March 26, 2021
Dear Parents and School Community Members,
At last night’s board of education meeting, I shared our plans for enhancing our instructional model. I began with the latest department of health guidance, which now aligns with the change in the CDC recommendations to permit three feet of social distancing in elementary classrooms. It also allows for three feet in middle school classrooms, provided the region where the school is located remains in the moderate (yellow) zone on the state’s CALI report. Our region was in the moderate zone throughout February and the early part of March, but for the last two weeks, an increase in case rates has pushed us just above the threshold into the high-risk (orange) zone.
This development complicates our plans because we had wanted to combine the Valley View cohorts, as we did at Bayberry, and invite all in-person students to attend school five days per week on the early dismissal schedule. This would provide more regular and sustained instructional time for the students and would be the next logical step in our incremental approach. But because we cannot predict whether our region will move back to the moderate zone and stay there, we are planning for a full-day hybrid model with the existing cohorts.
At Bayberry, we are working on a three-quarter-day schedule with a 2:15 pm dismissal, which would increase in-person instruction significantly each week and also help us balance screen time for our younger all-remote learners. We are working on a few logistical issues, including coordinating volunteers from the PTO to assist with lunchtime supervision, but we are encouraged by the plan and the support of our staff.
I caution everyone, however, that the recent positive test results in our school community have complicated our efforts. The success of our plans naturally rests on everyone’s cooperation and support in following the health and safety protocols, including mask wearing, social distancing, completing the screening forms accurately in Genesis every day, and following the quarantine practices after travel or possible Covid exposure outside of school. A spike in positive tests the week following spring break could derail our plans to increase in-person instructional time.
The target date for the changes is Monday, April 12, which gives us a buffer after spring break to assess the course of the pandemic in our area. I will provide an update when we return to school in April, and your child’s principal will follow with details about the schedule changes.
Thank you for your ongoing support. Have a wonderful and safe spring break with your families.
Very truly yours,
George P. Alexis