Revised Plan for Hybrid/In-Person Learning

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Dear APS Community,

To better serve our students, we are announcing updates to the return-to-school plan, including revisions to the elementary and middle school hybrid/in-person instructional models and adjusted student groupings for Return Levels 2 and 3. While many students have had a successful start in distance learning, we all recognize that students learn best in school, and are following guidance from the Virginia Department of Education and public health officials to transition our staff and students back into classrooms safely. We are adjusting our hybrid/in-person learning model to ensure that all students will receive four days of synchronous instruction regardless of their grade level or learning model preference.

The changes to the elementary and middle school hybrid/in-person learning model and student groupings for Levels 2 and 3 students are detailed below. In addition, we are extending the time frame for Level 2 families to update their preferred instructional model in ParentVUE to Wed, Oct. 21. Watch my video message, summarizing the changes, here.

All Dates Contingent Upon Meeting Health and Safety and Operational Metrics
The dates listed for beginning in-person learning for each level are projected dates that we are working toward, and are subject to change based on health, safety, and operational metrics. APS will not proceed through the various levels without those measures in place. The APS COVID-19 Dashboard is updated every Friday to provide details on those metrics and track progress toward each projected Level and return date.

REVISED HYBRID MODEL Elementary Hybrid Model – Elementary school students who choose the hybrid model will participate in two consecutive in-person instruction days per week, and two consecutive days per week of synchronous distance learning with their teachers. Mondays will continue as asynchronous learning days. We will make every effort to keep classes and teachers together; however, some changes may be necessary based on the outcome of the staff surveys and family selection process.

Instead of assigning students to report in the A/A or B/B group by last name, students will be assigned by grade level, with PreK, 1st, 3rd, 5th grade students attending in-person on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (A/A) and Kindergarten, 2nd, 4th grade students attending in-person on Thursdays and Fridays (B/B). This model allows students and teachers in each class to remain together on both in-person and distance learning days, allowing for synchronous distance learning.

Sample Schedule:Monday (All Hybrid and Full-Time Distance Students):

  • Teacher Planning/Asynchronous Distance Learning + Additional Synchronous Small Group Instruction Sessions for Some Students

Tuesday/Wednesday (A/A Hybrid Students):

  • All PreK, 1st, 3rd, and 5th graders who select the hybrid model attend school in person.
  • Each class would be divided into two classrooms (to achieve required physical distancing) and receive instruction by their teacher and an assistant.
  • The assistant will monitor students while they work, as the teacher delivers instruction, rotating from one classroom to the other.
  • All Kindergarten, 2nd and 4th grade students who select the hybrid model will participate in distance learning, including synchronous and asynchronous instruction, with their assigned teachers.

Thursday/Friday (B/B):

  • All Kindergarten, 2nd and 4th graders who select the hybrid model attend school in person.
  • Each class would be divided into two classrooms (to achieve required physical distancing) and receive instruction by their teacher and an assistant.
  • The assistant will monitor students while they work, as the teacher delivers instruction, rotating from one classroom to the other.
  • All PreK, 1st, 3rd and 5th grade students who select hybrid model will participate in distance learning, including synchronous and asynchronous instruction, with their assigned teachers.

Students who select full-time distance learning will continue as they are now, with a possible change in teacher, depending on the result of staff and family surveys. For hybrid model staff and students, benefits are:

  • Teachers will be able to deliver synchronous instruction on days that were previously identified as asynchronous, since the grade level will move together as a unit and the class and teacher remain together for hybrid in-person and distance learning.
  • English Learners (ELs) and students with disabilities (SWD) will receive four days of synchronous instruction.
  • Teachers will not have to create two separate lesson plans for the in-person students and the students at home.
  • Classroom teachers in the hybrid model will report to school two days a week, instead of four days a week, to limit in-person interactions with students and other staff.

Middle School Hybrid – Middle school students will follow the high school model communicated several weeks ago. Middle school students will receive synchronous instruction four days a week, Tuesday-Friday.  Students who select the hybrid model will attend school in person two days a week. Teachers will instruct both groups of students using a blended learning model. This may mean that some students in school will receive instruction from a teacher who is remote; these students will be monitored and assisted in person by classroom assistants. Based on parent and staff survey results, there may be some sections with only virtual students participating in them, which may result in a schedule change.

High School Hybrid – As communicated earlier this year, high school students will receive synchronous instruction four days a week, Tuesday-Friday. Students who select the hybrid model will attend school in person two days a week. Teachers will instruct both groups of students using a blended learning model. This may mean that some students in school will receive instruction from a teacher who is remote; these students will be monitored and assisted in person by classroom assistants. 

REVISED STUDENT GROUPING LEVELS AND TIMELINE
APS will adjust student grouping for the return levels, to accommodate the adjustments to the hybrid model, and to ensure that students with IEPs and English Learners are able transition with their general education peers. The dates listed below for each phase are projected dates that we are working toward, and are subject to change based on health, safety, and operational metrics.

  • Level 1: Projected Return Date – Mid to Late October (No Change)
    • Students with Disabilities (SWDs) who require direct support to access distance learning.
  • Level 2: Projected Phased Return – Beginning Mid to Late November (NEW)
    • All PreK-5th grade students, including PreK-5th grade English Learners and SWDs with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), and high school students enrolled in selected Career & Technical Education (CTE) courses at the Career Center.
    • Students phase in, in groups, according to the following projected timeline:
      • Starting Week of November 10*: PreK, Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students, plus CTE students
      • Starting Week of December 1: 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students begin
    • All projected dates are subject to health and safety and operational metrics and may be changed as necessary.
  • Level 3: Projected Return Date – Mid-January (NEW)
    • All APS middle and high school students who selected hybrid, in-person instruction
    • Specific phases to be announced at a later date

* Wed, Nov. 11 is a holiday, so students on the Tue/Wed schedule will be in person one day that week.

Extending the ParentVUE Selection Window:
These changes require that we extend the window for families to make selections in ParentVUE, so we will extend the deadline for Level 2 families to update their selections to Wednesday, October 21. Details on the selection process and how update your selections in ParentVUE can be found online.

Additional details regarding this plan can be found online here. I will present the modified plan to the School Board this Thursday, October 8, as part of the 2020-21 School Year Monitoring Report.

We are committed to providing a quality learning experience whichever path you choose. Thank you for your support, and for keeping an open mind as we move forward.

Sincerely,
Dr. Francisco Durán
Superintendent