March 8th - Virtual asynchronous days, previously held on Wednesdays, will move to Mondays for all K-12 students (whether receiving instruction virtually or in-person) beginning.
March 9th - Kindergarten returns to four full days of in-person instruction
March 16th - Grades 1-2 returns to four full days of in-person instruction
March 23rd - 4K returns to four full days of in-person instruction
April 13th - Grades 3 returns to four full days of in-person instruction
April 13th - K-2 students return that have switched their Returning Preference
April 20th - Grades 4-5 returns to four full days of in-person instruction
Thank you for your continued collaboration, patience and support over the past year as we have navigated the COVID-19 global health pandemic, and worked to ensure the safety of our students, staff and families. During this time, we have continued to monitor COVID-19 metrics and receive guidance from public health experts. Recently, they have advised us conditions are favorable for us to move forward with the next phase of our reopening plan.
As a result, we are providing you with MMSD’s phased plan and schedule for returning to in-person instruction for all grade levels. Virtual learning will remain an option for all families who want their student(s) to continue learning remotely.
Please be advised, you can expect to receive more detailed information from your school in the coming weeks on this and a variety of other topics specific to your learner(s).
Again, we thank you for your continued support and partnership during these unprecedented times.
WHAT INSTRUCTION WILL LOOK LIKE
In-person schooling will be Tuesday through Friday. Monday will be asynchronous. This is a change from the current virtual schedule. Please look at your school’s webpage to verify if you are an early or late start school, please note start times might be changed due to driver availability and bus capacity.
Teachers will provide small group instruction as needed for all students. Teachers and students will maintain social distancing during these times.
Specials (such as physical education, music, and art) will remain virtual. Students will attend within their classroom on their Chromebooks.
Virtual and in-person students may remain in the same class together with the same teacher. Teachers might teach them all at the same time. Small group work will be separate for virtual and in-person students.
Students Receiving Services
Students who have IEPs, language support, advanced learning needs, or other support may receive services in-person. Some adjustments will be made to maintain COVID safety. Contact your student’s teacher if you have specific questions about your student’s service needs.
The report card schedule and grading will remain unchanged.
Students in-person will be receiving lessons and small-group instruction from their teacher. They will use their chrome book occasionally similar to pre-COVID schooling for specific activities and to limit student use of shared learning materials.
Students will store their backpacks and belongings with them at their seat or an assigned area. Students are expected to bring their own school supplies as there will be limited use of shared learning materials in the classroom. Check your school’s website for updated school supply lists.
What You Can Do at Home
We understand how difficult the decision might be to send your student back to school and how difficult it may be for them to re-adjust to school and the new routines. There are things you can do at home to help your student prepare and to help keep our school and community safe. They include:
Talk about what to expect
Students will do best when they know what to expect. Share what school will look like during this time. Remind them that these changes are helping to keep their friends, family, and teachers safe. Talk through different health scenarios such as “what happens if you get on the bus and you have to sneeze?” or “what happens if your friend wants to give you a hug or a classmate is standing very close to you?” Help them think about what to do and how to ask for help from an adult.
Help your students practice habits they will use at school. Practice proper hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds when you come home, before and after eating, and after sneezing or coughing. Help them get used to wearing a mask and show them how to stretch it to cover their nose and chin. Practice social distancing with people you don’t live with.
Many students will struggle to adjust to the new routines with in-person school. Consider developing a visual schedule or writing out what each day will look like with your morning routine, school, and after school for your student ahead of time and using a calendar to show which days of the week will be in-person.
Ask your students how they are feeling about going back to school in-person. Some kids will be excited while others may be worried, fearful, or sad and need more support. Validate their feelings by telling them you understand and letting them know that their feelings are ok. Provide information to help ease their worries and reassure them that you and their teachers will be there to help.
Ask questions and seek support
Reach out to your school principal, teacher, social worker, or other staff members with any questions or concerns. Check your email, text messages, voicemail, and the school website regularly for any updates.
Start out at home
Try wearing the masks at home for a while together and gradually build up the time to help your children get used to wearing one. Practice putting on, wearing and taking off the masks together.
Illness During the Day
If a student or staff member develops symptoms during the day students will go to the Care (Isolation) Space and staff members will go home immediately. Rapid antigen testing will be available with consent.
Every school has a designated Care (Isolation) Space. If any student develops COVID-19 symptoms during the day, we will contact their family and they will stay with an adult in the isolation area until someone can pick them up.
If anyone in the school tests positive for Covid-19, the school will reach out to anyone who was in contact with them and may have been exposed to the virus.
What Our Mitigation Strategies Look Like in Our Schools
A student returning in-person would have four days of synchronous, in-person instruction. A student whose family decides to keep them home learning virtually would have four days of synchronous, virtual instruction. Monday is the asynchronous day, which would allow us to take advantage of a longer weekend for mitigation efforts like cleaning and sanitizing.
Classrooms will be incorporating small-group instruction, during which time students working independently may be learning on their devices using Lexia or a variety of math programs. Students will need to bring their charged Chromebook and charger with them to school every day.
Yes, we believe it is important for students to be able to get outside and experience recess with other students. Playground access will be staggered. Multiple classes may have recess at the same time, but they would use specific parts of the playground. Weather permitting, schools will also strive to provide outdoor learning experiences.
The recommendation is that we will eat lunch in classrooms and maintaining a safe distance.
Specials will be taught virtually, with students remaining in their pods. Public Health asks that we ensure that student and employee groupings are as static as possible by having the same group of students stay with the same staff as much as possible. As long as students stay in cohorts, it is permissible to have them move from space to space, but it is safest to remain in classrooms as much as possible.
This may vary by school, but generally, schools will be promoting one-way pedestrian traffic and dedicated entrances and exit. Hallway use will be staggered to allow for distancing. Some schools are planning to have bins or baskets next to each student's desk rather than using lockers or hallway cubbies.
We know many of our students, families and staff are carrying a great deal of anxiety and stress. We recognize that returning to in-person learning involves adapting to significant changes. We will be ready to support the needs of our staff, our students and their families.
Our goal is to support students' needs while limiting the number of environments staff and students are exposed to. When that is not possible, staff should follow all district prescribed Health and Safety procedures, including using the PPE issued by Student Services and obtained through the school Health Office.
This is a rapidly changing situation, so we recommend consulting the latest information released by Public Health Madison Dane County.
As we begin a phased return to in-person instruction, we need to shift from Wednesday to Monday asynchronous learning based on recommendations from health experts to allow for three consecutive days of deep cleaning of facilities when students are not present.