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Return to School letter 2021-2022

Return to school

Dear families and staff,

In preparation for the upcoming school year, The NC Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with the Governor’s Office has issued updated guiding practices and protocols. The link is: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/media/164/download Since March 2020, our school has successfully followed the health and wellness recommendations of NCDHHS, the Governor’s Office and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Over the past 18 months, the school has modified protocols as conditions and information changed and will continue to seek and follow sound medical advice. We are committed to providing high-quality instruction and enrichment opportunities for all students while also maintaining wellness protocols for students and staff. The school anticipates that as the community continues to return to pre-pandemic conditions, that the processes below will also guide the school’s return to pre-pandemic operations. Any updates will be communicated to all stakeholders.

Instruction

All 2021-22 school year programming will be delivered via in-person instruction for all students. Simultaneous Remote teaching, which served a valuable purpose in the 2020-21 school year, will not be utilized during the 2021-22 school year. Academic growth will be accelerated for every student through in-person instruction, high-quality teaching practices, programs and targeted enrichment and intervention opportunities matched to student needs. All students will be engaged in rigorous, collaborative and inclusive educational practices which include whole class, small group and individual instruction across all grade levels and content courses. This includes the sharing of materials in classrooms as appropriate and in physical education.

Technology

Schools and teachers will leverage the technology and digital resources, activities and platforms to extend learning both within classrooms and beyond the school day. One-to-one student devices will continue to expand. The school and teachers will continue the use of digital learning applications and platforms within classrooms including, but not limited to, the use of: IXL, iStation, etc.  

Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular, performing arts and athletic activities for the 2021-22 school year will resume to regular operations to support student engagement and will follow school and/or organization (e.g. NCHSAA) guidelines, review, permission and wellness protocols. Activities and/or field trips will resume and follow the normal review, permission and wellness protocols. Any field trip will follow the wellness practices of the specific field trip location.

Family Engagement and Campus Visitors/Volunteers

In-person family engagement meetings will resume and, in some cases, virtual meetings may also occur. Opportunities for on-campus visitors and volunteers should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. All visitors and volunteers must follow school wellness practices and approval processes (e.g. check-in procedures, Level II clearance, etc.). Schools will review their drop-off and pick-up protocols and communicate any changes directly to families.

Wellness Protocols

● In conjunction with the recommendations from the CDC, NCDHHS and following the lead of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, face coverings will be initially required for all students, staff and visitors when indoors for both staff and students. School personnel will encourage and support the appropriate use of face coverings for staff and students.
● Face coverings will continue to be available if needed at school sites for students, staff and visitors.
● All school buildings will continue enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols. Cleaning supplies will continue to be provided to each site by the school office.
● Social distancing practices, to the extent possible, will continue while also ensuring collaboration in classrooms, cafeterias and throughout all school buildings.
● While plexiglass barriers were once regarded as a strong mitigation layer, it is no longer viewed by the medical community as a priority strategy. The use of plexiglass has a negative impact on a collaborative learning environment but may be used sparingly.
● Water fountains in all buildings will remain closed.
● In accordance with government-issued guidance regarding public health, students and staff who are fully vaccinated will not need to quarantine in the event of an exposure to a positive COVID case unless they begin to experience symptoms. Quarantine decisions are made by NCDHHS-Mecklenburg.
● In accordance with government-issued guidance regarding public health, school sites will maintain a separate space for individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
Students sent home through the isolation room will be allowed to return to school using the same protocols as the 2020-21 school year (i.e. negative COVID test or alternative diagnosis for symptoms or 10 days absent from school).
● The school will maintain a COVID-Response team to ensure staff and student cases are addressed in a timely manner. should continue to report positive cases and positive household members.
● Daily attestations of wellness will no longer be needed for students, staff or visitors.
● Families will be regularly reminded to keep their student home and seek further care if they are not well.

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