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Here's what you need to know as you decide whether children will return to school in the fall or continue with remote learning.

Posted 07/08/20

Dear Parent / Guardians

Thank you to the many parents and guardians who have shared feedback as you consider whether to send your children back to school in the fall or keep them home to resume remote learning. Click here for the answers to frequently asked questions which may help with the decision making process. Our plan is based on current state guidelines which we understand could change based on a change in conditions related to the pandemic. In the event of a change in state or national conditions, the options for schooling could also change. At this time, we are asking you to let us know your plan if the current conditions hold.

Please click here to access the questionnaire.

We appreciate your flexibility and patience with the process of reopening schools.

Sincerely,

Matt Geary


Posted 07/06/20

Dear Parents and Families,

The following is an overview of the information shared by the state on Monday, June 29, 2020 and some of our preliminary thoughts on how to best ensure student/staff safety and support learning. I want to thank all of the students and families who completed surveys and participated in calls with teachers as that information informed our thinking. The state has advised that districts should “plan to have all students return to schoolhouses for full- time instruction at the beginning of 2020–2021, so long as public health data continues to support this model” which it does at this time. The state has also noted that schools must develop options for students to continue remote learning from home for parents/guardians and students who may temporarily choose not to participate in the return to school. There are defined requirements when participation of a student in the schoolhouse is limited due to a verified medical reason. However, parents and guardians may also voluntarily choose for students to temporarily engage in learning from home for a variety of other reasons.

Please use this information to determine whether or not your children will return to school in the fall or continue with remote learning. In the event that your child has asthma or other pre-existing medical conditions we encourage you to speak with your pediatrician to discuss their individual medical needs when considering the options.


Option 1 / Full time in person learning:

masks

Masks: The state guidelines require all students and staff wear masks while on buses and in the building. Buses will run at full capacity. We understand the importance of masks as a safety measure, however we are concerned about students wearing masks all day. As a result, we will build in frequent mask breaks by increasing time students spend outdoors, weather permitting.

schedules

Schedules: We are still in planning stages but considering, PK - Grade 4, 30- 40 minutes of instruction indoors with masks on followed by 30 - 40 minutes of instruction (art, physical education or STEM), independent practice (reading, writing, or math) or other physical activity outdoors. The increased time outside will both allow for long mask breaks and enhance student health and wellness. Grades 5 - 12 we envision mask breaks and time outside although given the size of these schools, breaks will be less frequent.

distance

Social distancing: The state guidelines require social distancing of 6 feet when feasible and recommends grouping students in cohorts. In addition, when possible, student workstations will be arranged 6 feet apart and all students will face the same direction. Plexiglass barriers may be installed where needed so teachers can remove masks during instruction. There will be times where social distancing will not be possible including on school buses. In these cases, masks and other precautions such as one way hallways and frequent hand washing should minimize risk of transmission in those areas.

class

Class size / Cohorting: We anticipate classes between 18 and 22 students although the number could be lower depending on the number of students who participate in remote learning. In grades PK - grade 8, student interactions will be limited through cohorting, transitions within the building will be minimized, and lunch will be eaten in classrooms or outdoors. Due to the scheduling of students in grades 9 - 12, cohorting will not occur and students will need to transition between rooms.

clean

Cleaning: Enhanced cleaning guidelines issued by the Department of Public Health will be implemented and all school ventilation systems will be inspected. We are looking into solutions for rooms which exceed a reasonable temperature and the challenge that presents with masks.


Option 2 / Remote learning:

schedule

Schedules: Remote learning will take place during the same hours as in person learning. If this option is selected students would remain in remote learning from August 27, 2020 through at least January 26, 2021 with the potential to continue through the end of the year.

online

Classes / Attendance: Classes will include several live teaching experiences through Google Meet/Hangouts. Live teaching would be combined with independent work supported by technology. Student attendance during live teaching is mandatory. In grades 9-12 course availability will be focused on graduation requirements and will not include the offerings of the full program of studies.


Please note that adult and continuing education programs will include a combination of in person and remote learning depending on the program. More information will be provided in the coming weeks.

While school will look different in the fall, we are excited to have students returning. We know student learning was significantly interrupted during remote learning despite the heroic efforts of staff, students, and families. We know that beyond the educational and social impact of time away from school, the interruption of support services also caused social isolation, deterioration of physical and mental health, increased food insecurity, and other hardships on families. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a document that strongly advocated that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.

We understand that the past four months have been an especially trying time due to the effects of the pandemic which has caused anxiety and grief as a result of the loss of family members and friends that many in our school community experienced. We also know that the extreme racial violence across the country has caused stress and trauma to our school community members of color. As we return in the fall we are committed to a reopening that emphasizes community building, healing, social emotional learning, improved mental and physical health, and actual time to pause and reflect regularly. We will plan for appropriate time and space for regular learning and reflection on race and equity throughout the year. Finally, we will ensure parents, students, and staff continue to work as partners.

Though there is much more planning to be done, one critical component is how we staff in person and remote learning. Staffing is dependent on which option families select. Families will select their option through a form being sent on Wednesday, July 8th. All parents / guardians are asked to complete this form for each student by Friday, July 10, 2020.

Stay safe and well.

Sincerely,
Matt Geary