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Updated In-Person Hybrid Learning Plan for Middle School

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Dear CCSD93 Middle School Community,

I am pleased to share CCSD93’s updated plan for providing middle school students with in-person learning opportunities moving forward. Please review the following in its entirety.

Updated In-Person Hybrid Learning Plan for Middle School

The health and safety of our students, staff members and community at large have been the driving factors in our decisions from the onset of the pandemic. Public health guidance continues to emphasize the necessity of keeping the number of peers each classmate has personal contact with (known as their cohort) as low as possible. The plan below seeks to minimize the number of students in any given cohort, while maximizing learning opportunities for in-person students.

You can find the full updated in-person Hybrid Learning plan linked at www.ccsd93.com/reopening, which includes more thorough detail of many of the items highlighted below. If you had the opportunity to review CCSD93’s original Reopening Plan, this update shares many similarities and a few key differences. The following are important highlights. It is critical to note that this plan differs substantially from the elementary school Hybrid Learning plan.

Key Differences From Original Middle School Hybrid Learning Plan:

  • Grade levels will be phased back in the two different tiers:
    • 6th grade will *tentatively return November 9, 2020.
    • 7th & 8th grade will *tentatively return November 16, 2020.
    • By bringing students back in tiers, CCSD93’s middle schools are able to more effectively implement, establish procedures for, and make appropriate adjustments to schoolwide practices to faithfully follow District protocols for the health and safety of all students and staff members.
    • *Though we have every intention of returning on the dates listed here, please review the “Potential Setbacks” section below to understand conditions that may cause CCSD93 to change the start date.
  • Students will still be separated into A and B attendance groups and will still attend school in person two days in a given week while being fully remote three days in a given week, as was the case in the original back to school plan announced in July. A key difference is that students will not spend the entire day at the school when they are in-person. Please review the following charts to understand when a “Group A” and “Group B” Hybrid Learning student will attend school in-person versus remote.

IMage

  • While Hybrid Learning groupings are in person, they will receive live synchronous instruction focused on core content areas. In most cases, fully Remote Learning students will be a part of this synchronous instruction.
  • While Hybrid Learning groupings are offsite (remote), they will receive a combination of:
    • Synchronous instruction from their related arts, PE, and foreign language classes
    • Asynchronous learning activities
    • Support time to connect with their core content teachers
    • Support time to connect with their related arts, PE, and foreign language classes
  • Students will be assigned to groups, and their previously assigned grouping from August may not be their grouping for this updated plan. CCSD93 will work to keep middle school siblings assigned to the same grouping as much as possible.
  • Hybrid Learning students will receive an updated schedule via email the week prior to their return to reflect the changes listed above.
  • Students may be responsible for disinfecting their own personal workspaces throughout the day. They will be provided thorough instruction and guidance on how to do so.
  • Lunch will not be consumed on site, and time for lunch will be built into the remote schedule.
    • Hybrid Learning students in either grouping will be able to pick up a cold lunch to take home with them after their in-person session.
    • Fully Remote Learning students can continue to stop by the school for lunch pickup.
  • We encourage students to attend in person if possible, however, families who wish to remain fully within Remote Learning may do so. Please note the following:
    • Remote Learning students will be assigned to Group A or Group B. 
    • Remote Learning students will learn synchronously with their Hybrid Learning peer group and asynchronously while the group is asynchronous. This means:
      • Remote Learning students will receive an updated schedule the week prior to their grade level returning to Hybrid Learning.
      • They will join the Hybrid Learning in-person students via live stream for their core content areas. Remote Learning students will be active participants in these classes, including at times being broken into small groups, doing independent work, and being able to interact with the teacher. Teachers will establish norms for this early upon return.
      • They will experience all other synchronous and asynchronous learning, as well as student support time, as Hybrid Learning peers will.

Key Health & Safety Requirements

As previously shared, those returning to in-person learning will be required to adhere strictly to the following safety protocols without exception: 

  • Students are required to wear a mask for the entire duration of in-person learning and on school buses.
  • Students are required to maintain social distancing of six (6) feet at all times. This means that student socialization while in school will be vastly different than years past.
  • Students will not be permitted to congregate in hallways and will proceed directly to their advisory classroom upon entering the building.
  • Students will be escorted from class to class between periods in a manner that reduces students unnecessarily crossing paths and ensures social distancing. 
  • Students will use washrooms only during a pre-scheduled break period and will be escorted to and from this space. 
  • Lockers will not be in use and students will be asked to carry a backpack from class to class. Only materials noted on the school supply list should be within the backpack. In addition, students are permitted to bring a small carrying case to transport personal hygiene products, provided the carrying case fits within the backpack.
  • Students will not be permitted to bring snacks or drinks other than bottles for water, and no food or drinks other than water are to be consumed at school or on the bus. 
  • Students will be assigned seats on the school bus.
  • Families are required to submit a daily COVID-19 Self-Screener for each child before leaving for school, and if the student has experienced any of the listed symptoms or potential exposure, they must stay home.

We understand that this will be a notable shift for students, but the requirements above must be adhered to at all times for the health and safety of all. Failure of students or families to follow these requirements may result in the students being reassigned to fully Remote Learning.

In addition, each CCSD93 school will have the following safety protocols in place:

  • Classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected in the evening.
  • Should a COVID-19 case become present:
    • CCSD93 will strictly follow cleaning and sanitizing protocols.
    • CCSD93 will work with the DCHD to strictly follow contact tracing and quarantine procedures, which include fully quarantining all members of a cohort in the event that two of its members become COVID-19 positive.

Why No Full Day In-Person Instruction?

  • This plan eliminates lunch time, which public health guidance has continued to caution as a significant risk for transmission because students cannot wear masks while they eat and droplets known to carry COVID-19 have a much greater chance of spreading. 
  • This reduces the total amount of time students will wear a mask in a given day as they can remove the mask when they arrive home.
  • This minimizes the number of students in a given cohort.

Critical Factors Influencing the Plan

The health and safety of our students, staff members and community at large have been the driving factors in our decisions from the onset of the pandemic. Health experts continue to learn about the virus, and our public health organizations consistently provide updated guidance to school districts, including CCSD93, for the health and safety of all. 

We anticipate continued updates, but August 28 guidance from the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) provided clearer recommendations for instruction based on county-wide Community Transmission Levels. This guidance and data has helped inform the Middle School Reopening plan and will be utilized for decision-making if a transition back to fully remote learning becomes necessary. You can find out more about this guidance at www.ccsd93.com/COVID19.  By strictly following safety protocols, we can feel confident in safely bringing students into our classrooms for in-person learning at this time.

Additionally, the health and safety guidance we have received has continued to prioritize limiting interactions of students outside of small “cohorts”, reducing the opportunities our students have to remove their facemasks, maintaining social distance, and frequent handwashing.

Our Community Transmission Risk Level, along with all other health guidance, comprises what we call Health Data. In addition, considerations related to Staffing, Quarantine Restrictions, and Safety Protocol & Equipment influence our ability to hold in-person learning. Please review the graphic below for more information on these four In-Person Learning Factors.

CCSD93 Returning to In-Person Learning.png

Potential Setbacks

Please be aware that should any of the four In-Person Learning Factors in the graphic above reach levels that are not acceptable, some or all students may need to return to fully remote learning. As recommended by the IDPH, this would be considered an “adaptive pause” to prevent disease transmission. CCSD93 would communicate with you as soon as any such circumstance were to arise. 

Next Steps for Middle School Families

  • If you were unable to complete the online form by 10/13, please contact your child's school office to indicate:
    • Whether your child will participate in Hybrid Learning or fully Remote Learning moving forward. We are re-surveying families on this because the in-person component of the plan has changed enough that we cannot assume the decision families made in July and August will remain the same.  
      • Those who choose Remote Learning are committing to do so through at least the end of the 2nd trimester.
      • Those who choose Hybrid Learning will be able to transition to fully Remote at any time.
    • Whether your child will take district provided busing to and from school (if they qualify). If you are able to provide your own transportation, we ask that you consider doing so to reduce potential exposure.
    • Whether you would like your child sent home with a cold lunch each day. Meals will be sealed and may not be consumed until the student arrives home.
  • Keep an eye out for updated timing in case any of the In-Person Learning Factors become unacceptable and students must transition back to fully remote. 
  • The week prior to students returning to in-person learning, families will receive messaging indicating their:
    • Grouping
    • Updated schedule
    • Bus route information (if applicable)
    • Login information for the Self-Screener and instructions to complete practice versions digitally
  • Please review the entire Reopening Plan at www.ccsd93.com/reopening for more information.

Thank you for taking the time to review this message in its entirety. Please reach out to your child’s principal with questions.

Sincerely,

David H. Hill, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
CCSD93