2020-21 MCS PLANNING BACK-TO-SCHOOL
UPDATE ISSUED: 6/21/2020
As you know, planning is underway to facilitate our return to school on July 30, 2020, in light of COVID-19 concerns. As outlined earlier, we will offer a traditional classroom experience and a digital learning option in all grades. Our goal is to keep families informed as the planning process continues and provide details as quickly as possible to inform important decisions about these options.
We have moved our original timeline up and hope to now provide draft plans to parents on or before June 29. This earlier date should give parents time to review the specific school plans and offer feedback to our planning team by July 5th.
We have also moved the projected release date for final school plans up to July 8th. At that time, parents will be asked to respond to a short survey to select the appropriate instructional option for each student. Our hope is that everyone can respond by July 12th. That gives us a few short weeks to allocate resources, create schedules, and prepare to meet the needs of both our digital and in-person learners.
We so appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through this process - making plans based on safety, current (but ever-changing) guidelines, school/age appropriateness, as well as available human and financial resources.
In this update we will focus on:
- Survey results
- Digital Learning
- Next steps
We began this process by working in grade-bands to define processes that might be similar between like-schools. Now we are taking those basic plans and applying them to schools where the individual needs of the student body, faculty, and facility will be considered.
Many of the basic protocols that will apply across campuses are included in the infographic below. Please CLICK HERE or BELOW to open the infographic and study our basic protocols.
- LARGE school events traditionally held in the fall will be moved to the spring, except where such gatherings can follow guidelines for safe outdoor events.
- OPEN HOUSE type events will be primarily virtual or offered on a rotational basis to smaller groups.
- AFTER-SCHOOL activities will be offered.
- DROP-OFF/PICK-UP schedules and locations will change at some schools.
- PHYSICAL ACTIVITY will follow guidelines for indoor or outdoor activities and best efforts to group students in ways to limit interactions.
- MASKS will be provided by the Blount County Health Department, free of charge, to anyone who needs a new one.
- FACE COVERINGS (masks and shields) will be provided for MCS staff.
- CONFIRMED CASES of COVID-19 would be reported by local health agencies to the Blount County Health Department who would then manage contact tracing and communication.
- OUTSIDE/COMMUNITY GROUPS will not be allowed to use school facilities until after Labor Day, after which district staff will reevaluate the use policy.
DIGITAL LEARNING OPTION
In addition to the traditional on-campus learning experience, we will offer digital learning to those families who choose to keep students at home while COVID-19 issues prevail.
We want to be very transparent about the expectations that will go along with digital learning in the new school year. It will be our goal to mirror the content, instructional quality, and expectations for all learners. Grades will be just as important for students working from home as they are for traditional students. When digital learners return to the classroom, we expect a seamless transition, with little-to-no remediation necessary.
While we haven't worked out the details for every aspect of the digital learner experience, we wanted to share the following for your consideration:
- We will continue to provide a device (laptop or tablet) for every student.
- Digital learners in grades 8-12 will have the option of taking certain classes in-person that are not conducive to online instruction. An example might be a culinary arts course. This hybrid model will be further defined when school plans are released on or before June 29.
- Not all classes can be offered online, which may require some rescheduling for older students.
- Digital learners will be required to periodically attend class or take assessments in a "digital learning lab" provided at the school.
- The hybrid option, where learners can combine online and on-campus courses, will not be available to digital learners in grades K-7.
- Teachers and students will be required to have contact daily and some classes will require a specific period of time when students must be connected.
- At specific pre-defines times (TBD), digital learners will be allowed to return to the classroom, just as traditional learners will be allowed to transition to digital learning.
- It will be possible to move from digital learning to the traditional classroom model (at least once), but only on specific pre-defined dates (TBD).
- Digital learners can participate in all TSSAA sanctioned sports.
- Other extracurricular activities will be available to MJHS and MHS digital learners.
- We have received a few calls from families who think our DIGITAL LEARNING option is actually HOME SCHOOL. To be clear, home school is an option offered by the state at any time and home school students must "unenroll" from Maryville City Schools. The MCS digital learning option is a continuation of the Maryville City Schools curriculum of study for enrolled Maryville students. If you have questions about home school options, please call (865) 982-7121.
How engaged was your student in the virtual learning process?
- 62% - fell between neutral and fully engaged and 20% of those said fully engaged
- 11% - neutral
- 27% - fell below neutral and less than 1% selected "not engaged at all"
At this early date, your student(s) will most likely
- 68% - attend school on-campus
- 15% - participate in school on-line
- 17% - undecided
As noted above, all MCS families will participate in a final survey to select either the traditional model for instruction in the new school year or options for digital learners, in a survey offered after the final plans are released. Our goal for releasing the final plans to families is July 8th and the goal to have all surveys complete is July 12th.
You can review the entire 2020-21 calendar at this link: https://www.maryville-schools.org/about-us/district-calendar/2020-2021
- JUNE 21: Parent Update #2
- JUNE 29: Parent Update #3, with DRAFT PLANS for review
- JUNE 29-JULY 5: Period for parents to review plans and offer feedback
- JULY 8: Parent Update #4, with FINAL PLANS for parent consideration
- JULY 8-JULY 12: Parents respond to survey, selecting DIGITAL or TRADITIONAL for each student in their family