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Review Info Regarding K-3 Model & Logistics

Continuity of Learning February 3, 2021
 
Dear Families,
 
Welcome to 2021 -- we do hope that the new year will bring with it health for your family and the hope of using the term “post-pandemic” at some point in the near future.
 
We recognize that this time is one of uncertainty and constant change and appreciate the flexibility and resiliency we are observing in our students, families, and community -- we appreciate and value your partnership in learning!
 
We have worked through the transition of students back into our school environment and saw awesome success the week of January 19th -- in addition to a lot of “masked smiles” with eyes sharing the excitement of once again being back together! Let us officially say “Welcome Back”; it’s so great to have our schools operational.
As a result of that successful transition, we have experienced a number of requests for students intending to remain “virtual” to actually instead return to the school setting in-person. Of the requests that have come in so far, we have worked through the logistics to honor as many as we could within our classrooms. For those, whose request could not be accommodated immediately, we have established a waitlist, while we work to ensure ample physical distance can be maintained throughout the day (e.g. classroom, lunch, etc.).
 
Maintaining the six feet of physical distance as an underpinning health and safety mitigation effort creates challenges as we receive requests that would necessitate “adding a desk” where we cannot safely distance students. We will need to work within each classroom community to help support the ability for everyone to return to the in-person school experience. Classrooms have a maximum number of seats possible within those parameters (e.g. 18), and each classroom has its own configuration. We have removed extraneous furniture, cabinets, tables, etc., and worked through several configurations to find the ideal set-up for each space.
We have considered a multitude of creative solutions to this issue, including but not limited to: (a) looking for other unused, but larger classroom spaces in the building to relocate a room thereby accommodating additional students; (b) offering students spaces in other school buildings in the district where a spot might exist; (c) creating an “overflow space” in the school where students could log in from the building; and (d) creating a schedule for the classroom where the teacher and families can create a rotation that works for them to share the open seats.
 
Ultimately, the only viable solutions were the relocation of some classrooms within a building where it was possible and eliminated the need for a rotation schedule, and the use of a rotation schedule alone. This allows us to include the students already on a teacher’s roster, while also integrating those students from the fully virtual setting into the classroom as desired. The district philosophy is that families just now deciding to return to school should not be disadvantaged for making that decision later than others. Thus, we will approach the solution with a collaborative, community-based approach, where we share the challenge to create opportunity, through the use of a schedule to share seats. This strategy will be implemented on a classroom-by-classroom basis as the situation evolves and families request to have their child attend school in-person.
As an example, let’s envision a classroom of 17 students on the roster. Some buildings have the option of relocating that classroom of students to a new room for the rest of the year to a larger space, whereby all students will fit with the six feet of distance maintained. Where that is possible, we have established it as the preference and in many cases, this already occurred in October.
 
As another example for that same class of 17 students, only 16 seats exist while maintaining the required 6 feet of distance between desks. Within that room, a calendar would be created, where each child would take either: (a) 1 week to participate from home every 16 weeks; (b) 2 consecutive days to participate from home each month; or (c) 1 day to participate from home (virtually) every 16 days. While the rotations would need to occur, the teacher and families could work together to determine the best method for that room and the family structures within it.
 
We are asking the community to come together and support one another to make this possible. We have also thought through the cleaning considerations and desk rotations to minimize the amount of movement within the room. Additional information about these options or the necessity of them will be shared by classroom teachers when there is an impact.
 
We are committed to fulfilling the educational wishes of our community, within the parameters of health and safety, recognizing that it will take some compromise and true community collaboration. 
With Appreciation,
 
Kristen M. Justus, Ph.D.
Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education & Curriculum
 
Paula Giran
Principal, Pine-Richland Virtual Academy (PRVA)
 
Kelly Gustafson
Principal, Wexford Elementary School
 
Greta Kuzilla, Ed.D.
Principal, Hance Elementary School
 
Jenna Sloan
Principal, Richland Elementary Schoo