Video One, July 10, 2020
Hello MRA Families
Thank you for joining me in the first series of videos we will be producing over the next few weeks. The Planning Team and I are currently meeting weekly to prep for next year. The team consists of:
Dante Torgersen, Dainette Harris, Shannon Lishka, Iva Quinlan, and Gina Harnish
We are also working closely with the district and with the district nurse, Dr. Jan Olson.
Our first task was to work with Jan Olson on developing what Oregon Department of Education is calling an Operational Blueprint for School Reentry 2020-2021. First we determined which operational model best fit our school. MRA chose the hybrid model, which means that our students will attend school two days a week, and learn from home 3 days a week.
After deciding our format, we then had to dive into the document, which primarily addresses health protocols we are required to follow at our facility. Dr. Olson therefore wrote the majority of the document, and our Planning Team went through it and edited for specific requirements to fit MRA. The big topics in the blueprint include Public Health Protocols, a link to the District’s Communicable Disease Plan, Facilities and School Operations (for example – how will we limit student physical contact when making transitions, handwashing, sanitizing, and so on), Response to Outbreak – which is essentially deferred to Dr. Olson and the Communicable Disease Plan, and then there are five sections that focus on equity. You can find sample blueprints and the template on ODE’s website for Covid 19. Once finished the blueprints are submitted to the district, to ODE and published on our website.
The Blueprint covers health protocols, now our job is to work on how to meet those requirements within MRA. This includes the schedule itself, scheduling our students, determining what in school learning and at home school learning will look like for each grade level, and eventually mapping out our school year to best meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of our kids.
During the month of July, the Planning Team will be working on the gathering everything needed for us to meet the requirements of the Blueprint, the schedule, and filming more informative videos for you. The details of what school will look like and mapping out the year will most likely happen in August, after we receive more information on expectations from ODE.
Back to the schedule - In order to meet spacing requirements, we will be dividing our students into two groups. Half of the kids will come to MRA on M and W, and the other half on T and R. Fridays all student will learn from home while teachers prep for the next week.
In order to divide the students, we are required to put them into cohorts. A cohort is a small group that remains together over time with minimal mixing of groups. Our cohorts will be approximately 10 – 14 students. With the exception of kindergarten, each student will be assigned to two different cohorts to minimize mixing. Grade level cohorts are essential for math, and in some of our grades for writing. Students will be in their mixed grade level cohort for Music, PE, themes/humanities/science, electives, health, computers, and some language arts classes. Students will be with their given cohort for recess and for lunches. The expectation from ODE is to minimize the risk of spreading the virus by minimizing how many people the students come in contact during the day. We are expected to track student interaction in case of an outbreak, and therefore will be striving to keep students in their assigned cohorts.
There is also an understanding that children, and adults, struggle with maintaining a six foot invisible barrier. Please do not worry, when we come together in the fall, we will work with the kids and do everything we can to set them up for success in all areas. Students who find it difficult to social distance will be gently redirected, there will not be punitive consequences. Any extreme situations will be brought to you, the parent, so that we can all work together to keep everyone safe.
As we begin to schedule cohorts, we are assuming that families want your kids on the same days. If you do not, please email me and I’ll work to make sure your request is met.
That concludes this first video. If you have specific questions or topics you would like addressed next week, please send those to me and the planning team will do what we can to answer those either in the video, or in written form.
I hope you all are well, and that you are enjoying the summer.