Monday, August 10, 2020

Franklin Public Schools: Executive Summary of Comprehensive Reopening Plan


The Franklin Public Schools presents this Comprehensive Reopening Plan to the Franklin Public Schools community after months of planning, using guidance from state agencies such as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Centers for Disease Control, and Department of Public Health. A District-Wide Reopening Task Force met in working groups to consider Health, Safety, and Operations; Teaching and Learning/Digital Learning; Personnel; and Whole Child Supports. Principals are working with Building-Based Implementation teams to plan for building-specific implementation, and coordination of the plan is occurring among administrators across the same level (e.g. elementary, middle). Survey data about remote learning in the spring of 2020 was reviewed in order to improve and develop a stronger remote model with which to open school.

Franklin Public Schools proposes to open in a predominantly remote model of instruction to start the 2020-2021 school year and phase into a hybrid approach throughout the initial fall months. During this time, groups of students will begin coming into school to experience instruction in a hybrid model of both in-person learning, two days a week and remote learning three days a week (grades K-8) and, at the high school, in-person learning one day a week and remote learning four days a week. Target dates (subject to change) include:

  • September 16, 2020 -- highest Needs students
  • September 30, 2020 -- High Needs Students, Kindergarten and Grade 1
  • October 19, 2020 -- Grades 2-3; 6
  • October 26, 2020 -- Grades 4-5; 7-8
  • November 19, 2020 -- High School

The District is preparing to support the reopening of school by developing Universal Health and Safety Practices, preparing the physical spaces, developing and delivering targeted professional development, acquiring new resources including technology and personal protective equipment (PPE), and funding additional staffing positions to support both the remote and hybrid instructional models.

Universal Health and Safety Practices will be in place for occupancy of our buildings by faculty/staff and students. All members of the Franklin schools community will be expected to wear masks/face coverings except if exempted for a documented medical or behavioral reason. Masks/face coverings may be removed during periodic mask breaks and when eating. Franklin Public Schools will aim for 6 feet of physical distancing, especially when masks are not worn. Three feet of physical distancing will be the minimum. Additional PPE will be used for distancing of less than three feet. Good hand hygiene practices (frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing) will be expected.

The physical spaces of Franklin Public Schools will be modified in order to accommodate the Universal Health and Safety Practices. Desks will be spaced 6 feet apart and facing the same direction. Shared equipment will be minimized. Traffic through the school buildings will be modified to be orderly and to limit interactions among adults and among smaller cohorts of students. Air circulation will be increased and UVGI filters will be installed in HVAC systems. Plexiglass barriers will be installed as an additional protective measure in smaller spaces.  Tents will be placed outdoors for mask breaks and other opportunities for staff and students to gather in a well-ventilated location. Windows will be open whenever possible. The Nurse’s Offices are identifying Medical Waiting Areas for students and staff who are suspected of possibly having COVID-19 and are present in school. Ample, developmentally appropriate signage will be posted in conspicuous locations around the schools to remind students and staff of the Universal Health and Safety Practices.

Staff members will engage in additional professional development in order to support the reopening of school. The first ten days of the school year will provide additional opportunities for our faculty and staff to learn and plan for the school year. Topics of this professional development will include Universal Health and Safety Practices, social-emotional well-being of staff and students, academic instruction in a remote and hybrid environment, assessing and responding to students’ SEL and academic needs upon return to school, and ant-bias education. Professional development will be reinforced throughout the school year in order to support educators implementation of this plan.

The District is using funding from various federal and state coronavirus relief funding opportunities in order to augment resources for reopening school. This includes the acquisition of PPE (e.g. masks, gloves, gowns, face shields, waste disposal bags) for faculty and staff to use. Additionally, the District will use this funding to augment its cache of Chromebooks so that students may experience remote and hybrid learning in a 1:1 environment. Internet capacity exiting our school buildings will be amplified by adding additional bandwidth to support video conferencing and live virtual instruction. The District will expand licenses and subscriptions for teaching resources and instructional software for District-approved materials, which will be curated into a District tool-kit and displayed on a “Landing Page”.

Funding will also go to support additional personnel in reopening schools. The District proposes to hire Digital Learning Integrationists to support remote instruction in the remote and hybrid models. Additionally, the District will hire additional Licensed Practical Nurses to support the anticipated additional health needs of the school community. In order to maintain healthy and safe school buildings, the number of different adults in school should be limited. As such, the District proposed to hire permanent building substitutes. The District also proposes to hire bus/school monitors who will assist in the supervision and enforcement of mask-wearing, physical distancing, and hand hygiene. Crossing guards may be needed if additional students are walking to school, given modifications to bus transportation this year.

This Comprehensive Plan should be considered a living document, which will be updated periodically as the beginning of school gets closer. We anticipate additional guidance, updated health data, and potential information about additional financial resources. Additionally, we will continue to learn as we implement during a very fluid situation. The community will remain informed through the District’s Communication Plan, involving periodic updates from the Superintendent and School Principals and the posting information on the District’s Reopening Website.

Find the full plan on the Town of Franklin page

Franklin Public Schools: Executive Summary of Comprehensive Reopening Plan
Franklin Public Schools: Executive Summary of Comprehensive Reopening Plan

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