Congratulations on making it through a year like no other.
On Monday, June 8th the California Department of Education released the document, Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California’s Public Schools. On Wednesday, June 10th, Marin County Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis and County Superintendent of Schools Mary Jane Burke held a town meeting to talk about what parameters will likely be in place when we return to school in August. As we all have come to learn by now, the county health department determines the parameters (such as cohort size); those and other guidelines will in turn drive the decisions we are able to make regarding the format instruction will take once we return in August. Like parents/guardians, we, too, are eagerly awaiting a full return to in-person learning.
Based on the latest guidance received this week, we now have some important pieces of information:
Teachers will be able to work with more than one student cohort.
Cohorts might be allowed to exceed the previously stated limit of 12 students.
Cohort size may be based on age group (may be different for middle and high school)
In the event that the allowable cohort size is not large enough to accommodate a full class (24-28 students depending on the grade level), we will need to divide classes into two student cohorts. Having two cohorts would mean that we would be implementing a hybrid scenario in which one cohort is engaged in distance learning while the other cohort receives in-person instruction due to facilities capacity limits at each site.
Based on our research of learning models under consideration throughout the county/state/world and through conversations with our principals, teachers, and other county educators, we have landed on the two options below for a hybrid elementary program should one be needed. Note that we will continue to provide teachers with one day a week to plan for simultaneous in-person and distance learning instruction, collaborate with colleagues, attend staff meetings, and participate in professional development.
Scenario 1: Students attend school in-person two days a week, either Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday.
Scenario 2: Students attend school in-person every other week.
We would like your input as to which of the two scenarios you feel would work best for students and families. Please keep in mind these guiding questions as you make your selection:
What is best for students, especially those in greater need of support?
What is more manageable for teachers, given that they will be supporting distance learning students while they are teaching their in-person cohort?
What is best for families, especially those who are juggling work and childcare?
Learning scenarios for the 2020-21 school year will again be discussed at the Board of Trustees meeting this coming Tuesday, June 16, and we encourage you to tune in. The link to the Board Meeting will be sent via email later today.
Clearly there are many more details that will need to be ironed out once we've landed on a plan. And, we all need to keep in mind that as the guidelines from the Marin County Office of Health and Human Services change, we will need to adjust our plans accordingly.
We will continue to inform you and reach out for feedback as our plans for the 2020-21 school year evolve.
Thank you all for your support in this unprecedented time. We wish you all a restorative and happy summer.