Reopening Plan for 2021-2022
With all orders expiring on June 2nd, Fairbanks Local Schools anticipates a more traditional opening to the 2021-2022 school year. The district will continue to monitor recommendations and requirements from our governing agencies and consider the implications of that information on the operations of the district.
The district and administration recognizes that there still may be personal and family preferences to practice masking as we come back to school in the fall. We understand that comfort levels and medical conditions vary across the district and will be supportive of individual choices. However, there will not be requirements for masking or social distancing in our classrooms, common spaces, or during our events, unless new orders are in place.
Over the past 18 months Fairbanks has adopted some practices that will remain. Increased hygiene and sanitation practices are beneficial regardless of the pandemic status that has been in place since March 2020. Teachers may continue to configure their classroom in a variety of ways to maximize student instruction, collaboration, and safety. Regular cleaning throughout the day may continue to occur at the classroom level based on individual building situations and the amount of student transition. These routines will be established by the teachers at the classroom level in collaboration with building administration.
Operations and Instruction for 2021-2022
Transportation: Bussing will resume normal capacity limits on all bus routes. Drivers will continue to clean buses in between routes.
Food service: Food service operations will continue to provide free breakfast and lunch meals through the 2021 2022 school year as approved by the federal government. Families who are normally on the free/reduced program, are asked to please still fill out a new application. If there are questions about this process, please reach out to the district or building administration. Families are encouraged to take advantage of this program.
Athletic and After School Events: The district will not require masking or social distancing at athletic and after school events, however visitors are encouraged to continue to sit in family pods when practical and remain home if not feeling well. Coaching staff will continue to use hygiene practices as appropriate for the sport or event.
General wellness: The district encourages students, visitors, and staff to stay home if not feeling well and to seek medical attention if their symptoms do not improve over an extended period of time. Daily symptom checks will not be required of staff reporting to work. Vaccinated students and staff will not be required to quarantine based on current guidance from the CDC and Health Department if they are exposed to someone who is positive for the COVID-19 virus. Contact tracing may still occur if a student or staff member tests positive in the classroom or athletic setting. The district has a limited supply of Covid-19 Rapid tests available for students and staff as an additional wellness measure, please contact the school nurse for tests. At this time, it is anticipated that there will be a return to the typical criteria for sending students home with a nurse's excuse. More guidance on this will be coming from our local health department and county nurses as the school year opens.
Classrooms: Classrooms across the buildings will look more typical, including circle time, desks and/or tables, clustering of seats, and additional spaces for student small group work and collaboration. Teachers who wish to continue to use barriers on their desks or during small group instruction should continue to do so. Teachers should consider options for sharing of supplies though sharing of supplies is permitted. Students will not be required to be spaced at the same distances as the 20-21 school year. Teachers should work with their principals for adjustments to their classroom environment based on individual needs and preferences.
Students: Student lockers will be in use. A decision about student book bags will be made over the coming weeks. Student belongings other than school supplies will remain in lockers or cubbies. Students will have less transition time between classes and at dismissal, as spacing requirements can be less restrictive. We will continue to encourage students to fill water bottles using the filling stations as filling stations are more hygienic than a water fountain in general.
Instruction: The district is returning to a primary model of face-to-face learning. The district has filed a blended learning plan with ODE and will continue to offer blended learning options for students on a case-by-case basis which is a practice that preceded the COVID-19 pandemic. We have partnered with Marysville Exempted Village Schools to offer a blended digital academy for students. Student attendance, work completion, student academic data, HS credit status, medical conditions, social and emotional well-being, and postgraduate opportunities (such as military training or confirmed employment) are factors that will be considered when making adjustments to the face-to-face model of instruction.
How will ARP ESSER funds be used to implement prevention and mitigation strategies that are, to the greatest extent practicable, consistent with the most recent CDC guidance on reopening schools, in order to continuously and safely open and operate schools for in-person learning? The district is following state and local health guidelines regarding COVID. The district continues with increased sanitation and hygiene protocols. The district has also upgraded air filtration processes in the middle school and high school buildings and plans to expand on that project. Currently the district has started the 2021-2022 school year with 100% of students attending in-person class full time. The district has strongly recommended that masks be worn in buildings and is requiring masks to be worn on school buses.
How will the LEA use the funds it reserves under section 2001(e)(1) of the ARP Act to address the academic impact of lost instructional time through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive after school programs, or extended school year? The district will address the impact of lost instructional time due to COVID by providing students who have lost skills or are not on-track with the opportunity to participate in tutoring after school or during study centers. These students will also have the opportunity to participate in summer programs.
How will the LEA spend its remaining ARP ESSER funds consistent with section 2001(e)(2) of the ARP Act? The LEA will use remaining ARP ESSER funds to hire a teacher at the elementary school to reduce class size so that focus can be placed on recouping skills lost due to loss of instructional time due to COVID. The district will also use the funds for professional development designed to aid teachers in developing knowledge in data analysis and of instructional methods that are focused on reducing the academic impact of lost instructional time. The district plans to contract with the ESC for a part-time math coach who will provide professional development for teachers in instructional methods and techniques to reduce learning gaps in math concepts and skills. The district also plans HVAC improvements that will yield better air movement, filtration and cleanliness.
How will the LEA ensure that the interventions it implements, including but not limited to the interventions implemented under section 2001(e)(1) of the ARP Act to address the academic impact of lost instructional time, will respond to the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of all students, and particularly those students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including students from low-income families, students of color, English learners, children with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, and migratory students. The LEA will monitor progress of all students in reading and math through benchmark assessments that will be given three times per year and with periodic intermittent progress monitoring of students who demonstrate skill levels that are not on-track for their grade level. Teachers will analyze this data and will use the results to develop and drive instruction to close any learning gaps caused by lost instructional time. Students in all subgroups will be given the same opportunities. Parents will receive feedback of their children's progress at regular intervals.
Briefly describe the extent to which the LEA intends to use ARP ESSER funds to promote remote learning. The district is partnering with a neighboring school district to promote a blended learning program for students in grades 6-12. The neighboring district is providing the teachers and intervention specialist for the program. The districts are sharing an online curriculum in which students can choose to enroll. Some students at the high school level are opting to enroll in College Credit Plus courses that are being offered remotely.
Describe the LEA's plan for addressing learning loss by: administering and using high-quality assessments to assess students' academic progress and meet students' academic needs, including through differentiating instruction; implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students; providing information and assistance to parents and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment; and/or tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education. The district is using iReady for reading and math at the elementary school. The middle school is using iReady and IXL for reading and MAP and IXL for math. Students are assessed three times per year to track progress and to check for learning gaps. Students who are not on-track are also given periodic progress checks. Teachers are meeting in grade level and subject level teams to review and analyze data and to plan instruction aimed at closing learning gaps.
Describe how ARP ESSER Funds have been/will be used for other activities for maintaining the operations and continuity of services in the LEA and continuing to employ existing staff of the LEA. These funds will be used to continue to employ an existing teacher at the elementary school.