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.
April 20 - Grades 6 (two full days in-person, two full days virtual)
April 27 - Grade 7-8 (two full days in-person, two full days virtual)
Week of May 25th - students return that have switched their Returning Preference
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 next week 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.
Middle School Websites
Visit your school's website to find additional school-specific reopening information.
Concurrent Teaching what does it look like
What is Concurrent Instruction?
Teachers at the secondary level will utilize a Concurrent approach to instruction. There is no single format that will be used in every class. Teachers will use a combination of live interaction with in-person and at-home cohorts, small group work that may include students online and in class and independent or collaborative work time. The concurrent instruction model is one in which instruction is accessible by students in school and at-home at the same time. It is important that both groups and students are part of the classroom experience regardless of where they are physically. The instructor engages both groups of students by using technology to make the instruction clear and visible to the students learning at home and the students in person. Teachers will use Mondays for planning. Mondays will continue to be asynchronous learning days.
Students who prefer to continue full-time virtual learning will receive four days of teacher-led instruction while learning from home. The flexibility of the concurrent model demonstrates a commitment to student success, and this flexibility also allows for instruction to continue if there is a need to switch to all virtual learning.
Hybrid Cohort Model
We look forward to welcoming back our middle school students in the Hybrid model. A hybrid approach to instruction combines face-to-face classroom instruction with virtual learning. This approach reduces the amount of seat time in a traditional face-to-face course and moves more of the course delivery online. During classroom instruction time, students can be engaged in authentic, collaborative learning experiences. The online components can include multimedia-enhanced content and opportunities for ongoing discussion.
Hybrid Cohort Model
Hybrid in-person learners will be assigned to a cohort or group. Each cohort identifies the days in which the student will be attending in-person instruction and virtual learning. One cohort will attend in-person learning Tuesday and Wednesday, while the other cohort will attend in-person learning Thursday and Friday. Each cohort will receive online virtual learning instruction on the alternate days. All students will participate in asynchronous learning on Mondays. When each student cohort is in the building they may move between classrooms and instructors.
Why a Cohort?
Cohorting is a strategy that limits contact among students and staff in an effort to limit transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). This strategy also allows for social distancing in our classrooms. These strategies work by:
keeping smaller groups of students together
decreasing opportunities for exposure or transmission of SARS-CoV-2
facilitating more efficient contact tracing in the event of a positive case
Families with students in band
We're excited to report that starting next week, students will be able to play band instruments together in person, both outside and inside.
We'll follow several health and safety protocols developed from research done at the University of Colorado and the University of Maryland in the Wind Instrument Aerosol Study. These protocols are in line with the requirements and recommended strategies under Emergency Order #16. (You can see them at work in this YouTube video.)
Here are some highlights:
While playing indoors, students will wear a special mask that allows the mouthpiece of their instrument to go through the mask. They will also have a mask-like cover for the bell of their instrument. These masks will be provided by school and given to students the first day they play. (You can see what these look like in the video linked above, or you can find photos here.)
Students will maintain a distance of 6 feet or more while playing, indoors or out.
Playing time will be 30 minutes or less for indoor classes and rehearsals, with time allowed in between for room air exchange.
Band teachers have been going over these updates with students and discussing details including:
How instruments should be managed and stored at school, and when they are to be taken back home.
Which musicians might only bring their mouthpiece or mallets to school with them, and what should be left at home.
Which books, if any, students should bring with them.
Hybrid Cohort FAQs
We will be assigning groups1 & 2 keeping siblings within the same cohort and attending school on the same day (unless a parent notifies the school principal that they prefer siblings be assigned to opposite cohorts). We are unable to accept requests.
Curriculum and instruction will take place every day and will move forward every day. During their at-home days, students will be utilizing a variety of resources including simulcasting, pre-recorded lessons and synchronous class sessions to continue learning and be directly connected with their teacher.
Teachers at the secondary level will utilize a Concurrent approach to instruction. There is no single format that will be used in every class. Teachers will use a combination of live interaction with in-person and at-home cohorts, small group work that may include students online and in class and independent or collaborative work time.
Cohorts were established considering many factors and individual requests will be taken into consideration based on the ability to ensure our safety mitigation strategies within our buildings. If you have questions or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to your school. Families do also have the option to switch back to virtual learning at any time.
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. Restroom use will be staggered and every other stall will be closed for use.
We know many of our students, families and staff are carrying a great deal of anxiety and stress as we approach a decision, whether the decision is to return in person or continue with virtual learning. We recognize that both scenarios involve adapting to significant changes. Whatever decision is made, 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 medical-grade 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.