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Letter from Principals re: WHS/WMS Plans for 2nd Marking Period

Dear Parents/Guardians:

As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder and we certainly are missing you!  We are very excited about our students and staff returning to our buildings in just a few weeks but we, of course, understand and appreciate the concerns that go along with returning to school.  We have 2 options for families – students can return following a hybrid model or students can opt to follow a fully virtual model.  Both plans will keep your student in the same courses, with the same students, and with the same teacher (with the exception of new teachers who we needed to hire for teachers who are unable to return to in-person teaching).  Students following our hybrid plan will be split into two cohorts; each cohort will rotate between in-person learning and at-home learning every other day.  During their at-home days, the students will connect to their class and teacher via Microsoft Teams, just as they are currently doing, to participate in live synchronous sessions with their teacher.  The teacher will be working with both their in-person students in the classroom and their students who are at home through Teams using their laptop, a monitor and Smart Board. In rare cases, if we are not able to secure a certified teacher to substitute for a teacher on an approved leave, the teacher will teach students from his/her home; students in the building will be supervised in a classroom and students who are virtual will connect via Teams. At this point, we anticipate this may be our approach for three classes total in WHS and WMS. 

 The curriculum will advance each day; your student will learn some of the lessons at school and some of the lessons synchronously from home.  Our fully virtual students will connect with their class and teacher via Microsoft Teams, just as they are currently doing, to participate in live synchronous sessions with their teacher every day. Though similar to the instruction occurring now, teachers will be virtually teaching students from school with some students in the room.

As we prepare for our return to in-person instruction for the second marking period, we know many of you have questions about the logistics regarding the opening of schools and student safety.  We have included a list of important information to help guide your decision.  We ask that you please complete the parent selection questionnaire (which will be emailed to families on Thursday, October 8th) before the deadline of Wednesday, October 14th so we can continue to plan for the safe return of your students and our staff.  Additionally, our staff has a new learning curve to tackle to prepare for the hybrid return to schools. There will be three days prior to November 9th when teachers will be participating in professional development sessions. During these three days, teachers will be providing lessons to our students via Schoology.  We appreciate your understanding and support.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Beth Bauer, WMS Principal and Dr. Lynne Blair, WHS Principal

 

SECONDARY LEVEL PLANS FOR HYBRID INSTRUCTION

  • Students will be split into two different cohorts. Information regarding which hybrid group your student is assigned will be shared soon. Students in WMS and WHS from the same household, will be assigned to the same cohort. We are designing our plan to maximize social distancing for our students.
  • At WMS, students have been scheduled in cohorts to allow the same students to be together for many of their classes. When possible, students will remain in the same classroom, and teachers will move.
  • Our hybrid approach allows us to maximize social distancing, having students 6 feet apart, with the exception of some Science labs. Students will be facing the same direction in all classroom spaces. 
  • Students will be required to wear a mask and/or face shield, per the Governor's directive. Any student who forgets his/her mask will be provided one.
  • Our student arrival and dismissal procedures will look different. Students will no longer congregate in large areas when they arrive to school, rather, they will report directly to classrooms. Students will be dismissed from last period classrooms and bus loading, parent pick-ups, and student drivers will be staggered to encourage social distancing. 
  • At WHS, students will be sent information in the coming weeks about purchasing a parking space for their in-person hybrid rotation days.
  • Students at WHS in grades 9-12 who have a study hall first or last session will be able to arrive to school late or leave early, pending that the student can provide transportation.  A permission slip will be shared with students in the coming weeks about this.  We are allowing this during the hybrid return to school to minimize our number of students in a classroom; this is not a "forever" change. 
  • Classroom cleaning will occur during the school day. The custodial staff will disinfect high-contact building areas, such as doors, handles, railings and tables. Hallway restrooms will be sanitized mid-day. Teaching staff will be provided with disinfectant materials for their classrooms. In the evening, the custodial team will disinfect buildings by spraying and wiping surfaces with an EPA/CDC-approved hospital-grade disinfectant on surfaces such as walls, floors, doors, knobs and furniture, with attention on high-concentration areas.
  • Classroom doors will remain open to maximize air circulation.
  • Water fountains will not be accessible however, filling stations can be utilized safely. Students are encouraged to bring in water bottles from home.
  • Although we value and appreciate the support of our volunteers, we will not be allowing volunteers or visitors in the building. Parent meetings, including IEP, GIEP, 504, CST, etc. will be held virtually. Only essential visitors will be allowed to enter the school building. All essential visitors will be required to follow the same safety guidelines as all other school personnel.
  • All field trips, school assemblies and large group events for the second marking period are cancelled. We will re-evaluate this at the end of each marking period. 
  • Outdoor spaces will be utilized as much as possible, weather permitting. 
  • Students will not be utilizing hallway and gym lockers. Additionally, students will not change clothes for HPE classes, with the exception of life guarding at WHS.
  • The sharing of supplies will be minimized as much as possible.
  • We will encourage one-way traffic flow on separate sides of the hallway with lines and directional arrows to guide students.
  • Stairwells will be designed for one-way traffic.
  • Social distancing will be encouraged in student bathrooms through visual signs.
  • Teachers will maintain accurate attendance records and seating charts for purposes of contact tracing.
  • Additional spaces will be utilized for student lunches to allow us to maintain 6 feet social distancing expectations. Students will have an assigned seat for contact tracing purposes. Additionally, we are working with our food service provider to create "grab and go" lunches to minimize the time that students need to line up for food and to minimize the exposure of food.
  • Many of our extra-curricular clubs and activities will still operate virtually. We will re-evaluate this each marking period. We are doing everything we can to prioritize student involvement and connection.
  • We are working with NMTCC to support in-person enrollment at our Tech School following our hybrid or virtual model and following their change in plans.  At this point, we are waiting on more information from NMTCC but we will communicate information to you as soon as we have more details.
  • Protocols will be in place if a student or staff member does become ill.  The Montgomery County Office of Public Health provides schools with specific protocol to follow.
  • When a teacher is absent from school and/or unable to teach a class on a given day, the teacher will provide the students with learning material; we have limited substitute availability and our substitutes will not have access to the technology to teach a lesson to virtual and at-home students.