It goes without saying that everyone would prefer to go back to school as we did in the Fall of 2019. The unanswered question is whether or not that is realistic or possible As we make preparations for the 2020-2021 school year, we need to plan for the fact that there may be times where some students or all students may not be able to physically be at school. The same could be said for staff.
As we began the work on preparing our Return to Learn Plan we were required to consider three Models of Learning. The fact of the matter is that we need to be prepared to utilize all three models during the 2020-2021 school year. When you start with that in mind, the Hybrid Combination Model makes the most sense. In preparing for this model, we can be ready to implement any of the three models.
Models of Learning
Traditional Instruction (Beginning of Last Year)
In person (building) back to a “new normal” with precautions in place for COVID-19
Interim Continuous Learning (March of Last Year)
a version of the Continuous Learning Plan at home and online that would be required and available in case of disruption to education
Hybrid Combination (Continuous Learning & Traditional Instruction Fall 2020)
a combination of your Continuous Learning Plan and brick-and-mortar instruction to stage back into traditional instruction
This is best illustrated through the following scenario:
The vast majority of students start back in person on August 24, 2020 (Traditional).
The exception is those students who have medical conditions that would jeopardize their health would receive instruction outside of the school setting (Interim Continuous Learning).
A student who has a verified case of COVID-19 Would be required to quarantine at home for 14 days and until they are symptom free. They could then return to school. While they are in quarantine they would receive instruction online while their peers in school are receiving it in person (Hybrid Combination).
Anyone who has had close contact (within six feet for fifteen minutes) with a positive case of COVID-19 would also be required to quarantine at home for 14 days and until they are symptom free prior to returning to school. While they are in quarantine they would receive instruction online while their peers in school are receiving it in person (Hybrid Combination).
The number of students or staff who are quarantined reaches a point where it is necessary to temporarily close a building or district (Interim Continuous Learning).
Once the temporary closing is lifted the vast majority of students return to in person learning (Traditional Instruction)
It is crucial that our planning is strong to allow for the flexibility that will be needed through the 2020-2021 School Year.
If as a community we set as our priority that the vast majority of students should attend school in person, social distancing will have limitations. Most schools including ours, will not have the space to ensure that all students are in the building and have the ability to keep them six feet apart. The same holds true for busing.
If we as a community set our priorities around social distancing then we will have online learning as a bigger part of our plan. In this plan, we all need to prepare for more students to be at home for a greater portion of the school year. .
ECSD will be sending out a survey to establish the consensus among parents as to which direction is the best for our families and community.
Darren D. Hanna
Emmetsburg Community School District