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Back to School Guidance for 2020-21

 

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Southwest Preparatory School Back to School Guidance for 2020-2021

A Mission of Purpose

The mission of the Southwest Preparatory School has always been to provide an adaptive and effective learning environment that will prepare students to succeed in the workplace and/or college. This adaptive, effective learning environment has always included physically attending school and utilizing several different modalities for students to receive their instruction. Students have always benefited from direct teacher instruction along with virtual learning in order to meet the individual student’s goals.

This year the mission will remain the same. Students (along with their parents) will be able to choose the modality for their child to receive instruction.

Southwest Preparatory School District (SWPS)is providing notice to parents, families, and the community regarding back-to-school plans and instruction through this initial document. The district plans to post, prior to the start of school, a plan to mitigate COVID-19 which will be disseminated to all families and posted on the district website. Preliminary information is posted in this guidance and is subject to change based on state and local decisions.

COVID-19 Response Team – SWPS has developed a COVID-19 Response Team to respond to concerns and communicate district decisions. Members of the team and email addresses are noted below:

Sherry Head ~ Superintendent superintendents@swprep.org

Christinn Jean ~ Deputy Superintendent superintendents@swprep.org

Prevent and Mitigate

As we prepare for the return to school facilities, we want you to know that general health and safety is a top concern for Southwest Preparatory and its employees. While it is not possible to eliminate all risk of furthering the spread of COVID- 19, the current science suggests that there are many steps that we can take to reduce the risk significantly.

Health and Safety Guidance

Social and Emotional Well-Being – students’ social and emotional well-being is a top priority. Together, schools and families can support your child during this challenging time. With the endless COVID coverage, it is natural for your child to experience some changes in behavior and mood. Counselors and staff will continue to work closely with families and students to ease stress. Keeping routines predictable, sharing COVID facts that are age-appropriate, making time to listen and share feelings, and reaching out to us for support are all important. We are here for you and your child(ren). Please visit the Counselor’s Corner under the Parent and Student Information tab on our website. www.swprep.org.

Masks – SWPREP is expected to comply with all Federal, State, and local orders with regards to wearing masks or face shields, where this is most developmentally appropriate. All adults are required to wear masks when in the building, classroom, and/or office with others per the district’s Health and Safety Policy. This policy can be found on the district's website under COVID-19 news. Exceptions to this requirement include lunch breaks when appropriate and social distancing will be essential. Classroom teachers may use face shields and social distancing when providing direct instruction in the classroom. During classroom monitoring and circulations, masks are required.

Students are required to wear masks when riding the bus for school-sponsored activities and/or during the school day, when developmentally appropriate. Exceptions to this requirement include during meals and other activities. For example, it may be impractical for students to wear masks or face shields while participating in some athletic or other extracurricular activities. When it is impractical for students to wear masks or face shields during those activities, SWPS will require students, teachers, staff, and visitors to wear masks or face shields when entering and exiting facilities and practice areas and when not actively engaging in those activities. Schools may, for example, allow students who are actively exercising to remove masks or face shields, as long as they maintain at least six feet of distance from other students, teachers, and staff who are not wearing masks or face shields. However, schools must require students, teachers, and staff to wear masks or face shields as they arrange themselves in positions that will allow them to maintain safe distancing.

It is recommended that masks be rotated and thoroughly cleaned daily. Sharing of masks with other family members is extremely risky and discouraged.

Handwashing/Sanitizing - Students and staff are required to use hand sanitizer when entering a bus, building, classroom, and/or office. Hand Sanitizer stations are positioned throughout each campus’ common areas and outside of all classrooms and offices. Frequent handwashing and sanitizing will also be incorporated in the daily schedules. Each classroom will be provided with sanitation kits that will be used during transitions. Buses, classrooms, and other common areas within the school will be thoroughly disinfected daily and deep cleaning schedules will be regularly conducted. Posters will be positioned throughout the campuses to display proper handwashing techniques and as a reminder to use hand sanitizer. Barriers are being placed in bathrooms to assist with infection control.

Temperature Checks/Screening – Per Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, initial monitoring of symptoms begins at home. SWPS is asking all students and staff to conduct a self-screening assessment prior to entering the school. The CDC has identified the following symptoms: fever (100 or above) or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, the new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, repeated shaking with chills, or anyone with known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should stay at home and consult with a medical professional regarding school participation.

Should any individual become symptomatic while on the school premises, they will be immediately separated until they can be safely be picked up or transported to a healthcare facility. If a student’s temperature is at or above 100o, the student will be given a medical/safety informational form with guidelines that must be followed before he/she is allowed to return to school. For students who are dropped off by parents, temperatures will be taken before the student is allowed on the campus. If a student’s temperature is at or above 100o, the student will not be allowed to attend school and will be given a medical/safety informational form which, again, must be followed before he/she is allowed to return to school. In some instances, a release from a medical professional may be required.

TEA Guidance is as follows for students:

“Parents must ensure they do not send a child to school on campus if the child has COVID-19 symptoms (as listed in this document) or is lab-confirmed with COVID-19, and instead should opt to receive remote instruction until the below conditions for re-entry are met. Parents may also opt to have their students receive remote instruction if their child has had close contact with an individual who is lab-confirmed with COVID-19 until the 14-day incubation period has passed. School systems may consider screening students for COVID-19 as well. Screening is accomplished by asking questions by phone or other electronic methods and/or in person. The screening questions should also be asked of a student’s parent if that parent will be dropping off or picking up their child from inside the school.”

Social Distancing – Staff, and students will distance when indoor and outdoor settings, to the extent possible. Classrooms will be arranged to allow for as much space as possible between seating areas, as feasible, and transitions will be limited in the elementary campuses. Staggered school start and dismissal times, along with passing periods will be used. Students will be assigned to classroom and student cohorts to minimize their interactions with others. Students will be entering the building through an assigned location to minimize contact.

Personal Protective Equipment – Staff and students are expected to provide their own masks. If individuals need assistance with this matter, the district will have the equipment, e.g., masks, sanitizers, etc., available.

Students with Health Conditions – Parents and families know their child’s needs. While we are taking all measures to ensure each student’s safety, parents must place their child’s health needs first. Remote learning options are discussed later. Please reach out to your campus administration should you need to discuss your child.

COVID-19 Cases – SWPREP will take all safety precautions possible; however, if a student or staff member tests positive, the need to shift to remote learning (for the time necessary to sanitize/disinfect the school but not longer than 5 days) will occur. Staff and students who test positive and/or were directly exposed will not be permitted to return to school until they are cleared by a medical professional. While this may cause an added burden on families, our goal is health and safety for all students.

TEA Guidance on Individuals Confirmed or Suspected with COVID-19:

Any individuals who themselves either:

(a) are lab-confirmed to have COVID-19; or
(b) experience the symptoms of COVID-19 (listed below) must stay at home throughout the infection period, and cannot return to campus until the school system screens the individual to determine any of the below conditions for campus re-entry have been met:

~ In the case of an individual who was diagnosed with COVID-19, the individual may return to school when all three of the following criteria are met:

  1. at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications);

  2. the individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and

  3. at least ten days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

~  In the case of an individual who has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and who is not evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, such individual is assumed to have COVID-19, and the individual may not return to the campus until the individual has completed the same three-step set of criteria listed above.

~ If the individual has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and wants to return to school before completing the above stay at home period, the individual must either (a) obtain a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for the return based on an alternative diagnosis or (b) receive two separate confirmations at least 24 hours apart that they are free of COVID via acute infection tests at an approved COVID-19 testing location found at https://tdem.texas.gov/covid-19/.

Campuses and Classrooms

In elementary schools, students and staff will be assigned to groups that will stay together for defined periods of time. Each group will use common areas, such as cafeterias, gyms, playgrounds, etc., together as a group. This concept is intended to minimize the interactions of groups with other students and staff.

Visitors, Drop-off, and Pick-Up – All campus visits must be scheduled via an appointment unless initiated by the school. Sanitizing will occur after each parent meeting. The number of visitors in the school will be limited to ensure that students are safe; therefore, alternative meeting options may be scheduled, including virtual meetings. Each school will have procedures in place for daily drop-off and pick-up. This information will be communicated and posted to each campus’ website page prior to the first day of school. Barriers are being placed in the front offices to assist with infection control.

Traditional campus events such as Open House, Parent Nights, etc., have been temporarily suspended. This will be evaluated on an ongoing base to reevaluate how to proceed with these activities. Campuses will use other means to keep parents and families up-to-date and engaged in their child’s learning, including online platforms.

Classroom Configurations – SWPREP will arrange student learning spaces six feet apart, as feasible. In some instances, common areas may be used for instruction with similar distancing.

Restrooms and Water Fountains – Students’ physical needs are extremely important. Social distancing and hand washing will remain the priorities during restroom breaks. Because water dispensers have shared surfaces, these will be disabled/turned off. Students will be provided with other options for hydration. Parents are encouraged to send their students to school with a water bottle. Hydration stations will be provided in each classroom which includes disposable drinking cups.

Materials and Supplies – Students will be expected to use their own materials and supplies which will be kept in individually-assigned boxes. Sharing of materials will not be allowed. In instances where technology, books, calculators, etc., are used with multiple students, proper sanitation protocols will be enforced.

For early prekindergarten classrooms, nap mats will be spaced out according to physical distancing guidelines to the extent possible and will be sanitized daily.

Additional Instructors in Classrooms – In certain instances, additional staff members may be assigned to classrooms to instruct specific students. These individuals will sanitize prior to entering and exiting the classroom, and masks will be required as they interact with students using social distancing.

Class Transitions for Secondary Campuses – We are currently developing guidance regarding cohort models for junior high and high school campuses, particularly since students engaged in a face-to-face instructional model are still expected to attend classes to receive credit.

Field Trips – Campuses will refrain from scheduling field trips and other academic/social events until further notice. Early College High School – watch for details from the ECHS Director.

Individual Learning Models and Calendars

Face-to-Face Instruction, Remote/Virtual Learning, Hybrid Instruction, and Extended Summer Learning –While SWPS is taking multiple precautions to protect both students and staff in school operations, we will offer parents the option for either face-to-face or remote/virtual learning. In both instances, students are expected to participate daily and remain engaged in high-quality instruction. Each of these options is described below:

Face-to-Face Instruction – Students attend school daily, as with the regular school year, and follow safety, sanitation, and social distancing expectations. This is subject to federal, state, and local restrictions for the safety of students and staff. Students choosing face-to-face instruction may not have a traditional 7-8 hour schedule.

 

Remote/Virtual Learning – Students participate in classroom instruction via remote/virtual learning and are expected to complete and submit assignments as communicated by the remote/virtual learning teacher(s). This home-learning model is an extension of the classroom and includes the same high-level expectations for participation and assignments as face-to-face. Students should engage daily and show progress. Engagement is demonstrated in the following ways: texting, emailing, phone conference with a member of the teaching staff, logging into online platforms, exit tickets, and completing assignments.

Hybrid - Hybrid instruction includes both remote learning and face-to-face instruction.

 
  • Elementary students will attend school in person, Monday-Thursday for 180 minutes or 240 minutes (depending on the grade-level). There will be a.m. and p.m. sessions. These students will attend school remotely on Friday.
  • Middle school students will attend school in person on Monday and Wednesday. They will attend school online Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
 
  • High school students will attend school in-person on Tuesday and Thursday. They will attend school online Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
 
 

Extended summer learning during the summer of 2021 Back to School Guidance 07.22

Students and parents will be notified if their child is required to attend summer learning due to missed school days and/or the need for intensive instruction to close gaps.

In all models, the campuses must provide instruction in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for the required grade level/subject/course. Monitoring student learning and progress remains integral to the success of the students. This includes attendance, grades, formative/summative assessments, and other monitoring systems that help teachers know how students are making progress.

Unless otherwise noted by the campus administrator, once a commitment to the instructional model has been communicated by the parent/family, a request must be submitted in writing to shift to another model. Once a student chooses an individual learning experience, the student will be required to remain in their chosen learning experience for the nine-week grading period. Extenuating circumstances requiring a parent request to change the instructional model will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Remote/virtual instruction will be delivered through asynchronous instruction that does not require having the instructor and student engagement at the same time. In this method, students learn from instruction that is not necessarily being delivered in-person or in real-time. This type of instruction may include various forms of digital and online learning, such as prerecorded video lessons or game-based learning tasks that students complete on their own, and pre-assigned work and formative assessments made available to students on paper. The instructional method must address the required curriculum, per TEC, §28.002.

Attendance – District funding and resources are linked to attendance. Students must engage in learning daily and show progress regardless of the learning experience selected. Attendance will be taken each day for instructional models to ensure that students are actively engaged. During remote/virtual instruction, students are expected to participate and fully engage as communicated by the teacher to receive attendance credit.

In addition, per Texas Education Code (TEC), §25.092, students must attend 90% of the days a course is offered in order to be awarded credit for the course and/or to be promoted to the next grade. This requirement remains in force during the 2020-21 school year. This requirement applies to all instructional models.

Each learning experience requires its own attendance procedures:

  • Face-to-face attendance will be taken daily during the attendance period...each campus will determine their daily attendance time.

  • Remote Learning Attendance will be taken in a variety of ways:

1. Students may complete a daily exit ticket that will demonstrate mastery of the daily objective. This is the school’s preferred method for showing attendance because it lets the teacher know how to plan for individual student needs.

2. Students may contact the teacher through email, text, or google classroom to ensure progress is being made daily.

3. Students may join a virtual session during the day with a teacher or instructional assistant. The teacher or instructional assistant will take attendance and ensure progress has been achieved that day.

 

4. Students may complete and turn in assignments for the day. Records will be kept by the teacher.

5. Students may log into Exact Path, CLI, Waterford, Reading Eggs, or Plato and complete tasks as assigned by the teacher.

If a student chooses face-to-face instruction and is unable to attend school, they will be able to work remotely as long as they complete the assignment on the day of absence. This will ensure the student is counted present for that day and help them to meet the 90% attendance rule.

Grading – State law requires each district to adopt its own grading policies. This policy must require a classroom teacher to assign a grade that reflects the student’s relative mastery of an assignment. SWPS grading policies are published annually in the Student Handbook. Progress reports and report cards, along with parent conferences, will be used to communicate each student’s progress and performance. If changes to the grading policy become required, a notice will be posted on the district’s school website.

State and Local Testing – All students are expected to follow state and local testing requirements, whether participating in face-to-face, remote/virtual instruction, or the hybrid model.

School Calendars- Our school calendar will look similar to recent years. What is not evident on the calendar is the ability for SWPS to provide additional instructional days in the summer for those students or campuses needing additional days due to school closures that may happen earlier in the year. There is no way to predict all of the days that campus may need to close for deep cleaning. Please note that the Guadalupe County (Seguin Campus) calendar is subject to change pending survey results from families.

Individual Campuses will be offering on-campus instruction as long as it is safe for our students and staff. We will be looking at the CDC and TEA for operational guidance. As you all know, this guidance changes weekly and even daily.

This means all plans that we share with you are subject to change.

The district will also be offering students the opportunity to choose remote learning, face-to-face learning, and/or a combination of remote and in-person (Hybrid). We are looking to have Fridays set aside for remote learning experiences for our students so that teachers can plan for a robust curriculum for both in-person and remote learning; this will require intensive planning.

Meals and Transportation

Meals – SWPREP must comply with child nutrition guidelines. Breakfast and Lunch will be served in the classrooms. Grab and Go meals will be provided as students who choose the virtual option of instruction.

Transportation - Temperatures will be taken for each student before boarding the bus or van. If a student’s temperature is at or above 100o, the student will not be allowed on the bus and will be given a medical/safety informational form with guidelines that must be followed before he/she is allowed to return school.

Seating arrangements will be established to comply with social distancing requirements for school transportation. Buses/Vans will be disinfected daily

Electives:

P.E. – Details are being developed for P.E. programs to align with the TEKS course expectations and TCSAAL COVID guidelines for athletics.

CTE Courses – CTE courses include hands-on experiences. Social distancing and sanitation requirements will be further defined and communicated prior to the beginning of school. Students enrolled in advanced, hands-on CTE courses may be required to enroll in a face-to-face instructional model.

Other Electives – Each course will be reviewed individually to ensure that social distancing and sanitation requirements are established.

Special Programs

Program Participation and Services – Students currently participating in special program services, e.g., special education, 504, Bilingual/ESL, etc., will continue to receive services whether through face-to-face or remote/virtual learning. Parent meetings may be held using virtual meeting platforms.

Evaluations and Testing – District protocols have been established to evaluate students who have been referred for special programs. Social distancing and/or personal protective equipment (PPE) will be used, as appropriate.

Extracurricular

Extracurricular Programs – Each program will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine implementation guidelines. Program sponsors will provide information to students and parents/families as information is available.

Respond

SWPREP must identify and implement responsive actions to address the situation if there are lab-confirmed cases in a school.

Required Actions if Individuals with Lab-Confirmed Cases Have Been in a School

1. If an individual who has been in a school is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19, the school must notify its local health department, in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, including confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). 5

2. Schools must close off areas that are heavily used by the individual with the lab-confirmed case (student, teacher, or staff) until the non-porous surfaces in those areas can be disinfected unless more than 3 days have already passed since that person was on campus.

3. Consistent with school notification requirements for other communicable diseases, and consistent with legal confidentiality requirements, schools must notify all teachers, staff, and families of all students in a school if a lab-confirmed COVID-19 case is identified among students, teachers or staff who participate on any on-campus activities.