Important Update from Dr. Cain
December 3 ~ WSD Parents
I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving Break. As we prepare to welcome back middle school students to in-person learning next week, I wanted to share a few updates with you.
This week we began implementing the Modified Quarantine Protocols for Contacts in Schools that we received from the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. We have posted a new Frequently Asked Questions document related to modified quarantines to help address some of your questions. Additionally, we have shared a document that outlines acceptable masks that should be worn at school in order to allow for the opportunity to obtain a modified quarantine if exposed to a COVID-positive individual.
We are aware that the CDC has issued new options to reduce quarantine times and we are awaiting further guidance from county health officials as to how that may change our protocols and procedures in the District related to quarantines.
Previously, we notified you that we would not be having Late Starts in November and December while some schools were at Level 3. We have decided to extend that through Monday, January 4, so we will not have a late start on that date as well. We recognize how important this time is for staff collaboration, data analysis, and planning, and we hope to resume Late Starts beginning with the February 8th date.
Emergency At-home Learning Days
As we work through this unprecedented school year, we would like to share our plans with you to provide students with learning activities and assignments in the event we have to suddenly close school for a day. Beginning this school year, Missouri school districts with an approved plan for at-home learning may count those as days of student attendance. This could occur due to COVID, weather-related events, water main breaks, etc. On these days, students will participate in learning in a variety of ways. When an at-home learning day is utilized, we will contact families via our usual channels: phone call, text, push notification, email, social media and website.
An important note about snow days: We have built six days into our school calendar for the 20-21 school year to be utilized as snow days. We will not utilize at-home learning on those six built-in days. If we were to have additional snow days after the first six, we plan to utilize at-home learning days. By doing that, we avoid extending our calendar at the end of the school year.
For our K-5 students, they will not have Chromebooks on these days since it will be an unplanned school closure. Because of this, they will have a combination of learning assignments and optional virtual interactions with the teacher. Parents and guardians should expect an email the morning of an at-home learning day outlining what needs to be completed for that day. Students will access learning in their Google Classroom and via Google Meet. Students must return completed assignments the next day to be given attendance for the day. These assignments will be clearly outlined by the teacher.
Grades K-5 Virtual Academy schedules will not be impacted by an at-home learning day. Students will continue their regular schedule of learning on these days.
For our 6-12 students, they will have their Chromebooks at home and therefore, will receive a modified virtual instruction schedule. On these days, students will meet virtually with classes following their daily bell schedule. Students will be expected to attend these classes virtually and attendance will be taken. Additional assignments and activities may also be provided by the teacher. Grades 6-12 Virtual Academy schedules will follow the building’s daily bell schedule, which is their typical virtual schedule.
Sometimes adversity presents us with new opportunities. Prior to this year, we were not in a position to provide these at-home learning opportunities for all students. Our Teaching & Learning staff has worked diligently to develop a framework that enables us to continue to provide quality instruction for students at home under a variety of emergency circumstances.
I hope this update finds you well. Now, more than ever, we need to be looking out for each other. Please do your part to help mitigate transmission of the virus by wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, physically distancing whenever and wherever possible, and washing your hands frequently.
Thank you for your continued support as we partner together to make the most of every learning experience for our students in this exceptionally challenging school year.
Curtis Cain, Ph.D.