April 21, 2021
Dear PS 321 Families,
I am very pleased to inform you that we finally have a definitive answer about our hybrid students going to 5-day-a-week school. We are going to be able to do this, beginning on May 4. As I had mentioned in a previous letter, we are going to need the time until then to move furniture, make new schedules, plan for lunch, etc. I know that many of you are excited about this move to 5-day-a-week in person school, and it will be so good to have the children who have been coming in part time—and those newly registered for in school learning– back every day.
Although I will write to you next week with more details once they are finalized, I wanted to let you know the outline of what we anticipate happening. First, the guidelines call for us to maintain 3 feet distance between children in classrooms, but 6 feet distance at lunch time when kids have masks off. Most days, children will eat lunch outside, each class supervised by their teacher or another staff member. Classes will be assigned two boxes to eat in which will allow for the 6 feet of distance. All classes will have a lunch time between 10:30-12:30.
During inclement weather, we will use the lunchroom, gym and auditorium for lunch. Two classes will be assigned to each room, and children will sit 6 feet apart from each other. Let’s all hope for good weather in May and June!
We will need to rework our cluster/specialty program, as well as our related service and intervention program for our children who are in the school building. We hope very much not to disrupt schedules for our all-remote students, and we will work hard to make only minor changes in those schedules. We appreciate that our remote classes have established wonderful routines and schedules, and, as much as possible, we want to maintain that for the children, families, and teachers.
In order to give all of us time to make sure that our rooms are set up in a way that safely accommodates double the number of children, we will have Monday, May 3, as a remote day for our hybrid students. All of our hybrid students will begin coming to school 5-days-a-week on Tuesday, May 4.
It is very important that families make sure that children’s masks fit properly, as with the increased number of children in each room, it is imperative that children’s masks remain on and over their noses at all times. In addition, we want to make sure that arrival and dismissal time is safe and manageable. It is likely we will have three arrival and dismissal times, with K-1 arriving at 8:45 and leaving at 2:05; 2-3 arriving at 8:35 and leaving at 8:55; and 4-5 arriving at 8:25 and leaving at 1:45. More details on this to come. We also urge all of you who have children coming into the building to complete the health screener in advance, either on your phone or a hard copy, as it is much faster to get kids into the building this way.
Part of our directive is to involve our Building Response Team, which includes various staff members, in planning for 5-day-a-week school. We will be doing a walkthrough with them to make sure we are complying with the new social distancing rules. Some of you have asked if hybrid school would be an option for families. It will not be. Children will either need to be in school full time or remote full time. A few of you have expressed some misgivings about the new 3 feet social distancing rules, but the only alternative to this would be for children to learn remotely. Although we anticipate that most of the hybrid children will begin full time in the building on May 4, we also understand if some families feel that they need to move children to remote. The sooner we know this the better for our planning.
Looking forward to working out the details of our plan for 5-day-a-week school and communicating these to you next week.
Thanks so much for your flexibility!
Liz Phillips, Principal