Article: Return to Learn Draft Summary of Reopening Plan

Return to Learn Draft Summary of Reopening Plan

Return to learn: a road back to a traditional model

Click here to learn about your options for this fall!
 
Registration for traditional, hybrid and distance learning will open later in this month. 
 
Registration for the D3 Virtual School will be open July 13-17. 
 
Click here if you're interested in learning more about the D3 Virtual School option.

Return to Learn Draft Summary of Reopening Plan 
Plans are subject to change based on DHEC, CDC and health official guidance.
Complete plan will be shared on or before July 28, 2020. 
 
A Message from the Superintendent 
 
Every year, every public school district across the country tackles a different obstacle, a new challenge or a different hurdle as the school year ramps back up. After 32 years in education as a teacher, director, principal and superintendent, I can tell you, this year is no different. It's just a few new obstacles to tackle and I'll add this:

Together, it's nothing we can't handle. 

Following the graduation of our class of 2020, our Return to Learn Task Force has spent the last few weeks figuring out how this fall will look from every possible perspective. As we all know, this is an ever-evolving time and no one can predict the future, but we will be prepared for whatever comes our way.

In this document, you'll find where we're at now: what we're tackling, what our (and your!) options are, and what we will ideally do to keep our students safe and learning.

While we have to remain flexible, we also know you, as parents, deserve to know how we'll protect your children and show you the options you have in a timely manner so you can decide what is best for them. 

Please take some time to review our current thoughts and, as always, my door and my phone line are always open to feedback and questions.
 
All in, 
 
Kenny Blackwood
 
Introduction

As we share our potential plans for what school will look like this fall, we want all families to know that we are keeping the safety of our students and staff as the top priority while pursuing every effort to restore face to face learning opportunities for our students.  Accomplishing these two monumental tasks will require understanding and patience from all.

Also, please understand, that based on the recommendations from the AccelerateED Task Force, DHEC, CDC and other health officials, this fall, school is not going to look the same regardless of the model selected.  
 
What can families expect when schools reopen? 
 
Schools will reopen with a continuum of options that include traditional, hybrid, distance, and virtual learning options. 
Now, as we begin to navigate what the fall will look like, parents need to know and understand the four models.
 
  •  TRADITIONAL: Traditional learning environments allow students and teachers to fulfill the learning process in a traditional classroom setting and schedule. There will be several safety precautions in place, including extreme sanitation protocols, limited visitors and limited use of community areas.
  • HYBRID: Hybrid learning combines face-to-face and online teaching into one cohesive experience. Approximately half of the class sessions are on-campus, while the other group of students work online. This will still involve extra precautions for safety, even smaller class sizes than usual and the extra precautions listed in the traditional model above.  
  • FULL-DISTANCE LEARNING: Full distance learning will present instruction and learning virtually by our highly qualified teachers, using an interactive learning platform. This will involve parents receiving how-to videos, where to look to help guide your students and additional instructional support. This will be more flexible than the D3 virtual school option when it comes to specific times to be on the computer for instruction and technical support.
  • D3 VIRTUAL SCHOOL: D3 Virtual school is designed as a semester-long online alternative to in-person insturction. The virtual school is a comprehensive, standards-based program that can be accessed anywhere an Internet connection is available and will be taught by a teacher from their own community. Students will be supported with teachers, devices, and software provided by SCSD3. There will be a limited number of high school courses offered. This will be a stricter version of eLearning which will have a mandatory daily virtual attendance.

How will COVID-19 affect potential models? 

Public health officials are monitoring cases and spread of Covid-19 daily. The AcceleratED guide­lines provide recommendations for schools based on the amount of spread in an area and school. The categories of spread are low, medium and high. 

We have attached the metrics by which DHEC determines if a county falls into a low, medium or high spread category. The amount of spread could change very quickly between categories and we want to be prepared to change models quickly if the spread decreases or increases. 

We want to stress flexibility and the ability to change. We are discussing possibilities because things may change rapidly for better or worse before the start of school. July 28th is the day designated to notify parents for final decisions about schedules for starting school in August. If a particular schedule is selected, we will constantly monitor and adjust based on safety, infor­mation and needs with our goal to move toward face to face instruction.

  •  LOW SPREAD: TRADITIONAL
    •   Traditional learning environments allow students and teachers to fulfill the learning process in a traditional classroom setting and schedule. This can only be possible with strict guidelines and safety protocols being followed in and out of school.
  • MEDIUM SPREAD: HYBRID
    • Hybrid learning combines face-to-face and online teaching into one cohesive experience. Approximately half of the class sessions are on-campus, while the other group of students work online.
  • HIGH SPREAD: FULL-DISTANCE
    • Full distance learning will present instruction and learning virtually by our highly qualified teachers, using an interactive learning platform.

 Working with DHEC Data

 

 

 

So what happens if cases continue to rise or suddenly drop? 

As we as we wait to see what happens in South Carolina with the spread of cases over the next few weeks, we have to be prepared for any potential situation.

The following models explain low, medium and high spread scenarios:

  • LOW SPREAD FOR ELEMENTARY, MIDDLE, & HIGH SCHOOL: TRADITIONAL
    • Elementary, middle and high schools would follow a traditional schedule in accordance with all safety guidelines provided by DHEC, CDC and health officials.  Traditional learning environments allow students and teachers to fulfill the learning process in a traditional classroom setting and schedule. This can only be possible with strict guidelines and safety protocols being followed in and out of school. 
    • Instructional Belief: Traditional brick and mortar institutions provide students with a community where they can engage, interact, and support each other. In addition, the traditional face-to-face model of leaning combines different ways of learning including discussion, collaborative group work and public speaking opportunities. The traditional model also provides the social and emotional support for adolescents who are still learning to maneuver what it will mean to be an adult in today’s world. 
  • MEDIUM SPREAD FOR ELEMENTARY: FAMILY MODEL, AM/PM HYBRID MODEL or D3 VIRTUAL SCHOOL:
    • Family Model: Students would attend school Monday-Friday, but stay in the same classroom with their  “homeroom family," social distancing to the best extent possible.
    • AM/PM Hybrid Model: Pre-K through 2nd grade students would attend three hours per day, either:  8-11 AM or 12-3 PM.
    • AM/PM Hybrid Model: 3rd-5th grade students would follow the hybrid model. They would come to school two days a week for face to face instruction and participate in distance/remote learning for the other instructional days. Students will attend on an A/B schedule or an Monday/Wednesday, Tuesday/Thursday schedule. 
    • D3 Virtual School: Students stay home and receive most of their instruction off-campus while attending class virtually. Students will be expected to participate in daily virtual face-to-face sessions in all subjects.* 
      *This requires a semester-long commitment.
    • Instructional Belief: PreK-2nd grade children are in a unique developmental stage, and the kinds of learning opportunities and environments that support their learning are difficult to set up in a virtual/remote learning setting.  Often, virtual/remote learning cannot provide many of the informal social interactions students have at school which are important for their social and emotional development. In addition, most assessments are based on the observation of authentic tasks in language, literacy and math. In order to appropriately plan individual instruction, teachers need to observe students working with authentic tasks, which is difficult in a virtual setting. 
  • MEDIUM SPREAD FOR MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL: HYBRID MODEL OR D3 VIRTUAL SCHOOL 
    • Hybrid Model: Students will come to school two days a week for face to face instruction and participate in distance/remote learning for the other instructional days. Students will attend on an A/B schedule or an Monday/Wednesday, Tuesday/Thursday schedule. 
    • D3 Virtual School: Students stay home and receive most of their instruction off-campus while attending class virtually. Students will be expected to participate in daily virtual face-to-face sessions in all subjects.* 
      *This requires a semester-long commitment. 
    • Instructional Belief: Online learning can be effective for middle and high school students if the student is able to work independently and is fluent with the use of learning management platforms and computer apps. Online courses accommodate students by allowing them the flexibility to attend school at a time and location that is convenient for them. 
  • HIGH SPREAD FOR ELEMENTARY, MIDDLE, & HIGH SCHOOL: FULL-DISTANCE LEARNING 
    • According to the AccelerateED guidelines:
      “In this scenario, all students and staff are unable to return to a physical school building due to high spread of COVID-19 in the areas and high numbers of positive cases within the building. In this event, districts should rely on a full Distance Learning Model until the health situation permits a return to in-person instruction for all or part of the students in a school.”

      Full distance learning will present instruction and learning virtually by our highly qualified teachers, using an interactive learning platform.

Safety Protocols and Precautions 

  • District Three will adhere to the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) guidelines and recommendations from the South Carolina Department of Education (SDE) AccelerateEd task force for the opening of school in August 2020. Since the SC DHEC guidelines are updated frequently, parents will be notified of resulting changes to school operations.
  • Signs will be posted at each main entrance encouraging use of masks, social distancing and establishing expectations for access to our facilities. At this time, masks will be highly recommended, but not required. This is subject to change based on DHEC guidelines.  
  • Students will be reminded to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, particularly after entering the building or classroom. If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer will be provided in each classroom and office.
  • Students will practice social distancing as much as possible while in school. Plexiglass dividers will be used when available for individual student assessment.
  • Details of recess and outdoor activity are still being determined. Students will participate in recess, but the use of playground equipment *could potentially* be limited, depending on DHEC guidelines at the time.
  • Meals will be modified for students to eat in their classrooms.
  • Buses will have reduced capacity of 50% to follow DHEC and SDE requirements. Parents are urged to arrange other student transportation, if possible.
  • If a teacher or student tests positive for COVID-19, District Three will follow state and district guidelines regarding exposure and quarantine. Instruction will continue with distance learning at that time.
  • High touch surfaces in buildings (doorknobs, light switches, etc.) and buses (seats, handrails, etc.) will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the school day and in between bus routes. The district and schools will be equipped with electrostatic sprayers for high intensity cleaning.
  • Custodians, cafeteria staff, bus drivers, and nurses will follow cleaning and disinfecting protocols according to SC DHEC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.
  • Updates will be provided as needed on school and district websites and social media. 

Is the D3 Virtual School the right choice for my child?

Based on a thorough review of parent input through surveys and the though exchange process, it is evident that a virtual school option is needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our D3 Virtual School will provide students with certified teachers through an interactive eLearning platform.  Additional assignments will be provided through different programs such as MAP and Odysseyware.  

The D3 Virtual School will be much different than the distance learning model used last spring. It is a long-term option versus distance learning, which is a short term option.

The D3 Virtual School will require:

  • A semester-long commitment
  • A 2-hour parent/student orientation/training 
  • Adherence to a strict 8:00 am-2:30 pm schedule for live online class meetings
  • Deadlines for assignments and assessments
  • Monthly parent/student progress conferences

If you plan for your child to enroll in the D3 Virtual School, you must complete the online registration form between July 13-July 17.

Dates to Remember

July 13-17: Online Registration for D3 Virtual School

July 28: District Three will release final plans for the 2020-2021 school year on or before this date.