reopening our schools


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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in ways we never could have imagined, reinforcing the significance of the habits of learning (critical thinking, creativity, resilience, and empathy) identified in the RPS Strategic Plan. Our educators modeled these essential skills as they adapted teaching environments and instructional methods to continue to provide our students with the best learning experience possible under these unprecedented circumstances. Teaching and learning from home was a new experience that presented many challenges, yet the difficulties did not impede our efforts. Last spring, the district was fortunate to be able to quickly expand our 1:1 Chromebook initiative to our youngest students, making remote learning more interactive and productive. To get us ready to reopen our buildings in September, the district restart committees and pandemic response teams addressed issues related to instruction and operations, technology, facilities, and governance. They continue to meet regularly to monitor our progress, analyze data, and refine our plans.

What we have done

This journey has not been easy. Just as this situation is fluid, our reopening plans, too, are dynamic. We have made adjustments along the way, continually adopting new practices, methods, and technologies. In late September, we made our first modification to the reopening plan, changing middle school and high school schedules to integrate a drop rotate format. At the end of October, all elementary special education students transitioned to five days (4 hours per day) of in-person instruction per week. Livestream instruction was integrated into the elementary hybrid model on the at-home day. Teachers received a full-day of professional development to support their work in the hybrid and remote learning models. Protocols for shared equipment (wellness, science, music, and playground equipment) were implemented in December 2020 and further expanded in February 2021. On March 22, our kindergarten and first-grade students in the hybrid model will begin a new schedule with four (4) hours of in-person instruction, five days per week. Even with all of these changes we have been able to offer, the continuation of a fully remote model as an option for our families.

Where we are going

The journey forward has been slow but steady with appropriate incremental steps. Because we proceeded with caution, there have been minimal interruptions due to classroom and building closures. The future looks promising, as vaccinations become more widely available and public health guidance begins to shift. On March 16, 2021, the District announced that Phase II will begin on April 19. Click here to view the letter from Dr. Gorman, Superintendent of Schools.

This year has tested us, but each week, we are one step closer to the day when all students are in their schools for full days. Let's continue this journey forward together!