Will our reopening plan change again? How long will we be in the Hybrid option?
Currently, our in-person students are beginning the school year in less restrictive Hybrid mode. We hope to move them to 100% in-person when the levels of COVID-19 in our community decrease, but we might need to move to full distance learning if levels increase. If we change our in-person learning mode, we will give families as much notice as possible. Everything about our plan is subject to change based on new recommendations from public health officials.
What criteria are we using to determine what mode of in-person learning we are in?
NSCS in consultation with local public health officials, MDH, and MDE, will consider the following critical factors when making decision to select or transition to another learning model based on the impact of COVID-19 in our community. NSCS will:
- Consult the MDH learning model selection parameters as indicated by county-level data to determine the base learning model (the bi-weekly case rate (over 14 days) by county of residence).
Number of cases per 10,000 over 14 days, by county of residence
In-person learning for all students
In-person learning for elementary students; hybrid learning for secondary students
Hybrid learning for all students
Hybrid learning for elementary students; distance learning for secondary students
Distance learning for all students
NSCS students reside in 5 different counties with 50% of students coming from Hennepin County. NSCH will use data from Hennepin County to inform the recommended learning model.
- Consult with health officials as needed to examine the local epidemiology behind county-level data to assess whether increases or higher numbers of cases are likely the result of isolated outbreaks or whether they may be indicative of more widespread community transmission.
- Evaluate the ability to implement required and recommended health best practices to inform decision making at the school level. It is recommended that in case a school determines they are not able to successfully implement the required health practices for in-person or hybrid learning, they should implement distance learning for all students.
- Monitor the community and school-level impact of COVID-19 on a regular basis in consultation with public health to determine if adjustments are needed.
What are the criteria for the In-School Model?
Minimal to moderate community spread is occurring, but the impact on the school community in terms of confirmed cases among students and staff is relatively small. Sporadic cases may be occurring, but in general each confirmed case can be traced to a likely source of exposure and where all or most close contacts can be identified and excluded in the school setting. Staffing is assumed to be sufficient to continue in-person instruction. This planning scenario also assumes that contact tracing can be completed quickly and that all or most close contacts can be notified and excluded within 24 hours of being notified of the confirmed case. Most extracurricular activities may be held, provided they follow current public health guidance.
What are criteria for the Hybrid Model?
Moderate to substantial community spread is occurring, and there may be a higher degree of impact on the school community with multiple confirmed cases among students and staff. There may be higher numbers of confirmed cases over shorter periods of time, and/or clusters of cases identified within classrooms or the school community generally, however all or most close contacts can still be identified and excluded in the school setting. Staffing is assumed to be sufficient to continue in-person instruction, but measures including overall capacity limits are needed to allow for strict social distancing that further mitigates the risk of transmission. Testing capacity is generally assumed to be high enough that symptomatic individuals can access testing as needed from local clinics and asymptomatic school staff and educators who are close contacts are prioritized in state testing guidance.
- The number of students and school staff who are absent or who are sent home with influenza or COVID-19-like illness reaches approximately 5% of the total number of students and staff in a school within a single week.
- A significant community outbreak is occurring or has recently occurred that has the potential to impact staff, students, and families served by the school community but has not yet resulted in increased cases within the school setting.
A school may consider using a hybrid learning model after a distance learning period was required due to high levels of viral transmission in the school or local geographic community. The hybrid model could be used as a bridge to safely move back toward the model of in-person learning for all students. For example, a school could operate using a hybrid learning model for 2 incubation periods (28 days) and carefully monitor for any additional clusters of confirmed cases of COVID-19 before transitioning back to a full in-person learning model.
What are the criteria for the Distance Learning Model for all students?
Substantial, uncontrolled community spread is occurring and/or there is a significant degree of impact on the school community with multiple confirmed cases or large scale outbreaks occurring among students and staff. This planning scenario also accounts for situations where staffing may be impacted to the degree that a school is not able to offer in-person instruction. In general, implementation of a distance learning model should occur for a minimum of one incubation period (two weeks) when there is evidence of substantial, uncontrolled community transmission or significant levels of illness in the school setting.
- A distance learning only model could be considered for short periods of time if confirmed cases are identified but contact tracing and notification of close contacts in the school setting cannot be completed within 24 to 36 hours. This short-term use of distance learning may allow schools to coordinate with local and state health officials to complete contact tracing and develop a clearer picture of the COVID-19 situation impacting the school while supporting continuity in learning.
- Multiple cases are identified within a short time period (e.g., several cases in one week or within a 14-day time period) that occur across multiple classrooms or activities and a clear connection between cases or to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 cannot be easily identified.
- A significant community outbreak is occurring or has recently occurred (e.g., large event or large local employer) and is impacting multiple staff, students, and families served by the school community.
- Substantial, uncontrolled community transmission is occurring at the county-, regional-, or state level, and there are multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students and/or staff.
Do in-person families need to prepare in case we move to distance learning?
Just as we do for snow days, each family of an in-person student needs to have backup plans for childcare, supervision and helping students with distance learning. This will help you and your child transition more easily if the need arises. NS will provide school age childcare to
How will we handle Back-to-School Night?
Instead of a regular Back-to-School Night event, NS will hold a drop off day on Tuesday, August 25 for school supplies and paperwork from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Will NS Online Students have a different school supplies list?
Both our in-person and Online students will need the same lists of school supplies. The online learners will still need items to complete their work at home. Please find the 20-21 School Supplies List here
Will students have technology devices?
NS will survey data from families to determine if students have a device and internet access at home for distance learning purposes. NS will provide school-issued devices to families in need before the school starts.
My child is signed up for Online Learning in NS. When can we expect more details about it?
NS will provide more details the week of August 24, 2020. This will include:
- Guidance on expectations and daily schedules
- Details about our online learning platforms and instructions on how to use them
- Week of August 24, online students will be invited for Benchmarking and fall NWEA assessment.
- Families can hold in-person (by appointment) or virtual orientation with the teacher(s).
Will NS Online/Distance Learning look like distance learning did in the spring?
In the spring, NS delivered an emergency plan. During summer, NS team has put a lot of effort in professional development and planning into making NS Online more in-depth based on the feedback we received from teachers and families.
Teachers will partner with parents to guide students along as they work through their learning. There will be some teacher facilitation and some independent student work, with a combination of virtual one-on-one meetings, virtual group meetings, live class sessions and pre-recorded videos.
Can NS livestream the learning in the in-person classrooms for the students at home?
- Online and in-person learning are fundamentally different methods of instruction.
- A teacher would not be able to effectively meet the needs of the students watching at home in this format, who would just be passive observers.
- The most proven, effective methods for online instruction allow the teacher to provide dedicated time and feedback to the online students to make sure they are engaged with their learning.
- Livestreaming in person classes creates legal, ethical and privacy issues.
How much time and work will NS Online require from students and their parents?
All students will need to complete daily assignments. Students might need help from a family member to complete/oversee their work. Each student will need a different amount of time to do their daily coursework.
Will student in NS Online still take tests?
Yes, in addition to NS regular assessments (NWEA & Benchmarking 3 times/year), these students will also take state tests (ACCESS for ELLs, MCA). Online students will be invited to the school (by appointment) to take the tests.
Will attendance be monitored on Distance Learning/Online days?
Yes, teachers will take attendance to ensure each student is present. Please review the Attendance part of the Distance Learning Plan.
What do I do if my child is sick and can’t attend in-person/online classes?
If you select Online Option for your child, this will not count as an absence as long as the assignments are completed. Please arrange for additional time if needed. If you select the in-person option but then your child is ill or must quarantine for 14 days, these will be excused absences. As for other types of absences, families should follow the regular guidelines NS and call/email the school to report the absence so it can be marked as excused. (Nasha Shkola Attendance Policy)
How can families get food for their children in Online Option?
NS will have bagged meals available for pick-up. To arrange for meal pick up, families have to fill out request through the school office. School meals, whether eaten at school or home (i.e. lunches picked up during distance learning), will not be free for all students. Students will pay for meals if they do not qualify for free meals
Will parents need to help students who attend NS Online?
Yes, this option will require the student’s parent to help facilitate their child’s learning. This will be a partnership with the teacher, who will provide guidance and instruction.
May we switch from in-person to NS Online or from NS Online to in-person partway through the quarter?
We must ask everyone to commit to their choice for the entire quarter, so we can be sure we have enough teaching staff for both the in-person and online programs.
How will school be grading my child in Online program?
Just as with in-person, NS teachers will assess students working online. All students will receive quarterly grades per school grading policy. Teachers will record grades in JMC. All students will receive report card on the quarterly basis.
How will I know how my child is doing in their online schoolwork?
Parents will receive weekly progress reports from teachers via email, and parents may schedule verbal communication and meetings with teachers as needed. Parents of the middle school students can view their grades on the JMC Parent Portal. We will have virtual parent-teacher conferences in the fall and in the spring.