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2020-21 Restart Plan

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SALT LAKE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT RESTART PLAN
2020-2021

Salt Lake City School District (the District) is committed to creating safe, healthy, and effective learning environments for all our students. In determining how to reopen our schools, we continue to monitor data about the spread of the virus as well as guidance from public health organizations and government agencies.  Under these dynamic conditions, no plan is truly final.  New information, data, and guidance will continue to inform our thinking and decision process about how to best restart schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Our primary concern in determining the mode of instructional delivery is the health and well-being of our students, staff, and community.  No matter the mode of instruction, we will continue to strive to meet the academic, social, physical, and emotional needs of our students.

We believe that the best educational experience for most children is in a classroom with a teacher. While we would prefer to teach our students in-person, we anticipate continued public health restrictions may make it difficult to resume in-person learning at the start of the year. The District has considered four (4) options for student learning in these uncertain times. The models we examined were:

  1. all students returning to their brick and mortar schools full-time;
  2. participating in a blended face-to-face and remote learning environment (hybrid model);
  3. a fully remote school-based learning environment; and
  4. enrollment in a District Virtual K-12 school.

Regardless of how the District starts school, throughout the year we will be prepared to move between the various learning environments based on local public health guidance and on how COVID-19 is spreading in our community. We are grateful to all stakeholders for their willingness to be flexible as we work together to keep our community safe.

REMOTE LEARNING TO BEGIN SEPTEMBER 8, 2020

Our shift to remote learning last March provided us with incredible insight into the challenges and benefits of a remote learning experience. We understand that remote learning is challenging for many families, but we are committed to providing a robust remote learning experience for all our students this fall. In assessing how to improve the remote learning experience, we gathered an enormous amount of feedback from families about their students’ online learning experience during Spring of 2020. During the summer months, we have prepared technology, customized curriculum, unified resources, and created professional development for staff to deliver content in ways that meet the needs of our students.

Our goal is to provide every student with rigorous and engaging learning opportunities in any learning environment. We have provided extensive professional development to our teachers and staff on how to increase student engagement and support students’ social and emotional learning that is applicable to both in-person and remote learning environments.

While our Restart Plan remains fluid and will be updated strategically depending on the status of the coronavirus spread throughout our community in the coming weeks, our current plan is to reopen in a fully remote learning environment on September 8, 2020.

Below is a summary of our remote learning plan:

  • Teachers will use District-adopted curriculum.
  • Students will enroll at their brick and mortar schools; remote learning will be taught by the teacher they would return to in a traditional schedule.
  • Students will attend school online during regular school hours and follow a standard school schedule.
  • Teachers will teach “live” with students using video conferencing technology (such as Zoom and Teams).
  • Students will experience synchronous and asynchronous learning. Synchronous learning means that all students will learn online at the same time.
  • Teacher-designed lessons will be delivered through one platform, Canvas.
  • Each week, students will interact with their teachers in a face-to-face (Zoom or Teams) environment.
  • District assessments will be administered to students remotely if appropriate and feasible.
  • Students will continue to have access to support services (such as counseling services, speech, etc.) at school or remotely as appropriate.
  • School-based staff will serve as community outreach liaisons to engage students and families to ensure success in remote learning.
  • Electronic devices will be available for check out at the school site for students who need them.
  • Due to the special needs of our students with disabilities and English Learners, we will be providing these students with in-person, small group, targeted instruction to the maximum extent feasible.

For more information on our remote learning plan, .

STUDENT AND FAMILY ACTIVITIES BETWEEN
AUGUST 25TH AND SEPTEMBER 8TH

The time between August 25th (the original start date for school) and September 8th (the District’s new start date) will be used to ensure a successful start of the school year for our students. During these two weeks, we will:

  • Bring in students and parents to our schools for one-on-one or small group meetings with their teachers.
  • Administer academic assessments to students so teachers can support students’ specific learning needs when classes begin.
  • Distribute electronic resources (laptops and other devices) to students and families.
  • Provide trainings to parents on how to use Canvas and our other online resources.
  • Plan and prepare for a unified and robust school experience that integrates a variety of high-quality online tools and resources to support learning.

HOW THE DISTRICT WILL DECIDE WHEN TO RETURN TO
IN PERSON LEARNING

In determining how to reopen, the District must comply with any ordinances and regulations by the State of Utah, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, and our state and local health departments. The District is currently studying the positive test percentages and daily new cases in Salt Lake County. If Salt Lake County has a positive test percentage below 5 for seven consecutive days and the number of daily cases is less than 10 per 100,000 individuals, the District will transition to either a hybrid model (in-person and online) or a 100% in-person model. Any transition will occur at a mid-term or end of quarter.

The District will continue to analyze data and confer with the Utah Department of Health to determine if it is safe to resume in-person instruction.  The District will not take any action that will jeopardize the health, safety, and well-being of our students, employees, and community.

HOW THE DISTRICT WILL COMMUNICATE INFORMATION
TO STAKEHOLDERS

We know you have many questions and will be looking for information, and we are committed to keeping you informed of important updates. 

The District communicates with families and other stakeholders using the following methods: 

  • District website – The district website, , is the best place to find the most up to date information about how we plan to reopen schools. The district website can be translated into several languages, which allows us to reach our families who speak languages other than English. 
  • Email – The district will email parents and employees important updates.  Emails to parents will be sent in parents’ language of choice. 
  • Text message and voicemail – The district will also send important alerts to parents via text message and voicemail. 
  • Social media – We will continue to post information on the District’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. When information needs to be shared immediately, the first social medial platform we update is Facebook. However, important information will always be found first on the district website.
  • Individual communications – If parents have a district-level question about our reopening plans, they may contact the District Hotline at 801-301-6476 or email  . Parents may also contact their student's principal for information specific to their student’s school. 

Each school will also communicate with families information specific to that school.  Please contact your school principal for information on your school’s communication plan.

RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO FAMILIES

Throughout the pandemic, the Salt Lake Education Foundation has worked with our community partners to help meet the basic needs of our students and families in crisis. These efforts will not stop. The Foundation will continue to meet the needs of students and families by providing the following:

  • District family support hotline (families who need help can contact the hotline at 801.301.6476) 
  • Emergency food resources 
  • Access to medical care and mental health care 
  • Clothing and furniture 
  • Transportation needs 
  • Emergency gift cards 
  • Medicaid and CHIP enrollment support 
  • Dental and vision support 

For more information regarding family support, please contact Liz Young at 801.631.1985 or email Liz Young.

WHAT A HYBRID LEARNING MODEL LOOKS LIKE

In a hybrid model, students would attend classes in their school building part of the time and would continue remote learning at home the rest of the time.  Successful hybrid models require great creativity to balance the needs of students, the responsibilities of teachers and other critical employees (bus drivers, child nutrition workers, etc.), and the logistics (including sanitation and bus schedules) involved in rotating students in and out of the school building on any given day.

The District is developing a hybrid plan in which:

  • Students in K-8 would receive 2 days a week of in person instruction and 3 days a week of remote learning. Students in 9-12 would receive 1 day a week of in person instruction and 4 days a week of remote learning
  • Teachers will deliver instruction in the classroom along with recording lessons so they can be viewed online.
  • Schools would use a Block A and Block B system in order to meet social distancing requirements inside the buildings, to reduce the number of students riding each school bus, and to limit students’ movement contact between classes and during transition periods.

WHAT IT WILL LOOK LIKE FOR STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES
WHEN WE RETURN TO OUR SCHOOL BUILDINGS

Students and staff will return to schools with increased health and safety measures in place in order to combat the potential spread of COVID-19 in our schools.  District leadership has received input from all stakeholders and engaged in meaningful conversations with health authorities to create a reopening plan with safety and health at the forefront. We have outlined our virus mitigation steps below and have included a number of strategies designed to ensure social distancing practices are followed.

Heightened Cleaning Protocols

  • Over the summer, our custodial teams have worked to deep clean buildings, furniture, walls, floors, restrooms, carpets, windows, etc. 
  • Custodial staff will wipe and sanitize frequent touch points throughout school buildings and will routinely sanitize restrooms throughout the day.  
  • Plexiglass barriers have been installed at schools over the summer in front offices, libraries, and other areas of the school where staff will interact with the public.
  • Plexiglass desk shields will be installed on approximately half of the student desks in each classroom.   
  • School staff and students will have access to hand sanitizer in classrooms.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be available on school playgrounds.
  • School staff will have access to a spray bottle with sanitizing solution to wipe down desks and other items as needed.  
  • All HVAC systems have been adjusted to ensure that each day 100% fresh air will be cycled through schools.  The air filters in every school and district building were replaced during the spring and summer months, and will be checked weekly and replaced quarterly.  

Transportation

  • Students will be assigned seats on school buses to ensure social distancing and limit exposure to others.
  • Only one student will be allowed per seat, except for students from the same household, who will be allowed to sit together.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be available on each bus, and students will be encouraged to use it upon entry and exit.
  • Students will be required to wear masks while riding the bus. Bus drivers will have disposable masks to hand out to students in the event a student does not have a mask.
  • Buses will be cleaned and sanitized between routes.

Arrival and Dismissal

  • Schools will create arrival and dismissal procedures to minimize crowding and transmission of COVID-19, including staggering times for entering and exiting the school, and designating specific drop-off and pick-up points for walkers and bike riders. 
  • Special education students and bus riders will be prioritized to decrease foot traffic.
  • Dismissal procedures will include exit instructions and pathways that limit the mixing of classes of students.
  • Signage will be provided to remind students and parents of the traffic flow pattern upon entrance and exit of school grounds. Additionally, school-based teams will establish a rainy-day plan. 
  • All arrival and dismissal plans will allow for social distancing where possible. 
  • Students will be supervised by staff throughout the dismissal process. 
  • Students will always be required to wear face coverings during dismissal.
  • Administrators will create site-based protocols for all late arrival and early pick-ups.  Parents picking students up will have to wait in the designated area.  Parents must wear a mask or face covering, and their student will be escorted to them.

Face Coverings for Students and Employees

Face coverings will be required based upon best available data and input from local health authorities, the school board, Center for Disease Control health guidelines, and stakeholder groups including teachers and parents. Currently, Utah Governor Gary Herbert has mandated the use of face masks for employees and students in the public education (K-12) system. 

  • Students and staff are required to wear masks while in classrooms, cafeterias, hallways, and other areas where social distancing is not possible.  Masks will be provided to any student or employee who does not have one.
  • Personal protection equipment will be provided to staff including masks (in some cases medical grade, depending on the role), face shields, gloves, and sanitizer.
  • Exceptions will only be made for health conditions and appropriate breaks will be taken.
  • Students (and parents) who refuse to wear a mask and who do not have a valid and approved exception, will not be able to attend in-person classes.

Social Distancing

Students will practice social distancing from their arrival at school through departure.

Movement Inside Schools

  • Students will be asked to walk only on the right-hand side of all hallways. 
  • Schools will place signage on walls to encourage proper movement to limit contact, as well as floor signage to encourage 6-foot distancing where possible.
  • School administration will establish one direction hallways (where available) to assist with the flow of student movement.
  • Staff members will monitor hallways and, when possible, escort classes during transitions to ensure a steady flow of students with no congregation in hallways.
  • Water bottles will be provided to each student to reduce crowding and frequent use of school water fountains.
  • Filtered touchless water bottle filling stations have been, or will be, installed in all schools before the first day of school.

Limited Access to Visitors and Parents

In order to create a healthy and safe environment and to limit potential COVID-19 exposure whenever possible, the District will limit access to visitors and parents.  Except in the case of an emergency, visitors and parents must make an appointment to meet with school staff.  Schools will designate specific areas where visitors and parents are allowed.  Administrators will establish protocols for greeting visitors and the use of any required screening tools.

Classroom Modifications

Student desks will be spaced six feet apart when possible and will have Plexiglass barriers.  Extraneous furniture will be removed from each classroom to aid in proper social distancing practices.

Common Area Modifications

Students will be monitored in all common areas to encourage social distancing. Elective, resource, and enrichment classes such as Physical Education, Art, and Music will adhere to social distancing protocols while limiting collaborative activity and shared resources.

Meal Service

  • Students will receive breakfast and lunch as an in-school serving or in a grab-and-go style.
  • Students will be asked to eat in their classrooms when possible.
  • Students will be socially distanced in the lunch line and follow clearly marked flow paths. Lunch arrival and dismissal will be staggered.
  • Custodial staff will clean tables and classrooms throughout the day.
  • Outdoor eating areas will be used whenever possible.
  • Students will be reminded that the expectation is to wear their face covering up to the point of beginning their meal. Immediately after finishing their meal, the face covering must be put back on. Students will also be required to wear their face coverings during any free time or recess that takes place during scheduled mealtimes.

Large Gatherings

For the safety of staff and students, pep rallies, assemblies and other large gatherings will not be permitted until further notice.

Extracurricular Activities and Athletics

The District will follow guidance from the Utah High School Activities Association regarding sports. Currently, teams are taking part in outdoor and indoor workouts in smaller, socially distanced groups.

Protocols for Sick Students and Staff

If an individual feels sick or shows COVID-19 symptoms, they should not come to school or work. If an individual begins showing symptoms while at school/work, they will be isolated and sent home (parents will be contacted to pick up their students).

Positive COVID-19 Case Confirmation

  • Upon notification of a positive result, a parent must notify their student’s principal. An employee must notify their supervisor of a positive test result. 
  • The principal or supervisor will notify the Executive Director of Human Resource Services. 
  • The Executive Director of Human Resource Services will contact the Salt Lake County Health Department to determine appropriate next steps, which will include alerting anyone who has come into direct contact with the positive individual and securing affected areas.
  • An individual who tests positive for COVID-19 should follow the recommendation of their healthcare provider. 
  • Decisions relating to quarantining or building closures will be made in collaboration with the Salt Lake County Health Department based on the facts and the individual circumstances. In every case, the District will notify parents and employees if they have a risk of being exposed to a person sick with COVID-19.
  • Custodians will be notified and complete any additional cleaning and sanitizing needed.

Special Education

Students with disabilities will continue to receive a high-quality education in alignment with their Individualized Educational Program (IEP) or 504 Plan. The District is committed to addressing the individual needs of our students with disabilities and will take the following actions:

  • Teachers and administrators will review students’ baseline data in order to determine present levels and learning gaps.
  • Educators will review student’s progression toward IEP goals and objectives.
  • The IEP team will determine any need for additional supports or services to remediate gaps.
  • The District will ensure delivery of services and supports through extended learning opportunities as necessary.
  • Progress monitoring assessments may be conducted utilizing diagnostic assessments and curriculum-based measures.
  • Schedule and hold all meetings and complete all evaluations that were postponed due to requirements of social distancing for in-person meetings.
  • Provide ongoing communication and collaboration with parents.
  • Hold IEP team meetings, including parents and all appropriate IEP team members to conduct annual reviews, revisions, and eligibility staffing.  These may take place utilizing Microsoft Teams, WebEx, or Zoom or telephone conference calls.  Teams may meet in person if local and state regulations allow.

In situations where students who, due to the nature of their disabilities, will not be able to wear a mask/face covering, staff may wear a mask and face shield.  Therapists, teachers and other staff working with students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing will need to wear a shield without a mask to ensure proper communication. Face shields will also be used by speech and language therapists when providing speech therapy.

Social and Emotional Support

Students, employees and families have experienced additional stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic. This District will continue to provide mental wellness support and social and emotional learning to our students and families as follows:

  • Assess individual needs and provide supports to families and educators.
  • Ongoing consultation to school-based teams on mental health, threat assessments, and suicide assessment.
  • Crisis Intervention Team ready for response when needed.
  • Enhance partnerships with our network of mental health professionals to provide services to our students.
  • Provide a blended model of support, inclusive of in-person and virtual deployment of mental health services. 

Required State Assurances

We have submitted our required state assurances to the Utah State Board of Education that summarizes the District’s plan for safely bringing students back to in-person learning.  .

ONLINE ONLY OPTION FOR STUDENTS WHO DO NOT WANT
TO RETURN TO IN-PERSON LEARNING

The District is committed to providing families who would prefer a 100% remote learning environment with that option should the district move to a hybrid or fully in-person learning environment.  The district is currently exploring the possibility of creating a Virtual K-12 School.  Once created, families would have the choice to enroll in our new virtual school.  After each semester, students could choose to return to campus for face to face instruction or continue in virtual instruction.

Although the details are not final, this model would look different from classroom-based remote learning that was used in the Spring and may not initially be available for all grade levels. Enrolled students will be expected to work independently through online learning modules, and grades will be assigned through a combination of computer graded assignments and teacher-graded assignments. Enrolled students will also be expected to:

  • Log into each course on scheduled school days (Monday – Friday).
  • Review all instructions, assignments, and materials daily (Monday – Friday).
  • Seek help from teachers/administrators if needed.
  • Treat each day as a school day; set a daily routine and create an environment that promotes learning.

Check back for more information about this exciting option. 

IN CLOSING

This plan reflects an honest effort to address the concerns of our entire community, to adapt to changing conditions, and to adopt the latest and best scientifically informed public health guidance.

With that said, there is no perfect solution, and there is no single option that we expect everyone to agree with completely. It is not in our students’ or families’ best interests to proceed indefinitely with a remote only option, nor is that our intent. However, it is also not acceptable to implement any in-person experiences without taking every reasonable precaution to protect our students and staff members from the harm this virus can cause. What we have proposed represents a solution that balances the educational experiences of our students with the health and safety concerns of our community. And remember, nothing is permanent; we will update this plan as new information becomes available and decisions are made.

In the event of any changes to this plan, they will be posted on our website and will be emailed to parents.

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