I think the question on most parent's minds is, what will the weather be like on the first day of school. Ok, that is not really the question. The real question is, what is the plan for keeping our children safe during our upcoming school year. Even though we don't know what the weather will be, we have procedures to safely educate your children no matter the weather pattern, mild or severe. Some of these procedures you notice and some you don't. But even though we don't know the forecast for August 13th, come rain or shine, we plan on getting started as promised.
Even though we don't know how mild or severe COVID 19 will be in Craven County on August 13th, we plan on getting started as promised. Depending on actual conditions caseload from one week to the next we will follow the appropriate procedures to ensure our students and families are safe. Instead of reporting five months of analysis and guidance from the federal, state, local, and diocesan officials, I hope to instead help you understand how to prepare for a new school year at Saint Paul. Our goal is to provide an excellent educational experience in the safest manner possible while following the best practices along the way.
Here are a few things you might notice. We are installing an automated elevated skin temperature monitoring system at the entrance to the school. This will allow our students to enter the building quickly even on an inclement weather day and get to class without delay. Miss Anne
will be there to greet them and if we have a student with an elevated temperature they will be manually checked before going to class or going home.
If you are around when Mr. William cleans you will notice an ionizing sprayer that supercharges a biocide cleaning solution that will be used daily to sanitize the building. This little gadget makes wiping surfaces seem like old school cleaning vs. enveloping surfaces and objects with an environmentally safe cleaning solution that kills viruses on contact.
You will also not see lots of kids congregating outside at dismissal. Parents and Grandparents will begin using an app on their phone that alerts classroom teachers when they arrive on campus. Students will be released from their classroom as their rides show up to ensure there is no close contact between students at dismissal.
There are many procedures we have modified to ensure our students' safety, some you will notice and many of them will be happening behind the scenes to ensure students have an excellent and safe educational experience. Below I outline our overall strategy and give families a few of the what-ifs to consider. In the weeks ahead, I will do a couple more newsletters with frequently asked questions to assure every family, in Saint Paul's ability to safely begin a new school year.
Our Overall Strategy
For the 2020 school year, we plan on continuing live instruction that follows our normal school calendar. Unlike the spring where no one was allowed to receive live instruction in person, we hope that the majority of our students can receive live instruction in-person, in our classrooms. Students who can not attend physically will have the ability to attend these same live classes remotely.
Strong Schools NC has provided three "plans" for educating students this year. Two of the three plans assume in school instruction while one plan only allows for remote instruction similar to what we
implemented this spring. We have plans and procedures in place for all three models but will execute them based on actual conditions. Plan A is in-school instruction with the fewest restriction. Plan B is in-school instruction with more rigorous social distancing protocols while Plan C assumes all instruction is remote.
Whether we are using plans A, B, or C all instruction will be live. We are hoping this will be a county by county decision to ensure we are responding to what is happening in Craven County, but at this time it is not clear who will be driving this decision.
Below are just a few "What ifs". Realize these are changing nearly as often as the weather forecast is. I am highlighting some of the protocols that may have the largest impact on families.
What if my student has one of the COVID symptoms? Current guidance mandates that students and staff with fever, chills, a new cough, and other COVID symptoms may not return to school within 10 days of having these symptoms. If this happens the student would then receive live instruction from home until they are able to return to school. A doctor may be able to release a child or teacher from this 10 day waiting period but this is one scenario all parents need to be ready for.
What if my student is considered high risk? We ask families to make the best decision for their individual students. We know live in-person instruction is the most effective form of instruction, but live instruction will be available remotely to students who can not attend in person. We ask parents to only hold students out of school for their safety and that of their fellow students, and not to use remote instruction when not required for health reasons.
What if we move from in-school instruction to Plan C, 100% remote instruction? We will take a deep breath and get started. All of our classrooms will be set up to allow for an immediate transition from in-class instruction to remote instruction. We will have procedures in place so students can transition between these models from one day the next as necessary. We ask parents to prepare ahead of time in case your student needs to receive live instruction remotely.
Homework/Distance Learning Platform?
Based on current guidance it is more of when than if your student may have to spend a week or more receiving instruction from home. To ensure your student is able to maintain progress while away from the classroom there are a few things you can have ready this summer to ensure this is an easy transition.
1. Create a homework space that replicates the classroom workspace as best as possible. A flat surface, few distractions, and the tools of the trade, pencil, pen, paper, etc.
2. If your homework space
transitions to remote learning space then you will need a couple more items. A device to view and hear your classroom. Devices that can make this possible are a laptop, tablet, or phone with or without cell service. A headphone with a microphone. A reasonably stable internet connection.
3. Students and or parents will need to know their student's email account and password to have access to online learning. We will ensure every student and or parent knows how to log into these accounts during the first week of school.
We will not be providing aftercare for at least the first two weeks of school. We will assess the overall health of the school and the guidance provided by Craven County and make a determination of what aftercare program will be available once we get two weeks behind us. As a rule of thumb, aftercare would be feasible under Plan A protocols but would not be possible during Plan B and Plan C. Stay posted for our new dismissal app that will be available for free.
How do you become a great reader? By reading every day. Please ensure you continue the habit of reading 20 minutes a day or more this summer. Have your child read at their level and if parents read to kids read at least two levels above to help with comprehension. It is good to have your student read out loud to you a few times a week to monitor their growth.