Retry- Approaching School Year 2020

happy2b…gw

As a new school year is approaching, many are grappling with school related decisions. Even with the all the outlets reporting news, it is often not so easy to see outside our own area. One of the wonderful aspects of this forum is that we come from many locales and backgrounds. Our sharing provides an interesting perspective and learning opportunity. My intention is not to initiate a debate about whether or not or how schools should handle the eduction of students this year, so please contribute to the discussion as it pertains to the following questions.

Some background about my state: My state has less than 5% positivity but this can change for better or worse, I guess. The state left the mode of opening to the discretion of the local public school districts. In my state, local public school districts are organized by county, so each county has one school district.

What model of instruction has the public schools in your area chosen? Generally I see 3 models of instruction: in person, hybrid which is some in person and online instruction, or all online, but share what your schools are offering especially if it is something different.

Here most opted to begin school with only online instruction and move to hybrid gradually. A minority, but these are the larger districts, plan all online the entire first semester which closes at the end of January.

Has the local or state government in your area advised public and private schools on opening school?

Here the health department issued protocols for all schools to follow- public and private for safe in person instruction.

In your area, what are the plans of the private schools for the new school year?

Private schools across the state are offering hybrid instruction, but a few that have the space to accommodate all the students safely plan to provide only in person.

Other than providing guidelines about healthy safe practices, has your state or local government restricted the opening of the private, independent, and church schools?

Here at least one district has ordered all private, independent, and church schools to offer only online instruction until reevaluation in several weeks.

Edited to add: All the schools will allow parents to opt into online/virtual instruction only if they do not want to send their kids to the school building.

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arcy_gw

Our Governor just gave permission Thursday for each school District to make their own choice, with in the parameters the Department of Education puts out, which is a scale concerning the number of COVID cases per 10k people. and if they can then follow all CDC guidelines. This leaves the school where I work to open to in school learning. Parents have final discretion as to whether they will send their child to school or not. Distance Learning is offered for any student who chooses to not come into school. The District is currently attempting to find out which students and staff will return to the building and which prefer to work within the distance model. The Commissioner assured the state parents would know a week before the first day of school what the scheduling will be. ONE WEEK!?!? How does anyone feel that is enough time? The Catholic parochial schools in our State have vowed to open for in school learning. If our COVID load rises public schools would close. I am very curious to see if our town is representative of the greater USA and if 50% of our students and 20% of our teachers choose to not come back. Much has been threatened, very soon we will see who actually won't attend.

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nickel_kg

The 'rubber's going to meet the road' soon. I too am interested to hear everyone's experiences.

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bpath

Most of the public schools in my area will be mainly virtual, but last week our high school board asked the administration to come up with a hybrid plan, and our middle school will have a hybrid plan, too.

The private and boarding schools will be in person, I hear.

Our local liberal arts college was all set to be in person, and suddenly this week went virtual. Rising positivity rates, and other colleges in their division and most public high schools in our area being virtual influenced their decision.

We have a couple of schools for children with special needs, behaviors, or at-risk, I’m not sure what they are doing. Those are the children and families most affected, I think, by any decision.

Fall contact sports (I.e., football) have been pushed to February.

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bpath

The high school just released the plan it is considering for hybrid. Omg, the cost! Almost $1,000,000 for additional space, (the space itself, as well as electricity, heat once October arrives although I didn’t see that in their list, and internet access), additional staff, subs, additional cleaning, PPE. Yikes.

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Annegriet

It's up to each individual school district but it appears most are opening virtual and re-assessing in November. Seems like the prudent thing to do. I think this is safest for the children and the teachers and the bus drivers, etc.

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maifleur03

To go along with bpath I can not see how the schools in many areas can provide the amount of space along with the sanitary supplies needed to place their regular enrollment even with the money from the various CARE programs. There are businesses that could rent to the school districts space but most are lacking enough restroom facilities. Food can be brought in but portapotty's are difficult to keep sanitary in the best of times.

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nickel_kg

Regarding space, that's probably why some school systems were going to divide the student body into two cohorts and give each group two days in school, three days on-line per week -- that doubles space right there. And giving parents the choice of on-line only learning would free up even more space.

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chessey35

Most counties in my part of the state are opening virtual including private schools.

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OutsidePlaying

Huntsville/Madison County, one of the largest in the state, got all their public school superintendents together for a decision on the public schools, both city and county systems. All are delaying opening for the first 9 weeks and will be virtual only. For now, at that time, the schools will be open, but parents/students had a deadline to choose whether they would select in-class or online instruction. They cannot change for the semester once that decision is made.

As far as I have been able to determine, most private schools are opening in the city and surrounding area, as are the county/city systems in the surrounding counties in North Alabama. I am happy to see Huntsville/Madison County doing this.

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Elmer J Fudd

That sounds sensible, outside. Does the political breakdown of residents of your area around Huntsville differ from the predominant nature of Alabama as a red state? Because in too many places, what's being seen as the typical back to school decisions for public districts in red states (similar to what one would also expect from the predominant religious and political affiliation of the local private schools in such states) would be driven more by Republican political dogma than by public health expert opinions. And with, unfortunately, results easily predictable by those without a political bat to swing.

I don't expect "open" schools to stay that way very long, no matter where located. Two months, max.

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chisue

As of last week, our local HS planned to open with half the kids coming Mon. and Tues. and half Thurs. and Fri. (Wednesday is 'deep clean day'; what a joke.) So the kids have half the exposure, but the older cohort of teachers gets 100% exposure. Wunnerful.

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OutsidePlaying

Elmer, Huntsville and Madison County in general is predominately red. It is also a very high-tech and military-defense-space oriented community.

I find it interesting that the private schools didn’t follow suit, nor did the surrounding counties. Of course several are much smaller and would probably suffer financially if they didn’t open. Many of the school systems in the adjoining counties are receiving flak for not following Huntsville’s decision on this. I’m quite certain there is pressure from all side, many working parents who can’t juggle it all at home, single parents who don’t have child care who need to return to work, and the list goes on.

Maybe I am just not close enough anymore to what is happening, but I don’t see things as ‘politicized’ here. ‘Rights’ issues, yes, and people claiming to have health issues for not wearing masks. I get that some may indeed have such, but a good disposable mask is, IMO, better than a fabric mask for breathability.

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Kathsgrdn

The schools here in our county are only opening if there are so many or no active cases in the county. They made a color coded tier system.

I had 3 exchange students coming this year but two countries opted out and then the program canceled for the Fall. Today I found out one student wants to come in January for half a year and the other two original students want to come next Fall. So, now I will be choosing a second one for January. Not sure that will happen either but we will see. Hopefully we can get our act together way before then.

I work in telephone care and there are a heck of a lot of positive cases in the areas we serve. It's awful. Please wear a mask. Spoke to at least 3 individuals last week and this weekend who don't believe in wearing masks.

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