On Tuesday, July 22, the community heard BVSD’s recommendations to begin the 2020-2021 BVSD school year a week later than originally planned and in Phase 3. What does this mean for families and for schools and educators/staff? That’s a complicated question with an even more complex answer.
Delaying the start date to allow for buildings and staff to meet health and safety protocols and for teachers to receive more professional development around effective online instruction means students will return to school on Wednesday, August 26th. Whether that start will take place at home or in their school building will depend on their group and the choice of parents: According to the BVSD Reintroduction Plan, Phase 3 involves grades divided into two groups to create lesser student-to-student exposure and lower teacher:student classroom ratios, with each group learning in-person two consecutive days a week, followed by two days of home, online learning. Mondays will be dedicated to teacher planning with students working on home assignments.
Many families are wondering whether this hybrid plan is the only available option. It’s not. Parents may also choose from one of two online options: They may enroll their child in BVSD’s K-18 online school, Boulder Universal, or they may select an entire at-home learning format and still keep their child enrolled in the home school. If this latter option is chosen, parents are asked to make that choice through their IC (Infinite Campus) account by today, Friday, July 24, to help with predicting staffing.
The Reintroduction FAQ’s Page on the BVSD website elaborates on parent options along with addressing other such concerns as childcare–which will be offered M-F for families who need care for their K-5 or K-8 children five days a week–and the health and safety protocols that will be implemented, such as required mask wearing of all students and staff under most conditions.
We know that no one wants to be in this position of balancing safety with in-person learning and that everyone wants what is best for their children and all students in our community. Phase 3 is a hybrid approach that exceeds the safety standards produced by health officials and state guidance. Yet it may still not make all families feel safe. It may also need to change based on health conditions in our community, but we appreciate that BVSD worked so hard to offer an in-person option as well as options for remote learning.
So the 2020-2021 school year may begin with some uncertainty yet also something positive: As we have since 1983, Impact on Education will continue to respond to evolving needs of students and schools, and we will mobilize our funds and our resources to support the students in our community however and wherever we can.