Students in the Colchester School District’s (CSD) grades K-5 will start having more days of in-person instruction beginning next week.
The district has announced plans to bring back its elementary students for four days per week through a phased-in approach set to start Oct. 19 with kindergarten and working up grade levels.
The plan only applies to the students currently enrolled in the hybrid style of learning and does not include those who are in the CSD’s fully-virtual academy. Wednesdays will continue to be remote for every student in the district, that being a day necessary for teachers to plan and hold team meetings during the transition period according to a letter recently sent to families from Superintendent Amy Minor.
“Our highest priority is to bring students back in a way that will allow us to maintain the state’s health and safety requirements,” read Minor’s letter. “Doing this safely and with a high degree of quality is a complex task that requires extensive thought and planning. It is critical that we take the time to get this right.”
Kindergarten: Beginning on Monday, Oct. 19, all kindergarteners will attend school in person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. They will learn remotely on Wednesday.
First Grade: For the week starting on Monday, Oct. 19, all first graders will follow their assigned hybrid schedule on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of that week. Beginning on Thursday, Oct. 22 and Friday, Oct. 23, all first graders will attend school in-person.
Second Grade: Beginning on Monday, Oct. 26, all second graders will attend school in person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. They will learn remotely on Wednesday.
Third Grade: Beginning on Monday, Oct. 19, all third graders will attend school in person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. They will learn remotely on Wednesday.
Fourth Grade: Beginning Monday, Oct. 26, all fourth graders will attend school in person on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. They will learn remotely on Wednesday.
Fifth Grade: Beginning Monday, Nov. 2, all fifth graders will start attending school in person, four days a week. However, there is no school on Tuesday, Nov. 3, so for their first week, they will attend in person on Monday, Thursday and Friday and will learn remotely on Wednesday.
Minor’s letter said the phased-in approach allows the district time to evaluate and adjust logistics such as arrival and dismissal, lunch preparation and delivery to classrooms, supervision of recess and outdoor mask breaks, acquisition of additional personal protective equipment and necessary furniture such as desks, and allotting additional time for hygiene routines such as regular handwashing.
According to Minor’s letter, grades K-5 are being given priority to expand their days of in-person learning by the Vermont Agency of Education as those students “are most likely to benefit from in-person learning and least likely to become infected with or transmit the virus that causes COVID-19.”