Return to In-Person Learning
A Staggered Schedule Will Begin On Monday, September 28
RETURNING TO IN-PERSON LEARNING IN THE THOMPSON SCHOOL DISTRICT
Good Morning, Thompson Community:
Last month, following the guidance of Larimer County Department of Health and Environment officials, the decision was made to delay the return to in-person instruction in Thompson School District schools through at least Friday, October 16. The decision was made based on the need by county officials to have a much shorter turnaround time in COVID-19 testing results. Recently, Larimer County health officials announced that in coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, local COVID-19 tests are now being sent directly to a laboratory with the capacity to return results within 48 hours of receiving them.
Due to this latest announcement and after careful evaluation, a decision has been made to return to in-person instruction in a staggered fashion beginning on Monday, September 28. This procedure will allow the district to start bringing students back into school buildings in a structured manner, while ensuring that it is done in a safe way that helps students and families adjust to the new schedule. Please note that this process will not impact students who are enrolled in Thompson Connect Online, the district’s full on-line educational model.
Please look at the section below called "What's the Schedule for Returning to In-Person Learning" for more information.
WHY ARE WE RETURNING?
The district’s rationale for an earlier return to in-person instruction is as follows:
Critical local COVID-19 metrics have now shifted. The testing turnaround time has hit the marker that was established by county health officials. In addition, the overall positivity rate remains fairly low and the overall case count in Larimer County is also relatively small.
School districts that have opened to in-person learning seem to be navigating successfully overall at this time, with limited outbreaks and largely successful containment measures.
As this year’s cold and flu season approaches, there is a probability that COVID-19 and flu cases will spike. By returning to in-person learning as soon as possible, we will be able to take advantage of the relatively low case count that is currently here.
Students learn best when they are in schools, working with staff in-person. Utilizing a staggered schedule will allow our students an opportunity to become better acclimated to the campus environment.
WHAT'S THE SCHEDULE FOR RETURNING TO IN-PERSON LEARNING?
THIS WEEK and NEXT WEEK (September 14-September 25)-
Small groups of students have returned to school, including some groups at high school and groups of students in special education.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THAT? (September 28-October 2)-
Elementary: In-Person Return for K-1 and Continued Remote Learning for Grades 2-5
Middle School: Continue Remote Learning
High School: Continue Remote Learning. In-Person Return for Small Groups*
Please look for communication from your child's school today with more information about specifics (including how middle and high school families can find groups A and B in Infinite Campus).
* Small Groups' criteria (but not limited to this): At-risk populations of students (based on grades, attendance and behavior); students who have the following plans: on 504s, IEPs, ELD; other students selected by teachers; students who do not have access to the Internet; classes that have science labs; classes that need primarily hands-on learning tasks (for example, but not limited to, small group counseling, Career and Tech Ed and other experiences that can't be done authentically using a virtual platform).
HOW WILL STUDENTS AND STAFF REMAIN SAFE?
District and school staff are now finalizing the implementation of safety protocols at the buildings and are also working to transition instruction back to an in-person model. We will continue to partner with county health officials as they closely monitor the impact of the pandemic in the community.
While we are confident that our reopening plan will be able to move forward as intended, please note that it is subject to change based on the presence of COVID-19 in the community. The unfortunate reality with this pandemic is that students, classrooms and school communities will likely move in and out of quarantine in the following weeks and months as COVID-19 infections occur.
Here are some of the main requirements designed to keep students and staff safe:
- Masks or face coverings are required for all staff and students. If outside and physically distanced by 6 feet or more, or in a room by yourself, masks can be removed.
- Physical distancing will be implemented to the fullest extent possible. Physical distancing may look different between buildings and classrooms due to the uniqueness of spaces and infrastructure.
- When students arrive for school, they should follow all physical distancing and mask requirements. They will enter the building when directed by staff.
- Students will be encouraged to bring their own water bottles. Drinking fountains will be shut off, but bottle-filling stations will be open where available.
Prior to students returning for in-person learning, parents will be required to sign an In-Person Learning Acknowledgement Form, which confirms the student will adhere to all safety guidelines included in our Return to Learn plan.
This also includes the acknowledgement that guardians will symptom and temperature check their students at home prior to coming to school.
You will receive additional information about this electronic signature required for all families, which will be in Infinite Campus.
TRANSPORTATION SERVICES UPDATE
To maximize student ridership, families will be required to apply for transportation services. The application process will be open to all eligible elementary, middle school and high school families. Please click HERE to view Thompson School District’s applicable policy, which contains detailed eligibility information.
In order to uphold safety guidelines, transportation services for all eligible high school students will be approved using a space-available application process. Services will be assigned by available space per route and availability may vary. Priority for high school transportation will be assigned to freshman and sophomore students. Please submit an application for each eligible student in your household to request transportation services. Transportation applications can be found HERE.
Transportation will be provided for qualified students with disabilities who have special transportation designated on their IEP or 504 plan, as well as students who qualify for applicable services under the McKinney-Vento Act or our English Language Development program. All transportation service options are subject to change in order to uphold safety guidelines. Transportation has begun notifying families when their student has been approved for transportation services. If you have any questions, please contact the Transportation Department at firstname.lastname@example.org