River Valley School District
RETURN TO SCHOOL ROADMAP UPDATE
In-Person Learning Updates, as of July 24, 2020
Scott Bojanich, Superintendent
In-Person Learning Updates, as of July 24, 2020
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION in 2020-21
It is our intention to return students to classroom routines (if our region remains in phase 4 or above as defined in the MI Safe Schools Roadmap) that are as close to normal as possible, with added safety protocols. The following information is provided to help families make informed decisions about what’s best for their child. A group of ten River Valley staff members representing technology, administration, teachers, counseling, food service, transportation and buildings and grounds, have been working on creating and fine-tuning learning options for parents and students who wish a “virtual” learning option if we are in phase 4, as well as learning options for our students if we are in phase 3.
State and local requirements.
River Valley School District will follow the requirements in the MI Safe Schools Roadmap as well as guidelines given to us by the Berrien County Health Department (BCHD). As we mitigate risk of COVID-19 spread, our efforts will focus on 1) personal protective equipment, 2) hygiene, and 3) spacing and movement.
Personal protective equipment.
In Phase 4, facial coverings are required for: all staff; preK-12 students in hallways and common areas; students in grades 6-12 in classrooms; K-5 students in classrooms unless they remain with their cohort throughout the day with no close contact with other classes; and all people on buses.
In Phase 5, facial coverings are recommended but not required for all staff and preK-12 students in hallways and common areas.
Exceptions are made for anyone who cannot medically tolerate a facial covering, is incapacitated, or is unable to remove the covering without assistance.
Students may use their own homemade facial coverings (which must be washed daily) or disposable masks which must be disposed of at the end of each day. River Valley School District will supply disposable masks.
In Phase 4, schools are required to: provide supplies including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, paper towels, tissues and informational signs; teach and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and/or the use of hand sanitizer; and use hand sanitizer before entering buses.
In Phase 5, it is strongly recommended that students wash hands or use hand sanitizer after changing classrooms and before entering buses. We will provide flexibility in scheduling to allow for handwashing.
Education and training will be important to ensuring healthy hygiene habits for our students.
Spacing and movement.
Tables and desks, students and teachers will be spaced as far apart as possible, and workstations will face the same direction. Modifications may be made to areas with shared table space or soft furniture. While we will maximize all available learning spaces, expect most classrooms to look very similar to a regular school year but there may be exceptions when and where needed to ensure compliance and safe practices.
Guests, visitors, and volunteers will be limited in school buildings.
We expect to follow a regular, full day, Monday-Friday schedule. Berrien County Health officials have advised against a hybrid, or part-time schedule. Due to the large number of programs that are shared among districts (i.e., Career Tech, Special Education, Math & Science Center, etc.), and the additional exposure that comes with increased interactions outside of school necessitated by the need for child care, Berrien County school districts have made the decision to not make a hybrid option available.
With many bus runs and an inconsistent number of riders each day and season, we will do our best to balance the number of students per bus and socially distance our riders given our inventory of vehicles and drivers. Buses will be cleaned and sanitized per Berrien County Health Department (BCHD) requirements.
Students, staff and families will receive ongoing training and reminders with guidance about proper handwashing, physical distancing, virus spread, and risk mitigation protocols.
State requirements will limit large-scale interactions and groupings for cafeterias, assemblies and extracurricular activities. In Phase 4, indoor assemblies may not bring together more than 50 people or students from more than one classroom. Outdoor stadium events are limited to 100 people with physical distancing. In Phase 5, it is recommended that indoor events are limited to 50 people and outdoor stadium events are limited to 250 people, with physical distancing.
Recess may be conducted outside whenever possible with appropriate distancing and cohorting of students to limit interactions across classes.
River Valley School District has reliable cleaning protocols that support safety and wellness and mitigate environmental health risks. River Valley School District will increase sanitization of all high traffic touch points. All cleaning protocols and products meet industry standards and recommendations set by governmental health organizations. These rigorous standards apply to classrooms, offices, athletic facilities, food preparation areas, common areas and hard surfaces (including desks, light switches, and doors) in every building.
All learning environments will be deep-cleaned this summer and the custodial staff will have regular training throughout the school year.
Potential temporary shift to remote learning.
A resurgence of COVID-19 may require schools to pause in-person instruction and shift temporarily to remote learning.
1-to-1 technology models may be used (where every student has access to a device), along with staff professional development and training, will ensure that a remote learning shift can happen swiftly and efficiently to maintain continuity of learning.
Remote learning in the 2020-21 school year would have far more rigorous requirements and more robust academic instruction than the stopgap measures put in place during the crisis in March 2020. Pacing, grading, daily attendance and curriculum progress would remain consistent with in-person learning expectations.
We will continue to keep the River Valley School-Community updated as more information becomes available.