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In-Person/Hybrid Learning Beginning October 5

September 16, 2020

Greetings, ICSD Community,

Our academic school year has officially begun, and our virtual learning spaces are buzzing with student and staff connections. I appreciate the students, families, and educators who are making adjustments and navigating an uncommon opening amid a health pandemic.

I wish to share important updates regarding our planned transition to in-person learning on October 5, 2020. In August, we asked teachers and families to submit their choices for in-person or distance teaching and learning. While 56% of students chose in-person learning, 32% of teachers chose in-person teaching. The results created an impossible staffing model given the number of students choosing to return for in-person learning and the number of teachers choosing to teach virtually. In addition to making significant improvements to the infrastructure and HVAC of our buildings, we have been collaborating with union leadership and working diligently to create a plan that makes in-person instruction possible.

All teachers will return to teach in school buildings on October 5. We will, of course, create exceptions for teachers with documented medical conditions or who have household members with documented medical conditions. We have received feedback from our community, including the variety of stakeholders on our Reopen ICSD Team. We now have a new model for in-person and virtual teaching and learning, starting October 5. Here are the key elements:

Elementary School

(PreK-5) who selected the in-person learning option:

  • Students will attend their elementary school in person 5 days per week
(PreK-5) who selected the distance learning option:
  • Students will continue to receive distance learning instruction 5 days per week

For all elementary students, we are working to maintain teacher and student relationships as much as possible. In the event that a child must transition to a new teacher, we will make that transition as seamless as possible. More information will be communicated shortly. Again, we ask that families hold true to the selections they made in August, as this will allow us to plan. 

Middle School and High School

For middle and high school students who selected the in-person learning option, we are transitioning to a hybrid model beginning on October 5. In this hybrid model, students will attend school in person two days per week and receive distance learning instruction the other three days of the week.

We have spent considerable time developing a sustainable and age-appropriate schedule at the secondary level. Unfortunately, the 5-day per week in-person model that was offered during the summer is no longer an option, due to logistical complexities. These include honoring the extensive course selections for students, leaves of absence, medical accommodations, and certification areas by subject area.

Our new hybrid model is scheduled to begin on October 5.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Cohort 1 (Gold) in person Asynchronous (virtual) learning day for all Cohort 2 (Red) in person
  • Students choosing the hybrid model (in-person) will be placed into Cohort 1 or Cohort 2. Students will follow their current sequence and timing of classes. On the days that they are not learning in person, students will stay connected with their classes and continue to receive virtual instruction. The cohorts will remain the same, attending school in person together on the same days each week.
  • Wednesdays are planned for asynchronous distance learning, “office” hours, individual help sessions, music lessons, counseling sessions, and caregiver conferences. On Wednesdays, our teachers will also engage in professional development in virtual learning.
  • Students who are engaged in 100% virtual learning will use Google Meet via Canvas at the beginning of each class period for instructions. Distance learning classes will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction.
  • Educators will determine how their class periods operate, given that 100% virtual learning and hybrid students attending virtually or in-person (depending on the day) will be taking place at the same time. In other words, classes will consist of both virtual and in-person instruction simultaneously on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  • Each school will be hosting a virtual information session to share additional details and engage in dialogue about the upcoming transition.
These instructional delivery shifts will allow us to provide the best experience possible for students while maintaining our adherence to the mandates placed upon New York State school districts for reopening. In these most uncertain times, decisions and plans have required adjustments and reversals. I acknowledge the inconvenience another significant change may cause and ask for your patience and understanding. I am honored to be working and learning with this community of teachers, staff, caregivers, and community partners to provide the best possible options for our young people during this health pandemic.
 
Regards,
Luvelle