Article: Return to Learn Fall Reopening Plan

Return to Learn Fall Reopening Plan

Click here to learn about the Return to Learn plan for fall!
 
Click here for the D3 Virtual Parent Agreement. Please note, we cannot extend the deadline of 3:00 PM on August 5 for any circumstance since we need to get final numbers to our principals.  Any student who doesn't have this agreement completed by the deadline will be enrolled in on-campus learning.


Updated Return to Learn Fall Reopening Plan
Plans are subject to change based on DHEC, CDC and health official guidance.
 
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, school is not going to look the same regardless of the model selected.
2020-2021 Student Enrollment Options 
 
In order to provide families with the option to choose the format of instruction they believe is best for their student(s), Spartanburg School District Three will offer  Flexible Learning Models and a D3 Virtual program for grades 5K-12 that provides web-based learning. More information can be found in the  D3 Virtual section of this Return to Learn plan. Families who choose the D3 Virtual will enroll for at least half of the school year.
 
  • OPTION #1: DISTRICT THREE FLEXIBLE LEARNING MODELS FOR ELEMENTARY 
    • LOW SPREAD: Pre-K through 5th- Traditional Learning
      During times of low spread, all District Three students will attend school on a regular traditional schedule, with appropriate safety precautions implemented to make our school environments as safe as possible.
    • MEDIUM SPREAD: Pre-K through 5th- Family Model
      Elementary students will attend school daily in our buildings under a Family Model that limits contact with people beyond their homeroom. Students will remain with their classroom family all day, including lunch, recess, or other outdoor instruction. Related arts teachers will come to the classroom or take students outside for instruction.
      Please Note: If the Family Model is not feasible for any unforeseen reason during a medium spread, our elementary schools will follow the following schedule:
      PreK – 2nd will remain with the Family Model schedule.
      Grades 3-5 will operate on an AB schedule, like our middle/high schools.
    • HIGH SPREAD: Pre-K through 2nd- Family Model
      Pre-K through 2nd grade students will continue daily instruction with the Family Model schedule.
      Grades 3 - 5- Remote Learning
      Grades 3-5 will have Distant Remote Learning during this time.  Remote learning will incorporate daily instruction that mirrors the in-school schedule and experience to the fullest extent possible, with teachers providing live instruction remotely from their classrooms.
      OR
      Grades K-5
      Hybrid Model: A/B Schedule  

      Note: Districts will choose which learning model is most appropriate, based off guidelines provided by DHEC, the CDC and SC Dept. of Education recommendations.
  •  OPTION #1: DISTRICT THREE FLEXIBLE LEARNING MODELS: MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL
    • LOW SPREAD: Grades 6-12- Traditional Learning
      During times of low spread, all District Three students will attend school on a regular traditional schedule, with appropriate safety precautions implemented to make our school environments as safe as possible.
    • MEDIUM SPREAD: Grades 6-12 Hybrid Model- AB Schedule
      Middle and high school students will attend school daily in our buildings under a hybrid model – AB Schedule. 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. An example of the AB schedule for students is listed below. 
      Group A:
      Tentatively, last names that begin with A-K.
      On Campus: Mon/Wed
      Distant Remote Learning: Tues/Thurs/Fri
      Group B:
      Tentatively, last names that begin with L-Z
      On Campus: Tues/Thurs
      Distant Remote Learning: Mon/Wed/Fri

      OR

      Family Model
      Family Model that limits contact with people beyond their homeroom.
    • HIGH SPREAD: Grades 6-12- Remote Learning
      Grades 6-12 will have Distant Remote Learning during this time.  Remote learning will incorporate daily instruction that mirrors the in-school schedule and experience to the fullest extent possible, with teachers providing live instruction remotely from their classrooms.

                OR

                Hybrid model A/B Schedule: Students will attend school daily in our buildings under a hybrid model – AB Schedule. 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.

  •  OPTION #2: D3 VIRTUAL PROGRAM
    • If parents select D3 Virtual, the placement will remain in effect until the end of the first semester. The Superintendent reserves the right to allow elementary students to move from D3 Virtual to face-to-face instruction at the end of the first quarter/first nine weeks pending space available within the classrooms. Students in grades 6 – 12 will be required to complete designated assessments as required by the digital curriculum. Primary and elementary students should confirm they have access to compatible devices before selecting D3 Virtual. A limited number of devices may be available for primary and elementary student use and distributed according to the district’s technology usage agreement. Students in those grades will be assigned a District Three teacher and will be provided online instruction aligned with the district curriculum guides. 

      District Three will not utilize learning paper packets for students who choose D3 Virtual.

      INSTRUCTIONAL BELIEFS

      Preschool – Grade 2: 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. Spartanburg County School District Three believes face-to-face instruction is in the best interest of our early learners.
      Grades 3-5: Often, virtual/remote learning cannot provide many of the informal social interaction 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.
      Middle/High Schools: 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.
    • D3 Virtual Curriculum for Elementary Level
      At the elementary level, D3 Virtual students will receive live, daily grade-level instruction from a District Three teacher that mirrors an in-person school schedule and experience to the fullest extent possible.  Each student will be expected to virtually “attend” school during regular school hours, will receive quality instruction from their teacher, will cover the same learning standards that would be taught in person, will earn grades, and will build relationships with their classmates and teacher.
    • D3 Virtual Curriculum for Middle and High School Levels
      At the middle and high school level, D3 Virtual students complete self-paced learning modules through a digital curriculum. The curriculum incorporates textbooks and video lessons, with student progress monitored and supported by District Three teachers.
    • Characteristics of Successful Online Learners

      1. Good Time Management
      2. Self-Motivated
      3. Organized
      4. Comfortable with Technology

      What Can Parents do to Help Their Student be Successful at Online Learning?

      1. Take an active role in your child’s learning
      2. Ensure your child has 24/7 access to reliable internet
      3. Dedicate a space at home where your student will learn
      4. Assist your younger student with lessons
      5. Monitor your student’s daily progress
      6. Check understanding by talking to your student about their learning
      7. Provide consistent encouragement and motivation for your student

      D3 Virtual Parent Agreements:
      Attend an orientation provided by the district prior to the start of virtual learning
      Sign an agreement indicating reliable internet access
      Arrange for students to be assessed in-person at a designated school location
      Attend routine conferences with your child's teacher to ensure academic progress
      Attents to be assessed in-person at a designated school location


Return to Learn Quick Overview:

Based on feedback provided by parents and staff, coupled with the guidance from health officials and the South Carolina Department of Education, this is the Transitional Learning Plan to begin the 2020-2021 school year.

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS: AUGUST 17, 2020
OPTIONS: Hybrid A/B Model OR D3 Virtual 

  • HYBRID: K-12 students will attend school on the A/B Hybrid Model. Groups will follow the schedule below: 
    • A: On Campus: Mon/Wed
      Distant Remote Learning: Tues/Thurs/Fri
      Tentatively, last names beginning with A-K
    • B: On Campus: Tues/Thurs
      Distant Remote Learning: Mon/Wed/Fri

                  On September 8th, the District will begin a weekly review to decide if we can safely transition to the Family or Traditional Model.
                  This decision will be guided by DHEC, the CDC and SC Dept. of Education recommendations. 

  •  D3 VIRTUAL: D3 Virtual Program K-12 Online Learning
    • Spartanburg School District Three is also offering a D3 Virtual option for famlies.  If you are interested in this option, please sign up before  July 28th.  The link can be found on our social media or website pages. 

      There will be a mandatory parent orientation on Monday, August 3rd via zoom.  All families signed up for D3 Virtual will receive an email and letter with more information on how to access the zoom conference.
       
  • LEAP DAYS FOR K-8 STUDENTS- AUGUST 10-14, 2020: LEAP days are five additional days for K-8 students, which will be added to the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year for LEAP: Learning,  Evaluating, Analyzing, and Preparing.  Your child's principal will reach out to you to schedule a day for your child to return to school during this week of August 10-14.


INSTRUCTIONAL PLAN AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS
 
Social distancing will help limit the spread of the virus. While it would be difficult to ensure social distancing in all instances, schools will consider the following strategies:

• Modify school schedules
• Limit visitors on campus
• Keep students in smaller groups
• Serve meals in small group settings
• Space desks further apart to ensure appropriate distance between students
• Serve individually plated or boxed meals
• Where possible, keep student cohorts from mixing

General Safety Precautions Throughout the Day

TEMPERATURE CHECKS AT HOME:
Families are recommended to take temperatures daily before going to school.  Anyone with a fever of 100.4 or higher should not go to a school site. Vulnerable students will complete classwork through remote learning.  The student’s classroom teacher will provide instruction and assignments for the student while they are absent from the classroom.

HANDWASHING, HAND SANITIZERS, AND DISINFECTANTS:  All students and staff will be encouraged to wash/clean their hands regularly. Handwashing stations with soap and/or hand sanitizer should be made available in classrooms. 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, students should use hand sanitizers. High-touch surfaces (doorknobs, handrails, light switches, etc.) will be cleaned with disinfectants throughout the school day. All District Three staff will follow cleaning and disinfecting protocols according to SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines. 

AIR QUALITY:
To further improve the quality of environment, our district is upgrading the HVAC filtration where applicable to higher MERV filters.

VISITORS ON CAMPUS:
Parents and visitors will have limited access to the school campus. Schools will post signs (questionnaires) at entrances to remind parents and students of symptoms of COVID-19. Visitors will not be allowed into student areas.  
 
FIELD TRIPS:
Field Trips are not currently recommended.
 
ATHLETIC PROGRAMS:
The District’s athletic programs follow the requirements established by the SC High School League (SCHSL) & Athletic Safety Guidelines and Precautions developed by the District.
 
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE):
The District will adhere to SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) guidelines and/or mandates regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves.
          • Clean face masks will be required of all students and teachers during transitions and when class activities significantly reduce physical distancing. However, face masks are highly recommended at all times. Families are strongly encouraged to provide their own mask, but schools will provide a mask if needed. Physical distancing will be practiced to the fullest extent possible but will not be feasible at all times.
          • Every teacher will be provided with a face shield and a mask.
          • Parents will be notified of changes in practices based on DHEC guidance. 
          • Plexiglass protectors/dividers will be installed in lobbies and main offices. 
          • Small, plastic dividers will be provided for one-on-one assessments with students and meetings where participants are in close contact. 
 
 
NOTIFICATION OF SYMPTOMS AND CASES:
School nurses and a district administrator will communicate directly with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to determine the next steps in each situation.  The DHEC exclusion and notification guidance will be followed.  The DHEC re-entry guidance will be followed when a child is ready to re-enter school after being excluded for a case or symptoms of COVID-19. School nurses will comply with HIPPA regulations in the handling of COVID-19 cases.

HEALTH ROOM AND ISOLATION AREA:
Whenever symptoms of COVID-19 appear at school, teachers will send students to the health room to be examined by the school nurse. If the school nurse believes the symptoms indicate the probability of COVID-19, parents will be notified immediately and asked to pick up the student from school.  Until the arrival of the parent, the student will be isolated from other students and required to wear a mask while he/she is waiting to be picked up. Parents should update health records, emergency phone numbers and provide the school nurse with the latest health information on students. 

REPORTING AND EXCLUSION GUIDELINES FOR STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES: 
When should a student or teacher stay home?
The following school exclusions have been provided by DHEC. These guidelines were developed based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and are subject to change.
Students and staff should be excluded from school if they have:
Any one (1) of the following: 
• Fever – or-
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing -or - 
• Loss of taste or smell -or – 
• New or worsening cough 
Any two (2) of the following:
• Sore throat 
• Muscle or body aches 
• Chills 
• Fatigue 
• Headache 
• Congestion or runny nose 
• Diarrhea 
• Nausea or vomiting
Any child with any one of these symptoms should consider not attending school regardless of meeting exclusion criteria. If these symptoms are explainable by an underlying condition (such as shortness of breath or cough for an individual with asthma) exclusion may not be necessary.

What happens if a student or staffmember has symptoms listed on the COVID-19 exclusion list?

  • Students and staff members who have COVID-19 symptoms will be sent home from school or asked to stay at home if the school is notified by phone.
  • Students and staff members who have COVID-19 symptoms must present a negative COVID-19 test¬ing result or present a physician statement that the symptoms were diagnosed to be due to another cause other than COVID-19 or stay in isolation until the following criteria is met: 
    • Ten days have passed since symptoms started 
    • Three days have passed since last fever without fever reducing medication 

DHEC Guidelines Regarding Exposure to COVID-19:
Students and staff members who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to notify the school nurse and isolate at home until the following criteria is met:

  • Ten (10) days have passed since symptoms started
  • Three (3) days have passed since last fever without taking fever reducing medication  

 
What happens if a student or staff member is exposed to a COVID-19 positive person at school? 
Close contacts must quarantine at home for 14 days from the last day of contact with the COVID-19 positive person.
A student or staff member is considered to be a close contact if they are determined to have been within six (6) feet for fifteen (15) minutes or more to a COVID-19 positive person. 

What happens if a student or staff member is exposed to a COVID-19 positive person outside of schools in a manner that meets close contact criteria? 

  • Notify the school nurse of the exposure 
  • Quarantine at home for 14 days from the last day of close contact with the COVID-19 positive person 
  • If the student or staff member lives in the same household as the COVID-19 positive person, they  must quarantine for 14 days.


PERFECT ATTENDANCE INCENTIVES PUT ON HOLD:
We encourage students and employees to stay home if they are not feeling well. At this time, District Three will no longer offer awards and incentives for perfect attendance. This decision is based upon recommendations from public health officials and the following guidance from the SC AccelerateED Task Force, "Districts should review and consider discontinuing attendance incentive programs for staff and students in order to diminish pressure for an individual to report to school when feeling ill."

SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING:
District and school staff members are committed to supporting students’ social emotional wellness and offering resources to ensure a student’s transition back to school goes smoothly.  Support may include social emotional learning, building relationships, community building activities, and increased access to mental health/wellness services. Families and school will need to work together to check how students are feeling and assess their individual needs to provide the support our students need during these challenging times.

We will continue to do our utmost to meet the social emotional needs of all students and faculty within the District Three family (ie: mental health, med screens, additional personnel…etc). Our District Social Worker consistently monitors all students including those with no internet services. In addition, there is an abundance of activities and strategies available for parents, students, and teachers on our district website. 

CURRICULM AND INSTRUCTION:
QUALITY EDUCATION:
Spartanburg School District Three has always had a strong commitment to providing quality education for all our students. Regardless of the instructional model used, teachers will continue to use the rigor of the state standards as the foundation of their instruction. Small group instruction is differentiated based on Math and ELA MAP scores and the MAP Learning Continuum.  The District understands the need for accelerated mastery learning and has district instructional guides to help teachers prepare students for the accelerated learning that must take place in the 20-21 school year. In addition, the District has a universal plan for all instructional models in order to prepare for the possibility of multiple scenarios during the school year.

 
ART, PE, AND MUSIC:
Some courses, such as band and chorus, will require modifications if social distancing is not feasible.  The District will work with students and families to ensure accommodations are made. All alternative options, such as on-line classes, will be considered.

 
ENSURING EQUITY:
All students must have opportunities to achieve academic success. The District will continue to meet the needs of all students regardless of their personal situation. Subgroup performance is monitored at the school and district level. Students who are falling behind academically are contacted frequently to ensure they have the support they need to move forward. For those families who don’t have internet, a system is in place to ensure students get timely feedback on assignments.  

 
SPECIAL EDUCATION:
Individualized Education Programs (IEP) will be amended, as needed, to reflect the instructional delivery model chosen by the parent so that appropriate special education and related services, supports, accommodations, and modifications are designed to provide meaningful educational benefit (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment. Instructional delivery models include face-to-face, hybrid, and virtual learning models. Contingency plans will be included for eLearning due to emergency closures. Accommodations and modifications will continue to be provided, in all models, to ensure access to the general curriculum. Related services will be provided in person when safe to do so. Teletherapy will be offered to students receiving instruction through Remote Learning.

 
ENGLISH LEARNERS:
District Three has an English Language Learners support program. The primary focus is to offer an English-rich environment that provides opportunities to reach English language proficiency as soon as possible. Students are identified as an ELL student using the Home Language Survey completed by a student’s parent/guardian upon initial enrollment in a District Three school. The District Three ELL program is standards-based and emphasizes both academic and social development.  Students will continue to receive services in any learning model. Both synchronous and asynchronous  resources and instruction will be provided in a co-teaching model.

 
GIFTED AND TALENTED:
Students who participate in the academically gifted program at the elementary level may receive gifted services within their regular classrooms and/or may be served on Fridays. It is the District’s intent to provide students with the challenging academic work they need to reach their full potential.  ATLAS teachers will differentiate and individualize learning based on students’ specific needs and talents.

 
GRADING AND ATTENDANCE:
Grading and attendance policies will strictly adhere to the South Carolina Department of Education guidelines.

 
MTSS – MULTI-TIERED SYSTEMS OF SUPPORT:
District Three utilizes a Multi-Tiered System of Support to help students meet their full potential. The Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) consists of three tiers. The district is concerned about the academic wellbeing of students and is equally concerned with a student’s social and emotional wellbeing. All three tiers of instruction provide support in academics as well as in social and emotional health. As part of this system, all students receive a rigorous college and career focused curriculum. This is known as Tier I instruction. At times, a student may need additional support to meet instructional goals provided in a small group setting. This support may occur within the student’s classroom by the classroom teacher, or outside the classroom by a trained paraprofessional working under the direction of a certified teacher. This is referred to as Tier II support. In circumstances when a student needs even more support meeting defined goals, the student may be enrolled in a Tier III support program to receive support out of the classroom in an extremely small group setting. The support is provided by a trained paraprofessional working under the direction of the school’s reading coach.

LOGISTICS: TRANSPORTATION, FOOD SERVICES, ETC.
FOOD SERVICES:
We first want to acknowledge our vendor partner, Chartwells, for what they have brought to this discussion in terms of national reach, resources, and methods of service delivery they have developed and perfected over the years.  
We have three feeding options that will be provided, depending on our instruction delivery scenario – Traditional, Hybrid, or Distance Remote Learning.  Pre-packaged breakfasts or lunches will either be picked up by students as they transition to their learning stations or delivered to classrooms.
Each of the three options will include some combination of six service delivery methods, all of which have been tried and perfected by Chartwells either in Spartanburg Three or other school districts throughout the nation.  
These include:
• Classroom Delivery
• Hallway / Commons designated feeding areas
• Cafeteria Service (students pick up meals in the cafeteria)
• Off the bus dining (cycle through the cafeteria on the way to class)
• Take-home meals
• Ship to home meals (five-day packs)

TRANSPORTATION:
All buses will operate at 50% capacity, which means arrival and dismissal times may be staggered if there is a need for multiple routes.

• Buses will be cleaned and disinfected in between routes. 
• Bus drivers and students will be required to wear (PPE) Personal Protective Equipment during routes.
• Parents are encouraged to provide their own mode of transportation as an extra safety precaution.

SCHOOL CLASSROOM SETUPS AND CONFIGURATIONS:
School and classroom configurations will revolve around which model(s) we choose instructionally.  Main considerations will be sanitation, social distancing, traffic flow, furniture configuration, and utilization of available spaces.

• Social Distancing in the classroom will be accomplished by limiting instructional groups to 12-15 (more likely 12) within a given classroom or designated learning area. 
• Signage will be used to control traffic, to point out and encourage social distancing, to encourage respiratory etiquette, to encourage hand washing and sanitizing, and to inform visitors as to our COVID-19 rules. 

CLASSROOM SETUPS AND CONFIGURATIONS:

RESTROOMS AND WATER FOUNTAINS:
Restroom breaks will be scheduled to provide better opportunities for social distancing in the restrooms. According to DHEC guidelines, water fountains have been turned off. However, students may bring bottles of water from home.
RECESS AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY:
Recess and physical activity periods will be scheduled and limited to a small group to provide better opportunities for social distancing on the playgrounds and campuses. Students are required to wash or sanitize hands upon return from playgrounds and play areas.

SCHOOL CLOSURES AND TRANSITIONS BETWEEN MODELS:

Given the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, it is likely closures will occur at some point within the 2020-21 school year. Closures may involve the entire district, a single school, or individual classrooms. 
The District may transition from a hybrid model to a full-time, face-to-face model during decreases in COVID-19 cases. It may implement closure of the entire school district with 100% remote learning during periods of high spread.  
Families will be notified if there is a need to transition to other learning models via social media, district webpage, letters home, and/or phone calls home.

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