Friday, February 19, 2021

Dear Sherwood Middle School Families,

As we work to prepare for return to in-person instruction on April 5th, we want to provide you with some information that will give you a greater understanding of the two instructional programs that we will offer for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. We are using this FAQ format, with the hope to communicate the particulars of the two options available to students and families and allow for quick access to those specific components. You will receive a survey that asks you to determine your choice for your student’s instructional program (In-Person Hybrid or remote learning via the Sherwood Cloud Campus) for the remainder of the school year. We hope you find this information helpful in making your decision.

What are the two programming choices being offered for our middle students?

The two choices are:

  • In-Person Hybrid – This model will provide onsite instruction for all 6-8 grade students, rotating on an A/B schedule. Students will be assigned to the A group or B group, and alternate between onsite days and asynchronous days (non-live learning at home) throughout the week. For example, students will be onsite for two days and asynchronous for three days for one week; the following week they will be onsite for three days and asynchronous for two days. Students will remain in stable cohorts of under 100 students (the same group of students they share classes with). Each cohort will be designated a large, well ventilated space to eat lunch when they are onsite and disinfection protocols will be followed in between lunches.
  • Sherwood Cloud CampusThis model is essentially a replica of what all students have been participating in so far this year. Like students in the hybrid model, students in the Cloud Campus will alternate between synchronous and asynchronous coursework.  It employs a Zoom link for live teaching and interaction via a screen with the teacher and classmates. Like our current Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) classes, our Cloud Campus utilizes the Canvas learning management system. This model would require families to continue to pick up supplies at scheduled times and days. 

My student(s) is currently enrolled in the Sherwood Cloud Campus. Can I request a change to an In-Person Hybrid Model?

Maybe, pending physical capacity at the school building, and based on state guidelines that require a minimum of 35 square feet per person in each learning space. If students change to In-Person Hybrid, it is possible their schedule may change in order to accommodate this request. If several families request a change in class placement, there is a possibility that we will not be able to serve all students in-person. Staff will conduct a lottery to allocate the limited in-person slots in a systematic manner should the need arise.

My student(s) is currently enrolled in the In-Person Hybrid. Can I request a change to the Sherwood Cloud Campus?

Yes, if a family decides that they are uncomfortable with the idea of returning to in-person school and would like to commit to online instruction through the Cloud Campus for the remainder of the year, they are more than welcome to transition to that model. 

Will I be able to keep the same teacher if I move to the Cloud Campus?

Usually, our Hybrid and Cloud Campus models are taught by the same teachers so it is unlikely your student’s schedule would change. Although a small number of classes could experience changes, all — or almost all — of your student’s teachers will remain the same. However, while their teachers will remain the same, if your student moves to Cloud Campus or remains in Cloud Campus, the times that their classes meet will change. Cloud Campus students’ schedules will have their live meetings for classes spread over a two day rotation. Some classes will meet on an A day and some will meet on a B day, so that every day there is some live instruction for Cloud Campus students. 

On what date will the SMS In-Person Hybrid start and will all kids start at the same time?

We anticipate that the first day with students will be April 5; however, we will be conducting orientations for each grade level, likely starting with 6th grade. Once the details of grade level orientations have been finalized, we will communicate them out with all families. 

I heard that school will not look like “school” if my student returns to In-Person Hybrid.  Can you explain what that means?

If you elect for your student to return to in-person school, it is important to know that it will look and feel different from what we remember about school pre-COVID. Here are the main features of this option that will be different than what we’ve come to expect:

  1. All persons will be required to wear masks – students, staff, and guests – for the entire time that a person is on district property. Per the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance, “students who abstain from wearing a face covering, or students whose families determine the student will not wear a face covering during On-Site instruction must be provided access to instruction. Comprehensive Distance Learning can and should be provided when this decision is values-based. However, additional provisions do apply to students protected under ADA and IDEA.” In these cases, the District will consult with the student’s physician and will develop appropriate accommodations in conjunction with the family and school team. 
  2. Students will have an assigned seat that is approximately 6 feet (to the maximum extent possible) from their neighbor as per the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance.
  3. Students will have an assigned point of entry and exit to be used every day based on grade level and means of arrival (bus, parent drop off/pick up, walk/bike).
  4. Upon arrival, every student will be visually screened for signs of ill health. Families will be required not to send students to school if there are any signs of illness..
  5. Anytime a student transitions, they will be required to either wash their hands or use hand sanitizer (i.e. upon entry, after bathroom and re-entry to room, prior to eating a snack).
  6. Students will spend the majority of their time in classrooms to minimize time standing in lines and minimize traffic in common spaces.
  7. Time for passing between periods will be extended and staggered to give students ample time and hallway space to get safely to their next class. Students will be guided to walk on the right side of the hallway.
  8. Students will be assigned a specific bathroom for their use and bathrooms will be limited to a particular number of users at any given time.
  9. Students will eat lunch with their cohort and when weather permits, have free time following lunch outside. They will be asked to wear their masks even when outside.  
  10. Although these cover the most significant changes, there are several others as well designed to keep students and staff safe.

What is the daily schedule for the In-Person Hybrid model?

Below is a sample student schedule.  Students’ schedules may vary slightly depending on their lunch time.

SMS Hybrid Sample Student Schedule 2020-2021
Time Period
8:45-9:00 Arrival
9:00-9:20 Flight Time
9:20-9:29 Passing/Stretch/Cleaning
9:30-10:10 Science
10:10-10:19 Passing/Stretch/Cleaning
10:20-11:00 PE
11:00-11:09 Passing/Stretch/Cleaning
11:10-11:50 Lunch
11:50-11:59 Passing/Stretch/Cleaning
12:00-12:40 Math
12:40-12:49 Passing/Stretch/Cleaning
12:50-1:30 Language Arts
1:30-1:39 Passing/Stretch/Cleaning
1:40-2:20 Social Studies
2:20-2:29 Passing/Stretch/Cleaning
2:30-3:10 Study Hall
3:10 Dismissal

I’ve heard the term “cohort.”  What is that?

Within the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance, a cohort is any group of students who will be in close proximity (more than a cumulative of 15 minutes per day) of one another. Students are assigned a cohort (under 100 students) based on their class schedule. These students are in the same cohort because they share many of the same classes.

Will my student be able to receive a school lunch and/or breakfast?

Students will have a lunch break each day they are on campus. Each cohort has a designated lunch space, separate from the other cohorts. Each lunch space is large enough to allow 35 sq. ft. of space between students and can be disinfected properly between lunches. We will continue to provide a free lunch and/or breakfast for those who choose to take advantage of this opportunity. Nutrition Services will post a limited menu closer to the start date of In-Person Hybrid school. Breakfast will not be served onsite. However, students will have the opportunity to take a free breakfast home each day for the following morning. If you think you will be interested in meals from the school, please share this on the survey so we can estimate how many meals will be needed each day.

Will I be allowed into the building?

Only “essential” personnel are allowed inside the building. This means that parents/guardians and volunteers will not be allowed into the building unless there is a need to pick up a student for illness, emergency, or another pre-arranged event.

Will all of the middle school students in my household attend school on the same days?

Yes. We are working to ensure all middle school students living at the same address are scheduled for onsite instruction on the same days. 

How will the students coming onsite each day be determined?

Classes will be divided into two groups (A and B) and alternate between onsite days and asynchronous days (non-live learning at home) throughout the week. Students will be onsite for two days and asynchronous for three days for one week, then the following week they will be onsite for three days and asynchronous for two days. 

What will arrival look like?

Students will enter the school through an assigned point of entry. Upon entry, the teacher/staff member will visually screen each student, direct them to either wash their hands or use hand sanitizer, and then have the student to go to their assigned seat. Only students and staff will be allowed into the building, and masks will be required. Any parent who walks their child to school will be required to wear a mask while on campus.  

What will dismissal look like?

Students will exit the school through an assigned door. We ask that parents not congregate on school grounds. 

How will I know if my child is eligible for transportation or if we are in the walk zone?

You can view the SMS Walk Zone map to determine if you live in a transportation or walk zone.

Can my child use their locker?

Lockers will not be available to students, as accessing them requires students to be in close proximity to one another. Instead, students may bring their backpacks with them to each of their classes.

Can my students stay on campus to use the recreational facilities with or without me present?

We ask that no students or families remain on the school grounds following dismissal for safety and cleaning purposes.

What if my child becomes sick or is injured during school?

If your child is injured while at school, the normal procedures will be employed – first aid applied and parent or 911 called when warranted. As always, we will provide the best care for your student. If your child exhibits symptoms of illness, the office will be called and a specific staff member will follow the protocols outlined in the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance. One of the primary features of this protocol is that an isolation room has been established in our front office area where any student who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will remain until a parent collects them.

How will I know if my child has been exposed to COVID-19?

The Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance has strict guidelines regarding maintaining contact tracing logs. The guidance requires that any time an individual spends more than 15 minutes with another person they need to be recorded on the contract tracing log. The typical exposure for the vast majority of our students will be with the other children in their class and the staff members assigned to that class. A major supplement to the Ready Schools, Safe Learners document is a protocol list for specific COVID-19 scenarios. This is the tool that the school will use to determine the appropriate response.

What happens if my child and/or their class has to quarantine?

All quarantines will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, relying on direction from the local public health authority and the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance. Students who are out on quarantine will be provided with comprehensive learning options per the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance, until they are able to return to school. 

What items should my child bring to school?

Students may bring a coat, a backpack, a water bottle, lunch, and their school issued chromebook and charger. Students should also bring a mask and any other school supplies needed (binder, paper, pencils, etc.). We ask that each item be clearly labeled with the child’s first and last name.

Will items be shared with other students?

Students will have their own supplies that will stay in their backpacks. If equipment is used for multiple groups of students, it will be sanitized between each group. As much as possible, we will designate separate equipment for each group of students. 

What will the sanitation of classrooms, restrooms, lunch areas, and school look like, in general?

Throughout the day staff members will wipe down frequently used touchpoints in all areas of the school. Students will wipe their desks at the start of each period as well.  At the end of each day, after students and staff have left, the building will be thoroughly sanitized as per Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidelines.

Hopefully, these answers provide clarification around plans for the return to In-Person Hybrid instruction and assist in your decision between that option and the Sherwood Cloud Campus. Please know that we are always willing to help and answer any questions you may have. 

With thanks,

Marianne Funderhide, Jake Healea, and Mili Wilkinson