With so many unkowns for the 2020-2021 school year, including school year start up, and the possibility of a 2nd wave of COVID-19 hitting partway through the school year, our superintendants have asked up to find a way to build our school setups with flexibility in mind. I'm wondering what other boards are planning on doing.
We've basically been given 3 scenarios of which we have no idea which one will happen in september since it'll depend on how things progress over the summer. We've also been told that things may change through the school year between these options.
Here are some of the issues that we're considering:
I would be interested to see what solutions that other boards have come up with, or are considenring
Has the Ministry given any updates on how attendance would be taken for classes that rotate between at home and in school sessions? For the students who are participating from home, are they participating in the same class session as the students at school? If everyone is technically being instructed at the same time, just some in person and some remotely, wouldn't the teachers be taking attendance for those who are joining online?
I'm envisioning sessions like our TUG meetings where some are in the room and some are online, but all are participating at the same time for the same duration. Or is the class truly split in two and both sections are working on the same curriculum but never participate in lessons together? In that case, is the time spent learning from home treated as a G day?
This could be different by grade level too. While I could see secondary students being online for the full school day, this wouldn't work for the lower elementary grades.
We're still waiting to find out more details with regards to how attendance would be taken, but with respect to the rotating groups we've been asked to treat them as two completely seperate group receiving instruction on alternating days. Our board is looking into the possibility of doing some time of in class camera so that students from home can follow along, but nothing is certan with respect to that. Even if some type of combination of remote learning and in-class learning happens, I can't see this being implemented in every class. Especially for elementary schools, I don't think that it would be realistic for kids to follow online classes for the entire school day, and we are still in the begining stages of testing this possibility, so the chances of fully rolling this out over the summer seem unrealisting. The other issue with this would be the need for every classroom to be streaming the camera feed, which has a real possibility of causing network performance issues.
Just a quick update for other boards looking at school year setup in light of the ministries announcement pour 2020-2021. I had a call with Sherry, Margo and Lise to discuss some options to keep things as flexible as possible with regards to class setup and the need to look into having rotating groups of students. They seemed to be in agreement that setting up classes as normal and using school groups to identify students in different rotation groups would provide the best option at the moment, since it already integrates into attendance.
At our board we're looking to create two groups for each school (Cohorte A & Cohorte B) and assign student to those groups. Since not all teacher would have access to the group because you can only assign one staff member to it, we are going to have the school secretaries do the bulk attendance for these groups. They can even do some of it in advance say for the entire week up front. Then the classroom teachers will be able to do their class attendance as normal to fill in the blanks.
We are still waiting on the ministry however to find out how exactly to take attendance with all of the various possibilities.
With respect to getting this rotating group data to our transportation consortiums, Sherry and Margo are looking into the possiblity of adding a flag on the school groups to tag them as transportation groups....either that of adding an option to interfaces to select groups to include as part of the extract. This way we could ideally include this extra data for transportation companies.
Nothing is for sure yet, and Sherry said if they are able to do it, it likely wouldn't be available until the scheduled august release time frame, but we're hoping that things go well.
It's also worth noting that there is manual management of these groups that need to be done, and that if a student transfers or departs that they don't automatically get removed from these groups. Our plan is to develop some sort of validation reports to help school better manage this.
Figured i'd share in case it helps other boards
As promised during the TUG meeting here are the steps for technical side of setting up the COVID cohort groups and sending the details our 3 transportation consortiums.
I've also uploaded a copy of our scripts below. Please note that this was built around the needs of our boards and our transportation consortiums, so please make sure to read everything over and make sure that you understand it before using it. I also recommend trying this in a test environment first. We also give no guaranties and take no responsibility of issues that may arise if you decide to use this in your environment. You know the standard disclaimer stuff. If you have questions though, feel free to reach out and i'll do my best to help as time permits.