This portion of the document is for those who prefer an abbreviated version of the Northport-East Northport UFSD School Re-entry Plan. We recognize that our school community’s desire for information is varied. We have developed a lengthy plan that satisfies the New York State Education Department’s requirements and follows CDC and NYS Department of Health guidance and have posted it to our website for those who are interested in the full detail. We are also providing this executive summary for those who would rather see the big picture. Here’s what students, staff, and families need to know about the upcoming 2020-21 school year:
- HEALTH & SAFETY: The health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority. As recently as July 13, the State issued health guidelines indicating that all students will be expected to wear a mask or face covering where 6ft. of social distancing cannot be maintained. Masks will need to be worn on school buses, in hallways, and in classrooms during instructional time, but not during meals or during designated mask breaks. We anticipate that lunch will be eaten in the classroom at the elementary level, and in larger spaces in the middle and high schools where 6ft. social distancing can take place.
- OPEN/CLOSE PROTOCOLS: The State, possibly on a regional level, will make the determination as to whether the District is allowed to operate in a full return to school model, a hybrid learning model or if we must move to the full-remote model. If a region is in Phase IV and has a daily infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14-day average, schools in that region could hold in-person instruction. If daily infection rates exceed 9% over a seven day average, however, schools in that region would not reopen. Everyone should be prepared for a return to full remote learning if the health indicators dictate such and our schools close.
- HYBRID MODEL: The District is committed to a phased in approach to ensure that our students and staff are comfortable with how school will operate this year. We plan to start the 2020-2021 school year with a HYBRID MODEL. The Hybrid model provides K-12 students and staff with a combination of in-person and remote teaching and learning experiences. For the 2020-21 school year only, all K-12 students will be divided into two cohorts and attend school for in-person instruction two days per week, coupled with three days per week of online learning. Students in the Blue Group will attend school in-person on Monday and Thursday, with remote learning on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Students in the Gold group will attend school in–person on Tuesday and Friday, with remote learning on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. A third group of special class students and English Language Learners (ELL), will attend in-person instruction on both blue and gold days (M, T, Th, F).
Families who will be sending their children to school can expect their children to be placed into either the Blue or Gold group, and attend school when their group is in. Effort will be made to keep siblings in the same group for child care purposes on days when their group will be learning remotely.
It is important to note that we are planning to have ALL elementary students (Grades K-5) attend in person on or before September 28th, PROVIDED that we have adequate transportation and the guidance from the local and state agencies allows for it. In order to achieve transportation capacity we will need 50 PERCENT of our families who typically use the bus to agree to drive their child to school. (ADDED 8/5/20 9 am)- not in published plan)
Hybrid Weekly Schedule: *Elementary(K-5) Middle (6-8) High School (9-12)
*According to the AAP ( American Academy of Pediatrics) “...all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.” They also state that “...students may have difficulty with the social and emotional aspects of transitioning back into the school setting, especially given the unfamiliarity with the changed school environment and experience.” With this guidance in mind we are starting the year, taking a measured approach, and planning on having all elementary ( Grades K-5) students attend in person on or before September 28th. This is subject to further guidance from the County ( SCDOH, County Executive) and State (NYSDOH, NYSED and the Governor).
- CALENDAR: The District will be adding two additional Superintendent’s Conference Days on September 8th and 9th so that we can prepare our faculty and staff for all of the changes that they will face this year. We will be providing professional learning opportunities for staff members on remote learning, the hybrid model and most importantly, health and safety protocols. The Board of Education is anticipated to approve the amended 2020-2021 school calendar at its August 20, 2020 meeting. It is possible that further changes to the 2020-2021 school calendar could occur. If further changes are necessary, those changes will be communicated as soon as practicable.
- SURVEY: Parents/guardians will be asked to complete a survey regarding their intent to send their child(ren) to school, their intent to use District transportation and their access to wifi/ high speed internet. This information will be helpful to the District as we plan for September. In order to properly prepare and staff our schools, we will automatically place families who do not respond to the survey in the hybrid option noted above. Families with multiple children must complete a separate form for each child.
- PARTNERSHIP: As a District, we all must do our part to ensure the health and safety of ourselves, our children and families and the community at large. As such, we ask for the cooperation and continued partnership that we have come to trust through the years. Parents are asked to be especially diligent in keeping their children home if they are sick. Faculty and staff will be asked to stay home if they are feeling sick as well. These efforts, along with other responsible hygiene practices (frequent hand washing, coughing and sneezing into our elbow, etc.) will assist in keeping everyone healthy and safe.
- FLEXIBILITY: We reserve the right to make changes to any and all aspects of the Northport-East Northport UFSD School Re-entry Plan as we consider community feedback, additional guidance from the State, and continue to monitor COVID-19 trends.