Dear Goodwater Families:
I hope you are enjoying a healthy summer with some time off for vacation and rest.
In this letter I would like to share some news regarding the start of school. Please remember, guidance and information from the Texas Education Agency and other state officials is constantly being revised and updated. The status of Covid-19 in Williamson County and other areas of Texas has spiked recently, and there is every possibility a new local, state, or federal directive may modify our plans.
At this time we have received guidance from the Texas Education Agency about attendance and funding but we are still awaiting guidance about health, safety, and operations. That guidance is critical to finalizing our plans.
First, I want to personally thank the many dedicated staff members who have volunteered to serve on and give input to our summer task force groups as we plan for reopening in the time of Covid-19, and with a renewed focus on social-emotional learning and equity and anti-racism work. Their efforts and the time they are spending is invaluable and critical to our success this year.
Although external influences can change our circumstances this fall, here is general some information that I can share about the 2020-21 school year.
- We will continue to focus on equity at Goodwater Montessori.
- We will strive to ensure policies and operations communications are clear and flexible to meet the needs of students, staff and families.
- We are assessing face covering requirements and hope to provide firm guidance after the Board Meeting on July 28th, 2020.
- Students are set to begin school on August 13, 2020. The school calendar is always subject to modification, but as of now no major changes are planned for the school year.
- We are seeking ways to assist families with equitable access to technology.
- We are analyzing space allocations and protective measures for social distancing throughout the school and within classrooms.
Delivery of Instruction Update
- We will have in-person classroom instruction in some form as long as we are allowed. The in-person classroom instruction may be combined with blended and distance instruction at home (hybrid).
- We will offer a choice of 100% remote instruction for students who need or want to learn at home.
- The learning location will be a 9 weeks-at-a-time commitment by parents (rather than semester or year).
Student Intention Forms - IMPORTANT INFORMATION NEED FROM YOU
We will be sending an Intention Form to all families next week. One form must be completed for each student. There will be a due date. This form will allow parents to indicate which learning model they prefer for each of their students, as well as other important information about access to technology, student learning support at home, and other needs the school normally provides for them.
Please note that parents are not yet bound by the option they choose in this form, but we need the most accurate information for all students for planning purposes by the indicated due date.
The commitment forms that will commit parents to an option for each student will be released closer to the beginning of school.
School Operations Update
Operations and procedures will be different for students and staff, we just do not know how different yet. These may include the following but are not limited to:
- Management plan for student arrival and student departure, possibly staggered
- Use of masks, face shields, gloves, other PPE equipment
- Temperature checks upon arrival for each student inside their vehicles
- Operational procedures for masks and other personal protective equipment
- Strategies for decreasing student occupancy in each classroom
- Strategies for minimizing the number of students in hallways and common areas
- Safe meal services operations
- Restroom safety
- Water Bottle Stations
- “Isolation Space” for sick children with accompanying personnel strategies and student isolation protocols
- New protocols for oversight of sanitation throughout the building including the addition of a janitor on sight with access to hospital-grade disinfectant
- Installation of plexiglass desk shields where needed
We understand that these changes may be uncomfortable and even upsetting to some. Students in a Montessori school belong at school with their Guide, Assistant, friends, and in their community. We all want to get back to normal life as soon as it is safe.
Please enjoy the break from school and stay safe. Weekly updates will continue each week to staff and families.