20-21 Reopening

aerial view of hands typing on laptop at desk
Reopening Finley Schools 2020-21 Plan

Introduction

The State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has provided all Washington public schools with a Reopening Washington Schools 2020 District Planning Guideas a result of the COVID-19 school closures. Additionally, on July 29, 2020, the Benton Franklin Health District (BFHD) announced new recommendations for school districts within its jurisdiction. As Finley School District moves forward with our Reopening Plan, we will continue to follow the suggested guidance and recommendations from OSPI, the WA Department of Health, and BFHD.

Finley School District remains committed to ensuring that all students have the essential knowledge and skills in place to meet standards and move forward to achieve success in their education. Like districts across the country, Finley has been working hard over the summer on reopening plans, with guidance for schools has undergone multiple revisions. With the first day of school just one month away, and following the latest directives from local and state health authorities, Finley School District has made the tough decision that we will begin the school year using a 100% online remote (at-home) learning model for all students K-12. Beginning with the first day of school on Tuesday, September 1st, all Finley students will receive homework mailing to your house.  These completed materials will be brought to a 1:1 conference with your teacher the first week of school.

We know that there is no substitute for the face-to-face, in-person learning students receive in their classrooms, and our goal remains to return to school on-site as soon as it is safe to do so. Our staff will engage Finley students in learning using a board-approved model of education that meets the suggested guidance.  Finley School District is prepared to respond to the changing landscape of recommendations as they are presented, and we are committed to keeping our staff, families, and community members informed.

We have developed this webpage dedicated to our reopening information and plans. New information will continue to be added to this site as guidelines and expectations from state and health authorities come our way. We will remain flexible and prepared to make necessary adjustments in our plans for how best to deliver instruction and meet the needs of Finley’s learners.


COVID Reopening Contacts in Our District

  1. Primary local health officer:Dr. Amy Person, Health Officer, Benton-Franklin Health District, 509-460-4200
  1. Finley reopening district-level point of contact:Lance Hahn, Superintendent, 509-586-3217, Bryan Long, Director of Human Resources and Student Learning, and Raechel Knight our local health officer: 509-586-3217

Reopening Schedule Options

While our district has prepared several learning schedule scenarios over the summer, we WILL start the school year on September 1st in a 100% online Remote Learning model.

This will be a “new and improved” version of our Spring 2020’s Continuous Distance Learning.  During 2020-21 remote learning, attendance, grades, assessments, and daily work will all be tracked.  Finley School District will utilize Google Classroom (3rd grade – 12th grade) and Seesaw (K-2nd grade) as our consistent learning management system (LMS) platforms.  Finley teachers will deliver instruction and learning through a blend of synchronous (teachers interacting “real-time” online with students) and asynchronous (non “real-time”) instruction.


We will continue in a 100% Remote Learning model through the first quarter of our school calendar at a minimum.
  Beginning in mid-October, our district will work with BFHD to reassess current health conditions and community transition rates to determine whether cohorts of students (on a rotating A/B schedule) could return to school in-person starting November 2, 2020 (when 2nd Quarter begins).


If and when state and local health authorities approve the return of our students to school in-person, our plan is for all students in grades K-12 to spend half their time in school and the other half engaged in remote learning at home.

In this proposed “option 2,” Students would be grouped into two cohorts (cohort A and cohort B). Half our students would attend in-person classes 2 days per week (on their assigned A or B day), while the other half would learn remotely. Wednesdays would be designated remote learning days for all students and would allow for professional development for staff and deep cleaning of all school facilities between the two cohorts as recommended by health authorities.

What to expect with this A/B model:

  • Split/alternating schedule on-site with continuous remote learning off-site, e.g. students would be split into a Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday grouping
  • Predictable schedules for families, students, teachers, childcare, tutoring, and activities
  • To the extent possible, priority for students within the same family to follow the same weekly schedule – M/TH or T/F
  • Wednesday would be designated remote learning days for ALL students. In-person interventions or enrichment for students who need additional services also would be available. This provides equitable access to students requiring additional educational services and support.

The table below shows the 50/50 weekly rotation for students in grades K-12, with 2 groups of students designated (A, B):

 

Monday

 

Tuesday

Wednesday

In-person interventions or enrichment for students who need additional services would be available

Thursday

Friday

 

A

B

Week 1

A

B

 

A

B

2

2

Week 2

A

B

 

A

B

2

2

Week 3

A

B

 

A

B

2

2

Week 4

A

B

 

A

B

2

2

Total Days On-Site Learning per Month:

8/20

8/20

If on-site learning is allowed, the following health and safety measures would be required of all staff and students:

  1. All students, staff, volunteers, and guests must wear cloth face coverings or face shields at all times
  2. Enhanced cleaning protocols
  3. Physical distancing
  4. Adjustments to how students enter and exit buildings
  5. Changes to how we manage transitions between classrooms throughout the day

Student Learning

Essential Standards

Staff will identify the essential standards necessary for the start of the school year and will create a classroom-based pre-assessment to begin the school year.  Using the pre-assessment, staff will discuss student present levels of understanding in Professional Learning Community time on Wednesday afternoons.  This time also will be provided for staff to adjust the instruction model as needed for students.

Feedback in a Virtual Setting

The supported LMS platforms in the Finley School District include Google Classroom and Seesaw learning management systems.  From these platforms, students will utilize the web versions of adopted curriculum as needed.  Assessment of learning will primarily take place through classroom-based assessments.  Academic screening will continue to use tools such as DIBELS, STAR, SBAC interims, etc. as the year progresses.

Staff Training & Development

Professional Development

On August 25, 26, 27 and October 21, all Finley school staff will be provided professional development training.  The training provided will include focused areas of virtual learning utilizing the numerous platforms with which our adopted curricula interfaces.  This training also will include a large focus on Social Emotional Learning standards (see below) and strategies to use when working with students.  The emphasis in self-care and self-worth will continue into the 2020-21 school year and ongoing as needed.  All three schools will continue the ongoing efforts of Positive Behavior Intervention Supports and Make Your Day at each level.  The additional emphasis of cultural competency and cultural responsiveness will be embedded into these trainings.  A fourth professional learning day will be added to the school calendar in the fall after programming is underway.  This will allow the district to focus training based on need at the present time.

Leading with Social-Emotional Needs

Social Emotional Learning standards will be provided to all staff at a professional development learning day on October 21st.  These standards will be shared as an overview for all staff to hear, then broken up into small groups to apply the standards to their content area for implementation.  The strategies will be shared in a large group to allow for feedback and idea creation for all to hear.  The intended outcome would be for all staff to apply the standards within all content area every day for all students.

Safety Training & Orientation

Safety training and orientation will be provided to building administrators prior to the all staff professional learning days. The protocols given will be used through the start of the school year and adjusted as needed based on current requirements and guidance. Principals will highlight the safety protocols at building staff meetings prior to the start of the school year. These protocols will be communicated and provided to the community utilizing the district’s various communication platforms. All education stakeholders will have a part to play in contributing to make education successful in Finley.

Food Services

Out-of-School Meal Service

Just as we did during the Spring 2020 school closures, we will ensure all students receive meals each weekday. Meal deliveries will only be provided for enrolled students at the bus stops beginning Tuesday, September 1st. We are awaiting further guidance from OSPI on food service requirements and will communicate updates and expectations as they become available.

In-School Cafeteria Procedures

If and when students are approved to return to school in-person, we will alter physical spaces, reconfigure schedules, and adopt necessary plans to provide meals to students that ensure six feet of physical distance between all persons.
To avoid situations in which students are gathered in groups, we will adjust our typical breakfast and lunchroom service schedule in each of our schools. Students in all grades will be served a Grab and Go meal for breakfast and lunch to limit any exposure on surfaces.  Students may utilize the cafeterias for eating, provided they are facing one direction and spaced out according to the six-foot physical distancing criteria.  This will require multiple lunch service times at the middle and high school.

Technology Access

In order to accommodate access to technology for all students, Finley School District will provide an optional Chromebook for students who do not have reliable access to a computer at home. Your child will receive instructions at the start of the year conference beginning September 1st.

Athletics & Extracurriculars

All Finley school facilities will remain closed to the public for athletic events, practices, and/or other activities until approved for reopening by the BFHD.
Washington’s schools will follow the guidelines provided by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA). On July 21, 2020, the WIAA announced its decision to continue with athletics on a modified sports schedule for the 2020-21 year. Instead of the traditional Fall, Winter, and Spring sports seasons, the upcoming school year will follow revised seasons as outlined on the WIAA website at https://www.wiaa.com. Any school activities, practices, and schedules will be modified to ensure students remain physically distanced and can maintain proper hygiene. Each activity will look a little different, and coaches and advisors will be contacting families and students with more information. It remains possible that some or all of our athletic seasons may be restricted or shortened. These decisions are subject to change during the season depending on health and safety status guidelines.

Family & Student Voice

In June 2020, an online planning survey for 2020-21 reopening was distributed to Finley School District families via the district website and Facebook page. A total of 89 responses provided crucial feedback utilized in this planning document.  Parents made up 87.6% of survey respondents.  Half of these responses were elementary parents, and just over 40% were middle school and/or high school parents.  Spring remote learning was primarily rated at a Fair/Good rating versus a Very Good/Excellent rating.  This feedback proves our community far prefers the in-person instruction over remote learning models.  A total of 69% of respondents stated the amount of work given to students during the Spring 2020 distance learning was “just the right amount” or too much.  The most important factors that the respondents felt we should attend to this fall were enhanced cleaning and frequent handwashing.

As a result of this information, Wednesdays have been selected as the enhanced cleaning day to begin the school year.

Health Requirements

Health & Safety of Staff

All Washington school districts must adhere to the Department of Health (DOH) and Labor and Industries (L&I) guidance. It is important for all Finley school staff to familiarize themselves with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition of high-risk employees, and to understand they have the right to identify themselves to the Finley School District as a high-risk individual. Any staff member with questions or concerns about workplace accommodations, leave expectations, and other employee rights is encouraged to contact Bryan Long at 509-586-3217 or blong@finleysd.org.

General Health and Safety Measures

In anticipation of having students and staff back in our school buildings, the district will implement a variety of health and safety measures.

Screening & Attestations

Students and staff must attest they are healthy and free of COVID-19 symptoms before they enter the building each day. Families and staff will have the option to answer screening questions and complete an attestation of those answers prior to arriving at school. When students are allowed to return to school in-person, all students will receive a PPE bag with masks, thermometers, and directions for personal care.  Students will be required to submit to a start of day screening either at home or at school.  Temperatures will be taken, and a mask will be required to be worn for all staff and students.  This information will be logged in our Skyward student data system for tracking purposes.  Students and staff found to have a fever will be immediately required to go home until the person is not symptomatic or have completed the suggested quarantined timeline.

All students and staff who have not completed an attestation will have their temperatures taken as they enter our school buildings each day. Any individuals determined to have a fever will be sent home immediately.

Handwashing

Students and staff will be reminded regularly about the importance of proper handwashing. Teachers may allow for more breaks to give students the opportunity to wash their hands, either at a classroom sink or in a restroom.
In addition, we will place hand sanitizer units throughout our buildings. Students and staff will be encouraged to use hand sanitizer regularly.

Masks and PPE

All students, staff, volunteers, and guests must wear cloth face coverings or face shields at all times, consistent with DOH and L&I requirements. Students and staff will have the option of choosing a cloth face covering or face shield. School districts are required by law to provide face coverings for all employees as part of Washington employer requirements. Families are asked to provide the required face coverings for their student(s), and the District will maintain an adequate supply of face coverings on our premises to accommodate students who arrive at school without a face covering. Each school and district building will have disposable face coverings readily accessible for students, staff, and/or guests who arrive without a covering.

Cleaning & Disinfecting

Our custodial staff will significantly increase the wiping down and disinfecting of public spaces and high-touch surfaces across our buildings and throughout the school day, consistent with DOH guidance and the Infection Control Handbook 2010. We will also provide greater access to cleaning materials for our teachers and staff so that they can clean and disinfect spaces, as needed.

Each Wednesday, our custodial team will conduct a thorough deep-cleaning of our spaces, again disinfecting high-touch surfaces like sinks, drinking fountains, door handles, tables, and desks.

Physical Distancing

We will alter our indoor classroom and common spaces and reconfigure our processes to ensure six feet of physical distance between all persons in our school facilities as a planning framework. Classrooms will be laid out with the 6-foot physical distancing recognized to the extent possible.  Pair-share tables, carpet centers, group think centers have been changed to individual workstations for students.  Physical Education classes will be outside as much as is reasonable considering weather conditions with required hand washing at the end of each class.  Band classes will occur with physical distancing required within the classroom.
OSPI Reopening Guidance recognizes that there will be limited times when students and/or staff may need to be within six feet for short periods of time. This includes the accommodation of students with disabilities or others who meet the exceptions in order to deliver equitable services.

Student Transitions

Student Drop-Off / Pick-Up

Parents/guardians will be asked to practice social distancing and remain in or next to your vehicle at pick up and drop off times.  Detailed instructions on the drop-off and pick-up guidelines will be communicated with families prior to the start of hybrid school later in the year.

Transitions Between Classes

To help avoid situations in which large groups of students are gathered in one place, we will adjust the way students move between classrooms and other spaces in our schools. While in hallways, students will transition by class and will maintain six feet of distance between themselves, wearing face coverings at all times.
At our elementary school, students will transition as a class or grade level. Six feet of distance will be maintained, and face coverings will be worn at all times.
In our middle school, students will have staggered class dismissal. Six feet of distance will be maintained, and face coverings will be worn at all times.
In our high school, we will have staggered class dismissal where possible and utilize the outside of the building for transitions. Six feet of distance will be maintained, and face coverings will be worn at all times.

Entering/Exiting Schools

To protect students’ safety and provide for more orderly temperature taking, all students will enter and exit each building at identified sets of doors. Family members should not leave their vehicles when picking up or dropping off students.

Transportation

When students are allowed to return to school in-person:

Ensuring students remain physically distanced on school buses is a significant challenge, and OSPI reopening guidance requires that students sit one child to a seat, to the extent possible, as long as there are enough seats to do so. OSPI has designated busing as an exception to the six-foot physical distancing rule, so long as the district exercises proper cleaning, maximum ventilation when reasonable, face coverings on students and adults, and proper PPE for our drivers. Face coverings must be worn by bus drivers and all students. Students not wearing a face covering will be provided a disposable face covering. All students will sanitize their hands prior to boarding the bus and will be assigned seats by household. Outside airflow will be maximized by keeping bus windows open as much as possible.
The enrolled students in the Finley School District will be divided into two cohort groups:  Group A and Group B.  These cohorts will be based according to student ridership and family on each bus route.  This approach was decided on due to a vast majority of respondents to our spring 2020 parent survey who stated that they would continue to utilize bus transportation to get to and from school.