CSD January Plans

In-Person and Virtual Learning Plans Moving Forward

Greetings and Happy New Year! CSD is committed to offering an in-person learning option for families and students who need that option. Although community spread of COVID-19 has increased, we remain confident that our mitigation efforts will provide a safe learning environment for staff and students. Schools are less likely to be a place where COVID-19 is transmitted, and we can implement mitigation measures effectively. We plan to move forward with inviting K-5 students back for in-person instruction starting on January 19. We continue to monitor the situation and will be flexible as needed.

We share families’ desire to ensure our staff is supported. We are supporting our staff by providing flexible leave, approving enhanced accommodations requests for additional PPE, as well as requests to continue working remotely beyond what ADA prescribes. This is in addition to the other mitigation strategies outlined in our COVID-19 Safety, Facilities and Health Schools Manual. We will share information with our staff about vaccines as it becomes available.

1. Update on recommendations from the COVID-19 Stakeholder Planning Committee

The COVID-19 Stakeholder Planning Committee (CSPC) yielded over 230 recommendations. Many of the recommendations are already in place. There are still others that need to be evaluated further before we can determine if they are appropriate for implementation. At a future Board meeting, we will provide an update on which recommendations have been accepted or rejected, along with the rationale for why the decision was made. You can view the entire list of recommendations and the current status of these recommendations here.

2. Updated COVID Manual

We made several updates to the COVID-19 Safety, Facilities and Health Schools Manual to reflect the CSPC’s recommendations, and an updated version will be posted soon. The updated manual is organized using four main categories to mitigate COVID-19 in our schools: Environmental and Operations, Epidemiological, Administrative, and Individual.

3. What to expect January 5-15 for all grades.

January 5-15, school will look like it did prior to the break: all students will continue with their current teacher and schedule. Due to the four-day week, there is no Wellness Wednesday on January 6 for grades K-12. Pre-K students will be provided asynchronous activities on January 6, and K-12 students will log on for their normal classes on January 6. The final Wellness Wednesday will be January 13.

4. What to expect from January 19 and beyond


Students attending Pre-K will attend school on a hybrid schedule, attending in-person class two days a week, and have asynchronous learning activities provided on Wednesdays. College Heights will communicate additional information and details.

Grades K-5

Starting January 19, we plan to begin offering in-person learning for students in grades K-5 five days a week whose parents selected the return to in-person learning option on the learning choice survey. If you selected the return to in-person flexible option, more details are provided below. We believe attending school five days a week is the best way to ensure student cohorts are maintained, so parents do not have to find alternative daycare options on virtual learning days. To accomplish this, we are hiring 17 additional staff at the K-5 level. This will allow us to ensure that in-person classes are kept at 15 students or fewer and accommodate teachers who need to work remotely.

Schools will use a rubric to help determine which students who selected the “Return to in-person flexible” option should be invited back to in-person learning where we have open seats. This rubric will prioritize students who are at the greatest risk of falling behind. Schools will communicate directly with families that selected the flexible option by January 11.

In-person learning for all K-5 schools will occur in the morning. Schools will send specific information to families regarding logistics for drop-off/pick-up, teacher assignment, and other school-specific information.

Grades 6-12

Students in grades 6-12 will continue in the full virtual learning setting. The middle school and high school COVID-19 Response Teams and administrators have worked diligently on developing plans for in-person learning so we can include 6-12 students as soon as possible. Once district administrators approve their plans, we will announce a date for a return to in-person learning for students in grades 6-12.

5. When will I know whether my child(ren)’s teacher(s) will change?

School leaders have reviewed responses to the learning choice survey and are doing their utmost to minimize any teacher changes. Details will be shared with families next week regarding teacher assignments.

6. Can I change my learning choice request?

If you have changed your mind regarding selecting the in-person learning option and would like for your child to remain in virtual learning for grades K - 8, please email your child’s principal by Thursday, January 7.

7. Pods

Pods will continue January 5-15 as previously scheduled. We are adjusting pods for grades K-5 starting on January 19 for parents who need afternoon childcare. Only students attending in-person learning will be eligible for K-5 pods. Learning pods will operate during the normal school day for students in grades 6-12 from January 19 through the date when in-person learning begins at the middle and high school. We are communicating with the City of Decatur to discuss whether they can support pods in the future. As we examine the logistics of pods, parents may be asked to pay a fee for continued enrollment in pods after January 15.

Next Steps

Please look for additional details to come from your child's school soon. For more about these plans and additional details around the CSD COVID-19 response, please visit https://www.csdecatur.net/covid19.