July 12, 2020
Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,
Each week, we will be providing a Return to School Committee Report. This 4th edition of the weekly report includes information about bus transportation, information on planning with Chartwells for school lunch and updates from the three Return to School sub-committees.
Bus Transportation Information
Many districts are struggling with having enough buses to transport students to school. Adding buses or bus runs is very expensive and will be considered, only if absolutely needed. For our elementary schools, if we apply our walk zone consistently, we may have enough buses to transport students outside of the walk zone while keeping the numbers of students on buses consistent with current guidance. For the GMS/SHS buses, we still have too many students who live outside the walk zone and have not yet opted out of bus transportation - yet these buses have historically only been half full. We ask that all parents complete the opt in/opt out form [https://forms.gle/JHkzqZ64WxqNLcrx7]. We will be sending further details about transportation to families in a couple of weeks. For now, the info below may be helpful:
Families who live in the walk zone will be expected to make arrangements for walking or driving their children to school. We are hoping that groups may organize walking school buses.
The bus company has developed cleaning protocols between bus runs.
Principals will be developing secondary drop off points and will be streamlining procedures.
The group of students on the bus is considered a pod. It must remain constant but it doesn’t need to be the same pod as a classroom pod.
Students will have assigned seats.
We are working with the childcare programs in Smithfield to see if they will be able to provide transportation. If room remains on a bus, we may be able to transport students there but we cannot have students on 2 different buses. Bus pods must remain constant.
Students will wear masks on buses.
High school students who have a parking pass cannot also have a bus pass.
School Lunch Planning
School lunch will be available this year. In order to meet the needs of different age students, protocols and schedules were developed across all three school levels, elementary, middle, and high. Protocols consider physical distancing, use of PPE, cleaning protocols, food safety standards, recycling of food and packaging waste, and scheduling.
Update from the Subcommittees
Leadership and Communications Subcommittee
The Leadership and Communications Subcommittee scheduled a second Parent Forum for Tuesday, July 14th at 7:00 p.m. (https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/813375837) and a second Staff Forum for Friday, July 17th at 9:00 a.m. As part of the Parent Forum, the subcommittee created an online form for parents to submit questions ahead of time to be discussed during the forum. The questions focus on the topics of the physical setup of the classrooms, bus transportation, and distance learning. These questions and their answers will be distributed after the forum.
The subcommittee is currently monitoring the responses to the Bus Transportation Survey that was sent out to families on July 3rd and reaching out to families that have not yet responded.
Instructional Core and Social-Emotional Learning Subcommittee
The Instructional Core and Social-Emotional Learning Subcommittee has completed a distance learning plan that incorporates the feedback received from families. Schedules and protocols for in-person instruction have also been developed. The subcommittee has drafted a professional development plan for teachers and staff and has identified social-emotional and mental health supports for staff and families. The following protocols are complete:
Assessing student's learning progress and loss
Accounting for learning loss
Assessing student engagement
Testing, grading, report cards, attendance, and promotion
Continuation of academic and social-emotional supports
Continuation of special education services
Operations and Resources Subcommittee
The Operations and Resources Subcommittee continues to research and order personal protective equipment (PPE) to prepare for the return to school. Protocols and schedules for safely providing lunch and breakfast to students at school were developed. A protocol for signage was completed and some of the signs have been ordered. In addition, the subcommittee has completed protocols for face coverings and for monitoring the cleaning of bathrooms and the restocking of supplies.
A presentation of key components of the Return to School plan will be presented at a School Committee workshop on Monday, July 13th at 5pm. All members of the school community are invited to attend. The workshop links are below.
You can also dial in. 1 866 899 4679 Code: 766-069-149
While the plan is due to RIDE on Friday, July 17th, our committee will continue to plan through the summer and additional reports to the community will be distributed each week.
Judy Paolucci, Superintendent
and Members of the Return to School Committee