A person of words and not deeds, is like a garden full of weeds.
Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening. It just stops you from enjoying the good.
Due to social distancing measures, schools will need extra teachers for extra classrooms. The following is from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) about how to find more classroom teachers for reopening schools in the fall:
Staffing alternatives to consider for reducing class sizes: Specialist teachers and other educators such as instructional coaches, reading specialists, and others who have appropriate certifications may be enlisted to serve as additional core teachers to reduce class sizes in schools.
The second of the three options the The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will be choosing from for reopening schools is called hybrid learning. The following explains how this would work:
Hybrid learning: In addition, all districts/schools must create a plan for a hybrid model in the event they are unable to bring all students back to school under the health and safety requirements despite their best efforts, or in case of COVID-19 related circumstances. A hybrid model means that students would alternate between in-person and remote learning. For instance, students could switch between in-person and remote learning on alternating weeks or days of the week.
Hybrid learning models: When planning for a hybrid learning model, we recommend that districts and schools use an A/B cohort model that isolates two distinct cohorts of students who attend school in-person on either different weeks, different days of the week, or half days each day. For instance, Cohort A would attend school in-person from Monday–Friday of Week 1, while Cohort B learns at home remotely. In Week 2, Cohort B would attend in-person school and Cohort A would engage in remote learning at home.
Ever wonder how they will have enough classroom teachers, when they will obviously need more since there will be smaller class sizes due to social distancing? Check back here next time for the surprising DESE answer.
The following is the first of the three The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) plans reopening schools in the fall:
In-person learning with new safety requirements: Our goal to get as many students as possible back into schools for in-person learning safely. In this model, all students return in person to school settings that are appropriately modified to accommodate the health and safety requirements outlined (in previous Y3K Tutor In Your Home posts). Examples of modifications could include altered classroom configurations, setting up additional learning spaces, and schedule changes.
Come back next time as we will reveal to you how their hybrid learning plan would work if the in-person learning plan is not possible.
There are 3 possible ways the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will be reopening schools in the fall. They are as follows:
Components of district/school fall reopening plans: Each district and school will need to plan for three possibilities on the continuum of reopening:
1) In-person learning with new safety requirements (see previous Y3K Tutor In Your Home posts for the safety requirements).
2) A hybrid of in-person and remote learning.
3) Remote learning.
In our next installment, we will examine their in-person school reopening plan.
Traditionally in the pre-COVID world, elementary school students would mix with students from other classrooms at recess. Middle and high school students would have different classrooms for each subject and different students in each class. To address the issue of student groups, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) issued the following guidance for reopening schools:
To minimize the number of students who would potentially be exposed in the event of a COVID-19 event, to the extent feasible, elementary schools should aim to keep students in the same group throughout the day and middle and high schools are encouraged to minimize mixing student groups to the extent feasible. Our initial requirements and related guidance are as follows:
•Cohorts: Schools should divide students into small groups that remain with each other throughout the day, with smaller cohort sizes preferred. Schools should look for ways to isolate cohorts of students and prevent inter-group contact to the extent feasible.
•Capacity: There are no required maximums on cohort or group sizes, so long as schools adhere to the physical distancing requirements.
Reducing the mixing of student groups: When in classrooms, all students should have assigned seating. At the elementary school level, students should be restricted to their grade level class to the greatest extent possible. At the middle school level, students should remain with their cohort throughout the day to the extent feasible. High schools could also consider ways to cohort or cluster students, though we recognize this is more challenging at the high school level:
•Placing students in cohorts. When grouping students into cohorts, a school should consider ways to keep families/siblings together (e.g., grouping students alphabetically, while recognizing that some siblings may have different last names).
•Limiting travel within a school. High schools may try to group students into clusters in the school (a “school within a school”) to try to reduce interactions with other groups when students move to their next class.
Check back here soon for the 3 possible scenarios they are considering for schools this coming September.
One controversial part of the Massachusetts plan to reopen schools is the section on social distancing. Before reading the plan, keep in mind that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended maintaining a physical distance of six feet between individuals to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Here is their social distancing plan for schools reopening:
●Distancing requirements: Schools should aim for a physical distance of six feet when feasible, and three feet is the minimum distance allowed. Schools should seek to maximize physical distance among individuals within their physical and operational constraints.
●Classroom and facility configuration: To the extent possible, desks should be spaced six feet apart (but no fewer than three feet apart) and facing the same direction.
●Alternative spaces in the school (e.g., cafeteria, library, and auditorium) should be repurposed to increase the amount of available space to accommodate the maximum distance possible. In these larger spaces, establishing consistent cohorts/classes with separation between the cohorts/classes provides another option to maximize these spaces safely.
●Additional safety precautions are required for school nurses and/or any staff supporting students with disabilities in close proximity, when distance is not possible:These precautions must include eye protection (e.g., face shield or goggles) and a mask/face covering. Precautions may also include gloves and disposable gowns or washable outer layer of clothing depending on duration of contact and especially if the individual may come into close contact with bodily fluids.
Although not as feasible, 6 feet social distancing is known to be safer. What do you think of them reducing the number to only 3 feet? Be sure to check here soon for the school reopening plan for how to manage student groups.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has issued safety guidance required for reopening schools in the fall. The 28 page Initial School Reopening Guidance is complex and reading it in full can be very confusing. Y3K Tutor In Your Home has decided to break-up their guidance information, highlighting the issues that are important to you.
Today we will look at face mask rules. Here are the rules Massachusetts schools will require when they reopen:
Students in grade 2 and above are required to wear a mask/face covering that covers their nose and mouth. Students in kindergarten and grade should be encouraged to wear a mask/face covering. Face shields may be an option for those students with medical, behavioral, or other challenges who are unable to wear masks/face coverings. Transparent masks may be the best option for both teachers and students in classes for deaf and hard of hearing students. They may also be useful for teachers and younger students who rely on visual/facial cues.
- Adults (including educators and staff) are required to wear masks/face coverings.
- Exceptions to mask/face covering requirements must be made for those for whom it is not possible due to medical conditions, disability impact, or other health or safety factors.
- Mask breaks should occur throughout the day. Breaks should occur when students can be six feet apart and ideally outside or at least with the windows open. Further guidance on mask breaks including duration and frequency will be forthcoming, as well as more information about properly removing and putting on masks.
Masks/face coverings should be provided by the student/family, but extra disposable face masks should be made available by the school for students who need them. Reusable masks/face coverings provided by families should be washed by families daily.
- Masks/face coverings are required to be worn by everyone on the bus during school bus transportation.
- Transparent face coverings provide the opportunity for more visual cues and should be especially considered as an alternative for younger students, students who are deaf and hard of hearing, and their teachers.
Check here soon as we take a closer look at the new social distancing requirements for schools.
A much larger problem that school systems do not have an answer for is that some students are not even logging in. As opposed to doing incomplete work or work that is of poor quality, these students are literally not signing in to their online classes or assignments. In fact at least 10,000 Boston Public School students have not signed into their classes in the month of May. In a sense, these students could be considered virtual dropouts whose education was paused three months ago when schools closed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
More than 20% of Boston’s students have not logged on to any of the main academic platforms since May 4, 2020. This means thousands of these students have not attended online classes or picked up any homework assignments. 22% of students never logged into Google Classroom. There is a large gap between the number of students who teachers are marking “present” each day for engaging in “some or all remote learning opportunities” (an average of 84%) and the smaller number of students who have logged into Google Classroom even once.
School systems don’t know how to solve this problem. Do you?