Dear EVCS Families,
This afternoon we received confirmation from the Chancellor’s office that the “3 foot Rule” for physical distancing in classrooms can go into effect this coming Monday, April 26. This means that we will be able to collapse our A and B cohorts into one group, and that all blended learning students will start attending in-person 5 days a week. I am very glad that our blended learning students will finally be able to have the consistency and continuity in their learning that has been absent this year. I also know that our blended learning and fully remote students and teachers will miss seeing each other and working together, and our teachers will be helping everyone to process this change and have closure on this significant chunk of the year before transitioning for the final quarter next week. Please note that beginning Monday there will no longer be a “hybrid” option of remote and in-person learning. All students will either be in the fully remote D cohort, or the in-person A cohort.
We purchased new tables for our classrooms so our students in each class will be able to spread out safely and use the space more efficiently. Our students will be in closer proximity than they have been up until now, and our classrooms will have double the number of students overall – but our safety protocols will remain firmly in place. Use of the daily health screening, mask wearing, good ventilation, 3 feet of physical distancing, frequent hand washing and weekly random COVID testing are the cornerstones of our safety plan, and implementing each of these components with integrity will be essential. Perhaps the most important of these components is the daily health screening. If we are all extremely vigilant in only sending our children to school if they meet the specific criteria in the screening we will do a lot to keep everyone in our community safe. It’s on all of us and we ask for your continued support with this!
A few other logistics for making this shift: Since children need to be at least 6 feet apart when eating lunch, all classes will eat lunch outside every day unless it’s raining, in which case we will use large indoor spaces such as the cafeteria and auditorium. We will continue to have breakfast available for any student who needs it every day, but breakfast will no longer be eaten in classrooms. Students who want to eat school breakfast must eat it downstairs in the schoolyard before heading upstairs.
Our arrival routine will also shift slightly. In order to allow enough time to conduct the health screening for twice the number of students each day we will start welcoming K-5 students in the schoolyard at 8:00. Teachers in K-5 will bring their classes up at 8:30, and students can arrive any time between 8:00 and 8:30. Pre-K will continue to have arrival between 8:45 and 9:00.
I can imagine that some of our parents may have questions about how this will work. I will be conducting a town hall meeting to address any questions that parents may have on Friday afternoon, 4 pm. You can join the meet at this link: https://meet.google.com/ypy-hbje-sqi
This has been a very challenging year, one that has required an incredible amount of flexibility and adaptability from our teachers and staff, parents and students. It hasn’t been easy but I am so proud of us for how we have not only persevered but shined. Huge thanks to all of you for your patience, understanding and support throughout. Onward!
Dear EVCS Families,
Welcome back – I hope everyone had a lovely and relaxing week. Here are a few important updates:
The DOE has updated the daily health screening to be aligned with New York State and CDC guidelines. The questions about experiencing symptoms of COVID and close contact with an individual who has tested positive remain effectively the same, but as of today individuals who have traveled domestically are no longer required to quarantine or be tested upon their return. People who have traveled internationally however, are still required to quarantine. Please make sure that you read the health screening questions carefully and answer them honestly every day your child attends school in-person. If you have any questions about how to access or fill out the screening, please let me know. https://healthscreening.schools.nyc/
The window to change your child’s learning preference from fully remote to blended learning has been extended to this Friday April 9. You can access the Learning Preference Survey here. Please note that in order for your child to return to in-person learning, you must submit a consent form for in-school COVID-19 testing.
Just before the break the Mayor and Chancellor announced an upcoming shift in the DOE’s policy for reduced classroom capacity and physical distancing. We still do not know when this new policy will take effect and are awaiting guidance on other key concerns such as how we will arrange student lunch on days when we need to eat indoors, but when it does take effect we will be able to fit more students in our classrooms and hopefully increase the amount of time our blended learning students have in-person. The mayor also announced today that the city will be updating the policy that determines when entire school buildings close, to be a less sensitive trigger. As I learn more about each of these developments I will keep everyone informed.
The State Education Department is moving forward with plans to administer the standardized tests in ELA and math to students in grades 3-5 this spring. This year the tests will be shortened to just one day each, all multiple choice questions. Students will only be permitted to take the assessments if they are in the school building – the tests will not be administered remotely. The testing windows are April 19 – April 29 for ELA and May 3 – May 14 for math. Once we have more specific dates during those windows, we will let you know. Our fully remote students will default to opting out of taking the tests. Families of Cohort D students who are interested in having their child come into the building to take the tests can opt in by completing this form. Our blended learning students will default to opting in to take the tests. If you wish to opt your child out please email Liz: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are on the fence and would like to discuss or have any questions about the state tests please let me know.
Finally, If you have a child born in 2017 who will be eligible for Pre-K next year, please note that the window to apply is open now, and the deadline has been extended to April 19.
Thanks very much for making it to the bottom of this email! Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the above.
Dear EVCS Families,
On Friday afternoon the Mayor announced a significant policy shift for New York City public schools. Please read a message from the Chancellor of Schools about these new policies. Here are the main headlines:
||There will be another official enrollment period this spring to sign up for blended learning. The window for fully remote students to opt in to blended learning will open this Wednesday March 24 and will close on Wednesday April 7. You can opt in to blended learning at this link.
||The DOE will adopt the newest CDC guidelines for social distancing in classrooms which recommends that students remain just 3 feet apart, as opposed to 6 feet.
The second point will obviously have major implications for how we are set up, because we will now be able to accommodate more students in each classroom. Exactly how many students we can safely have in each room is not yet clear – we should have the updated classroom capacity numbers later this week. Once we know what our new classroom capacities are, and we know how many new students will be opting in to blended learning after April 7, we can figure out what our new configurations and schedules will be. Though our classrooms will be setup differently and children will be in closer proximity, all of the other health and safety measures, including wearing of masks, ventilation and air purifiers, use of the daily health screening and weekly random COVID testing will remain in place. All new students opting in to blended learning will be required to submit consent to weekly testing in school before attending.
This has been a turbulent and challenging year for all of us, but I am proud of the ways our school community has risen to the occasion and I am extremely confident that we will be able to fold in these new policies while keeping each other safe and keeping our focus on student learning. When we first formed a committee to develop a plan for blended and remote learning this summer one of the main priorities we set – right below the safety of our students, staff and families – was to maximize opportunities for in-person learning for all students who are able to learn in-person, while ensuring inclusive, high value learning experiences for students who are learning remotely. We have remained committed to that priority all year long and will continue to do so under this new set of policies as well.
As I get more information about how this shift will impact our day-to-day I will certainly keep you posted. In the meantime please consider whether you wish to change your child’s learning preference for the rest of the school year, and let me know if you have any questions or want to chat about any of this. Thanks so much for your patience, cooperation and understanding.
Click HERE to read the meeting minutes