Hello, CP community!
Thanks to everyone who provided questions and feedback on PPS’s proposed plan for reopening schools. On Thursday, we met with the district-wide PTO Committee and below are some key updates following our discussion with Superintendent Galasso and other administrators. There remain a lot of “unknowns” at this point, including how many teachers are coming back and what proportion of families will opt for 100% remote learning.
Specific to CP, the district recognizes the challenges of implementing both the remote learning and hybrid models for DLI students and discussions are ongoing to determine a way forward.
We recognize that the information below may leave you with more questions than answers. Please be on the lookout for a more detailed document from the district that will include sample schedules for these learning models and FAQs.
Most importantly, the district will be sending out a survey about what you are planning to choose for your student this fall (regarding busing, additional care, hybrid vs. 100% remote learning). Please return the survey as soon as possible. The survey results will significantly help the district plan for the school year because they must understand demand for the hybrid model versus 100% remote before they can fully flesh out how these learning options will work. If there are enough students in the 100% remote option, they will devote teachers that have requested to be 100% remote to that cohort.
Please also remember that the below information is taken from our informal notes and is not an official document from PPS. This situation, as we’ve all witnessed, is fluid and can change in an instant.
Sending our best,
Manishi Prasad, Co-president
Georgette Stern, Co-president
Nicole Pezold Hancock, VP, Communications
July 23 PTO Committee Meeting Notes on PPS Re-entry
1. Three Key Pivot Points in the PPS Plan
- Faculty & Staff – As of Thursday, nearly 70% of staff / faculty had returned their surveys. Analyses are in progress to determine who is / isn’t returning in the 2020-21 academic year.
- Families – Surveys will be sent next week to determine what proportion of families are returning to hybrid versus 100% remote learning.
- Transportation – PPS is encouraging families to sign a transportation waiver if they know they will not use the buses in the coming year. This will help significantly with planning. NOTE: The waiver is not binding, and the district will work with families to adjust transit as situations evolve.
2. The Hybrid Model
- PPS is limited to a hybrid model because of a lack of personnel and space. We don’t have enough physical space to maintain social distance requirements across our schools. We also don’t have clarity (yet) on which teachers are coming back in the fall for in-person instruction versus fully remote learning. Surveys were sent to faculty this week, and discussions with the union are ongoing.
- For elementary schools, 4 days on / 5 days off (the model used for JW and PHS) was not considered because the district wants younger students to have more frequent “in-person” time with teachers.
- When determining Group A / B cohorts, elementary schools will keep siblings together, otherwise placements will be determined programmatically. Few exceptions will be made for changing cohorts. (Placement at the MS and HS levels will be determined by alpha order and they will also group siblings together.)
- A sample daily schedule for in-person learning will be provided soon; the schedule for remote instruction remains opaque at this time.
- Enrollment for incoming Kindergartners has increased significantly across the district over the past few weeks; this is what necessitated switching KG-1 to the same hybrid learning schedule as grades 2-5. NOTE: Bussing is also a limitation here, further emphasizing the need for families to return the transportation waiver as soon as possible.
3. Remote Learning
- Canvas will be the new Learning Management System for all PPS programs.This should minimize the inefficiencies and challenges of using multiple platforms. Early feedback on Canvas suggests it’s relatively user-friendly, has good tutorials available for parents; it’s also used by Princeton University.
- There will be more / stronger focus on small group sessions for remote learning.
- Instructional aides will have their own devices from the district and be able to assist more with remote learning.
- They are front-loading teacher development days to the first school week of Sept. and delaying the start of school in order to support teacher training in Canvas, as well as other online teaching modalities.
- More details TBD, particularly as they know how many families are considering hybrid vs. 100% remote option.
4. Special Education – Students with IEPs will be offered services as usual in the hybrid model. The district is still determining how it will assist students with IEPs who opt for 100% remote learning. The SpEd PTO hopes to have more answers soon. For updates, please contact CP’s SpEd PTO Liaison Lynda Dodd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Additional care – YMCA will be the partner.
- Additional care on in-person instruction days will be in the cafeteria.
- For the remote instruction days, details are still to be worked out with the YMCA on regarding the set up (e.g., Will it be in the cafeteria? Desks spaced 6 ft. apart? Monitors to check on students’ remote instruction? All of this information is forthcoming.)
- Also TBD is how / if YMCA additional care will be able to maintain separation between cohorts.
6. PPE / Safety
- Significant investment has been made in purchasing PPE (masks / face shields) for teachers, installing plexiglass where needed, putting lids on toilet seats, creating isolation areas (including on busses), purchasing kiosks and thermometers for temperature checks, improving building ventilation, and much more. Details of building updates in response to COVID will be published on the PPS website in the next week.
- Temperature checks will be done daily when children/staff arrive at school.
- PPS is not planning to do any COVID testing at this time.
- High-touch areas will be disinfected throughout the school day (e.g., restrooms, nurses’ office, hallways, etc.)
- The district is purchasing masks on lanyards for all PPS students, and will have some basic surgical masks as back up. The lanyards will hopefully help keep students from dropping or misplacing masks during breaks, etc.
- JW PTO is fundraising for additional PPE for all PPS teachers.
7. Tents – The district will be provided some tents from the YMCA and potentially from the township. They are sorting out the logistics for holding outdoor classes in September and October, weather permitting. More info to come.
8. Information from PTO-C - The link below provides several additional resources:
- Link to the original PTO-C meeting with Dr. Galasso (1.5 hours via YouTube)
- Link to a Q&A created from the questions in the chatroom during the call (Qs answered by Superintendent’s office)
- Link to the current Re-Opening Plan
- Information about the fundraiser for teachers’ PPE (also enclosed; please share this information with your school)