Mount Vernon Schools Restart Update July 31 2020

Three weeks ago, Mount Vernon City Schools set an aspirational goal to “Go Green” to start the 2020/2021 school year. In the green learning mode, students would be in session five days a week with modifications and safety precautions. Over the past three weeks, the Restart committees have been working diligently to address the many challenges associated with having all students return to school five days a week. We have regularly met with local health officials to review new and updated school guidance and recommendations. As Covid-19 cases continue to increase both statewide and locally, the uncertainty of what another week may bring, makes planning incredibly challenging and unsettling.

We have concluded that we need to take a step back and begin the 2020/2021 school year in a Hybrid (Yellow) learning mode. We will operate in the Hybrid (Yellow) learning mode for the first 9-weeks.
Why have we decided to go ‘Yellow’?
Student and Staff safety has always been paramount in our discussions. We believe that by bringing back 50% of our students on alternating days we will have the ability to better address social distancing concerns relative to transportation, food service, and classroom learning environments. With fewer students, the staff will be able to model and train students in the use of new safety procedures, hygiene protocols, modified school schedules and operational procedures.
Why have we decided to go ‘Yellow’ the first 9-weeks?
We believe that committing to a plan for an extended period of time (9-weeks) will allow Students/Parents/Staff the ability to better plan with some certainty and consistency in these unsettling times.

We know this news will be disappointing to many. After talking with Board Members and Restart committees, we too are disappointed but realize that a Hybrid (Yellow) start is the best alternative at this time.

What does the Hybrid (Yellow) learning Mode look like?
We will be providing more specific details next week with regards to the Hybrid (Yellow) learning mode. The basic premise is that students will be assigned to one of two cohorts: (A or B) The A and B cohorts will attend school in-person, two days per week. The remaining three days students will work from home on assignments, projects, interventions, and supports. Students will be issued a
Chromebook and additional WIFI hotspots will be available in and around all school buildings. The district will be utilizing ‘Google Classroom’ in all grades, K12 as well as other technologies.

How will students be selected for the A and B cohorts?
Building administrators will begin the process of identifying family groups to ensure that family members would attend on the same days. The remaining students will be divided in an effort to have 50% of the students each day in-person learning is scheduled. The A and B cohorts will be determined by the end of next week with parents being notified.
If we signed up for the Digital Academy and we feel more comfortable with a Hybrid (Yellow) start can we change our minds?
Yes, we realize many parents had some reservations starting ‘Green’ and thought the only alternative was to select the digital online option. Please contact Pam Rose via email at to indicate your desire to unenroll from the digital academy.
How will the Hybrid (Yellow) model impact students with special needs?
We will be working closely with families to provide additional options to support our students with special needs.
RESTART GUIDANCE – Three weeks ago when we shared the restart framework we indicated that restart committees would be working on the details related to their specific areas. We will be sharing that guidance document next week.
Health & Safety; Social Emotional; Transportation; Food service; Cleaning & Sanitation; K-5 & 6-12 guidelines; Technology, Communications
Mount Vernon Digital Academy – We have extended the date for enrollment into the Mount Vernon Digital Academy through Sunday, August 9th. We thought it important to extend this date, as we have additional information to share to assist parents in making these important decisions. We have concluded that we will utilize K12 as the districts online curriculum provider for grades K-5. APEX Learning will serve as the district’s online curriculum provider for grades 6-12. We have provided a list of frequently asked questions for your review.
Kindergarten Registration/Screening – We have decided to cancel in-person kindergarten registration/screening scheduled for August 5th & 6th. We would like parents to keep their scheduled times and we will be contacting you via phone to finalize registration information and complete a health screening questionnaire. Additional screenings will be conducted when school starts.
School Supply Lists – Buildings will be posting their supply lists for the 2020/2021 school year on their building websites early next week. We will be discouraging the sharing of supplies so it will be important for parents to mark and label supplies accordingly. We are also asking all parents of students in grade 3-12, to supply 2 face masks for their students to use while at school. The district will be providing facemask lanyards for students to promote appropriate and safe use. If parents are unable to supply a facemask, please notify your building principal.
As we transition into August and the start of another school year, we will begin providing you more timely updates. Thank you for your patience and understanding during these challenging times.
Please take care of yourself and each other!
William Seder Jr.