After a long wait, the St. Tammany Parish School Board has released their plan for the 2020-21 school year. It is very similar to what we’ve seen in other local districts primarily because so many of the decisions for students were made by the state and not by St. Tammany. The exact type of instruction students will be receiving is based entire on the phase that the state is currently is as decided by the governor. Here are some highlights from the twenty-two page document released by the district.
Learning Experiences by Phase
Phase one is 100% distance learning done at home. Attendance will be taken daily and students will engage in lessons via zoom and Google Classroom.
Phase two is hybrid learning for students in grades 6-12 with students attending two days a week and every other Friday. Chrome books with downloaded assignments would be taken home for children to use on their off days. Children in grades K-5 will attend every day. Attendance will be taken daily in this model. Children in the same household will attend on the same day. Students who may need more in-person instruction such as English Language learners, special education students, etc. will be decided on an individual basis.
Phase three is traditional school for all students.
Virtual School is a school independent from any other school in the parish. Students must withdraw from their current school and enroll in the virtual school. It is staffed by Louisiana Certified teachers. Students are required to have a laptop/chrome book and a working internet connection in order to enroll. Because of fees associated with enrolling students in the virtual school, students are asked to commit to one semester if they do enroll. More information about the virtual option can be found here.
The Safe Start Plan
The Safe Start Plan is designed to get everyone comfortable with the return to school with new safety protocols in place. Teachers will receive several days of professional development. Then students will come to school in small groups (about 25% each day) so they can be acclimated to the new policies and procedures. After each group has gone, students will then start school as normal.
Classroom Sizes and Composition
Younger students who cannot wear masks or maintain social distance will be assigned to static groups (some other places call these pods). Students in older grades who can social distance and wear masks will be allowed to move from one group to another.
Class sizes will be determined by phase.
In phase one groups will be no larger than ten students. This is not an issue since St. Tammany will be in distance-only learning.
In phase two groups will be no larger than twenty-five students including teachers, aides, special education students, therapists, etc. Buses will operate at 50% capacity
In phase three groups will be no larger than fifty including teachers, aides, special education students, therapists, etc. Buses will operate at 75% capacity.
Students will wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon arriving and leaving school, every two hours, before and after using playground equipment, before and after events, and after changing classes.
Shared supplies of any kind will be eliminated whenever possible.
Playground equipment will be cleaned between each group’s use.
Students desks will be cleaned before and after each student’s use (no word on who will be doing this).
Adults and students in grades 3 and up will wear masks at all times to the maximum amount possible. Student in K-2 may wear masks but are not required to.
Exemptions for masks based on health issues will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Face shields are not considered an acceptable replacement for masks.
Face masks may be any color or pattern but must adhere to existing dress code guidelines.
Buses drivers will be screened daily.
Students will use hand sanitizer upon entering the bus.
Windows will be lowered as weather permits to allow air flow
Masks are required for grades 3 and up.
Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned after each group’s use.
Bus occupancy will be limited by phases.
Buses will run at 50% in phase 2.
Buses will run at 75% in phase 3.
Visitors and Volunteers
No non-essential visitors or volunteers will be allowed on campus.
Response to Covid-19 Cases
Positive cases are expected due to community spread.
Rolling closures of classrooms or schools may occur if there is a “cluster.”
Parents are asked to screen children each morning before school.
Parents are asked to notify school if their child positive for covid-19 or presumptively positive.
One positive case will not necessarily close a classroom or school.
If schools is presumed to be the center of an outbreak the decision to close will be made by the superintendent.
Students are asked to quarantine for fourteen days if they have been exposed to covid-19 and believe they are at risk for contracting the disease.
This is a summary of key points. To see the full twenty-two page document, visit the district website to review it.
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