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July 10, 2020 Update with Recommendations for Reopening Schools

We are providing an interim update in advance of the release of our reopening plan in order to keep the community and our Rocket families informed. All of our recommendations are based on keeping our students and staff safe and healthy. Please keep in mind that information is subject to change based on local health conditions and directives from the state.

2020-21 School Calendar

In-person traditional instruction for all students is being recommended to resume in August, with an option for distance learning for those families not comfortable with in-person learning during this time. At the July 13th School Board meeting, a change to the school calendar will be considered by the Board. More information will be available following any Board action.

Adherence to Public Health Requirements

To open schools for traditional learning, we will need to implement certain mitigation strategies. As staff and students return to the classroom, important safety protocols will be in place to limit exposure and transmission of COVID-19. Among them:

  • Physical distancing will be practiced to the fullest level possible
  • We must adhere to the Governor’s order requiring face coverings when not at home. Staff and student face coverings are required with consideration for exceptions, if necessary, for the health and wellness of certain students or staff
  • Student grouping limitations wherever possible
  • Regular hand washing
  • Shared items will be reduced
  • Increased building ventilation and fresh air mixture to the greatest extent possible
  • Enhanced cleaning and decontamination of buildings and buses

Changes to Transportation

  • Transportation will be provided with modified seating on buses/vans. Some routes will be changed to increase efficiency and reduce drive times.
  • Bus seating will be reduced to allow for physical distancing as feasible. Buses will seat a maximum of two students per seat and will keep family members together when possible.
  • Drivers will wear face coverings.
  • Elementary and Intermediate School students will be scheduled together.

Change to School Schedules

One of the biggest challenges to reopening schools for traditional instruction is the ability to transport students safely while adhering to physical distancing guidelines. Making slight changes to our school schedules will allow the Transportation Office to alter the bus runs to accommodate the reduced number of students on each bus. It also reduces the number of students gathering in one place to enter and exit a bus. The school schedules are as follows:

  • Middle School & High School: Drop-off 7:00 AM; Dismissal 1:35 PM
  • Intermediate School: Drop-off 8:00 AM; Dismissal 2:45 PM
  • K - 4 Elementary Schools: Drop-off 8:00 AM; Dismissal 3:10 PM

Distance Learning

Rocket families will have the option to select distance learning in lieu of the traditional school setting. The distance learning option will be available to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Having a robust distance learning model will provide more options for our students, grant us flexibility in responding to COVID-19 developments, and allow a smoother transition and a well-rounded learning experience for everyone.

Moving forward, distance learning at SGASD will be different from what families experienced in the spring with remote instruction. Distance learning will closely parallel the lessons, activities, and instruction that happens in the classroom and will be taught by SGASD teachers. One distance learning platform will be designated for the entire District. 

Distance learning will include daily attendance and schedules for students. Teachers will provide feedback on student work and issue grades. We know the importance of student and teacher interaction. Therefore, teachers and staff will be accessible to students in a variety of ways. Students with special needs will receive specially designed instruction and other related services as appropriate.

School Intentions and Transportation Commitment

Early next week, we will be asking each family that resides in the Spring Grove Area School District to complete the online School Intentions and Transportation Commitment Form. Your response to the Commitment Form is critical for school building and classroom planning, distance learning planning, and for organizing transportation routes. 

Technology

All students in kindergarten through 12th grade will be issued a district iPad for learning purposes in the classroom and at home.