So… what’s next for the GPS re-opening plan?

As I mentioned in a previous post, the School Committee, having received the HVAC evaluation and report for the school buildings, has reiterated its support for the district to move to Phase 2 of its re-opening plan.

In case you’ve lost track (or never knew in the first place), we are currently in Phase 1, which is remote learning plus some ad hoc in-person opportunities. Phase 2 is described as follows in the plan:

Phase 2 (Remote Learning + High-Needs learners)
(Approximately 2 weeks. Begins when Phase 1 readiness for in-person learning is completed and dependent upon public health data in consultation with Board of Health.)
Phase 2 includes all services in Phase 1, plus:
a. High-needs learners return for in-person instruction​*​. Students attend full-time or on a cohort model depending on social distancing guidelines (space available basis.) High needs learners include:
​ ​i.​ ​Students enrolled in substantially-separate special education programs
​ii.​ ​Beginning English Learners (WIDA 1 & 2)
b. Consideration for other high-needs students (e.g. WIDA 3& 4, other students with disabilities, homeless students) for additional in-person services. Students in this model will attend on a space-available basis in order to meet social distancing guidelines, with frequency as determined by the team. This model is staffing dependent.

At its last meeting in October, the School Committee voted to support a move to Phase 2 beginning November 9, pending receipt of the HVAC report.

So now we’ve got that report, and (as of this writing) it is November 10. What happens next, you ask?

Based on the discussion at last night’s meeting, here is the list (probably not exhaustive) of what needs to happen:

  1. Union agreement
  2. Opt-in/out from all affected families
  3. Figure out bus routes for families that opt in
  4. Figure out policies and procedures for student spacing, etc.

For point #1, the School Committee and Superintendent Harper report that negotiations are currently under way with the teachers’ union about the move to the next phase. There is the usual hand-waving about not being able to discuss active negotiations, and no details regarding when we might know more.

For #2, Pupil Services is apparently actively working with families who would be part of Phase 2 to determine which student might actually be attending whatever in-person services we end up with.

On the final two points, it sounds like there are a lot of moving parts around transportation. As they left it at the end of last night’s meeting, GPS’s Transportation department will use their professional guidance and best judgement to draft a protocol and bring it back to the School Committee.

It sounds like the number of kids involved in Phase 2 will be relatively small. Additionally, there was no update provided as to any discussion or planning beyond Phase 2. Next would be Phase 3, which is some in-person outdoor learning for grades k-4 and supervised remote learning begins for high-needs students at GMS and GHS.

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