YCSDigest - March 17, 2021Posted On: 3/17/2021
Expanded Hybrid Model & Timeline
The York County School Division is finalizing plans to move beyond the current Hybrid Model to a more traditional school schedule. In the Expanded Hybrid Model, eligible students enrolled in the Flexible Framework will attend school, in-person, four days a week. Students enrolled in the YCSD Virtual Academy will remain virtual and will continue to follow their existing schedules.
In the Expanded Hybrid Model, students in Cohorts 1 and 2 will attend school together four days each week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays will remain a Student Support and Independent Learning Day. We have found students are benefiting from having this day to receive additional academic and social-emotional support as well as time to complete schoolwork. In addition, teachers and staff use this time to develop lesson plans, other student supports, and professional development.
The division will implement a phased approach to enter this new stage of in-person instruction. Grades PreK-2, grade 6 and grades 9-12 will begin the 4-day schedule on Monday, March 29. Grades 3-5 and 7-8 will begin the 4-day schedule on Monday, April 12, following Spring Break.
School and division leaders considered several factors in developing this timeline, including revised state guidance, attendance review of students enrolled in the Flexible Framework, improving health and operational integrity metrics, and the implementation of additional mitigation measures.
Revised State Guidance
On March 9, the Virginia Department of Health released Revised Interim Guidance for Reopening PreK-12 Schools, including a new decision matrix for school reopening and phased mitigation that provides greater flexibility in opening school for in-person instruction to the maximum extent possible. According to this guidance “Open to the maximum extent possible means open to as many students as possible with mitigation strategies in place, including minimum distancing, universal masking, cleaning, hand hygiene and other strategies in place as recommended.”
As more students return to school, the division will continue to promote physical distancing, to the greatest extent possible, in each classroom based on the available space and the number of students present. Though combining cohorts to achieve the 4-day school week will result in distances of less than six feet in most classrooms, this aligns with the new state guidance recommending a minimum of 3-6 feet.
Flexible Framework Attendance
As we shared earlier this month, we are now tracking in person attendance, marked as “physically present” or “E PP” in Aspen. While nearly 80% of all students were enrolled in the Flexible Framework at the start of the year, the number of students attending in-person is significantly lower - especially at the high schools. With fewer students returning to the classroom along with the revised guidance, we are better able to combine cohorts and still maintain minimum physical distancing strategies within schools.
Secondary students (grades 6-12) who are enrolled in the Flexible Framework, and did not report to school regularly between March 8 and March 19, will be shifted to the YCSD Virtual Academy beginning March 29. Exceptions will be made for students who could not attend if they were required to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19 protocols. Schools will work to meet requests to return students to the Flexible Framework, but schedules, class size limitations and resources may affect availability.
Parents who transport their children to and from school are still encouraged to do so to support physical distancing on buses. Carpooling with the same families is also encouraged. Please be prepared for high traffic volume during arrival and dismissal times. If adjustments to arrival/dismissal times or procedures are necessary due to high traffic volume, schools will communicate those changes.
Specialty Programs Update
High school students enrolled in the School of the Arts, JROTC and regional programs such as NHREC and the Governor’s School will attend those classes in person at the designated location. Schools will provide additional information regarding regional program schedules and student support in the coming days.
Students participating in the gifted program will receive information about their schedules from the EXTEND center.
Preschool families will be contacted by their teachers regarding these changes.
We will provide an update on these next steps at the School Board meeting to be held at 7 p.m., Monday, March 22, at York Hall. This meeting is open to the public, though seating is limited due to physical distancing, and will be streamed on YouTube and YCSD-TV. We will continue to update our website with the new guidance and re-opening plans, so questions and comments should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.