Overview: Reopening Midlakes 2020
This reopening plan applies to:
Midlakes Secondary School (Midlakes Midddle & Midlakes High School)
Midlakes Elementary School (Midlakes Primary & Midlakes Intermediate School)
Midlakes is committed to returning all students to 100% in-person instruction. Unfortunately, the current guidance provided by the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Education Department does not make that possible. The need to keep students socially distanced limits the number of students who can be in classrooms and on campus at the same time. Furthermore, new health and safety protocols will require us to use time, space, and staff in new and different ways. Until we implement and improve these procedures and identify ways to manage our time, space, and staffing limitations, we will take a cautious approach in returning students to campus. The health and safety of our students and staff will always be our top priorities.
We have used NYSDOH, CDC, and NYSED guidance to create a reopening plan that delivers instruction using hybrid and remote models. As you will find in our plan, all students will participate in at least some remote instruction. We realize that remote instruction must look different than it did at the end of last school year. The plan reflects efforts to bring more structure, consistency, support, and accountability to the remote learning model. We will continue to update and revise these efforts to make remote learning more effective and manageable for students and families.
Our plan begins with some students beginning the school year in the hybrid model, attending in-person instruction two days per week on a rotating basis. Other students will begin the school year attending 100% remote instruction. We hope that through cooperation and collective adherence to new health and safety protocols, we will be able to return additional grade levels to campus in the hybrid model as soon as possible.
In order to enforce social distancing requirements, it is necessary to reduce the number of students on buses, in classrooms, and on campus at the same time. We have developed a plan to reduce student capacity to 50% by organizing students into cohorts and having each cohort attend in-person instruction two days per week. Some students will attend in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays while other students will attend in-person on Thursdays and Fridays. Students will participate in remote instruction from home on the days they are not at school in-person. All students will participate in remote instruction on Wednesdays, to allow for extra cleaning, staff training and preparation, and adjustment of procedures. Students will be assigned to cohorts so members of the same family/household will be in school and at home on the same days of the week. Academic schedules will be built to support consistency between in-person and remote instruction.
UPK Through Grade 3
We will begin the school year with students in UPK, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade attending in-person through the hybrid model. These students will attend two days per week in-person and three days per week remotely. All other students in grades 4-12 will begin the school year in 100% remote instruction, unless specified below.
Since we will be implementing many new health and safety protocols that limit our use of space, time, and staff, we will focus on implementing and improving those protocols with our lowest grade levels before considering bringing more grade levels on campus in the hybrid model. While it is our goal to eventually return all grade levels to campus in the hybrid model, we will do so when it is safe based on our availability of space, staff, time, and resources (PPE, equipment, supplies, etc.). We have no set timeline for adding grade levels to the hybrid model. We will add grade levels when it is safe to do so.
Special Education Students
All special education students assigned to 12:1:1 and 15:1:1 programs (grades K-12) will attend in-person instruction on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Special education students in the consultant teacher direct or resource model will participate in the remote and/or hybrid models along with their grade-level peers. More information, including details regarding related services, is available in the Special Education Section of the plan.
English Language Learners
English Language Learners not already included in the abovementioned grade levels/groups (UPK-3 and 12:1:1/15:1:1 special education programs) will receive some in-person instruction according to a schedule to be determined.
Fully Remote Model
- Most students in grades 4-12 (except some special education students and English Language Learners) will begin the school year in 100% remote instruction, until it is safe for their grade levels to return in the hybrid model.
- Parents/guardians of students with medical conditions that put them at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness will be eligible to choose 100% remote instruction, with appropriate medical documentation.
- Parents/guardians of students who do not feel comfortable returning to in-person instruction will have the opportunity to indicate their preference for 100% remote instruction. The District will support these preferences and provide 100% remote instruction to the extent possible according to available staffing and other aspects of the reopening plan. Students who opt for 100% remote instruction without medical documentation must remain in 100% remote instruction one trimester (grades K-6) or one quarter (grades 7-12) at a time. The District is not equipped to support more frequent changes between remote and in-person instruction.
- All students may be returned to 100% remote instruction if the Governor closes schools at any time due to increased rates of COVID-19 infection or other factors.
- The District’s reopening plan provides for changes to remote instruction from the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Remote instruction will include more structure, predictable schedules, consistency, support, and academic accountability. The District will take daily attendance for in-person and remote instruction, as required by the NYSED guidance.
As per the NYSDOH and NYSED guidance, the District must be prepared for the current situation to change rapidly and with little notice. While we will be monitoring the progress of the hybrid model with the hope of adding more grade levels as soon as possible, we must also be prepared to return to 100% remote instruction at any time, based on directives from the Governor.
Health and Safety
Several health and safety requirements will be enforced for all in-person instruction:
- Daily health screenings for students and staff, including temperature checks. Health screening and temperature checks are encouraged to be performed in the home prior to boarding a bus or attending school, but they will also be performed on campus as needed.
- Face coverings will be worn whenever social distancing cannot be practiced.
- Social distancing will be practiced whenever possible. Minimum distances range from six to twelve feet depending on the activity.
- Students and staff will learn about and practice good hand and respiratory hygiene. There will be frequent hand washing and sanitizing.
- Hand sanitizer will be available throughout our school buildings.
- Daily cleaning and sanitation practices will be performed.
At this time, no interscholastic sports are approved in New York State (Aug. 2020 update). We will keep our students and families informed of any changes.
Resources and Support
- All students will have access to school meals whether they are learning in-person or remotely at least until Dec. 31.
- The District will have processes in place to provide technology support for students and families.
- The social-emotional health of our students and staff is a top priority. Systems of support will be in place for all students and staff, with a specific emphasis on those who show signs of distress, disengagement, trauma, etc.
- We understand that childcare will be a major concern for many families. The District will connect with local agencies and share information on our website regarding local childcare options.
This is an amazing community and our students are proud to call themselves Midlakes Screaming Eagles! We know they are eager to return to school and worry about losing out on many Midlakes traditions. We will do our best to continue these traditions as safety and other circumstances allow. We will also work to create new opportunities for them to learn, explore, connect, celebrate, and be celebrated.
Approval of Midlakes’ Reopening Plan
All aspects of our reopening plan require approval by the New York State Education Department and the New York State Department of Health. Changes to our plan may be necessary based on feedback from NYSED and/or NYSDOH. Authorization to return to any in-person instruction, including a hybrid model, will come from Governor Cuomo. This decision is scheduled to be announced during the first week of August. We will keep you informed of any changes.