2020-2021 Planning Update – 8.7.2020

20-2021 Planning updateAn updated draft of our 2020/2021 Opening of Schools Plan has been uploaded for your consideration. Please expect that these updates will continue in relation to suggestions, developing plans, and changing guidance. Updates, additions, and revisions have been added below including page citations.

Updates specific to the 08/06/20 draft include:

  • Updated information related to General Health/Safety Precautions and Protocols including the below sections:
  • Health-Related Exclusion, Dismissal, and Return to School Criteria (pg. 10)
  • Criteria for the Immediate Closure of Schools (pg. 10)
  • Criteria for Reopening Schools (pg. 10)
  • Phase I A/B Day Designation based on student/family last name/surname (pg. 20)
  • Additional information including a registration link added to the information associated with the Digital Learning Initiative (pg. 25)
  • Minor revisions related to noted errors

Digital Learning Initiative Enrollment:
Enrollment for our Digital Learning Initiative (DLI) opens today for family consideration. Enrollment for DLI will remain open through next Friday, August 14. The DLI enrollment process only requires the completion of a brief, digital form. To enroll, please access this link and follow the noted directions. Please note the following details associated with our Digital Learning Initiative.

  • Students enrolled in the Digital Learning Initiative (DLI) may return to in-person learning but we are asking that parents/guardians work with their school’s administrator to determine the best date for reentry. Additionally, we are asking for students/families remain consistent in terms of their attendance as switching back-and-forth between the Digital Learning Initiative and in-person attendance may be prohibited.
  • Any hybrid schedules involving students/families requesting a blend of part-time, in-person attendance will require additional approval as those options will need to match the availability of the school’s master schedule.

Additionally, below are two frequently asked questions for your consideration.

I’ve heard that the Helena Public Schools are opening in Phase II because that is our current designation for the State of Montana. Is that correct?
No – A phase designation for school beginning Tuesday, September 8th has not been finalized. A phase will be named shortly to allow families several weeks to prepare accordingly. The drafted Rolling Start calendar (pg. 26) has been proposed for August 26th through September 4th. As we consider phase-by-phase decisions, we will do so in concert with local health officials. These decisions will be made based on community health information specific to Lewis & Clark County (dashboard link). Therefore, our state designation of Phase II does not dictate our local decision as it is quite possible that these phase destinations will be misaligned at times during the 2020/2021 school year.

What were the results of the most recent family survey?
Results for the most recent family survey are noted below.* This survey, closed as of July 22, was conducted specifically through Panorama Education. Our overall response rate was 58% for this survey which is high, especially for a survey initiated during the Summer Break. Respondents were proportionately distributed across school and grade levels. While this feedback is valued and appreciated, survey data during this ongoing pandemic has been reported to vary significantly as conditions continue to change. Experts suggest that each set of survey data should be viewed only in relation to the context of the time in which the survey was conducted. That noted, below is a snapshot of the information we received from parents/guardians as a result of this recent survey.

Question: How often would you like you child’s school to communicate with you?
Answer: 43% of respondents prefer weekly communication. 35% suggested school/district communication two to three times per week. 16% reported daily. 6% preferred “once in a while.”

Question: Assuming appropriate safety measures are in place, what is your preference for how your child returns to school in the fall?
Answer: 51% of respondents preferred all in-person learning. 36% preferred a mix of in-person and distance learning. 14% preferred all distance learning.

Question: How comfortable are you having your child return to the school building?
Answer: 24% reported “quite” comfortable. 23% reported “somewhat” comfortable. 19% reported “slightly” comfortable. 18% reported “not at all” comfortable. 16% reported “extremely” comfortable.

Question: Does your child or anyone in your household have health concerns that would prevent your child from returning to in-person learning?
Answer: 76% reported “no.” 24% reported “yes.”

Question: If in-person learning resumes in the fall, how do you anticipate that your child will get to and from their school?
Answer: 55% reported personal drop-off/pick-up. 19% reported utilizing HSD transportation (bus), 13% cited “other.” 10% reported walk/bike.

Thank you all for your continued time, feedback, and support.

*Please note responses are listed on order of preference based on participant responses.

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