- Aug 2021
There are some other bullet points missing.
There's a very clear article by epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina ("Your Local Epidemiologist") (see https://yourlocalepidemiologist.substack.com/p/schools-mitigation-measures-in-the ) outlining the 4 steps that are MOST EFFECTIVE in mitigating Covid in schools. Your strategies are helpful, but none of those effective strategies are listed here. You want to provide the best pedagogical experience. Don't you also want to provide the best Covid mitigation strategies that are evidence-based? These include:
Ventilation. We all know Model's HVAC is a dinosaur. There's not a lot you can do short of a new building. However, if you read the article, it says opening a window can have up to a 14.1 fold reduction in COVID19 transmission. Is this a mitigation strategy that you will consider requiring? Is there something you've done in terms of ventilation that hasn't been communicated? Hepa filters in the classes or in the system itself? If so, I would love to hear.
Testing. If we're not going to require vaccinations, we have to use testing. Regular testing. I have seen no mention of this anywhere. Has this been discussed at all?
Masks. We know these are required by the DOE, thank goodness, and mentioned in your communications. However, you might consider sharing with parents some specific advice on how to find masks that work more effectively.
Outdoor transmission. Being outdoors allows more protection, but "if you're close enough to breathe in air from someone else's breath" you risk being infected. Please consider enforcing the 3 foot distance outside as well if kiddos are unmasked. I saw alarming photos from the new family picnic thing with unmasked people standing shoulder to shoulder. We can't be doing that.
This was unnecessarily passive-aggressive. We (the parents at Model who have been asking questions about your specific mitigation plans) read the previous communications and they did not address our specific questions.
I appreciate the terrible situation you are in right now and I especially appreciate the hard work facing you and your staff and teachers. Everything about Covid sucks. I hope you also appreciate that we just want information. Information that we don't like would be better than no information. We are doing my best to advocate for changes because our son loves Model and does not want to be transferred to our districted school (Berea Community). However, we have looked into it and see that they do have more flexibility around this and are more explicit in their communication about what measures are being taken, so we are seriously considering it.
Thanks for listening.
This is the part of this letter to which we object most strongly because it is completely within Model's control to implement. How does doing worksheets at home with little guidance or participation with your class fit into this "pedagogical approach" that "emphasizes active, engaged learning and activities"?
Last year, our child spent the entire year working remotely. Was it optimal? No. Was it worth paying Model fees to have access to what was happening in class? Yes. He got to hear all the classroom discussion, interjects thoughts of his own, and participate. I fail to see how sitting in rows all facing the same way is "active, engaged learning" any more that participating via webcam.
I am not proposing that a remote option be available full time all year. I am proposing that we have the option to remote in when our kids have had exposure to Covid and have to quarantine. Or, when there is exposure in the classroom and they are asked to come in anyway.
What about students who are exposed and therefore have to quarantine? The incubation period for Covid, as I understand it, is 2-14 days. So, ideally, 14 days quarantine, then test, then wait 2-3 days for results, and this is all counted as an absence? Minimum would be 10 days based on the current guidelines.
What about students who are vaccinated but exposed? According to the regulations, they don't have to quarantine, apparently, but we all know that breakthrough infections are rising because of Delta.
These are our children's and familes' lives. Our kids need a better plan than "be absent and do worksheets at home" or spin the "will I get a breakthrough infection?" roulette and put our families, teachers, and fellow students at risk too.
Elaborate. How will this be achieved? Alternating, assigned seats in the lunchroom, perhaps? 3 feet between students in all classrooms? You offer no specifics.
Is "the kind of education that we understand is best" worth the loss of lives of teachers? Students? How many? What's the tolerance threshold for this?
Are worksheets with no classroom content while quarantining a better kind of education than setting up a camera to allow students to remotely participate in classroom activities?
I noticed that on August 27, KDE published new guidance on hybrid learning for this year.
I wonder if you would consider this?
"Performance-based courses can be virtual or in person. It is possible for a student in all performance-based courses to attend school on a hybrid schedule. Students enrolled in performance-based courses generate Average Daily Attendance (ADA) and funding upon sucesseful competion of the course. These students could follow a schedule where they receive instruction X days per week in school and X days per week virtually. Students on a hybrid performance-based schedule:
- Have requested the schedule,
- Follow the district’s board policy for performance-based courses, and
- Have their in-peron attendance tracked and maintained outside of the student information system for safety"
If you are committed to communicating with us, please consider providing more details and responding to the points brought up in these annotations.
Allowing students to view and participate in classroom activities remotely would minimize the disruption even more, would it not?
How about when the weather is not permitting? Will 6 feet distancing in the cafeteria be enforced (6 feet since they presumably won't be masked while eating)? Will they be encouraged not to yell and laugh and cough without masks on, as that disperses higher amounts of aerosolized particles? What are the SPECIFICS?
Define frequent. Will students be given extra time between classes to wash hands? Sanitizer in every room? Or should parents send in sanitizer for every room?
Encourage? Or require? Is anything required? What happens if the "encouraged" guidelines aren't followed?
Can you just provide a list of the plan? Why the vagueness?
This is obviously a problem that is out of Model's control and I'm working with other parents to advocate a change to this.