GJPS Back to School Learning Models

Posted: 7/8/2020 Categories: District News, HOMEPAGE Headlines, Lincoln High School News, Blacklick Elementary News, Chapelfield Elementary, Goshen Lane Elementary News, High Point Elementary News, Jefferson Elementary News, Lincoln Elementary News, Royal Manor Elementary News, Middle School South News, Middle School East News, Middle School West News, Back to School 2020

July 7, 2020

Dear Gahanna-Jefferson Families,

We know you have been anxiously awaiting information from us about how school will look in the fall. We know this has been a difficult summer for all of you.

Finding the balance between evaluating education options and maintaining health and safety priorities is extremely difficult. We are faced with decisions that may negatively impact our students and families. This is heartbreaking to us and we wish it was avoidable.

A diverse group of teachers, support staff and district leaders have been working collaboratively on a task force to thoughtfully consider the implications each of our back-to-school options will have on our community and the overall educational experience for students. The task force dedicated many hours analyzing the hybrid options identified as top choices through our staff and family surveys. We believe the task force determined the best choice that allows us to maintain the maximum amount of classroom instruction for students, while keeping our students, teachers and staff safe.

Last Thursday, we received guidance from Governor DeWine regarding various alert levels the state has created, and further direction for school districts to work with their local health departments regarding specific details of reopening plans. He provided the following chart that indicates risk levels that will guide actions by local county health departments, which in our case is the Franklin County Health Department (FCHD). Right now, Franklin County is in Red - Level 3 (approaching Level 4), which indicates very high exposure and spread of COVID-19.



Our plan was developed on FCHD recommendations that we limit the number of students in our classrooms at one time, maintaining six feet of social distancing and that our students and staff wear masks while at school to help reduce the spread (more details will be forthcoming). Should the Franklin County alert level change to yellow or orange, we will reevaluate and possibly adapt our approach. However, we believe it is important for our district to move forward with a plan so our students, families and staff can prepare, and so we can implement the best plan possible within these constraints.

As you continue reading this letter, you will find information about the two learning models (distance and hybrid) we will offer in the fall. We wanted to provide you with this information so you can begin thinking about the best option for your family.

We intend to send a Learning Model Selection Form out tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8, in which families will be asked to select from our two 2020-21 learning models. Due to the implications on curriculum planning and staffing, it is important for families to understand the selection made for each student will remain in effect for the entire 2020-21 school year. Again, if the alert level for Franklin County improves, we will reconsider our options.

We understand nothing short of a normal return to the classroom is ideal, and there are many factors that affect these decisions for all involved. Staff and student safety and well-being are our top priority, and we must continue to make decisions that we believe uphold this value. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.

LEARNING MODELS
Please read the descriptions below for more information on both learning models available for students in the 2020-21 school year. It is important to understand there are still many components to these plans that need to be finalized, and more information will be shared at a later time. Additional details for both models, as well as further health and safety measures, are provided in the chart at the end of this letter.

Distance Learning - The first option available for students is an all distance learning model for the entire school year. Students who are immunocompromised, live with a family member who is immunocompromised, or families who don't feel comfortable with an in-building return for face-to-face instruction may choose the all online model.

Hybrid Learning - The second option available for students is a hybrid model that will follow the 3-day/2-day rotation of classroom and at-home learning previously shared in the family survey. The hybrid model will involve splitting students into two groups. One group will report to their building for face-to-face instruction on Tuesdays, Thursdays and rotating Mondays. The second group will report to their building for face-to-face instruction on Wednesdays, Fridays, and rotating Mondays.

On the days students are at home, learning will continue with activities/assignments provided by the teacher(s). We selected Monday as our rotation day due to the number of holidays and previously scheduled professional days falling on Monday. For families who choose the hybrid model, the district will do all we can to ensure siblings are on the same schedule.


We will continue to monitor information shared by the Governor and ODE and make adjustments as appropriate. It is important to understand that transitioning to an all distance learning model districtwide may be necessary in the future should additional guidance and mandates require it. The selection form will be sent to families tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8, and will remain open through Tuesday, July 14. We understand this is a short timeline; however, it is critical to our planning and follow up efforts.

DISTRICT CALENDAR/START DATE
We also want to let families know that it is likely our school calendar will be adjusted and our start date will be slightly delayed for the 2020-21 school year. We are looking at options for this now and do not have specific details ready to share, but we wanted to share this information as early as possible so you could begin thinking about plans for your family.

We recognize that the options we provided will be very difficult for many of you, but please know we have tried to be thoughtful and intentional to create the best possible plan for our students, teachers and staff, given the level of risk in Franklin County.

While the 2020-21 school year will be different than anything we have ever experienced in education, it provides us an opportunity to sharpen our skills and to be more innovative, creative and flexible than ever. We are fully committed to doing what is necessary to support our students, staff and families through this difficult time.

Thank you for your patience and support during this very challenging time..

Sincerely,

Steve Barrett
Superintendent
Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools

GJPS Back to School Learning Models

Posted: 7/8/2020 Categories: District News, HOMEPAGE Headlines, Lincoln High School News, Blacklick Elementary News, Chapelfield Elementary, Goshen Lane Elementary News, High Point Elementary News, Jefferson Elementary News, Lincoln Elementary News, Royal Manor Elementary News, Middle School South News, Middle School East News, Middle School West News, Back to School 2020

July 7, 2020

Dear Gahanna-Jefferson Families,

We know you have been anxiously awaiting information from us about how school will look in the fall. We know this has been a difficult summer for all of you.

Finding the balance between evaluating education options and maintaining health and safety priorities is extremely difficult. We are faced with decisions that may negatively impact our students and families. This is heartbreaking to us and we wish it was avoidable.

A diverse group of teachers, support staff and district leaders have been working collaboratively on a task force to thoughtfully consider the implications each of our back-to-school options will have on our community and the overall educational experience for students. The task force dedicated many hours analyzing the hybrid options identified as top choices through our staff and family surveys. We believe the task force determined the best choice that allows us to maintain the maximum amount of classroom instruction for students, while keeping our students, teachers and staff safe.

Last Thursday, we received guidance from Governor DeWine regarding various alert levels the state has created, and further direction for school districts to work with their local health departments regarding specific details of reopening plans. He provided the following chart that indicates risk levels that will guide actions by local county health departments, which in our case is the Franklin County Health Department (FCHD). Right now, Franklin County is in Red - Level 3 (approaching Level 4), which indicates very high exposure and spread of COVID-19.



Our plan was developed on FCHD recommendations that we limit the number of students in our classrooms at one time, maintaining six feet of social distancing and that our students and staff wear masks while at school to help reduce the spread (more details will be forthcoming). Should the Franklin County alert level change to yellow or orange, we will reevaluate and possibly adapt our approach. However, we believe it is important for our district to move forward with a plan so our students, families and staff can prepare, and so we can implement the best plan possible within these constraints.

As you continue reading this letter, you will find information about the two learning models (distance and hybrid) we will offer in the fall. We wanted to provide you with this information so you can begin thinking about the best option for your family.

We intend to send a Learning Model Selection Form out tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8, in which families will be asked to select from our two 2020-21 learning models. Due to the implications on curriculum planning and staffing, it is important for families to understand the selection made for each student will remain in effect for the entire 2020-21 school year. Again, if the alert level for Franklin County improves, we will reconsider our options.

We understand nothing short of a normal return to the classroom is ideal, and there are many factors that affect these decisions for all involved. Staff and student safety and well-being are our top priority, and we must continue to make decisions that we believe uphold this value. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.

LEARNING MODELS
Please read the descriptions below for more information on both learning models available for students in the 2020-21 school year. It is important to understand there are still many components to these plans that need to be finalized, and more information will be shared at a later time. Additional details for both models, as well as further health and safety measures, are provided in the chart at the end of this letter.

Distance Learning - The first option available for students is an all distance learning model for the entire school year. Students who are immunocompromised, live with a family member who is immunocompromised, or families who don't feel comfortable with an in-building return for face-to-face instruction may choose the all online model.

Hybrid Learning - The second option available for students is a hybrid model that will follow the 3-day/2-day rotation of classroom and at-home learning previously shared in the family survey. The hybrid model will involve splitting students into two groups. One group will report to their building for face-to-face instruction on Tuesdays, Thursdays and rotating Mondays. The second group will report to their building for face-to-face instruction on Wednesdays, Fridays, and rotating Mondays.

On the days students are at home, learning will continue with activities/assignments provided by the teacher(s). We selected Monday as our rotation day due to the number of holidays and previously scheduled professional days falling on Monday. For families who choose the hybrid model, the district will do all we can to ensure siblings are on the same schedule.


We will continue to monitor information shared by the Governor and ODE and make adjustments as appropriate. It is important to understand that transitioning to an all distance learning model districtwide may be necessary in the future should additional guidance and mandates require it. The selection form will be sent to families tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8, and will remain open through Tuesday, July 14. We understand this is a short timeline; however, it is critical to our planning and follow up efforts.

DISTRICT CALENDAR/START DATE
We also want to let families know that it is likely our school calendar will be adjusted and our start date will be slightly delayed for the 2020-21 school year. We are looking at options for this now and do not have specific details ready to share, but we wanted to share this information as early as possible so you could begin thinking about plans for your family.

We recognize that the options we provided will be very difficult for many of you, but please know we have tried to be thoughtful and intentional to create the best possible plan for our students, teachers and staff, given the level of risk in Franklin County.

While the 2020-21 school year will be different than anything we have ever experienced in education, it provides us an opportunity to sharpen our skills and to be more innovative, creative and flexible than ever. We are fully committed to doing what is necessary to support our students, staff and families through this difficult time.

Thank you for your patience and support during this very challenging time..

Sincerely,

Steve Barrett
Superintendent
Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools