As we contemplate when and how we should return to learning after the Thanksgiving holiday we have considered local COVID infection rates, Student and Staff Quarantine rates, colleagues across our area, Staff and Community member input. We have considered returning on the 30th of November to full in person learning as we believe that our staff will be back to full force, unless we have an uptick in a positivity rate between now and Monday November 30th. We speculate that we will continue to see COVID-19 rates increase over the next few weeks and through the Month of December as we will be confined inside more often and the holidays will aid in community spread. In fact, many school districts are now contemplating or have already made the decision to move to full remote beyond the New Year as a result.
From a decision making standpoint we have weighed coming back full days on Monday November 30th vs. extending the current remote learning until December 7, 2020. The thoughts are that we would likely be assured a full week of in person learning if we return on November 30, if all staff and student quarantine expectations remain as projected. Unfortunately, we will not really know how our break will affect our quarantine rates until late in the weekend and that poses a problem for families if we are forced to make a last minute decision, something I would rather not do.
Extending the remote period until December 7, 2020 would certainly allow the district to have a better understanding of our Quarantine numbers after the holiday and if we are able to open safely with expected staffing levels we may have a good chance to have a full two weeks of in person learning to complete the semester. The down side to this decision is that we may be forgoing a guaranteed full week of in-person learning before our quarantine numbers increase due to the Thanksgiving break.
As such, in hopes that our community, staff and students are able to follow guidelines over the upcoming weeks, I have made the decision to extend remote learning through December 2, 2020 and will expect students to return to in person learning on December 3, 2020. If between November 30 and December 3rd our community continues to see increases in COVID Positivity rates and our staff and students are compromised to the point we will be unable to hold in person learning we will make the decision to return to full remote and will likely continue so through the end of the semester.
Beginning Monday November 30th our school day will return to a full day schedule, meaning that school will dismiss at approximately 3:10 across the district. As we move into our in person learning the full day schedule will be the norm all five days of the week, including our remote Wednesdays, which will continue to be remote but will be based on a 3:10 dismissal.
While this was a difficult decision to make I believe this will give us the information we need to insure safety for our students while also focusing on the need and desire to return to in-person learning as soon as possible.
In summary: PORTA Schools will extend remote learning until December 3, 2020 at which time we will renew our four day in person model with full day schedule. Prek classes will return to their regular dismissal schedule on December 3, 2020 as well. Beginning, November 30th the school day will return to a full day schedule for all days of the week including our Wednesday full remote days.