Dear Parent/Guardian of a Liverpool Central School District Elementary Student,
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Liverpool Central School District has made adjustments to our instructional models by using data, collecting feedback, and working with various groups and individuals in the learning community. I would like to thank everyone for your understanding as we have worked our way through the uncertainty and frustration of wanting school and life in general to return to normal.
Guidance from the Onondaga County Health Department (OCHD) has been recently modified. The Liverpool Central School District is now changing our model to take advantage of these modifications in guidance to better meet the needs of our students. The OCHD modification that most impacts the model of instruction is the reduction in student social distancing from six feet to three feet with a mask and barrier. This gives us the ability to have students return to in-person learning five days a week. As we adjust our instruction plan, some of the original tenets of our plan will remain the same, while others will change significantly or be removed all together. It is important to recognize that the timeline of completely returning students to our elementary schools remains extremely fluid. We control some variables of the return of students, while other areas continue to be completely detached from the district and coupled to Onondaga County and/or the State of New York. One thing is certain, ongoing testing in our buildings has shown that there is minimal risk of acquiring COVID-19 in our schools. As we move to have students attend in-person learning five days a week, we will continue to implement the mitigation measures that have been in place since the commencement of the 2020-2021 school year. The aforementioned reasons allow me to confidently and strongly encourage our D Cohort students to return to in-person learning for the remainder of the school year.
As you can imagine, having classrooms filled with in-person learners will force teachers to shift their time, energy and focus to the students in front of them. Below I have outlined the necessary changes that will be implemented to meet the needs of our students. The Liverpool Central School District is committed to providing the best free and appropriate education we can for every child. I anticipate many of these changes will be seen as a positive by most. That being said, it needs to be recognized that we are not able to adjust our model to meet the unlimited number of unique family circumstances that we currently have in our district.
To increase the number of students who will attend in person five days a week, we will follow the modified social distancing guidelines from the OCHD, three feet social distancing and a barrier. Onondaga County has graciously agreed to purchase the barriers for schools in the county. Having the barriers purchased by the county relieves the financial burden from the district, but is likely to increase the time it takes for barriers to be delivered to districts and deployed in classrooms. For this reason, students will begin to transition to in-person learning five days a week sometime after our scheduled spring break. I realize this is vague, but the exact date students will shift from our current hybrid model to five days a week is contingent on the delivery of the barriers. An announcement of the exact date we will return to in-person learning five days a week will be made to families as soon as the district receives notification of the exact date of delivery of the barriers.
As we make this transition, one of the most notable changes we will make is the elimination of the hybrid model (two days in person and three days remote). After reviewing the survey results collected from families in February, it became clear that an extremely small percentage of families (< 5%) were not interested in having their children attend additional days if given the opportunity. At this point, families will need to either have their children attend in person five days a week or switch to the D Cohort (totally remote). After we have made the transition to five days a week, all students in the D Cohort will remain in the D Cohort for the remainder of the school year. It is anticipated that there will not be any additional opportunities to return to in-person learning.
The second substantial change involves our D Cohort students. To date, elementary teachers have done a remarkable job of simultaneously balancing in-person students and remote students, partially because of the relatively few in-person students in any given classroom. With classrooms returning to nearly full capacity, teachers will need to place more of their focus on the students attending in person. Therefore, students in the D Cohort may not have the real-time access to their teacher and classroom that they have experienced over the course of this school year. For the most part, students in the D Cohort can expect ELA/Reading, Math, Science, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and Special Area Subject (SAS) lessons to be asynchronous. It is also inevitable that we will have additional staff and students isolated and quarantined over the remainder of the school year. These instances will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and the building principal will decide how instruction will take place for students during their required isolation/quarantine period.
I have given the elementary teachers the flexibility to use any of the following models to instruct students who remain in the D Cohort (remote only) in ELA/Reading, Math, SEL and SAS. It should be noted that it may be necessary to reassign D Cohort students to a new teacher.
- Teachers may record their live lesson and push it out the next day for D Cohort students to view. An adult (it may not be the teacher) will check in with students each day.
- Teachers may record a separate lesson video and push it out at the same time as the in-person lesson. An adult (it may not be the teacher) will check in with students each day.
- Teachers may allow students to attend class virtually. The teachers may allow the students to interact with the classroom or ask that the student mute themselves during the lesson. An adult (it may not be the teacher) will check in with students each day.
- Special Area Subjects (Phys. Ed., Art, Music, and Library) - Each area will provide a weekly asynchronous lesson for each grade level.
- Teachers have also been working with building principals to create other instructional models to meet the needs of their students.
A recap of this communication:
- Data shows that our schools are very safe. We will continue with our current process and procedures to mitigate COVID-19. Students currently in the D Cohort are encouraged to transition to in-person classes.
- Students in the A, B, and C Cohorts will return to in-person learning five days a week in the weeks following our scheduled spring break. A date will be announced to families as soon as the Liverpool Central School District receives an exact delivery date for the barriers.
- When students transition back to five days a week, the A and B Cohorts will no longer be offered. Students must attend in person five days a week or switch to the D Cohort (remote only).
- Students in the D Cohort may not have real-time access to the teacher and classroom. Asynchronous lessons will be provided to D Cohort students for ELA/Reading, Math, Science, SEL and SAS. In addition, an assigned adult (it may not be the teacher) will have daily check-ins with the D Cohort students.
- Principals will decide how students that become isolated/quarantined will be instructed during their isolation/quarantine period.
Lastly, we are very excited to have students returning to in-person learning five days per week. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s principal or the Elementary Education Office.
Executive Director of Elementary Education
Liverpool Central School District