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Kwak 08-11-2020 05:43 PM

Back to School: COVID 19 edition
I know we talk about this elsewhere but this is something that we're all dealing with and it's changing on an almost weekly basis so I think it'd be a good discussion. I think it'd be something worthwhile to talk about in the general forum too so that lurkers can find some value and maybe even put in some input of their own.

I'll start...

My two sons are of different intellectual abilities, so they go to two different schools. My elder son is 16 year old, is intellectually disabled and has autism spectrum disorder. My younger son is 13, is not intellectually disabled but has ADHD and is also not as socially outgoing as I'd like but understand given the family dynamic; I'm not particularly social either because of our family dynamic either.

Both my sons' school (as well as daily living) experiences are vastly different from one another so we have TWO different plans to consider...

(to be continued)

Captain Tuttle 08-11-2020 08:42 PM

So my daughter has some health issues this year, bad enough that we basically had her excused from school (she finished the year online, did as much work as she could and passed). She struggled with the online stuff.
My son did fine, he worked independently and got good grades

Now the school district. We have a pretty highly rated school district, one of the top in the State. They did their best in the Spring, it wasn't great but they tried. Throughout the Summer they've been pretty silent, but have responded to prodding from parents finally. It's going to be online for the first semester at least and then they'll revaluate.

Since my son did well online we kept him in the school district. We signed my daughter up with a Cyber Charter School (recommended by a good friend who has a rather large tutoring business). We figured that this Cyber Charter has multiple years experience doing this online stuff so at least they have a stable system unlike the District which was just cobbled together. She'll also be going to our friend's tutoring thing, she's done it for a couple of years already.

If things go back to normal next year we'll put her back in the District.

Kwak 08-12-2020 07:00 PM

Earlier this summer after polling parents our school district was planning on going back to school full time 5 days out of the week. 80% of parents acquiesced so the school district also gave parents the option of keeping their kids home and doing full virtual schooling if they chose. They put out a 40 page health and safety document. They were planning on putting markers on the hallway floors, spacing desks 6 feet apart and having lunch in students' home rooms. Lockers would have been off limits. Admission and release would be staggered by bus number.

It seemed questionable. After enduring virtual instruction with a dumbed down grading curve that eventually became a pass/fail in many subjects based on participation alone we wondered if this would impact our kids down the road. Participation from the students and their parents was not unanimous either. My son had a group project that sort of fizzled out because one of his classmates went off the grid. We got many emails from teachers reminding the kids to submit their assignments each Thursday, but again there was not 100% compliance so they altered the grading curve so that 50% was passing.

Then last week - after the number of reported cases began to skyrocket again into the triple digits for the county, including an increase of teenagers testing positive - the school board decided to alter the plan to just 2 days a week with the student body split so that there would be 50% capacity in the school buildings. It seemed prudent.

A couple of days later the governor suggested that high school sports should be furlowed until the spring - and apparently the school board got back to work. As of today there will be full virtual schooling for the first four weeks of the school year, switching to a hybrid in-person/virtual model as was outlined last week. The first day of school was also pushed back from August 26th to September 1st.

I'm curious to see what comes down the pike next week.

Meanwhile, my elder son is enrolled in a different (auxiliary) school operated by the county and caters toward special needs kids who are higher risk. They have their own plan but we also have an IEP meeting scheduled for Friday. I wouldn't be surprised if they go partially virtual, but we'll have to wait and see.

irie feeling 08-13-2020 12:56 PM

Post too long... had to log back in...Post gone...All for the better I reckon.

irie feeling 08-13-2020 12:59 PM

The private school found the $$$. Parents dug deeper into their pockets and made donations to meet the goal.

Kwak 08-15-2020 05:05 PM

OK. The mainstream public schools pushed back the starting day to Sept. 1 and will be full virtual for the first month. They're taking a "wait and see" approach - probably because they know they can't do crowd control in narrow hallways.

Meanwhile, the county run auxiliary school my 16yo with autism goes to will be open 5 days a week starting August 31st. It's a smaller school with smaller class sizes, though all the students are high risk and have waivers against wearing masks. Staff will be wearing face shields, common areas will be used minimally; classes/lunch will be in the homerooms, etc. At the IEP we chose to have him ride to school in a private vehicle, arrive after everyone else and be dismissed an hour early. In the case of my son's specific type of low functioning autism, "social distancing" is par for the course.

GBDad 08-16-2020 01:54 PM

The 4 largest school districts in the state, including ours, has opted for a 100% virtual start to the year. Many of the suburbs in our area are going to try a blended model (split students into 2 groups, 2 days in school, 2 days virtual, Friday all virtual), or going in person all 5 days. Seems unlikely that any of the in person schooling is going to last very long. We're happy with their decision to go virtual. The spring didn't go great, but it was hastily thrown together and no one knew at the beginning how long it would last. They said that the virtual model will be much more interactive this time around. As in, "Log on at 8:30 for teacher instruction.....You now have an hour to complete this assignment....log back on at 10:00 to go over it."

We're also going to set up each of our kids with their own learning area, with a desk and computer so that when they are in that spot, they are "at school." Daughter is going into 3rd grade so I think she'll do well. Our son was going to start kindergarten, which so much of is socialization, learning how to go to school, etc., so we'll see how that goes.

I believe they are taking it a quarter at a time so they'll re-evaluate at 9 weeks to determine if they are going to start transitioning to in person classes. If they decide to stay virtual, they'll reassess in another 9 weeks. Our district has also cancelled all fall sports, "with hopes to play those sports in the spring."

We're just happy to now know what is going on. We were into August and still had no clue. State law is that you can't start school before Labor Day (a tourism issue - need their part time student workers to work the busy weekend) but this year with many of the tourist destinations closed or limited they are starting on September 1.

irie feeling 08-16-2020 11:39 PM

Welcome to homeschooling fellars!

Kwak 08-17-2020 05:24 AM


Originally Posted by irie feeling (Post 303127)
Welcome to homeschooling fellars!

Lol. I think the teacherís union will take exception to this being a permanent thing. Weíre going to end up with some sort of hybrid thing - hopefully on a more permanent basis.

Regardless, in a month teachers are going to have their cake and eat it too by being able to work 4 days a week while parents do the home school thing 3 days out of the week. In our district kids will be doing partial virtual with 2 days in school and the student body split in half so that the buildings are in use and the faculty gets paid.

As for what were supposed to do as parents, Iím trying to get a jump on things by starting the late summer wind down. No more late nights here. I need to call a family meeting though. We need to all be on board. My wife has had run of the house all summer for work and weíve had to keep quiet. We need to get that balance back so that we donít all burn out.

GBDad 08-20-2020 02:01 PM

Add North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Michigan State to the growing list of universities/colleges that have said, "Nope! These kids can't handle it or be trusted to do the right thing. Shut her down."

Iowa State University.....

A couple of school districts in our area rethought their back to school plans and are now starting entirely online.

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