Washington Township Votes to Return When Positivity Rate is 5% or Lower for 2 Weeks

8:57 pm – A vote was taken.

Kite: Y
Dzwonar: Abstain
Fencl: N
Thurston: Y
Turner: Y

Motion Carries. REVISED plan is approved.

This is the revised reopening plan as approved.

In the feedback response following the initial reopening plan (not the above plan), of the 3,229 families who responded, 61% said Yes, reopen the schools based on this plan, 39% said No.

Mrs. Gage, the WTEA president added to the conversation:

  1. They want there to be no less than 6 feet of social distancing.
  2. Please use more than one data point, not just the MCHD thresholds.
  3. Concerns about cleanliness and lack of disinfecting classrooms and schools.
  4. Extra curricular activities should resume virtually until schools can be open in person 100%)

——————– The below plan did not pass as proposed. See above for the modified plan that DID pass ————————-

The information below was live reported and updated throughout the meeting. See final information ABOVE.

Original Proposed Reopening Plan (reported prior to board input)

Marion County is currently at 6.9% positivity rate. (7 day rolling average)

5% or lower (7 day rolling average) = Open for full time in-person learning with a virtual learning option for grades Preschool – grade 5.
Grades 6-12 in hybrid.

5.1% or higher = Virtual Learning from home with some exceptions.

Transition from green to red, the school will need one full school day transition period to go from open to closed.

Transition from red to green, the school will need a five school day transition period to go from closed to open.

A second reopening threshold was shared at about 8:10pm

Lunch Rooms

Students in the cafeteria will be social distanced as much as possible.
Food choices limited. Food items individually wrapped.
Dividers used at tables.
Tables cleaned and disinfected.

Transportation

Parents are encouraged to transport their own students.
Students will be required to wear a face covering on the bus. Students will be spaced apart with assigned seats, bus windows open, face forward. Buses will be disinfected.

Classroom

Elementary Level (Grades K-5): Masks in the classroom and while en route and outside. Dividers will be used on small group desks. Desks socially distanced 3-6 feet. Assigned seats. There will be spaces where children can take their mask off outside. Classes will use outdoors as much as possible, including outdoor learning spaces. No shared supplies. No school visitors.

Hybrid for Secondary School

Use of space will be different for each school. In some schools, plexiglass panels will be used to divide students in the cafeteria. Arrival at the schools will look different for each building, but will have staggered arrival and additional entry points. No use of lockers except for band instruments.

Choir will not be taking place indoors

Hybrid model: A,A,B,B model. Monday, a virtual day for all students, first half of the alphabet attending on Tuesday and Wednesday and the second half attending on Thursday and Friday.

Students who participate in the Virtual Academy will not be permitted to attend or participate in in-person co-curricular or extracurricular activities, however they can participate in virtual extracurricular activities.

Virtual Academy

At the secondary level, students participating in the virtual option, will participate in their virtual learning cohorts along with students attending in person, but on the on-campus days, they’ll join a live zoom link to participate in live teaching.

At the elementary level, students will participate in a virtual environment where the schedule is determined by the instructors depending on the grade level, etc (More later, not completely clear).

Currently, attendance rate with virtual learning is about 97%.

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PREVIOUSLY REPORTED:

Wednesday, August 26, there will be a vote by the MSD Washington Township School Board that may change the current landscape of education in the age of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, August 18th, the MSDWT met to discuss the Reopening Schools Plan for In-Person Learning presented by Dr. Woodson & the Superintendent’s Cabinet.

Components of the plan were shared in a high level overview, however, the Cabinet indicated over several meetings that they would not be sharing the plan with parents or the public because the plan is under development every day and sharing the plan could lead to miscommunication. Changes come frequently at this time because it’s changing so frequently based on guidance and mandates and feedback.

Proposed Plan (Has not been approved by the board)

  • Full time virtual learning through WT Virtual Academy will be available (Keeping in mind the virtual enrollment option will not be available if the enrollment drops below 20 students at the start of a quarter for elementary and 50 students in a course at middle and high school).
  • In person instruction is 5 days per week for grades K-5.
  • An in-person hybrid model will begin for grades 6-12 beginning October 12 and continuing at least until MCHD Guidance checkpoints are met with regards to rate of positivity. 

Proposed Return to School Schedule:

  • Preschool – 1st grade return on September 14
  • Grades 2 -3 return September 21
  • Grades 4-5 return September 28
  • Grades 6-12 begin hybrid (2 days in person, 3 days virtual) on October 12

Several other options were discussed;

  1. Do not return to school until the end of first semester so that families have a firm decision and are able to make plans. Kim Piper (Superintendent’s Cabinet) asked for a consideration of restarting as early as Fall break and not trying to wait until the end of the semester.
  2. Do not return until positivity rate is below 5%.
  3. Return only based on the MCHD positivity guidance.
  4. Return only based on the WT chart adjusting the positivity rate for return.

School administration says they have put plans in place in the school to prepare for a safe return of students to the school campus. Many details of these changes, modifications and plans were shared during the presentation with regard to lunch time, bus transportation and classroom interaction. However, the supplies and materials needed to full-fill these plans will take 4-6 weeks or more once the order is placed.

Parents and guardians were sent an email communication requesting feedback on the reopening plan. The feedback form had two questions, one asking the age of the parent’s students (when we checked, you were only able to select one option) and the second question asked if the parent approved of the reopening plan. The 3rd section of the feedback form allowed parents to leave feedback for consideration.

On Tuesday, August 25, parents were sent an email communication with the link for the meeting, a copy of the agenda and this: “Modifications to the plan have been made since the last School Board meeting discussion on August 18 based on continued feedback.  The modifications, as well as the plan details, will be shared at the public School Board meeting”.

At this moment, we have no indication on what the modifications are, but it’s likely that is has something to do with the date of return or which positivity chart to use. Based on online parent comments, many parents of secondary students are upset with the hybrid model rather than a full return to school.

In addition to other items on the agenda, tonight’s action items include:

Approval of the Resolution for Reopening Schools Plan for In-Person Learning, which is the 7th and final action item on the agenda.

One of two informational items (no vote tonight) include:

Board Review & Feedback on Athletic Event Requirements Due to COVID-19. It is anticipated that this will be a big item that many parents will want to weigh in on.

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