School Reopening: Sevastopol Plans to Phase Reopening
Sevastopol School District
Current enrollment: 557 students
What it’s doing: Phased reopening with an option for virtual learning.
What’s next: The district’s school board will meet Aug. 20 and is scheduled to have an annual meeting Aug. 26.
The Sevastopol School District approved a reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year during its July 16 school board meeting that consists of a combination of three models for delivering instruction.
Model One is designed for 100 percent in-person instruction five days a week; the Model Two design has half of the student population attending in person; and the Model Three design consists solely of remote learning.
According to Superintendent Kyle Luedtke, half of the students will start the school year in a classroom as usual, and the rest will begin remotely for the first two weeks.
“It’s a soft opening,” Luedtke said, “so it gives us an opportunity to see how our building, staff and students are functioning.”
Parents may choose to keep their children home for remote learning after meeting with a principal to discuss why that will be the most appropriate option.
“If a parent comes to us and says being virtual is better for their kids,” said Adam Baier, secondary principal, “we are going to talk to them about that, look at the advantages and disadvantages, and make accommodations in addition to what we are doing to make sure students feel comfortable.”
Baier said that the best learning environment for students is at the school.
“This is the richest place that we can provide instruction,” he said.
Sevastopol will return to a regular letter-grading schedule after opting for a pass/fail grading system in the fall. In the classroom, it plans to space desks out and use plastic shields for class workstations. Teachers have been asked to remove any additional furnishings.
The school will maintain its regular nine bus routes, but it anticipates that bus occupancy will be much lower based on the phased reopening. Bus drivers are responsible for disinfecting buses after each route.
In a July survey, the district found that 58 percent of parents who responded said they will not be using school transportation. Students are encouraged to drive themselves, but there aren’t any incentives such as waiving parking fees, which Kyle Luedtke said are already low. Approximately 75 students drive to school on a regular basis.
Each teacher will be equipped with an iPad for recording and distributing lessons. Students in grades 6-12 will be issued Chromebooks, whereas the school used to issue them only to students in grades 9-12. The school has also ordered 30 additional hotspots for students who are learning remotely.
Sevastopol’s plan includes a 2:30 pm dismissal to allow for more time spent disinfecting the building. Teachers will be responsible for disinfecting their classrooms, and support staff will be responsible for disinfecting common spaces. Luedtke said students and staff will try to practice social distancing as well as they can. Masks will be required by everyone inside the school.
The school will also provide students and staff with two masks, and staff may elect to wear face shields. Staff will be promoting frequent handwashing. Drinking fountains will be turned off except for bottle-filling stations. Sevastopol has also hired its previously part-time nurse to work full time.
If a student shows symptoms, the nurse and staff will use a decision-making tree provided by the Department of Public Health Services. There will also be a designated isolation room for students who show symptoms.
The cafeteria, multipurpose room and multiple classrooms will be used during lunchtime. Self-serving stations will be eliminated, and all lunches will be served in reusable portion containers for each student.
Sevastopol has not yet decided what the threshold for closing will be.