Most students to continue remote learning, k-2 in school two mornings a week
By Jeanné Collins, Superintendent, Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union
(A video option for this letter will be provided on Facebook shortly)
Dear Parents and Guardians,
RNeSU has been working for the past several weeks on developing a re-opening plan for fall 2020. We are committed to providing a quality education in as safe and healthy an environment as we can provide for students and staff. Elementary and Middle/High School Task Forces have been meeting for several weeks to review the VT Safety and Health Guidance on Reopening Schools guidance and parent and staff survey results, and ultimately to help determine the safest method of educating students during the COVID pandemic. We recognize there is no “right” answer that will please everybody as well as keep everyone safe; however this model is based on the VT and CDC guidance.
After considering all of the options from full in-person learning, full remote learning and a hybrid model of in-person some days and remote other days, we soon realized that our classrooms are not large enough to accommodate full classes with the physical distancing requirements. Our task forces, which included teachers, administrators and parent voices, have determined the following re-opening plan to start the school year. Please note this plan will evolve as additional guidance or data comes out of the state or if logistics cannot be safely completed.
RNESU RE-OPENING PLAN FOR FALL 2020
The first day of school for all students will be Aug. 31. Hannaford and Stafford students will follow the tech center calendar, likely starting on Aug. 26. The reason for the delayed start is to ensure faculty and staff have the time necessary to prepare for the new learning environment with extensive professional development and curriculum planning time.
PreK to Grade 2 students will have in-person learning with their classroom teacher from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday through Friday. Medical science tells us that the younger students have a very low risk of transmission and are the most in need of in-person instruction with their classroom teacher. The morning will focus on literacy, math, and social skills with lessons in other content areas to be sent home for afternoon lessons on a consistent basis. A parent may choose not to send their Kindergarten to 2nd grade child and access live streamed lessons from home.
Grades 3-12 will receive remote learning. Offering full remote learning allows teachers and students to focus on preparing for quality remote learning from the beginning, which allows us to scale up to a hybrid model or in person model if the data supports it later in the fall.
- Students in grades 3-12 will be given a Chromebook for remote learning with the option of adding a wifi hotspot to the Chromebook for internet access. Teachers will use Google Classroom and Google Meets during the regular school day. Students at home will have a schedule for daily connection with their teachers and assignments they may also do independently.
In-person support: We are aware that there are some students who may not do well in remote learning or families that need additional support. There will be an opportunity to sign up to send a child in for in-school support in the school. Priority will be given to the following criteria:
- A younger child whose parent(s) work and there is no other supervision available
- A child who does not have internet access even with the school Chromebook/ hot spot device
- Students with specific social/ emotional or learning needs
In-school support may be half day or whole day and transportation will be available. In-school support will look like the following:
- Elementary students will be grouped in pods with physical distancing in place
- Masks or facial coverings must be worn at all times unless on the playground with distancing or eating/ drinking
- A non-teaching adult will be assigned to monitor each pod and to support the remote learning of the students.
- The adult will also structure the day with time on the playground or outside (elementary), lunch, and other down time activities
- K-2 students may choose this option after their in-person learning ends.
- Middle and High School Students may self refer to come to the school for support as needed or may be referred by the teacher or school.
- Middle and high school support will run from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. with transportation available.
- Middle and high school support will be set up as a learning center, with an adult to assist with the remote learning,
- Special education students may have individual plans as designed by their IEP teams.
A survey will go out to parents next week if you wish to consider the in-school option. Parents who access the in-school support will also need to register in this survey for transportation, if needed, in order for us to plan routes and meet needs.
While we encourage parents to transport their child(ren) if possible, bus transportation will be provided for the k-2 students and the students who need to come in for in-school support. Again, a survey will be sent home next week to capture the support and transportation needs of students. As a reminder, bus students:
- Will complete a daily health screening prior to getting on the bus and may not attend school if they have a temperature or a positive answer to health assessment questions about possible exposure to COVID
- Will have assigned seating on the bus
- May be assigned to a cluster stop for pick up in order to do the health screenings safely
- Must wear a mask on the bus at all times.
Meal Service– We are working on plans to provide meals to students in a remote model. More information will be coming out on that plan. K-2 students and in-school support students will receive lunch in school.
After School Programs – We are working on offering after school programs within the guidelines of child care with limited capacity. More information will be provided at a later date.
Athletics- we are currently waiting on state guidance to know what we will be allowed to provide for athletics in the fall
This plan is for the opening of school and will be revisited a few weeks into the school year. It is likely to evolve due to updates in state guidance, COVID data or science or the needs of our students. It is very likely we will be in and out of in-person education this year and this soft start allows for a more focused educational experience in a safe manner. More details will be developed at the school level and more communication will be coming over the next few weeks.
Thank you for your patience as we work through this difficult challenge of providing quality education within a safe and healthy manner.