Dear MTSD Families,
We have two important updates to share with you as we approach the beginning of the school year, which begins on Tuesday, August 25. In our continued planning for the reopening of schools, the Board of School Directors voted approval last evening for the proposal to reopen schools for the upcoming school year.
Elementary (K-6): Students in Grades K-6 (elementary schools and Landis Run) will be following our Green phase for educational programming which includes full-time (Monday-Friday) Face-to-Face Instruction (Option #1), as well as full-time Remote Learning (Option #2), and MT Virtual Academy (Option #3). We are planning for early dismissal for the first week of school; please see the information below in this letter.
Secondary Students (7-12): Students in Grades 7-12 will begin the school year by following our Yellow phase for educational programming which includes a hybrid schedule with split attendance for the first three weeks of school (August 25 through September 11) with the goal to transition fully to the Green Phase by September 14th. The hybrid schedule will only affect secondary (Grade 7-12) students who selected Option 1, Face-to-Face. This will not affect the students who will be participating in Option 2, Remote Learning, or Option 3, MT Virtual Academy since those students will learn online on a full-time basis. This “split attendance” approach involves dividing the total number of Option 1 students in half, placing students into groups A and B. For the split attendance (Option #1 Face-to-Face) distinction, the following process and schedule will be used:
- Students in Grades 7-12 with Last name A to L will be in Group A
- Students in Grades 7-12 with Last name M to Z will be in Group B
|Group A||Attend School||Attend School||Remote Learning||Remote Learning||Remote Learning|
|Group B||Remote Learning||Remote Learning||Attend School||Attend School||Remote Learning|
The decision to move from the Green phase to a temporary Yellow phase/hybrid approach for students in Grades 7-12 was based on the results of the family survey, which showed a higher enrollment of students in the middle school and high school selecting the Face-to-Face Instruction option. Therefore, by temporarily using a hybrid/split attendance approach for our secondary students in our larger buildings, it will allow our administrators to carefully monitor the status of our student attendance and the efficacy of our safety measures to ensure we are fully implementing the components of the approved PDE Health and Safety Plan. At the September 10th School Board Work Session, we will provide a progress report on the Health and Safety Plan for all 9 schools, including any adjustments that need to be made to the current plan. The goal is to return secondary students to the green phase (regular full-time Monday-Friday daily attendance schedule) on Monday, September 14th. We will continue to provide updates on the progress of our safety plan throughout the year.
Early Dismissals for First Week of School K-12: Recognizing the importance of gradually transitioning students back to school, especially since they have not been in our buildings for instructional time since mid-March due to the shutdown last spring, we are planning to schedule early dismissals for the first week of school – Tuesday, August 25 through Friday, August 28. Early dismissals allow students to transition back to school with more ease, and promote opportunities for teachers and students to establish relationships, learn routines and safety protocols, and become oriented to Schoology, Seesaw, and other instructional platforms. It also offers more time for professional development for staff during the afternoons. The schedule for the first week of school is as follows:
|Tuesday, August 25 through Friday, August 28|
|Start Time||Early Dismissal Time|
You will receive communication next week from your student(s)’ principals, teachers, and/or the MT Virtual Academy supervisor regarding important information for the start of school. Whether your student(s) are participating in Option #1, Option #2, or Option #3, they will receive the information needed to prepare for the return to school, remote learning, or setting up courses in MTSD Virtual Academy.
In addition, we have created a video of an interview with Dr. Susan Mellinger, school district medical physician, that highlights responses to frequently asked questions from families and staff. Click here to view Dr. Mellinger’s interview.
We are enthusiastically looking forward to the start of the 2020-2021 school year. These past few months have been challenging, but what is best for our students and staff was always at the forefront of our intense planning process. We are accepting the uncertainty in our landscape at this time due to the pandemic, and moving forward strategically with our safety plan to prepare our students for this upcoming school year.
We greatly appreciate your continued support as we reopen schools this fall with our safety plan in place.
Dr. Robin Felty
Superintendent of Schools
The information presented to the school board is below.