2020-21 TK-5 RETURN TO IN-PERSON LEARNING
COVID-19 has brought unprecedented unknowns, which has led to a dramatic shift in the way we live our daily lives, including how we educate our students. SRCS recently announced that after consultation with Marin Health and Human Services, we will move to our hybrid learning plan for some in-person learning for grades TK-5. Below are answers to frequently asked questions our families, students and community members may have regarding this transition. If you have additional questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Why is SRCS bringing back TK-5 students in November?
The District’s goal has always been to bring students back into our schools for in-person learning buildings when safe to do so, which is dependent on high standards being in place for preventing transmission within schools, and low prevalence of COVID-19 within the community. In consultation with Marin Health and Human Services (MHHS), we believe it is safe to move to hybrid learning for our elementary students with safety guidelines in place.
Our District and schools safety protocols and procedures are outlined in our School Site-Specific Protection Plans (SSSPP). All plans were reviewed and approved by MHHS; they are available on our website. Additionally, we conducted a two-week testing strategy to have a large, representative sample of our SRCS elementary school community tested so we could have a better understanding of the virus’ prevalence more locally. We’re grateful to our SRCS community for overwhelmingly responding - more than 1,000 students, family members, teachers and staff were tested! This provided us with valuable and timely data that clearly demonstrates San Rafael has made significant progress in reducing the spread of COVID-19, and there is low community prevalence. This also provided MHHS an opportunity to identify remaining cases across our community, to further drive down case rates as we prepare to reopen schools. We’ll remain in constant communication with MHHS and continue to monitor the data as we move forward.
Q. What is the weekly hybrid schedule?
We partnered with our teachers and created an updated hybrid learning schedule: Mondays are remote learning for all students and Tuesdays-Fridays are hybrid with AM / PM cohorts. Students who attend in the AM will come to school in the morning for in-person learning in their classroom with their teacher. During the afternoon, students will have asynchronous learning. Students who attend in the PM will come to school in the afternoon for in-person learning in their classroom with their teacher. During the morning, students will have remote, asynchronous learning.
Q. Why hybrid learning as opposed to full remote learning?
While instruction will look different, we are confident our teachers will create rich in-person learning environments that technology cannot replace. We believe any opportunity to safely provide in-person instruction for our youngest learners is preferable to remote learning.
Q. Why is there only asynchronous learning on Mondays?
The amount of teacher preparation time to teach two cohorts of in-person classes as well as to plan asynchronous learning every day is incredibly demanding for our teachers. Teachers desperately need this planning time on Mondays to work with their grade level teams to plan their units and lessons, and to also work together as a staff to address the myriad issues that are arising in this new way of learning. We know our students need as much in-person learning time as possible, but we also have to ensure our teachers have the time needed to be effective in their jobs.
Q. How were cohort placements made? Can they be changed?
Classes have been divided into AM and PM cohorts so we have a reduced number of students in our classrooms to ensure safety. The assignments were made using a very thoughtful process to take into account siblings, transportation and balancing classes. The process of matching the number of students wanting distance learning to teachers at each grade level is incredibly complicated, and we are just unable to make drastic changes at this time and appreciate your understanding.
Q. Are masks required at school?
All staff, students and anyone entering our campuses must wear face masks while at SRCS schools and campuses. They may only be removed when actively eating or drinking, which is only to take place during a scheduled break outside the classroom. Students may not wear bandanas or neck gaiters.
Q. Are water and snacks allowed in the classroom?
Because masks must be removed if students are eating or drinking, water and snacks in the classroom will not be allowed. Teachers will provide short breaks during instruction for students to step outside for a brief water, and students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles from home each day. Eating is not permitted when students are in either their AM or PM cohort.
Q. How do I complete the daily Student Health Check?
Beginning our day safety starts with step one at home! In order to help facilitate the safe return of students to our schools, we are using a new daily Student Health Check tool so parents can pre-certify that their child is healthy before attending school each day. All students who come to school must complete this daily check at home prior to entering SRCS school. We have designed our Health Check system to follow the recommendations in the Marin County Student & Family Handbook and Decision Tree for Schools. Overview of the daily process:
Parents will get a text message at 6:30 am if we do not have an email on file. If you would prefer to receive an email, please contact your school office to ensure we have your email. Watch this tutorial video or visit our website to learn more.
Q. What does SRCS do when there is a COVID-19 case at a school?
Marin Health and Human Services and the Marin Office of Education have developed protocols for schools regarding the onset of symptoms, potential exposure to and/or close contact with an individual testing positive for COVID-19. Click here for the protocols, which include actions and communications for the various scenarios. SRCS will follow all Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines.
Q. Are visitors allowed at schools right now?
SRCS is not allowing visitors at schools at this time for the health and safety of students and staff. Parents / guardians should limit their time on campuses for drop off and pick up in designated areas only, and no one should congregate in areas around the school.
Q. How are schools prepared for a clean and safe environment?
Making sure each school building is a safe and healthy place to work and learn is a top priority. One of the many steps the District is taking to keep its students and teachers safe is how building cleaning is done. Custodians follow strict cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout each building, in classrooms, restrooms and offices. They pay special attention to any high-touch, high-contact areas, which are cleaned multiple times each day, particularly between the AM and PM cohorts.
An electrostatic sprayer is often used. This device uses a specialized solution and an electrode inside the sprayer which causes the cleaning solution to adhere to and coat any surface. For most cleaning, a peroxide based multi-surface cleaner is used on all hard surfaces. This EPA-registered safe product quickly kills germs and viral pathogens, including COVID-19. Any classrooms or spaces that have been occupied by a staff member or student who has tested positive for COVID-19 are thoroughly deep-cleaned and disinfected before being used again.
Q. What is being done to ensure adequate ventilation in classrooms and other school buildings?
In all classrooms at all school sites, our HVAC systems are being set to bring in 100% outside fresh air. The interior intake vents that usually recirculate air within the classroom are being closed off, so that only outside air is filling the classroom and exiting out the windows and doors. Setting our systems to function in this way creates an air exchange rate within the classroom of roughly seven to eight times per hour. In other words, 100% of the air in any classroom is completely replaced every eight minutes. This air exchange, along with mask wearing and physical distancing, provides the safest environment we can achieve with our current system.