Why a PHASED IN ReOpening for Middletown?
We are so excited to be reopening our schools. Some of you have read our phase in/hybrid plan and praised us for a slow, careful return. Others are frustrated by our decision and are having a difficult time understanding why we would not just go to our full RIDE plan on September 14th. We know this is not a perfect scenario, but we would like you to know the decision was grounded with safety in mind.
Let us explain the WHY.
What makes back-to-school planning challenging during a pandemic? Everything.
Our work over the entire summer has been focused on preparing for multiple reopening scenarios. We were charged to prepare for full/partial return, limited return and full distance learning. We were also asked to provide a full Distance Learning option to families who were not comfortable with an in person model. When the governor says this has been hard work, she is correct. It is a difficult and monumental task. We hit many roadblocks along the way that felt impossible to solve, we have worked through most but….. Not all.
We are still working every day to be tireless in our efforts. We must prepare our classrooms and buildings for a safe return. Today, we had visits from the Educational Operation Center’s walk through team. The team completed a 38 question checklist at each school site that dealt with protocols, ventilation, signage, social distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting procedures. CHECKLIST LINKED HERE We know our work is not done. We will get official feedback in a few days. Next week we will begin working with our staff to prepare them to be safe and nimble in the months ahead. The governor gave us a green light to reopen, but also asked us to proceed with caution. The complexities of our plan are immense and in order to ensure they are implemented carefully we must bring our schools in session, slowly.
School will look different, feel different, and be different this year. As you can imagine, there are many new protocols to follow for students and staff. It will take time to become familiar with the classroom, hallway, lunch, bathroom, and drop-off/pickup procedures. We must ensure students and staff have time to carefully understand our new safety expectations. The first week is a slow roll out. Each grade gets to spend time in small groups with their teacher practicing wearing masks, washing hands and watching their distance. Transition grades get to spend a little extra time in new buildings to orient themselves. Week 2 and 3 are a hybrid. Your child will be leaerning in person two days and distance learning the other days. Our goal is to get to our full plan by week four. (as a reminder our full RIDE plan has K-5 in person and 6-12 in a hybrid model)
Ultimately, the phased in approach is the safest way to reopen. We know it's not convenient for everyone, especially K-5, and we do apologize for that. We must put safety first. We must ensure our staff and students can bring our commended plan to life. We want nothing more than to get back to school with every student, every day. That is our ultimate goal, you have our word.