MS Instructional Plan Update: February 26, 2021

MS Instructional Plan Update: February 26, 2021
Posted on 02/26/2021
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South Park Middle School Families:


The South Park School District intends to transition South Park Middle School to four days of in-person instruction beginning on Monday, March 8, 2021. Students in the in-person learning track will attend up to four days of in-person classes beginning on March 8. The South Park Cyber Academy will remain in place for those families who elected to keep their children in the cyber academy.


This plan is subject to change and is based on factors that could change quickly. Families and staff will continue to receive updates from the district when changes to our operational plan are made. 


Please carefully and thoroughly review the following information as it pertains to the change in the operational model at South Park Middle School effective March 8, 2021. Additionally, a link to an online form that must be completed by families of students in the in-person learning track is included at the end of this communication.


In-Person Instruction Schedule


Up to two additional in-person instructional days will be added for all South Park Middle School students enrolled in the in-person learning track. This means, during a five-day school week, middle school students will attend in-person classes Monday through Thursday. At this time, Fridays during five-day school weeks will remain an at-home learning day for all students as our teachers focus on remediation and cyber instruction. When the school week is shortened due to a scheduled off-day, the in-person instruction calendar will be updated to maximize classroom learning. The March in-person instruction calendar can be viewed by clicking here.


At-Home Symptom Screening Tool


It is imperative that all students and staff use the district’s at-home symptom screening tool before leaving for school each day. Families are also asked to screen their children for a fever daily. Contact middle school nurse Mrs. Christie (anita.christie@sparksd.org or extension 3030) if your child develops symptoms, your child or an immediate family member tests positive for COVID-19 or your child is told to quarantine. These actions combined with public health guidelines including physical distancing, the use of face coverings and avoiding large gatherings can help to keep our schools open.


Transportation


Capacity limits on middle school bus routes will be increased, and students will once again share seats. Up to two middle school students will share a seat on a school bus. This reduced physical distancing between students on school buses may result in the identification of additional close contacts should a case of COVID-19 be confirmed and the need for your child to quarantine based on requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and/or the Allegheny County Health Department. Close contacts are generally individuals within six feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more. Face coverings remain a requirement on school buses.


Middle school bus routes will change. This may result in your child having a new bus number and/or stop time beginning on March 8. Transportation assignments will be emailed to middle school families on Monday, March 1. 


As a reminder, morning car-rider dropoff is between 7:50 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. Students must be in their homeroom no later than 8:20 a.m.


To help ease traffic on the middle school campus during afternoon pickup, the middle school suggests that parents/guardians whose children are assigned pickup numbers 1-55 arrive at the middle school between 2:45 p.m. and 2:55 p.m. The middle school suggests that parents/guardians whose children are assigned pickup numbers 56 and higher arrive at the middle school between 2:55 p.m. and 3:05 p.m.


Physical Distancing


Physical distancing in middle school classrooms will be reduced. This reduced physical distancing between students and between students and staff may result in the identification of additional close contacts should a case of COVID-19 be confirmed in a classroom setting and the need for your child to quarantine based on requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and/or the Allegheny County Health Department. Close contacts are generally individuals within six feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more. Face coverings remain a requirement in all Pennsylvania schools.


Cafeteria


Physical distancing of six feet in school cafeterias remains a requirement in order for students to remove their face coverings. Initially, menu options will be limited as we transition to four days of in-person learning. Additionally, the LGI room will be utilized as a second dining location. Cafeteria procedures will be reviewed with students in the days leading up to March 8.


Face Coverings


Face coverings are required at all times in school and on the bus except during breakfast, lunch and scheduled mask breaks. Face coverings must be secured over the nose and mouth. An update to the state’s face covering order says face shields must extend below the chin and to the ears and leave no gap between the forehead and the shield’s headpiece. The widely-used face shields on glasses are no longer permitted under this order as they leave a gap between the forehead and the shield’s headpiece. The face shields on glasses may continue to be worn if used in combination with a mask.


Further Operational Changes


At any time, the district may transition the middle school back to a hybrid instructional model or a remote instructional model due to the identification of cases or the increase in the number of identified close contacts. The number of short-term building closures may increase due to the number of cases or the identification of additional close contacts. We continue to encourage families to have a contingency plan in place in the event the district must transition a school or schools back to a remote instructional model. These changes will be swift and will take into account a number of factors including, but not limited to, the number of COVID-19 cases in the district, community and county; the impacts – educational, health, and social/emotional – on our students; the ability of the district to staff classrooms and positions; and the guidelines and recommendations from state and county health officials. Additionally, the district is required to adhere to the mandates from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Health regarding building closures following the identification of a certain number of cases in a building. The district must close a building or buildings for the time specified by the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Health following the identification of 4 or more cases in a school building over a 14-day rolling period.


**Families of students enrolled in the in-person instructional model at South Park Middle School are asked to complete this online verification form before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.**


In the event conditions do not allow additional in-person instructional days at the middle school, we will continue with the existing hybrid schedule and current bus routes. Families will be notified of an updated timeline of increased in-person instruction once conditions would permit should a delay occur.


Questions or concerns should be directed to your child’s teacher or principal.


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