As the Starkville Oktibbeha School District plans for August, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that we will return to pre-Covid19 normalcy for the 2020-21 school year.
The Starkville Oktibbeha School District is considering a Traditional Schedule and a Virtual Schedule for elementary students. While it is possible the District may implement multiple schedule options, the District is asking parents which learning option would be your preferred choice for your child for the 2020-21 school year. Your selection of either option is NOT binding or final. Parents may choose to move their child/student between traditional and virtual learning models at the start of school OR at the end of each nine-weeks grading period.
Please review the list of the considerations for each option as you provide valuable feedback to help us better prepare and plan for August.
Traditional Schedule: A traditional schedule would require students to be physically present in school with scheduling modifications to follow CDC and Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) recommendations. Through discussions with infectious disease specialists, physicians in our own community, the Mississippi Department of Health and guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, we are heartened to learn that based on current data, the medical community supports the return to in-person learning with appropriate health and safety protocols in place.
- Considerations for students, staff and facilities participating in a traditional school schedule include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Daily screening protocols required (Ex.: Temperature checks, self-assessments)
- Transportation adjustments possible (Ex.: Staggered beginning and ending times at each school campus)
- Routine disinfectant protocols established
- Regular, scheduled hand-washing required
- Static schedule implemented to allow students to remain in classrooms while teacher(s) moves from class to class for specials, etc., to limit exposure
- Parents/Visitors limited to scheduled office appointments
- Social distancing practiced in classrooms, hallways and other school areas as much as reasonably possible
- Class size for elementary is expected to range from 12-18 students spaced 3-6 feet apart
- Regular classroom teachers in elementary would be assigned their normal roster of students, but students would be divided into two groups to allow for social distancing
- Teachers would “team” to partner with another educator, who would likely be a specials teacher, teacher assistant, or lab teacher to maximize a blend of in-person instruction with independent student work that is supported by a teacher and/or educator in the classroom
- District recognizes importance of specials classes which could be embedded into the regular classroom or offered as virtual learning on Fridays
- Assemblies in building would be limited to small groups if allowed to achieve social distancing guidelines
- Masks could be required for teachers and/or students during certain situations (Ex. Small group reading instruction)
- Breakfast/lunch would be served to go or in the classroom
- Backpacks/lunchboxes may not be allowed; Students may bring a “brown bag” lunch that is entirely disposable
- Field trips not allowed
- Traditional school schedule would be limited to in-person instruction Monday-Thursday; Fridays would be designated for online learning support, teacher planning time, telephone or virtual parent/teacher conferences when necessary, and deep cleaning of buildings
- Plan for traditional school schedule to shift to virtual school schedule if short-term or long-term school closure is required
Virtual Schedule: Considerations for distance learning effectiveness include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Students/families who prefer this option will need sufficient internet bandwidth and a reliable, dependable device such as an ipad, chromebook, laptop (An iphone is not sufficient for distance learning)
- Under extenuating circumstances, District could provide students with a device if they do not have one
- Implement Learning Management System (LMS); The Starkville Oktibbeha School District has selected Google Classroom as our digital learning platform for elementary students to provide a robust virtual learning experience that is engaging and interactive.
- Train teachers, students and families on teaching and learning in a virtual environment
- Attendance and assignments required as part of the virtual school schedule
- Virtual school schedule has not yet been finalized, but parents should expect for their child to be “present” up to four hours each day; During this 4-hour time block, students would be engaged in their online Google classroom through instruction, discussion, application, and interaction
In addition to school schedules, the District is also seeking information from parents about meal service and transportation.
You are receiving this email as a parent of a child at Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary School.
Please click on the link below to complete our Return to School survey.
This year will require us to be more flexible than ever. We must be prepared to make adjustments as necessary. The District will respond to new information as received, and we will revise and adapt plans accordingly and appropriately.
The District will also continue to work toward a return to "normal" operations as guidance allows. As an example, this could eventually include holding in-person school on Fridays or allowing lunchboxes and backpacks in elementary grades.
Thank you in advance for taking our return to school survey to help plan as we prepare for an excellent new year of learning experiences!
Your Jacket Family