Throughout the Phased Reentry planning process, we have maintained our guiding principles because they are front and center to ensuring successful outcomes for all students.
These principles also informed our two guiding questions across planning groups, and throughout our first planning session (September 21, 2020 - October 16, 2020):
- What adjustments can we make to the Virtual PLUS+ learning model to better meet the needs of students and staff?
- Is it feasible to start in-person learning in quarter two?
Our transition plan ensures all students and staff are healthy, safe, and engaged during the reopening process, including following required health and sanitation mitigation procedures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The phase in transition plan will also ensure that students receive personalized academic support and interventions to address any learning losses resulting from school building closings. It is important to note that the health, safety, and well-being of students, teachers, staff, and their families are critical in deciding whether to reopen school buildings for in-person learning. Also, the academic learning loss that students might likely experience remains a core priority for ACPS. We know that schools are an essential part of our community and they create supportive learning environments for students and families.
This plan outlined in this Phased Reentry Plan is deemed the most feasible option for quarter 2. We have taken the feedback from staff, students and the community and designed an option that we know we can implement and not have to pull back from due to an outbreak of the virus as we head into flu season.
The reentry planning has taken into account:
- Building Capacity: classroom layouts; furniture; learning spaces; hallways and communal spaces
- Students: prioritized based on need; education; equity; family preference
- Staff Availability: Ability to return, personal health conditions; direct instruction; virtual roles
- Instructional Model: schedules; technology; pacing,
- PPE & Health/safety Training: procurement; cleaning protocols; ability to monitor; heath mitigations from the Alexandria Health Department
- Transportation: Modified routes; bus capacity; driver support; monitors
Racial equity is at the heart of ACPS’ work. We also want to assure you that we aim to build trust with our community through frequent communication and transparency. We have also made sure that all internal and external stakeholders have had a voice within our planning process. This includes the Alexandria Health Department (AHD), students, staff, families, partners, the Education Association of Alexandria (EAA) and the Parent Teacher Association Council (PTAC). Although we collaborate with other school divisions, it is essential that we do what we know is most feasible for our community in Alexandria.
Please be aware that we are still working through our staffing model which takes into account that our staff members are facing some of the same challenges that many of our families are grappling with during this pandemic such as:
- people who are 65 or older;
- people of all ages who have underlying medical conditions, are at higher risk of serious illness if they do get COVID-19;
- Other groups at higher risk for complications including pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems;
- Caring for a family member with underlying medical conditions or weakened immune systems;
- Child care; and
- Family life obligations
This iterative process of our phased-in return to school is informed by this feedback and allows us to pivot as necessary. We will continue to make changes and updates according to comments and questions from staff, the Board and the community. Data from the Oct. 4 survey was incorporated into both the improvements to the Virtual PLUS+ model and the reentry plans.
Once the proposed phased-in reopening plan is approved by the School Board, we will provide continuous updates on our progress at the following School Board meetings: Nov. 12 and 23, Dec. 3 and 17 and Jan. 21. ACPS will continue to review its plans as well as survey our families and staff every seven to nine weeks..