Saturday, June 27, 2020

An Alternative Plan for Fall 2020

Dear FCPS School Board and Leadership,

The current conflagration surrounding your proposed plans for this Fall suggest that some different ideas could be helpful. Here is one for secondary schools:

Monday: Virtual synchronous: periods 1-8
Tuesday: In school: Cohort A periods 1-8 
Wednesday: In school: Cohort B periods 1-8 
Thursday: Virtual synchronous: block periods 1-4
Friday: Virtual synchronous: block periods 5-8

Note: The above reflects input from a teacher who pointed out that having a cohort in school on a Monday causes several issues.

  1. 4 days of synchronous instruction for every student
  2. Teachers only in building two days/week
  3. Easy to pivot to either all virtual or all in-school
  4. More time to clean schools
  5. Frees up secondary schools so elementary schools could theoretically take more space. I am not an elementary education person, so I will leave the "how" of that to others.
Part of the challenge your current plan presents for secondary school is that it is SO awful for students. Two days of synchronous instruction is simply insufficient. 

Another challenge of the current plan is that it exposes teachers to risk 4 days/week. My plan reduces that to 2 days. Another idea is to have teachers with medical issues be fully virtual, with an Instructional Assistant in the room to facilitate the in-class technology while the teacher is virtually present via video. Note that with the proposed plan above, this would only have to be done for Monday and Tuesday. 

I know that you are being inundated with complaints and suggestions and pleas from various fronts. I am not trying to solve a problem for my kid. I'm much more worried about a) the many students who really need more synchronous, guided instruction, b) the teachers who are worried about their health, and c) the families who are torn by two options they know will serve their students poorly.

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