ATA Letter to Dr. Kelly

Posted: 
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Good morning Dr. Kelly,
 
Thank you for the information provided in yesterday's meeting.  I would greatly appreciate clarification and or further explanation in regards to the following:
 
Live streaming:
- The expectations were not clear.  Administration is recommending synchronous live instruction in which students at home would have a window into the classroom.  What was not communicated was the time period for that interaction.
 
- I mentioned that there were various platforms that could be utilized to achieve live/real time student engagement.  There is an opportunity to achieve this with a combination of prerecorded lessons and live communication platforms such as google hangouts or google classroom.
 
-An instructional model that creates a two way window into the classroom or home would infringe upon FERPA rights, relating to child privacy laws, rights to privacy, as it relates to having to provide that form of instruction at home, and observation guidelines as outlined in our collective bargaining agreement.
 
-As educators we understand the importance of student engagement.  The every other day in person model will go far to address that under these circumstances.  Providing at home students the opportunity to be logged on while instruction is taken place is a great way to increase student engagement, however I believe that we have opportunities to be creative in a manner that doesn't infringe upon the rights of students or create an environment for teachers to be vulnerable to actions resulting from an uncontrolled environment.
 
Temperature screening
- The use of an app for screening is a great idea!  It definitely provides much needed data to aid in the objective of keeping all members of our school community safe.  Even though it is recommended for temperatures to be measured at home, we have to take into consideration that there are factors beyond our control that may pose a danger.  The CDC recommends that temperatures should not be taken within 30 minutes of exercise or the ingestion of fever reducing medications.  I know that it isn't feasible to account for that.  However we must understand that the opportunity to provide for one's family can supersede having to keep your child home due to a fever. 
 
- Although having a fever is listed as a symptom of COVID-19, I do understand that it doesn't mean that you have the virus.  That being said, temperature screening is important because it normally indicates some form of infection and it increases your propensity of contagion.  In accordance with CDC guidelines, individuals diagnosed with symptoms should not return to school unless it has been three days since a fever has been present without the use of fever reducing medications.  Henceforth, having a fever is not a direct indicator of infection but it can lead to the spread of an infection.
 
- The recommendation of wall mounted temperature taking devices or hand held temperature recording devices is worthy of consideration.  Having temperatures read upon entering the school could be done by having students and staff scanned upon entry or there could be individuals designed to record those temperatures using hand held devices.  This wouldn't cause congestion and it could be done as students exited the bus.  It should be additionally noted that the presence of a fever not only makes a person a contaminant but compromises their immune system.  This would be a danger to those who are already at high risk.  The implementation of this additional safeguard would help to minimize student and staff exposure to infection. 
 
Cleanliness:
-Will cleaning logs be publicly posted so individuals are aware of when an area was last serviced?  The availability of this document is being requested to ensure that individuals will know not to use certain facilities until the next scheduled cleaning, if the opportunity to perform said cleaning was not accomplished by its scheduled time.
 
Block scheduling:
- It is being requested that the district stance on block scheduling be revised.  If the objective of the hybrid model is to provide as much in person engagement as possible and have multiple opportunities to support the social-emotional wellbeing of the students, seeing students every 4 days and in some cases every eight days would be counter intuitive.  In addition, it creates an equity disparity as students on the elementary level will receive in person instruction every other day.  In addition to the lack of frequency in which students will be seen, there is an additional inequity in regards to the seminar period on the secondary level.  Not only would the seminar not be available to all students, since students can choose where they want to go, some teachers may be overloaded if students can enter a seminar remotely in absence of a seminar student cap. 
 
Behavior protocol:
- Please communicate the protocol for student non compliance of social distancing protocols.  Normal means of engaging the student would not work because we wouldn't be able to come into close proximity of the student in order to ascertain the reasons for student behavior.  In an effort to ensure student and staff safety, expectations and protocols should be clearly communicated to all stakeholders. 
 
Staff Accommodations: 
- Will there be information, prior to the beginning of the school year, that addresses the protocol for the submission of teacher accommodations as it relates to health and or child care concerns?  
 
PPE:
-Thank you for your willingness to consider the use of additional PPE options as it relates to teacher safety while also addressing the need for the students to take mask breaks.  I would like to request an additional consideration.  The use of plexiglass desk shields for students and or teachers would provide additional protection for both parties.  It can provide extended opportunities for mask breaks and aid in the implementation of small group instruction.  
 
Training:
-Will there be time, outside of the superintendence days, that will be dedicated to classroom set up and training in order to provide our students with the best educational experience upon their return?  Due to the district reconstitution, many staff members are teaching on grade levels or in content areas in which additional time for training and preparation would be beneficial for rigorous instruction to take place using this hybrid model.  If the state has or to your knowledge is considering waving the 180 day requirement, maybe we can use time in September to address this.  We may not have had that opportunity when school was shut down, but this would be an opportunity to truly prepare so we can adequately evaluate and implement best practices.
 
Thank you very much. I look forward to your response!  
 
Be well and stay safe!

 

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