Student Return to In Person Learning

Probably the most polarizing issue of our time – returning students to in person learning, beyond hybrid.  Facebook groups and social media posts about this are everywhere, throughout the country.

In Jeffco, the discussion has resulted in fights online, fights in person, rallies, opposing rallies, threats to staff, threats to school board members, and threats to other parents.

There’s now talk of yet another change to the remote, hybrid, in person learning for secondary students with a potential 100% in person plan for secondary students.

Following is a video that we made for you on 2.14.2021 with a student regarding the recommendation from the Collaborative Monitoring Committee regarding 100% in person for secondary.

*Recommendation from the Collaborative Monitoring Committee:

Four criteria

  1. General Support for waiting until we’re in level blue.
  2. Don’t let up on COVID mitigation plans.
  3. Have student-facing staff fully vaccinated (both doses plus incubation period of two weeks) before returning in person (no earlier than **April 12th).
  4. Opportunity for admin and staff to do scheduling.

**Date is dependent on when all staff who choose to be vaccinated receive both doses.

 

Before too many rumors get started (we’ve already seen and heard many), district leadership had a meeting with secondary principals earlier today (2.17.2021) to ask for more voices. Interim superintendent Kristopher Schuh was kind enough to get on the phone with us this afternoon and explain what was happening when we asked about rumors that were coming out and provided full and transparent information about all considerations and guidelines.

You’re going to hear dates being reported in various places:

  • Implement 100% in-person learning option on:
    • Monday, March 8
    • Monday, March 15
    • Monday, March 22
    • Monday, April 5 

A few points of consideration that have to be made and will impact what dates end up being a possibility:

  • More effectively address impact of COVID on student learning
  • Concerns about student mental health and food insecurities
  • Board of Education Recommendations
  • Jefferson County Public Health Recommendation
  • Collaborative Monitoring Committee Recommendation
  • Central Operational Readiness:
    • Food & Nutrition Services
    • Transportation Services
  • School Operational Readiness:
    • Student Course Schedule
  • Vaccinations of student-facing staff
    • 1st dose
    • 2nd dose: side-effects and potential need for subs
  • Principal feedback
  • BinaxNow in-home symptomatic and asymptomatic testing option is available for staff
  • Spring Break: Monday, March 29 – Friday, April 2
  • CMAS/CoAlt official testing windows will take place April 12 – May 14. The earliest start date for the expanded window for online math and English language arts continues to be Monday, March 22
  • Tuesday April 13 – 11th SAT
  • Wednesday, April 14 – 10th PSAT
  • Thursday, April 15 – 9th PSAT

Guidelines for consideration of 100% in person:

  • Jefferson County is in Level Blue on the COVID-19 dial dashboard
  • All Jeffco student-facing educators have an opportunity to receive their 1st COVID-19 vaccination dose
  • Health safety measures are in place: All Jeffco students and staff wear masks and complete health checks when entering buildings
  • All Jeffco students and staff stay home when they have any COVID-19 symptoms
  • Schools will partner with families to determine which students prefer a 100% In-Person or Remote option
    • All students currently in a Hybrid model will be scheduled as 100% In-person, M-Th, unless an alternative request is made to the school
    • All students currently in a 100% Remote model will remain 100% Remote, unless an alternative request is made to the school 
    • Schools will work to equitably meet alternative requests, but will be bound by schedules, class sizes, and resources
    • Priority will be given to students who are identified through Multi Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) desiring to return to 100% in person
  • Hybrid students may choose 100% Remote learning model
  • Schools will maintain their current schedule:
    • All 100% In-person students attend Monday – Thursday.
    • Schools maintain flexibility on scheduling Fridays as asynchronous or 100% In-person with an emphasis on serving students identified through MTSS
    • A variance must be submitted to change a school’s current schedule
  • Secondary schools will have a runway to prepare for the 6-12 100% in-person learning option

Conversations will be taking place within schools, though with such a large organization that may not include conversations with every parent or every student or every staff member. Please remember just how large Jeffco is – imagine steering a large ship at full speed and attempting to rapidly change direction, multiple times. Many have said “building a plane as we’re flying it.”

We remind you that the School Board is available to hear your voices and encourage you to email them with your comments at board@jeffco.k12.co.us.

Most often, the board and district staff only hear from people who are angry. Positive and informational comments about the processes so far this year are also valuable and welcome as it helps staff and the board make decisions. We believe that our education staff should be praised for their attempts to provide education during a pandemic.

We know that there have been bumps and issues and we all would love to return to the normal we knew before March 13, 2020. None of us really know what our new normal will be going forward with the pandemic at this time.

We encourage everyone to use their own voices, while also giving grace to others. There are at least as many opinions about the pandemic and all the above considerations and guidelines as there are students and we have more than 80,000 of them. We’ve all wanted to send a strongly worded email about something during the pandemic but we encourage everyone to be productive and to center our conversation around what is best for all students. Considering all students also encourages us to remember the community who are attached to serving those students – teachers, staff, families, coworkers, and their friends.

 

“They say, if you want to know what a community values, look at how its children are treated.  If you want a sense of what a community hopes for the future, look at how it values its schools.”  Colorado Education Network