- - August 4, 2020 Update - -
Dear U-32 Students and Families,
This email will provide information about our schedule and learning options for this school year. There is an additional document that will provide you much more detailed information, so please take a moment and read through all the information in this email first and then the additional document, since it will hopefully answer many of your specific questions. In complete transparency, we are doing the best we can to plan, even though we also have questions. Nothing in our experience as educators has matched this. We thank the almost 80% of the parents who filled out our Return to School survey. That information was incredibly helpful to us and has provided us with important data that has framed our recent work. We are certain that our faculty, staff and administrators are up to the challenge of providing an excellent education to the students in our community throughout the Covid19 pandemic.
After reading the following information, we need you to complete this survey by Friday, August 7 that asks you to commit to a specific learning environment, based on your family’s needs, so that we can finalize our course schedules for this school year.
LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS - We heard that 75% of our families want some form of in-person education this fall. We know how important that format is to our community in general and to our students and teachers, specifically. There is no doubt that for many of our students, in-person learning is the healthiest, realistic, and most productive option and we know that is not true for others. Therefore, we are planning for several versions of school this fall:
- Full-time, in-person learning for students in grades 7-8 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday).
- Hybrid learning for students in grades 9-12. Students will be assigned to a group that will alternate between in-person and remote learning on a weekly-basis (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday).
- Full-time, remote learning for students/families concerned about the health and safety of in-person learning.
IN-PERSON / HYBRID SCHEDULES AND GROUPING - Students who attend in-person/hybrid learning will be grouped into cohorts of students who have the same/similar classes. This ‘cocooning’ means that students will be assigned to a small core group of students and a team of teachers who will spend the day together. This will allow us to follow CDC recommendations to slow and reduce the spread of Covid-19, keeping class sizes small, limiting contact, and providing for physical distancing. It will also allow us to respond quickly to limit the impact of a student or staff member who does become ill. Our work with the VT Department of Health around contract tracing will also be simplified.
Middle School (7-8) In-Person Schedule - we have broken up the existing middle school cores into 4 groups. There will be 2 seventh grade cores (Earth and Wind) and 2 eighth grade cores (Fire and Water). Each of those cores will be split up into 4 learning pods of approximately 15 students. When we start the school year, students will be assigned a classroom and the teachers will rotate between rooms. While this lack of movement between classrooms for students is not our traditional middle school model, it will allow us to reduce the need to constantly be cleaning rooms and will reduce the crowding in the hallways. If the rate of transmission stays low once we are into the school year, we will reconsider how students are grouped and how we can increase movement outside of the classroom.
Our Middle School students will be learning in a fully in-person system (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday). As a district, we prioritized the face to face instruction for grades PreK-8 and we are able to spread out our middle school students into multiple spaces. We believe that between our commitment to physical distancing and our strong feeling about having our youngest students interacting face-to-face full-time with their teachers.
High School (9-12) In-Person/Hybrid Daily Schedule - Our high school students will be learning in a hybrid system. During the in-person (blue) week, students will attend all six classes daily. The next week, remote (white) week, students will attend their six classes which will meet twice a week with additional time for office hours. They will continue to receive direct instruction (synchronously) from the same teachers while also spending time working independently. Remote (white) Wednesdays will be time for teacher professional development, teacher office hours and student work time.
In developing our high school schedule, we are implementing a hybrid model to prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff, to manage contact tracing, and implement consistency in instruction. We recognize that adolescents are more likely to transmit this disease in the manner of adults. This model of one week in-person/one week remote will provide a natural ‘isolation’ period (9 days) for our high school students and staff between each week of in-person instruction and allows our teachers to thoughtfully plan for the instruction they can provide in person and the assignments that students will access while remote.
At the 9th and 10th grade levels this means that students will be on a team of 60 students and their time will be spent in a learning pod of the same 15 students (approximately). When we start the school year, students will be assigned a classroom and the teachers will rotate between rooms. While this lack of movement between classrooms for students is not our traditional model, it will allow us to reduce the need to constantly be cleaning rooms and will reduce the crowding in the hallways. If the rate of transmission stays low once we are into the school year, we will reconsider how students are grouped and how we can increase movement outside of the classroom.
Due to the variety of courses, cocooning students at the 11th and 12th grade is much more difficult. We are currently developing a course schedule to try and keep our cohorts as small as possible. We will have this schedule out in mid-August.
The schedules above are designed so that, should our government require us to shift to remote learning in a period of school dismissal, we have our white remote schedule in place.
FULL-TIME REMOTE LEARNING - If a family chooses to have their student opt out of in-person or hybrid learning and learn from home, we will provide for that option. Daily schedules will be determined once we have a firm understanding of how many students will be learning remotely.
Middle School (7-8) Remote Schedule – All learning will be done synchronously. This means that students will be responsible to log into Canvas at specific times during the day (between 8:00am and 2:35pm) to work with their teachers. Instruction will occur in the four core subjects plus a rotation of visual and performing arts, physical education, health and world language (for 8th only). Special education services and intervention time will also occur remotely. Families who choose the remote learning path must understand the commitment to this structure and be able to provide the internet access in order to be online for extended periods of time during the day. Expectations for attendance, homework outside of ‘school hours’ and work completion will be the same as for students who are learning in-person.
High School (9-12) Remote Schedule – High School work will be done asynchronously AND synchronously. This means that students will be responsible to log into Canvas at specific times during the school day to attend class ‘lectures’ and work with their teachers. Mostly, there will be work that will need to be completed asynchronously (even outside of the ‘school day’) including but not limited to office hours, readings, online group work and project completion. Families who choose the remote learning path must understand the commitment to this structure and be able to provide the internet access in order to be online for extended periods of time during the day. Expectations for attendance, homework outside of ‘school hours’ and work completion will be the same as for students who are learning in-person.
VERMONT VIRTUAL LEARNING COLLABORATIVE - For some students, we will not be able to offer the complete daily schedule that they would prefer. This may include specialized electives or classes outside of the traditional grade level offerings. In these cases, students will be given the opportunity to enroll in an online class offered by VTVLC. These classes will most likely be offered outside of the traditional day and cannot take the place of a class that is available to students at U-32. Students in grades 7-12 should work with their school counselor to explore this. Preference and priority will be given to students who need a specific class for graduation or college applications but all students may inquire into the opportunity.
As Governor Scott announced on July 28, we will be delaying the start of all schools in WCUUSD until Tuesday, Sept 8. Our school year will begin as follows:
- September 1 (rain date 9/2) - 7th grade Meet Your TA night
- September 8
- 7th and 8th grade will begin in-person instruction.
- 9th and 10th grade will attend in-person instruction and will move to remote instruction for the week starting Monday, September 14th.
- 11th and 12th grade students will start remotely and will attend in-person starting Monday, September 14th.
Please complete this survey by Friday, August 7.
CLICK HERE to access the WCUUD Safe Learning Website.
CLICK HERE for July 20, 2020 Update