learn at home through the Lehighton Area Virtual Academy.
"One nice thing about that is they remain a Lehighton area student, they have all the opportunities and everything else as provided to them," said Tim Tkach, assistant to the superintendent.
Masks are required but students won't have to wear them in class.
"When they're seated in their educational setting, they're six feet apart, they can remove their masks. That was a big concern some parents have," said Cleaver.
Another big question for the district is transporation. Right now buses aren't part of the upcoming year's budget.
"Even though the budget is approved, we continue to look for different revenue streams, we continue to look at areas we can cut to offset some of the costs," said Cleaver.
But with two-thirds of its students depending on school-provided transportation, Cleaver is hopeful they will be able to work something out.
"We are definitely proposing a plan where our goal is to offer some sort of transportation to our students if it is needed," said Cleaver.
"There's so many unknowns and unstable things and the biggest thing we're trying to do is, we're trying to bring some stability to kids and families and trying to just make sure they get educated," added Tkach.
A school board meeting is set for this Wednesday night. The district will look to have its reopening plan approved by the board. Plans for transportation will be finalized later this month.