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Superintendent's Message January 12, 2022 Policy 6999 Changes

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January 12, 2022

Last night, the Board of Education amended policy 6999 that relates to remote instructional needs during the pandemic.

In September 2021, the Board of Education amended #6999, adding two pieces to our current distance learning policy. The changes were intended for short-term needs and at that, time, applied only to those students who were absent due to a Health Department required absence related to COVID 19. The adopted change last night removes the wording “Health Department directed.” This was changed to reflect the latest change in the DPH guidance. The Health Department is no longer determining quarantines and isolation as we now move to the self-report of home tests and close contacts.

The impact of this change in wording is that we will now provide students with remote supports as detailed below. Please understand that given the high number of students out of school for isolation or quarantine it is imperative that only those students who are absent for COVID related reasons qualify for this support.  

 For students who are absent because of quarantine or isolation caused by COVID, policy 6999 provides teachers with the ability to mark a student as “present” based on the student’s engagement in a combination of (a) virtual classes, (b) virtual meetings, (c) activities on time-logged electronic systems, and (d) the completion and submission of assignments. The policy requires the administration to develop regulations to support continued student engagement.

We recognize that many of the students who are absent are not feeling well and are unable to complete their assignments. We also know that some students may have difficulty accessing their classrooms with technology. In those cases, we encourage parents to reach out to teachers to make them aware of these situations. We may be able to provide other arrangements.

Given the high number of students absent at the middle and high school levels, the third sub-bullet for grades 6-12 may be the most viable option. Due to other staff absences our teachers are helping to keep schools open by covering classrooms of absent colleagues. For many of our staff there is not enough time for them to support the other three options. I support the decisions teachers will make, as they are concerned with their students’ well-being.

If students miss assessments while in quarantine or isolation, they will take those assessments on their return to in-person learning

There may be times when technology issues affect a student's ability to access classes.

I want to thank Mr. Smoler, the FEA representatives, and the administrators who collaboratively developed an approach that best supports students, both those at home and those in person, to continue their learning.

These regulations will go into effect for any students in quarantine or isolation today, January 12, 2022.

Any questions or concerns regarding the implementation of these regulations should be directed first to your child’s teacher and then to the building administrator. If your child is struggling to engage in their work, please reach out to your school counseling support staff.

Take care,

Mike

Mike Cummings
Superintendent of Schools

Policy 6999 REGULATIONS

Supporting students with COVID related quarantines or isolation

The following expectations and guidelines will be in place to support students who must miss school for an absence due to a confirmed asymptomatic COVID positive case or close contact quarantine (“COVID Reason”). Our goal is to keep students academically and socially engaged in learning while they are unable to attend school in-person.

Teachers will have 24 hours to put these supports in place from the time they are notified that one of their students has been placed in quarantine or isolation. Please bear in mind that due to the current high levels of absent students the notification timeline is taking longer.

K-5 Students absent due to quarantine or isolation related to COVID 19:

  • Students will be included daily, through Google Meet, in the classroom morning meeting.
  • Units of study for the K-5 curriculum will be created monthly.
  • These units of study will include the core disciplines of language arts and math, as well as social studies, science, and health where applicable.
  • The classroom teacher will, within 24 hours of the notification of a student’s absence, communicate to the child and their parents or guardians, as well as the district support instructor assigned to the grade level, expectations for the work to be completed in the units of study being sent home during the student’s expected absence.
  • In addition to the units of study, if appropriate, the classroom teacher will send work materials and/or books home for the absent student.
  • The support instructor will establish meeting times for the student and communicate those times to the student, their parent or guardian
  • The support instructor will

o   Meet daily with the student, either individually or in grade level groups

o   Provide academic support as needed through Google Meets and email communications

o   Correspond with the classroom teacher as needed

o   Monitor work completion and adjust workloads as needed in consultation with the classroom teacher

  • The classroom teacher will be available for Google Meets with the student during before and after school times (wrap-around times) several times during the student's absence. These times will be communicated by the classroom teacher to the student and their parent or guardian. The Meet will be in place to provide academic support as well as face-to-face time with the classroom teacher.

6-12 Students absent due to quarantine or isolation related to COVID 19:

  • Teachers will post relevant lesson materials and assignments in the class online Google classroom.
  • Teachers will be available via their school .net email account to correspond with students and answer questions.
  • For students who are on quarantine or isolation, teachers will choose at least one of the following four options as their primary method to support students The selected approach will be included in the teachers’ classroom policies and procedures so that students and parents know ahead of time how the student will be supported. Options may vary depending on classroom content, instructional approach, or student learning needs

o   the teacher will record their lessons and post them on Google classroom

o   the teacher will flip their classroom and provide lesson videos ahead of class times

o   the teacher will turn on the classroom cameras and provide live instruction. There will not be interaction between the student(s) in quarantine/isolation and the teacher or in-person students during these sessions.

o   Teachers will be available at least once per school day to meet through Google Meets for a period of at least 20 minutes. The purpose of the meeting is to review course content, address student questions, and provide learning supports.

  • Students will make up assessments and, where applicable, hands-on activities like science labs, upon return to school.