Re-entry plan announced for Greenbrier County Schools

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Parents must complete the Back to School Instructional Intent Form by Friday, August 14.

By Sarah Richardson

The Greenbrier County Board of Education met in a special session on Friday, July 31, to formally approve the 2020 Greenbrier County School’s Re-Entry Plan, featuring guidelines for closing back down in the case of COVID-19 spikes, reduced building occupancy, face masks, and more.

“I think that we all need to keep in mind that one of the most important statements in this plan is the fact that this information is subject to change as additional information in the spread of COVID-19 becomes available,” said Superintendent Jeff Bryant. “Even though we have a plan here today and the board has worked fervently, and the staff has worked fervently, there are going to be changes, and they are going to be daily.”

Greenbrier County Schools will serve students through two models for instruction based on the metrics at the county and state level. Decisions about offering on-campus school or allowing for 50 percent occupancy of our buildings will be based upon:

  • the daily percent positive COVID lab test rate for the state.
  • availability of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • availability of adequate staffing.
  • student attendance rates.
  • numbers of COVID-like cases in Greenbrier County will also impact the decision-making process.

These guidelines will determine if schools comes to plan A, B, or C for learning;

  • Plan A includes all schools staggered start by grade or remote learning
  • Plan B includes either all schools operating at 50% capacity with modified school day or remote learning.
  • Plan C consists of remote learning for all.

“Families will receive a school messenger notification that is scheduled to go out at 5:30 p.m. today, they will get a phone call directing them to the website and letting them know that the re-entry plan is available there,” said Christy Clemons-Rodgers, “We are asking families to complete their Back to School Instructional Intent form. The link to that is also provided in the school messenger information.”

For more specific details for each stage of the plan, outlines can be found at the end of this article, or visit the Greenbrier County Schools website to read the entire plan.

Another top priority for the safe return is face masks; Bryant noted, “Our recommendation is we stay with a requirement for face masks for all employees and for students, but in the event there is medical documentation stating otherwise, then a face shield will be permissible. We are also providing a face shield to all employees who want another, extra level of protection.”

“Staff members will be required to wear a face mask while in the school building,” states the re-entry plan. “It will be required outside if six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. Disregard of this mandate will result in disciplinary action. If a student refuses to wear the required face mask and does not have medical documentation, the building administrator will contact the student’s parents/guardians about enrolling the student in the remote learning option.”

It also adds that, “A face shield can be worn along with a face mask if desired, but it is not a substitute for a face mask (reusable or disposable). Airborne droplets can enter around face shields. The exception to this is bus drivers who are permitted to wear face shields to prevent the danger of fogged glasses while behind the wheel.”

GCS is using data and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, state and local health departments, WV Department of Education, WV Department of Health & Human Resources, and The American Academy of Pediatrics.

Families must confirm the plan they wish to select for their children by completing the online Back to School Instructional Intent Form by Friday, August 14, 2020. The Form is available at the following link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc8lUtfLaReXPf0SR4hDgniEwXRzTFC_xUa9ih6r1s2OJFhZA/viewform.

To promote our school communities’ health, GCS respectfully asks families to consider restricting out-of-state travel during the two weeks before the start of school. General information about travel and COVID can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-theus.html

Most importantly, parents are reminded to keep their children home if they are sick or are showing symptoms related to COVID-19. Parents will be given a daily health checklist to review each day before sending their child to school.

Back to School Plans A, B, and C are as follows.

 

Plan A includes two options:

-Plan A Option 1: All schools staggered start by grade. Elementary (Pre-K-5) five days/week with modified school day. Middle and high school (6-12) fifty-percent capacity with modified school day.

This plan will be utilized when the daily percentage of positive rate for WV is less than 3% and adequate staffing and personal protective equipment (PPE) is available to maintain a safe and supportive school environment. On Monday, September 8, schools will open with a staggered start by grade level for orientation and COVID-19 mitigation instruction.

Elementary (Pre-K- 5): Beginning Monday, September 14, Elementary students will attend school in-person five days a week with a 90-minute early out each day to allow for disinfecting and duties associated with remote learning. Kindergarten begins on September 15 and Pre-K begins on September 17 (4 days/week).

We understand and accept that this is not the ideal way for our students to learn. However, given a choice between having our youngest and least independent students learn in school five days and having them only attend two days per week during these most formative years, the better choice for most students is to have them in school. Elementary facilities and daily schedules are more conducive to social distancing efforts and delivery of instruction by rotating teachers to classrooms rather than moving students throughout the building.

Middle and high school (grades 6 – 12): Begin school Monday September 14 – October 8. Plan A/ Option 1 organizes students into two groups that will attend school in-person two days a week with a 90-minute early out each day to allow for disinfecting and duties associated with remote learning. Students will participate in remote learning instruction from home three days a week.

-Plan A Option 2: Remote Learning

All students (PK-12) have the option to receive 100-percent remote learning instruction, if desired. Remote instructional materials and support will be provided by GCS educators. Please note that remote learning will involve a higher level of accountability for assignments and grades than some may have experienced last spring.

GCS recognizes that in-person instruction may not be an option for students with elevated health risks, or those who have family members with elevated health risks. Additionally, we understand that some families may not feel comfortable having their children attend school in person. This option is provided in an effort to meet the unique circumstances of GCS families. Students who choose an online option will have continued access to extracurricular and co-curricular activities.

 

Plan B includes two options:

If the daily percentage of positive rate for WV goes to 3% or greater for three days in a row, unless the local health department confirms that there is no increase locally, Plan B will be instituted. Plan B limits occupancy at all school buildings to 50%.

-Plan B Option 1: All schools 50% capacity with modified school day.

Schools will be fully open, but operate under a hybrid rotation of instructional delivery to include traditional classroom teaching and remote instruction for all grades. Only half the school’s population will be on site at one time, allowing for increased social distancing both in the classroom and on the bus. Students will be split into two groups. Each school will identify student groupings and communicate the attendance schedule/plan to families. Each group will spend two days in a classroom receiving face-to-face instruction and the other three days learning remotely.

-Plan B Option 2: Remote Learning.

All students (PK-12) have the option to receive 100-percent remote learning instruction, if desired. Remote instructional materials and support will be provided by GCS educators. Please note that remote learning will involve a higher level of accountability for assignments and grades than some may have experienced last spring.

GCS recognizes that in-person instruction may not be an option for students with elevated health risks, or those who have family members with elevated health risks. Additionally, we understand that some families may not feel comfortable having their children attend school in person. This option, is provided In an effort to meet the unique circumstances of GCS families. Students who choose an online option will have continued access to extracurricular and co-curricular activities.

 

Plan C: Remote learning for all.

Should the prevalence of COVID-19 significantly increase, the Governor may suspend in-person instruction, either on a statewide or regional basis, mandating remote delivery of instruction with educators available via email or phone. In this instance, remote learning for all will be implemented.

Students will receive Emergency Forms and Acceptable Use of Technology forms by mail in early August. In the event that the governor determines students will not return to in-person learning, students will bring these forms, along with their old Chromebooks, to their schools to pick up a new Chromebook device (and download Remote Learning Lessons), textbooks, and other peripheral materials. Social distancing will be practiced and masks will be required for students and the assisting staff members.

Each school will communicate to families the date and time for students to pick up Remote Learning Lesson Packets (Pre-K-5) or to pick up devices and download Remote Learning Lessons (6-12). Students will receive any necessary textbooks and peripherals at this time.

In the event that employees do not return in time to prepare materials, Central Office Staff, Administrators, and volunteers will work together to get materials ready for students.

Additionally, should the Governor determine that students will not return to in-person learning but that staff still report to work sites, school meals will be available for pick-up at each school on Wednesdays. In this scenario, the Transportation Department will assist this effort by delivering meals where necessary.

Virtual school: In addition to the options outlined above, families may elect to enroll students (grades K- 12) in West Virginia Virtual School. Virtual classes are completely online and require a semester-long commitment. Self-discipline and internal motivation are necessary for Virtual School success. Additional information available at http://wvde.state.wv.us/vschool/.

 

More information is available in the full Re-Entry Plan document at http://www.greenbriercountyschools.org/.