Plan Updates from Sub Committees

Plan Updates from Sub Committees
Our district-wide Reopening Committee continues to work on the planning and strategy for the new school year. The group is broken up into sub-committees, who are focused on an important area of planning that will help create the overall district plan for students in staff come fall.

The sub-committee groups are as follows:
Governance and System Development
Mental Health and Special Populations
Instructional Technology
Health and Safety
Operations and Transportation
Communication and Feedback
Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Learning

Below are updates from each group on the progress being made as we near the opening of school. Our goal remains to keep in constant communication with you so that you are not only confident with how we are building our strategy, but also can have opportunities to offer feedback and share any questions you may have regarding your respective school. 



Governance

Governance and System Development
The Governance and System Development Group has been working to create the appropriate policies and systems to support our return to school. This includes attendance, communication, teacher assignment, and scheduling. Additionally, the committee has developed the following guiding principles to frame our planning: 

Vision and Guiding Principles for Re-opening

To support all stakeholders in reopening schools, Narragansett will follow eight guiding principles for the planning, decision-making, and execution of returning to school: 

  1. We will prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of our school community.
  2. We will be transparent in our communication. We will share what we know and what we do not know. We will be clear about what we can control and what is outside of our control.
  3. We will be intentional about matters of equity and begin by addressing the needs of our most vulnerable student populations. We will center decisions on what is best for all students, families, and educators, especially those most impacted by inequity and COVID-19.
  4. We will build on our strengths, including our technology resources and the size of our community.
  5. We will plan for multiple reopening scenarios in response to public health guidance, spanning from full in person to full remote learning.
  6. We will incorporate new knowledge discovered through advances in research and practice in battling COVID-19 (see Harvard School of Public Health website)
  7. We will listen to and prioritize student, staff, and parent/caregiver voices by building in regular opportunities for reflection and feedback.
  8. We will ensure that our district and school plans are sustainable and consider the mental, physical, and social/emotional needs of the school community SEL Roadmap Resource.



Mental Health and Special Populations
As we prepare to return to school on August 31st, safety, health and wellness of our students is our focus. The special populations subcommittee has been focused on the wellness of our students and staff, special education, and the needs of vulnerable students. Key decisions ready for implementation can be found below:

  • A survey has been sent out to the parents of our youngest students, preschoolers. This year, we will continue to offer preschool to children throughout our district through two different program options: three full days and five full days. This will allow us to have stable groups of students and staff. This is key to the guidance from RIDE and CDC. We will not be providing bus transportation to students who attend without special education needs. This will assist us with safely transporting our students with significant needs to preschool.
  • The mental health and wellness is key to a successful transition back for all members of our schools, children and adults. Our committee is dedicated to creating more robust resource pages on our website for students, families and staff. These pages will include strategies, links, activities and resources to promote wellness for our entire community. We are working to develop partnerships with outside agencies as part of this work. Our school psychologists, social workers, student assistant counselors, SEL coach, nurses and school counselors are ready to provide support to students, families and staff to make our reopening a success.
  • Special education services for those requiring extended school year services are being done through a distance learning model while our district prepares our schools for our safe return on August 31st. We are reviewing the needs of our students and making sure that we have the proper PPE and settings for all students to engage in learning upon their return. We anticipate that IEP meetings will remain in a virtual format to limit the number of visitors to the schools and help us maintain stable groups for our students and adults. If we need to transition to a hybrid model of in-person and distance learning, students with the greatest needs for in-person instruction will be considered to remain in-person during these phases as long as guidance supports this plan.
  • Finally, we encourage families to spend time wearing masks. Students will need to be used to wearing their mask and seeing others in masks to make this comfortable for them upon return. Wearing masks will be part of our safety protocol for all or some of our day based on guidance.

Your feedback and questions are welcome. If you would like to discuss your child's needs for the reopening of school, please reach out Melissa Denton, Director of Student Services. She can be reached by email at mdenton@nssk12.org or by phone at 401-792-9426.


Instructional Technology
This team is answering questions such as what technology hardware and software are needed to support the different possible learning scenarios? What infrastructure development is necessary to support continued distance learning or a mix of in-person and distance learning? What lessons were learned through distance learning at each age group?
  • Completed plan for device distribution to students for a full in person reopening and a plan for distribution for a distance learning reopening if necessary.
  • During the summer we will continue our normal procedures for ensuring all systems are up to date, testing wireless access and conducting updates as needed.
  • PowerSchool Learning lead teachers will continue their work being a resource for teachers and in assisting of training of teachers on professional development days.
  • The elementary school is exploring the best option for a learning platform for their students
  • We have begun the implementation process for the Clever software. This will be a Single Sign on solution to many of the resources students use. This will eliminate the need for students to remember multiple username and passwords and will provide seamless access to those sites.
  • Completed survey to staff on their top 3 tech tools used to facilitate distance learning and we will survey teachers on connectivity during video conferences at home.
  • We continue to submit privacy agreements to companies indicated by teachers on the Tech Use Survey sent out this spring and look for alternatives to companies who do not sign.
  • We have determined that if we go to distance learning we will need to get a district license for Zoom.
  • We are extending our 1:1 program to grade 1-12 for the 20-21 SY
  • We have plans for building tech support for a full in-person reopening as well as for a distance learning reopening with a combination of these two plans should we be in a partial return scenario.
  • We will be working toward building a central location on the school website in which we will post video tutorials for staff, students and parents on how to access and use online services and resources.

Health and Safety
The Health & Safety subcommittee has been working diligently to create policies and procedures that will help our NSS community prevent the spread of COVID19 upon reopening.  

These plans include required daily screenings for all students and staff, procedures for isolation and quarantine for when a student or staff screens positive for COVID-19, as well as creating required training procedures for all students and staff to be conducted prior to the start of the school year and verbiage for signage to be placed throughout the community. 

Additionally, requirements regarding mask wearing, hallway patterns to limit interactions between stable groups, and arrival and dismissal procedures have also been addressed by this committee in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  


Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Learning
This group has been meeting to plan for the Curriculum and Instruction part of our re-entry plan.

Plans have been drafted on looking at data provided by teachers in the Spring of 2020 about which priority standards were taught, which standards we need to instruct more deeply due to distance learning, assessing our students, planning for interventions, and planning for the possible blend of in person and distance learning moving forward.

Our group has been attending professional development sessions with RIDE as well as other districts in both Rhode Island and Connecticut to ensure we implement best practices when making these important instructional decisions.


Communication and Feedback
The communication committee has been continuously working on keeping the entire school community informed. Our most recent focus has included:

  • Creating a first round of communication for our June monthly newsletter about our task force being formed and what that meant for planning.
  • Creating a transportation survey to enable our operations teams to plan bus routes and necessary changes to our current processes.
  • Creating and distributing newsletter such as this one to keep our parents, staff, and students informed about the progress our team and the state is making.
  • Working with the operations and health and wellness teams to create signage on safety reminders and guidance to be placed throughout our schools and district offices.
  • Creation of this web page to live on our district site to host all reopening information and guidance as it becomes available.
  • Organizing staff and parent forums
  • Creating FAQ survey and answered questions for further guidance as we enter the new school year.

Operations and Transportation
The operations team, which includes transportation has been developing plans for immediate needs such as inventory control and procurement of these necessary materials for cleaning, disinfecting and preventing spread of disease. We're auditing necessary materials and supply chains includes hand soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels. We are also working through determining who will be responsible for the ongoing procurement and distribution of these materials.

Currently our inventory shows an adequate supply of cleaning materials; additionally, supplies have also been ordered that show extended lead times.

We have also met with school-based staff to review cleaning and disinfection policies. An annual cleaning and disinfecting training is being provided to custodial and maintenance staff on July 22, 2020. This year, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be added to the annual training, which will be provided in Mid-August. Furthermore, proper cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be provided in a training to all transportation staff.

We're consider the availability and feasibility of alternative transportation options (volunteer drivers, family
members, carpools, etc.) and proposing solutions for increasing modes of transportation to decrease the
demand for buses.

Finally, a recent survey has been sent to parents to find out their needs for bussing. 500 responses were recorded and based on this survey data, a transportation plan will be developed, which will provide Narragansett School District with the amount of students requiring busing in the morning and afternoon as well as percentages of students accessing alternative transportation options.

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