Eagle Update: Planning for the upcoming school year
By Jeff Bertrang
ISD 88 Superintendent
On Thursday, we were informed how to plan what our school start will look like. Our plans will be based on county health information and recommendations based on what is happening in our communities. We have spent time since June reviewing the following information: building capacity to allow for social distancing (6′ spaces between students), what daily schedule will work best for families who have students in multiple buildings, supports for the students who struggled during distance learning this past spring, how many students can safely be on a bus, safety protocols entering/leaving school buildings, ventilation system changes, acquisition of PPE, cleaning procedures, how to safely provide meals while in school and at home, separation of students in hallways, classrooms and common areas such as bathrooms, cafeterias and playgrounds. We have masks and shields available for both staff and students. All of this is in preparation for the return of staff and students to school.
Our planning has been centered around these priorities:
• Safety of staff and students
• Keeping families together on the days in school, no matter which site the students attend
• Providing an equitable education for all students
• Working with families who would like to continue with a distance learning model due to safety concerns with the family
• Providing social, emotional and mental health supports for all
• Ensuring all students have access to technology, meals and teacher supports
The plans for school will be flexible as we may have to change our delivery model and student supports from person-to-person instruction, to a hybrid (less students allowed in the buildings), to complete distance learning. These decisions will be made in conjunction with the department of health, county public health and current events occurring in our communities.
Our staff will spend the next few weeks finalizing our plans, communicating and working with parents and presenting this to the school board for final approval. There are so many moving parts as we develop options for learning while working to minimize risks associated with COVID-19 and the potential of many people in close spaces.
We are excited to be able to serve our students and families this school year. We know it will be different, but working together and remaining flexible are keys to success for all of us.