September 30, 2020
Dear Franklin School Families,
I am eagerly waiting a positive response to the Waiver I submitted to permit students to be on campus for in-person learning. I expect to hear back soon, so I wanted to share some updated information with all of you.
Although it is very exciting to think about students being on campus, it also comes with a caution that we need to be very deliberate about returning students to in-person learning. There are schools that have been granted waivers in our surrounding districts, so you will undoubtedly hear about their students returning to campus. Please note that many of those schools are MUCH smaller than Franklin, so their process for returning students can look much different than ours. The number one priority for me is returning everyone to school safely so that we do not have to close down again! I know that school closure can happen, but I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that there will be very little disruption to the school day once we get going!
Once the waiver is approved by Dr. Luu, it then gets sent to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). I have been told that the turnaround time for CDPH to approve the waiver is very short (fingers crossed). Once the waiver is approved by CDHP we will be notified and we will open one week from that date.
Once the date for opening has been confirmed, we will begin returning our youngest grades (Grade K and 1) to campus first. We will begin with students being divided into an AM/PM model. Letters will be sent to parents notifying them if they are in the AM (8:30 – 11:00 a.m.) or PM (12:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.) cohort. We are starting with small groups to ensure that all that we have planned will work to keep students and staff safe. Once the kindergarten and first grade students are on campus there will be no more ZOOM meetings. Instruction will occur in person and supporting work will be sent home for students to work on independently.
The next group of students to come on campus will be Grades 2 and 3. They will begin one week after Grades K and 1. They will follow the same routine just described for Grades K and 1 (AM and PM model). Grade 4 will follow the following week, and if things are still positive and everyone is healthy, Grade 5 will follow after that. Grades 4 and 5 will also begin with the AM/PM cohort model.
When will classes be allowed to come back as a whole group? I hope shortly! I just need to ensure that all protocols are in place and being followed before just opening up the entire school. It is exciting to think that in approximately one month’s time we will have our primary students back on campus. I know that the AM/PM model is not ideal, but having 2 ½ hours of in-person instruction (with other students) beats distance learning any day!! I really feel that we are going to be able to do this successfully, with entire classes coming together shortly after we open.
What is required on your part? Please send your student to school with a mask and water bottle. Please also send them with their books and electronic device if issued by Franklin School. Masks will be worn when walking to class and exiting the campus. Grades K-2 will not be required to wear masks when they are in the classroom. Grades 3-5 will be required to wear masks while in the classroom. Masks will not be worn when eating, drinking and engaging in physical activity. As you know, Franklin School has a very active parent community, but at this time we are asking that parents do not come on campus. Information about where to drop your student off will be coming shortly. PLEASE DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL IF THEY ARE ILL! Please also make sure that you have updated your information with the office in case we need to get hold of you. Thank you.
Once Sutter County moves to the red tier and stays there for 14 consecutive days, Franklin School can entertain having 6th – 8th grade students on campus. In order to adhere to the CDPH guidelines, 6th – 8th grade students will have to be brought back In a hybrid model as well. I will be working with 6th – 8th grade staff to determine how to best do this with a block schedule. The AM/PM model may NOT work for upper grades, as these students need all four core classes. More information will be shared once we reach the red tier.
If you are not planning on sending your child back to campus for in-person learning, distance learning will be available. Once teachers begin in-person instruction they will not be conducting ZOOM meetings, but I will ensure that your child has daily interaction with a credentialed teacher who will work closely with your child’s teacher on curriculum delivery, assessments, and engagement. Distance learning will not be offered if you are going on vacation; this is only offered to families that are concerned about their child returning to campus during the Covid pandemic.
I know the frustration of not being able to just open up immediately. Please know that we share your frustration, however, please understand ALL that has to go into the daily routine of a school day. How do you organize recess? How do you distribute meals? How do you line up safely? How do children interact in a classroom? All of these things need to be thoroughly discussed and planned out before students return to campus. But the good thing is, we are Franklin and we will do this!!!!
More information will be forthcoming. Thank you for your patience and flexibility during this time. Thank you also for reading my very long letter.