By Adam Brown
The Lafayette County School board voted Monday, July 6 to approve a revised ‘back to school’ plan for the upcoming 2020-21 school year. The plan includes a two-week staggering period broken up into two teams, then all students will come back at the same time.
The school district wants to do two-days of professional development with teachers then divide the students into a red team and a gold team. The revised back-to-school plan includes a two-week hybrid setup staggering the teams.
LCSD Superintendent Adam Pugh used third grade as an example. The first child on the class roll would be red and then it would go gold, red, gold, et cetera. Once they are divided, the school will go back and try to pair siblings in the same groups.
The LCSD is still receiving information from parents on whether they want their children to do online learning to start the school year. According to the last meeting, 50% of parents preferred the traditional in-person method, 30% preferred a hybrid method and 17% wanted online instruction only. Whatever option parents choose, Pugh said that it will be a full nine weeks commitment. Information from that survey will be released on July 24.
“We have been trying to decide on how exactly to bring these kids back,” Pugh said. “What we want to do is transition in getting our kids back with the start date still being Aug. 3.”
On Aug. 5, two days after professional development, the schools will bring in the red team, Pugh said. On Aug. 6 there will be a professional development day, then the gold team will come on Aug. 7.
Pugh said by Aug. 6 administrators want to put computers in every student’s hands to introduce a learning management system.
Aug. 10 and 11 will be benchmark assessment days to see where the children are from a learning standpoint. There will be another professional development day and then the gold team will come on Aug. 13 and 14. It will repeat on Aug. 17 and 18 with a professional development day Aug. 19. Then, there will be two gold days on Aug. 20 and 21.
“That will give us two weeks on transitioning these kids back, before Aug. 24 when we bring them all back to school at the same time,” Pugh said.
During those two weeks, students and administrators will discuss social distancing, and students will have to wear masks as they change classes. Masks are not required while in the classroom as long as social distancing is being practiced.
The LCSD will be giving students masks. Pugh said he currently has 10,000 masks in his office with 30,000 coming in this week. Students are welcome to bring their own as long as they are a solid color.
Pugh said there may be times where the school is going to have to close, depending on the pandemic.
“I don’t think we will shut down completely, but possibly shutting down the class after talking to Dr. Dobbs,” Pugh said. “For example, you might have an outbreak in class B but you don’t want to send all the third graders home. You might just send that class home to quarantine for 14 days. The rest of your third graders come. Or a team or club gets it, then quarantine the team. Quarantine the team for 14 days and not shut the whole thing down.”
I don’t think you will see a widespread closing as we did, I think you will see pockets,” Pugh said. “If we have an outbreak of 70-80 kids at the high school, then that 80 kids are 10% of our population and you might have to close the school down. ”
If the school is closed down, teachers are going to continue to come to school.
“We are going to serve these kids as they have devices in their hands, and we can do a better job teaching then what we did in the spring,” Pugh said. “Statewide nobody was prepared for this… this just better prepares us to do it this way.”
Pugh said he expects counselors to start working this Tuesday and get information to parents by the end of the week.