AUGUST 18, 2020
In response to the recent recommendation by the Chester County Health Department (CCHD) for all Chester County schools to open virtually - last night our School Board approved a virtual start to the 2020-2021 school year through October 9, 2020. The Board also voted to officially begin the school year on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. September 8 will now be the first day of school for students rather than August 31.
This change will necessitate adjustments to the school year calendar in order to satisfy our required 180 days of instruction. This may impact previously scheduled times off for students and/or lengthen the school year. We will present a revised calendar for Board approval at the School Board meeting this coming Monday, August 24.
Next week we will share schedules and expectations as part of our Continuity of Education Plan for remote learning through October 9, 2020. These plans will be shared with you on August 28. Our Continuity of Education Plan will include a balance of synchronous and asynchronous instruction, live Zoom instruction, student check-ins, required attendance, and professional development and collaboration time for teachers.
Pending further guidance from CCHD and analysis of our COVID-19 cases compared to the reopening metrics - we are hopeful for an in-person return to school after October 9. We also know that this will need to look different from our original hybrid program and that we need to revisit our Health and Safety Plan.
Due to the CCHD guidance that all schools in Chester County open in a virtual mode until October 9, our previous plan, approved on August 3, no longer applies. Accordingly, we have not hired the 21 K-3 teachers for the year as there is no social distancing needed now. Our own teaching staff, who you may already know, will be welcoming students back to school, online.
The experienced and trained teachers of UCF will provide the best educational opportunities via remote learning. We know that this will be a very different start for our youngest students and their families. Our plans are focused on making sure that every child is provided with quality instruction, individual attention, and learning experiences that are meaningful.
Throughout September we will be fine-tuning plans for a return to brick and mortar schools in October (based on the metric and CCHD guidance). We can tell you that all students will remain with their teachers. We understand the importance of the connections between teachers and kids and it will be preserved.
The new plan will be introduced and discussed at the School Board Work Session on September 14. It will certainly contain many of the same elements of the previously approved plan. These include the health and safety mitigation protocols, mask requirements, and a remote, hybrid, or all students in option. We ask for your patience and support as we work to meet CCHD guidelines in tandem with the local and state-required metrics. We have learned to be nimble as the situation is constantly changing.