2020-2021 Re-opening Plan for St. Helena Parish School District
Planning for the 2020-2021 school year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging. Weekly planning meetings have been held since April, parent and teacher surveys were completed, data from the Jumpstart 2020 program was collected, and a simulation of a school day was conducted. All of the collected information was used to decide what path the school district will take for its school re-opening.
Data Point 1 - Parent Survey
Parents were asked to select the Blended Model they would like for the school district to implement if Phase II was enacted. Of the 143 survey participants, the data revealed that 65 parents (45%) preferred Option 1, while 78 (55%) preferred Option 2. Only 13 more parents selected Option 2.
Black and Gold Weeks - students will attend school by rotating each week. Example – students in the Black Group will attend school during week 1, while students in the Gold Group will attend school during week 2. This schedule will rotate during the school year. Siblings will attend school together during the same week.
- PreK and KN students report three days per week (Monday - Wednesday).
- 1st and 2nd grade students report two days per week (Thursday - Friday).
- 3rd and 4th grade students report three days per week (Wednesday - Friday).
- 5th and 6th grade students report two days per week (Monday - Tuesday).
- 7th and 8th grade students report three days per week (Monday - Wednesday).
- 9th – 12th grade students report two days per week (Thursday - Friday).
Data Point 2 - Teacher Survey
Teachers also voiced their concerns regarding the re-opening of schools. Of the 57 participants, 32 (56%) would prefer the eLearning Model, 19 (33%) selected the Blended Model, and 6 (11%) would like to implement Normal Operations. Only 7 more employees preferred the full-time eLearning Model, and 25 (44%) prefer some form of face-to-face instruction.
- eLearning Model – full time virtual
- Blended Model – a combination of the eLearning Model and Normal Operations
- Normal Operations – full time face-to-face instruction
Data collected from the first week of Jumpstart 2020 showed that while the participation rate increased each day, only 49% of our total student population participated in the program. Lack of participation may be due to connectivity issues, inability to retrieve a laptop or WIFI hotspot device, or no motivation to participate.
Data Point 4 - Simulation of a School Day
Approximately 30 individuals participated in a simulation that reflects the operational changes of a school day due to COVID-19 health and safety precautions. Participants gained a lot of valuable insight during the exercise. A debriefing meeting was held to review the experience. Some concerns that were shared included teacher apprehension about handling school supplies brought from home, reducing the number of high-contact points, and the appropriate measures to handle non-related COVID-19 illnesses. This exercise proved to be very valuable data collected during our decision-making process.
The results from the various surveys and programs were analyzed collectively. Strong Start Guidelines provided by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) and qualitative feedback from employees were also reviewed. We understand that some parents are not comfortable with sending their student to school while some are in favor of it. As such, in order to provide equitable access to educational opportunities, it has been decided that parents will have a choice between two options: eLearning Model and Blended Model, Option 1 (Black and Gold Week). The primary reasons for the decision are below.
With more COVID-19 cases on the rise, some parents do not feel comfortable sending their student to school at this time.
Rotating classes week by week allows for more consistent instructional support for students.
The number of students per classroom in Blended Model, Option 1 is far less than the maximum number of students allowed in Phase II.
More staff would be required to implement Blended Model, Option 2.
Teachers will have far less exposure to varying student groups within a one-week period.
Students with Exceptional Needs
In order to ensure equitable learning for our exceptional students (individuals with an IEP), they will be allowed to report to school every day. This does not include gifted or talented students.
Opportunities to Change Student Placement
Parents have the flexibility to change the placement of their student at the end of the first nine-week period. If parents do not select an option their student will automatically be placed in the Blended Model, Option 1 (Black and Gold Week). The deadline to register for eLearning is Friday, August 7, 2020. Parents must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) if they select the eLearning Model.
First Week of 2020-2021 School Year
We plan to stagger students’ return to school during the first week as shown below. We will spend time with each grade level to review the new protocols. Each school will provide information regarding the weekly schedules, class assignments, and other matters.