On Tuesday, July 28 the Edmond Board of Education approved the 2020-2021 school year reopening plan for students. The board voted that students who are not currently enrolled in Virtual Edmond will start the 2020-2021 school year by attending in-person classes two days a week and taking remote classes three days a week.
Students to Start School With a Blended Model of Instruction
Known as a blended model of instruction, this learning option aligns with the newly-released Oklahoma State Department of Education (SDE) School Safety Protocols wherein districts in counties with greater COVID-19 outbreaks, including Oklahoma County, are strongly encouraged to transition to alternative schedules (A/B weeks, rotations, hybrid model, etc.) to reduce the number of individuals in school buildings and ensure greater social distancing. In this scenario, students will only attend school in person on assigned days.
Starting school with a blended model of instruction allows the district to accomplish the following:
- Reduce by half the number of students in school buildings and on buses to better ensure social distancing
- Keep class sizes more manageable for teachers (and a limited pool of substitutes) who will have numerous new procedures and safety precautions to learn and execute
- Ensure some time in the classroom for students to collaborate face-to-face on projects and lab activities
- Provide elementary students crucial face-to-face instruction on the new Canvas Learning Management System
A blended model of instruction involves splitting each school site’s student population into an A and B group. Attention will be given to make sure students from the same family are assigned the same days.
Monday and Tuesday In person, at school
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Remote Learning
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Remote Learning
Thursday and Friday In person, at school
*The Blended Learning Model DOES NOT APPLY to students who have transferred to Virtual Edmond
No general education students will be in the buildings on Wednesday. This will be a day for teachers to build their Canvas lessons and for cleaning and disinfecting the buildings between groups of students. The remote learning that will take place during a blended learning scenario will be provided by the classroom teacher through Canvas. It is important to point out that grades and attendance will be taken, even on remote learning days, and that the remote learning portion is not optional.
How Will Student Schedules be Decided?
The district’s portal, Infinite Campus, will auto-generate the A and B groups for all 25,000 students at one time. The only parameter it protects is households, keeping siblings in the same group, no matter their age. Making any changes after the auto-sort happens would affect the entire student roster. Unfortunately, the district will not be able to accommodate specific schedule requests.
What About Students on an IEP or 504?
There are exceptions to the blended model of instruction that may apply to students with disabilities who are unable to receive instructional services through remote learning. Placement, and district services for these students, will be carefully decided by each school site’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Accommodation Plan team. Special education personnel will be reaching out to families of children with disabilities by August 12th to schedule an IEP team meeting prior to the start of school.
Will Meal Service Continue Even on Remote Learning Days?
The Child Nutrition Department will provide drive-thru meals at all locations for distance learning students. Both breakfast and lunch will be available at the same time. We’ll share the site-specific times/pick-up locations as we get closer to the start of school and post Virtual Menus on our the Child Nutrition Website. The virtual meals will incorporate some of the items in the regular school lunch but will be tweaked to work in a sack lunch.
Children do not have to be present at pick-up, but whoever picks up the meals will need to provide the student’s name(s) to check off the roster as meals are passed out.
Unlike the summer meal program, meals will need to be picked up at the child’s home school because we will need to confirm they’re enrolled, charge them according to F/R/P status at their school, as well as ensure that the meals are appropriate for the child’s grade level.
What Happens if COVID-19 Cases Increase or Decrease?
The district will revisit the reopening plan often to ensure that we are doing everything possible to give our students the best education while also providing sufficient safeguards for students and staff alike. At some point in time, we may move to a more restrictive or less restrictive teaching model if the COVID-19 data changes. Scientific understanding of the novel coronavirus is increasing rapidly, so efforts to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 will necessarily evolve with additional research and experience.
There are many details still to be ironed out and district staff members are working hard to provide those answers to school sites so that they can, in turn, provide them to parents and students.
School to Start August 20
The board also approved pushing the start of school by one week and beginning the 2020-2021 school year on Thursday, August 20. The extra week will be needed to reconfigure student schedules, train teachers, set up IEP meetings with parents, configure digital devices, and rebalance staff for our Virtual Edmond option.