Good afternoon Bearcat families…
I am sending an email to you with some details about plans for school in August. I will give an overview in this voice message, but there is more information in the email. This information will also be posted on our district website (ccsd1.org) and links will go out on our social media.
First, we will be sending out an online link to you to register your students for school. This is a requirement each year, and it’s vitally important to ensure we have accurate information. Even if you haven’t changed any of your information, you need to go in and verify for the purposes of the upcoming school year. For instance, if you are not getting both an email and a voice message today, then we don’t have all of your current information in our system.
Second, you’ll be receiving a call from a district employee beginning later this week. The employee will be conducting a short survey about your plans for your children this fall. The person calling you won’t have answers to questions, so I want to give you the information we know at this time to help you think about plans for August. Realize the information I am sharing is based on the best information we have at this time; however, all our plans are tentative and flexible because the situation could change at any time based on the public health situation.
Thanks in advance for filling out the registration information and for cooperating with our employees when they call to gather information to inform our planning.
The last five months have been unprecedented for our town, our country, and our world. We’ve all had to assess how this affects each of us personally. Some of us are or have loved ones who are burdened with compromised immune systems or have other health issues. Some of us have been directly impacted by the economic downturn this has caused. This goes for all of the members of our community including the staff of CCSD#1. We want everyone to feel safe when at school learning or working. At the same time, we will attempt to strike a balance between safety and providing the best learning environment we can for our students. Rest assured the staff of our district are dedicated to doing the very best we can to serve our students and families. With that said, it’s up to our families to make the best choices they can for their students based on the situation. Therefore, I am going to try to provide the possible scenarios as we see them so you can begin to think about the best options for your family.
We received the state school reopening plan the first of July, and we are now aligning our district reopening plans to the state requirements. The state plan has three options:
- Tier 1—Open: this option is when most students are attending class in-person on campus. In Tier 1, the district will also provide an adaptive learning option (100% remote) for those students who cannot return safely to in-person school. In Tier 1, activities are allowed albeit with precautions and safety guidelines in place.
- Tier 2—Hybrid/Blended: this phase has groups of students on campus while others are learning remotely. Our schools would each approach this differently according to what’s best in that building, but the concept would remain the same. The purpose is to reduce the numbers of staff and students in a given building at any one time. This will be a contingency if circumstances in our county or the state dictate the need to transition to this model. Students who are 100% online would remain so in this tier.
- Tier 3—Adaptive Learning: this is when schools are closed and learning is provided remotely. This is the option we utilized in the spring. This could happen if state or local orders dictate a closure or if a person in a building tests positive for COVID-19. Current orders require a school to close for 2-5 days for deep cleaning if there is a positive test in that school. We can go back and forth among these tiers without losing contact days which would require make up.
Right now our county metrics related to COVID-19 allow us to open in Tier I with most of our students learning on campuses.
There is some confusion about requirements versus recommendations. Let me share with you what the current requirements are…requirements that must be part of the plans we have in place for the fall.
- Social distancing of six feet
- Wearing a face covering when social distancing of six feet is not possible
- Enhanced hygiene measures including hand washing and cleaning
- Staff and students staying home when sick
- Daily screening for symptoms of COVID-19
So let me try to address a few questions we have been hearing.
- Will students have to wear masks? Students will have to have a mask. The mask can be provided by parents or by the district. We hope to design the school day so students will be distanced or will have transparent shields as separation to limit the amount of time masks must be worn. However, there will be times when social distancing or separation is not possible, and face coverings must be worn.
- Will my student have to have a temperature check every day? As mentioned above, students and staff will have to be screened each day. But, the district will send home a protocol for parents to use to screen their children at home. Parents do not need to fill out a screening form. Parents will be trusted to screen their children, and staff will self-screen. Students who participate in an activity are required to be screened by school personnel before practices and contests.
- What if my student or a family member is health compromised? Please follow your health care provider’s recommendation about whether returning to school in-person is a viable option. An adaptive learning option will be offered to all students.
- What if I just don’t want to send my child(ren) back to school under the current circumstances? An adaptive learning option will be provided for all students; however, if enrolled in adaptive learning, regular attendance and participation will be required as the state statute for mandatory schooling has not changed. There will be an opportunity to complete all classes on-line for this upcoming school year.
- What about riding buses? The district is encouraging parents to transport students to school if possible as that is the safest option. However, the transportation department plans to run all regular routes. When social distancing is not possible on buses, face coverings must be worn. Realize this can change if the health situation changes.
Know that the district will try to have the best learning environment possible for all our students, but the requirements of the state health orders and the requirements of the Wyoming Department of Education Smart Start plan must be incorporated into our plans.
We have been asked about parent input regarding plans. As mentioned above, we will be calling all families to gather information for August. Right now we are focusing on designing plans that include all the required elements. The district has to include the requirements in order to bring most students back on campus. We did take input from staff and parents about the adaptive learning systems utilized last spring, and changes will be made this fall using that input. Once the principals and department directors have addressed all the required elements in their fall planning, they may be reaching out to parents about specifics of the plans in each building.
Over the next few weeks, there will be a series of communications about school lunch, transportation, activities, student schedules, student drop-off, and pick-up, and other information parents will need prior to the start of school. Give us a little time to develop the specifics of the plans for each building and to communicate out some information over the next few weeks. Hopefully, a lot of questions will be answered in these upcoming communications.
We realize not everyone will be pleased with all the plans that are developed, but we have options that we hope can meet the needs of all our families whether that is remotely or on our campuses. As always, we understand that parents and families have to make the educational choices that best serve their children. We will try to work toward providing workable solutions for all our kids while following the state requirements.
Dr. Paige Fenton Hughes, Superintendent