At the February 24 Board of Education meeting, Dr. Champ outlined key challenges facing the District in returning students to Full-Time In-Person instruction and discussed the results of the District’s planning survey that was sent to parents before the Winter Recess.
As part of these efforts the District has formed an Advisory Task Force composed of local medical professionals, parents representing all schools, District administrators, and teachers to assist with the planning and provide feedback as these plans evolve. The Task Force is being co-facilitated by Dr. Champ and Kristen Burke, a Colonial School parent and member of the Town Council. The first meeting was held Tuesday and additional meetings will occur weekly over the next month.
The reopening planning survey received a strong response from all schools and showed that the majority of families would prefer to send their children in for full-time in-person instruction with reduced (3-feet) distancing rather than continue in the hybrid model with 6-feet distancing. The survey also showed the approximate number of families who would utilize the full-virtual option if distancing is reduced, which the District is using to determine what spacing is possible in each classroom should a return to FTIP occur. Important factors in the decision making process include emerging studies and guidance, teacher/staff vaccination rates and the implementation of the District’s surveillance testing program.
Dr. Champ shared that the District is eyeing a transition to full-time in-person instruction after spring break with a phased approach beginning with younger grades. She noted that the timeline may vary between the elementary, middle and high schools, especially as COVID-19 cases have been more prevalent at the secondary level where there are also more difficulties achieving 3-feet distancing between students. Over the next few weeks, the District will work to address key challenges and logistics, such as:
How to utilize existing space to achieve 3-foot distancing in each of our buildings
Exploring additional space opportunities if available
Lunch and recess given increased students and reduced distancing
Seeking new bids for tents, specifically for outdoor lunch
Additional mitigation strategies to prevent spread of COVID-19 such as air purifiers and exhaust fans
Arrival and dismissal procedures
Continuing a fully virtual option for families and what impact a shift to FTIP instruction would have on fully virtual students
Additional information about these plans will be shared as they develop.