Admin

Planning for 2020-21 - 6/11/20

I want to thank the many parents and employees who participated in our surveys last week. Your feedback is important as we continue to develop a plan for how we will return to school and how we will safely implement instruction for 2020-21.

We received comments from some parents saying we didn’t really want feedback and that we likely already had made decisions about what we will be doing in August. We also received comments asking what the plan will be and why we haven’t shared anything yet. I want to address these concerns here and update you on our process.

Navigating a pandemic is new territory for school districts across the country. Our district team members have been sitting in on virtual meetings and conversations with school districts throughout the country, the state, regional areas, and even locally. We’re reviewing the Georgia Department of Education’s recently released guidelines, as well as the CDC guidance for what they believe will help keep the safety of staff and students at the forefront this next school year. Additionally, we’ve developed internal work groups to focus on areas like instruction, operations, resources, communication and student support. Three of our staff members are representing our district on state-level work groups and reporting out on the information and plans they’re discussing with other state agencies and school districts. I’ve been meeting with our Middle Georgia RESA superintendents to discuss plans, and we’ve developed a regional task force with three other similar districts – Savannah-Chatham County, Dougherty County and Clayton County.

A lot is happening on many levels. Even though school districts were able to implement distance learning this past spring, that doesn’t mean we think we will be able to rely on that model for high-risk instances in the next year. It’s important that we identify what worked well throughout the state, and what can be improved upon. It’s also important that we plan as much as possible for the different models recommended by the state: high risk, moderate risk and low risk.

Our survey of parents showed that many parents are interested in a virtual option – even if we are able to return to school in person. We are working on a plan or option that will allow parents to choose to do so if they feel like they are not ready to send their child back to the school setting just yet. We are also developing instructional models for the three risk categories mentioned earlier. As an example, if our community is deemed high-risk, that would likely mean that all students are learning from home. Moderate risk might mean that some are working from home, while others are in the school building.

Just know that a lot of thought and discussion is going into what is best for our students and our school district. We often say the safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and we mean that. It’s also important, though, to think about impacts to students. We’re identifying ways to provide them with the best instruction possible, no matter the circumstance, while also considering important pieces like social and emotional supports. Some students and staff may have experienced trauma, major loss or other difficulties during the pandemic. We also have to think about how we will support students with learning and health disabilities, as well as the evaluation process that may be required for special education. These are all important to us as we develop our overall plan.

Our goal is to have a draft of our plan in place by the end of June and to present the updated plan to Board members during a called meeting on July 7. It’s important that we take the time to get this right, and I hope you will support us as we work through this effort.

With open communication as one of our core values, I want to share the data from our first survey. You’ll find the responses shared below. Please know we will likely be conducting additional surveys over the course of the next month. Your participation and support of these surveys is crucial in helping us to better understand what parents and employees feel is most important and how we can best support our community. I hope you will review the results below closely and that you will continue to share your feedback.

-VIP Continues

Coldr

Contact me at https://www.bcsdk12.net/cms/One.aspx?portalId=1736221&pageId=1812815


BCSD Return to School Survey for Parents (3,703 Responses)

As you think about how you might feel when schools are reopened Aug. 10, which word do you believe best describes your feelings today?

59 percent: Fear

15 percent: Anticipation

10 percent: Joy

9 percent: Other

7 percent: Relief


What concerns you most about students returning to school? (Select all that apply)

72 percent: My child being exposed to COVID-19

63 percent: Uncertainty about how schools will follow safety protocols and guidelines

43 percent: My child bringing the virus home to a medically fragile or elderly family member

20 percent: Childcare issues if school buildings must close again

9 percent: Other


Select the response that best describes how you feel today.

42 percent: I prefer my child to participate in virtual school/eLearning

33 percent: I prefer a combination of in-person and virtual learning

25 percent: I prefer to send my child to school


What is the single most important action we can take to make you feel safe sending your child to school?

41 percent: Provide virtual/eLearning options for students

12 percent: Require temperature checks for all employees and students

11 percent: Require PPE for all employees and students (e.g., face coverings)

11 percent: Require physical distancing; limit number of people allowed in a space

7 percent: Ensure frequent hand washing with soap and water

7 percent: Ensure frequent sanitizing of highly touched areas

5 percent: Establish re-exit plan in the event there is a new surge of COVID-19 infections

4 percent: Make hand sanitizer available throughout buildings

2 percent: Limit visitors to school buildings (e.g., parents, volunteers, community partners)


Select the response that best describes your plans for the upcoming school year.

74 percent: I will provide transportation for my child to/from school (includes students driving themselves)

26 percent: My child will ride the bus to/from school


Select the response that best describes your plans for the upcoming school year.

50 percent: I will send my child to school with lunch

50 percent: My child will eat breakfast/lunch prepared at school


Select the response that best describes your plans for the upcoming school year.

77 percent: My child will not participate in a BCSD Afterschool Program

23 percent: I will seek to enroll my child in a BCSD Afterschool Program (this does not include extracurricular activities such as band, sports, clubs)


Select the category that best fits your status.

39 percent: My children attend elementary school

31 percent: I have children at elementary, middle and/or high school

19 percent: My children attend high school

11 percent: My children attend middle school



STAFF: BCSD Return to Work Survey for Staff (1,845 Responses)

As you think about how you might feel when buildings/offices are reopened, which word do you believe best describes your feelings today?

Fear: 41 percent

Anticipation: 28 percent

Other: 14 percent

Joy: 10 percent

Relief: 8 percent


What concerns you most about returning to work? (Select all that apply)

73 percent: Being exposed to COVID-19

44 percent: Bringing the virus home to a medically fragile or elderly family member

33 percent: Changes to my workflow

12 percent: Childcare issues

12 percent: Other


What is the single most important action we can take to make you feel safe at work?

36 percent: Require social distancing; limit number of people allowed in physical workplace

19 percent: PPE requirement for all employees (e.g., face coverings)

17 percent: Establish re-exit plan in the event there is a new surge of COVID-19 infections

11 percent: Frequent sanitizing of highly touched areas

8 percent: Temperature checks for all employees

5 percent: Hand sanitizer available throughout buildings

4 percent: Frequent hand washing with soap and water


What aspects of your employee experience do you want to see maintained post COVID-19? (Select all that apply)

67 percent: Frequent, transparent and open communications from leadership

60 percent: Option to work virtually when possible

53 percent: Virtual staff meetings whenever possible

36 percent: Continued focus and investment in employee wellness programs and resources


What is your position with the school system?

71 percent: School-level teaching and learning personnel (teachers/paraprofessionals/academic coaches/school counselors/media specialists/other employees who directly support student learning in schools)

8.5 percent: Central Office employee

5.5 percent: School-level clerical employee

4 percent: School Nutrition employee

3.5 percent: Other

3 percent: Principal/assistant principal

2 percent: Transportation employee/bus driver

1.5 percent: Custodian (school level and county office)

0.75 percent: School nurse

0.25 percent: Maintenance employee


THIS QUESTION SHOULD ONLY BE ANSWERED BY TEACHERS: Do you fit into the high-risk category? According to the CDC, those at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions. (Select the category that best fits your status.)

Elementary Teacher

14 percent: Yes

6 percent: Not sure

18 percent: No

Middle School Teacher

5 percent: Yes

2 percent: Not sure

4 percent: No

High School Teacher

6 percent: Yes

3 percent: Not sure

7 percent: No


THIS QUESTION SHOULD ONLY BE ANSWERED BY EMPLOYEES WHO ARE NOT TEACHERS: Do you fit into the high-risk category? According to the CDC, those at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions. (Select the category that best fits your status.)

School-Based Employee

16 percent: Yes

4 percent: Not sure

12percent: No

Central Office or Other Employee

4 percent: Yes

1 percent: Not sure

4 percent: No

 

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