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​UPDATE ON RETURN TO SCHOOL PLAN 9-26-20
Tonya Arnold
Saturday, September 26, 2020

UPDATE ON RETURN TO SCHOOL PLAN   9-26-20

Our Covid Response Team continues to meet weekly.  We work hard to review the status of all district needs for the hybrid model and safety plan; responding and adjusting as quickly as possible.

We very much appreciate the support from families who are helping keep numbers low on the buses to ensure social distancing.  Without that support, we would need to shorten school days creating two sets of bus runs.  The help of families that can transport students is invaluable to helping us maintain full school days for the in-classroom learning.  If that changes, we will need to reschedule everything.

Thank you for keeping your child home when sick or there is any question of exposure issues.  We are seeing healthy, happy students who are cooperative and engaged in learning.  Please post the new health screener and return to school flow chart on your refrigerator or beside the door.

While we are in good shape on PPE supplies, we are working diligently to get enough technology and connectivity for every student in place.  Our tech support staff are working beyond capacity to set up the huge influx of technology.  Plus we are still awaiting delivery of some fo the tools, devices and supplies we ordered earlier this summer, because the whole country is doing the same.  We appreciate your patience, and support for teacher creativity while navigating the wait.

We promised to discuss creative ways to get students back to school for more days.  We have been having those discussions.  Unfortunately, given the limits of space and staffing, along with the amount of work on the plates of our educators, we do not have the capacity right now to increase further time in class at this point.  We may be making school by school determinations for increased time at the Kindergarten level first, then work our way up the grades.  If we get to the point that such increase in classroom time becomes possible, increasing service for as many students as we can will likely outweigh the need to be equal across all district schools. The reason for this is that key factors will be spacing in relation to class sizes and not any other factor.  We have asked the DOE about any potential relaxation in the physical distancing requirements that might help with this, but no reduction in the spacing requirements during the school day are anticipated this fall.

Meanwhile we were able to create a partnership with two providers to take advantage of childcare grant opportunities.  If all details come together for full approval and release of funds, the two communities that would be served by that project are Richmond and Monmouth.  Those were the town officials and existing businesses who were able to respond by the tight deadline who also had the potential capacity to move quickly to add space for school day support for remote day RSU 2 students. A big thank you to everyone helping with these projects.

Stay safe, kind and healthy.