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UPDATE: Fall River School Committee approves hybrid model reopening, school hour changes, school calendar

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Superintendent Matthew Malone issued his team’s draft plan for school reopening that was unanimously approved at Monday’s School Committee meeting.

According to the draft, the Fall River Public Schools will be proposing a phased-in approach and will open on September 1, 2020 for 9 days of professional development and training for all faculty and staff. These days will be used to coordinate hybrid operations, safety protocols, technology distribution, and coordinating outreach and supports to students and families The first day for all students in every cohort will be Wednesday September 16, 2020. The draft states that all students will begin their first day of instruction remotely, allowing each teacher to have all of their students together on the first day, to set learning routines, explain the new COVID-19 safety procedures, discuss the 10-day hybrid model learning cycle, and to practice remote learning expectations.

Students in cohorts A and C begin in-person face-to-face instruction on September 17, 2020 for week one of the 10-day cycle. Week two of the 10-day cycle will begin on September 21, 2020. For most of the students (Cohorts C & D) the hybrid learning plan features a weekly rotation of in-person and remote learning, with each Wednesday designated as a fully remote day. During each two-week cycle:

•Cohort A will receive 8 full days of in-person instruction and two full-days of remote learning & self-directed inquiry.
•Cohort B will receive 8 full days of virtual instruction and 2 full-days self-directed learning, electives and enrichment instruction, and remote check-in with faculty
•Cohorts C and D will receive 4 full-days of in-person face-to-face instruction, four full-days of remote learning, and 2 full-days of remote check-in with faculty & self-directed learning.

Cohort A: Will include students who spend 60% or more of their learning day in substantially separate special education classrooms.

Cohort B: Will include students who (by way of parent/guardian) self-select into the fully remote virtual learning option, the Fall River Flex Learning Academy. These students will receive 100% of their instruction using an on-line virtual learning model. Parents/guardians will self-select this option using an on-line form in mid-August.

Cohort C & D: Will include students not enrolled in either Cohort A or B. These students will be divided into two groups and assigned to Cohort C or Cohort D. Siblings, families, and child care pods will be assigned to the same cohort.

In the hybrid model, students will alternate one week of in-person instruction and one week of remote learning with all students learning remotely on Wednesdays.

In person learning will consist of mask breaks, 6 feet of distance, and supplies that will not be shared.

Transporting students in the hybrid model, will employ the 3-foot seat distancing guidance offered by DESE.

FRPS is prepared to serve breakfast and lunch five days per week to all of students, including those working remotely and those participating in in-person instruction through a combination of grab & go and on-site food delivery.

FRPS will provide needed PPE (to include masks/face coverings), hand sanitizer, and other preventative materials to schools and classrooms on a daily/weekly basis.

Malone states that the goal is to open as safely as possible, with as many students as possible back in school for face-to-face learning. Malone used the results of a survey to parents as an aid in the decision making.

The plan also consists of an extensive safety plan involving cleaning and air quality.

The full draft plan can be found here.

In addition to the hybrid reopening plan, the School Committee also approved new school hours and the school calendar.

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