Rosa Parks Charter High School Distance Learning Plan
July 24, 2020
Dear Rosa Parks Community,
These are crazy times. We are preparing for the 2020-2021 school year amid a global pandemic. COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our lives. For six months, the virus has interfered with in-person learning and there are no signs that this will let up soon. While we would love to return to school as normal, Rosa Parks must adapt to these abnormal circumstances. Following directives from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), we have prepared for three learning scenarios, full in-person learning, full distance learning, and a hybrid of the two. Additionally, we have devised a system to transition from one learning plan to another should circumstances necessitate such a change.
Like you, we have safety concerns. To provide a secure school environment, we are acting under the planning requirements issued from MDE, MDH, and the CDC. The school is currently undergoing some small but strategic renovations. Relying on advice from the scientific and medical communities, we will continue to enhance our operation. Monitoring the situation closely, we will relay news and updates about the virus and how it spreads. We are committed to safeguarding the health of our students.
Like you, we recognize the limitations of distance learning. The needs of our students were not met at traditional schools. We pride ourselves in offering hands-on, active, and creative learning approaches. We emphasize mental health and wellness in our curriculum. Distance learning has presented some significant mental health and learning risks. Recognizing the disadvantages of online classes and appreciating our populations’ learning needs, we intend to have students in-house as much as possible. That said, we have studied distance learning approaches and analyzed our experience from the spring, and we are fully prepared to offer innovative online methods.
Our plans were devised from myriad conferences with MDE, MDH, and the CDC. We relied on input from our school board, the students, and parent(s)/guardian(s) amassed from meetings, calls, and surveys. The staff met on July 13, 14, and 15, to discuss everything from holding students accountable for social distancing to strategizing the options should a staff member become exposed. We then broke into workgroups to hammer out processes, like additional cleaning schedules, and policies, like screening students and restricting visitors. As always, we prioritized providing equity for all students and families and ensuring consistent support for mental health and wellness in all our enterprises. Finally, we utilized research, educating ourselves about the virus as well as state and national plans for returning to school.
Governor Waltz will announce the learning scenario under which schools can open on Thursday, July 31. Ultimately, Rosa Parks will implement the scenario recommended by MDH and MDE and post it on our website. In the meantime, we were obliged to make preparations. Here are the research-based preventative steps, measures proven to reduce the risk of infection, we followed while developing our program:
exercising, or playing an instrument, this distance needs to be increased.
MDE presented us with definitions of the three scenarios. Here are the descriptions we were obliged to follow:
In this scenario, districts will create as much space between students and teachers as is feasible during the day, but will not be held strictly to enforcing 6 feet of social distancing during primary instructional time in the classroom. Activities and extracurricular programming will continue to follow the Guidance for Social Distancing in Youth Sports. This scenario may be implemented assuming state COVID-19 metrics stabilize and/or improve.
In this scenario, districts must limit the overall number of people in school facilities and on transportation vehicles to 50% maximum occupancy. Sufficient social distancing with at least 6 feet between people must occur at all times. If distancing cannot be achieved in a space or on a transportation vehicle, the number of occupants must be reduced. This scenario may be implemented if COVID-19 metrics worsen at the local, regional, or statewide level. This scenario may also be implemented within a school if they experience clusters of cases within a classroom or the school.
Hybrid learning defined – Hybrid is commonly used to describe classes in which some traditional face-to-face instruction has been replaced by distance learning activities. A hybrid class is designed to integrate face-to-face and distance learning activities so that they reinforce, complement, and elaborate on one another, instead of treating the online component as an add-on or duplicate of what is taught in the classroom.
This scenario may be implemented if local, regional, or statewide COVID-19 metrics worsen significantly enough to require the suspension of in-person learning.
Distance Learning defined – Students engaging in distance learning have access to appropriate educational materials and receive daily interaction with their licensed teacher(s).
It is important to note that distance learning does not always mean e-learning or online learning.
For more information on each of the three scenarios, please click on the links below.