Hello Digger & Duster families!
Over the past week, I have watched my news feed with fascination as schools across the country open with varying degrees of success. I have read articles about how schools should operate during this COVID crisis, but no plan that I have seen is able to perfectly address all of my constraints: safeguarding the health/safety of students and staff, maximizing learning opportunities, supporting student needs (social-emotional, mental health, social/physical development), and meeting basic needs (food, security). The reality is that this problem of starting school for the 2020-21 school year is so complex that we must be very careful about the steps we take to meet all four constraints as best we can.
With that in mind, I am announcing that Clear Creek Middle & High Schools will be phasing in our in-person instruction over the first three weeks of the school year. Rather than attempting to teach our students how to attend school in this new landscape all at once, we will bring groups of students back so that we can focus on our protocols for safety, spend time building connections between staff and students, and do all that we can to lay the groundwork for a successful semester that will likely include both in-person and remote learning. This phase-in schedule only applies to CCMS/HS; our elementary schools are still operating on a solely in-person basis for students unless a family has chosen the fully online option.
Students will report to school for the first week according to the following schedule. This will allow us to provide orientation for 7th and 9th grade students, and then bring in two classes per day as we refine our procedures and teach students about the “new normal” of school.
Tues 8/18: 7th grade only
Wed 8/19: 9th grade only
Thurs 8/20: 8th & 10th grades only
Fri 8/21: 11th & 12th grades only
After that first week, we will then start operating at half capacity for the next two weeks, bringing us to the Labor Day weekend. The schedule will look like what is described below.
Mon 8/24: Cohort A will attend periods 1-8 for a full day of school; Cohort B will remain at home
Tues 8/25: Cohort B will attend periods 1-8 for a full day of school: Cohort A will remain at home
Wed 8/26: Cohort A in school for periods 1-8; Cohort B at home
Thurs 8/27: Cohort B in school for periods 1-8; Cohort A at home
Fri 8/28: A at school; B at home
Mon 8/31: B at school; A at home
...and so on through that week. I will be working with our superintendent and Clear Creek County Public Health during this time to determine what our best plan is for school after Labor Day.
We are considering different options for determining cohorts, but the two below are the most practical, at this point. We realize that neither of them is ideal for everyone.
By grade: This is more likely to keep friend groups together, but may be a challenge if a family wants an older sibling to supervise a MS student. We would probably do Cohort A as grades 7/9/10 and B as grades 8/11/12.
By alpha: This might work better for supervision of younger MS siblings, but could isolate friends.
Benefits to phasing in our in-person learning include the following.
Allows us to focus on smaller groups of students to build connections.
Gives us time to refine our logistics in the building (ex: passing periods, lunch, before school, handwashing) without making it work for everyone at once.
Should allow us to sanitize classrooms more regularly.
Gives us two MS and two HS cohorts rather than one of each.
Allows us to develop some remote learning structures in addition to refining our in-person protocols.
Should lower the number of students on the buses.
Gives time for COVID testing to improve and (hopefully!) infections to trend downward before we put everyone in the building at once.
Again, this plan is not ideal, but it may allow us to ramp up our in-person learning to all students while also limiting the spread of COVID in the school community.
Even though this is a lengthy email already, I have some follow-up from the town hall meetings last week that I promised. I put them on hold while I raced to plan for the phase-in.
Online option: For families planning to have their student(s) engaged in fully online learning through CDLS for the semester, here are a couple of updates
Registration for your student will be done by her/his counselor. Parents and students are NOT able to register on their own.
Online classes start later than our in-person classes at CCMS/HS. This will allow for additional time for registration.
More information about the CDLS process will be coming through our Counseling department.