Return to School Plans: Middle School
Dear middle school students and families,
As I shared with you on Thanksgiving day, I am so proud and appreciative of the work that Villa middle school students and faculty are doing remotely. They have been persevering, adapting and innovating during remote learning and, I will note, doing so, all things considered, very successfully. That being said, remote learning is not our preferred or the most effective model for teaching and learning.
Since the start of the school year we have been reflecting on and having conversations about what the return to in-person learning would look like in the middle school. However, none of those conversations have been as fruitful and exciting as those that took place on Monday and Tuesday of this week. We are concerned about the state of the pandemic and rising COVID activity numbers. We all want to return to campus and in-person learning - and know we need to do so safely. We need to be cautious regarding safety protocols and the numbers of older students in the building at one time. We also need to be even more focused on what students need: connection, social-emotional support, hard and soft skill development, and excitement about school and learning. To accomplish all of these goals, school, when we return to campus, will no doubt look different. Initially, there will be changes to the number of days students are on campus per week, how we structure our classes, and potentially, how and where students and teachers are placed. But we are envisioning a change as an opportunity to give students what they need with a blended model of in-person and remote instruction.
While we will continue to refine the logistics over the next few weeks, I wanted to share an overview of the plan. Please use THIS LINK to access the timeline of our current, target start dates and plans for the middle school. It is possible that the dates or plans could change based on state or county requirements.
We have been working on the logistics and making adjustments as new information and recommendations are shared but there are still countless details to work out in order to meet all of the health and safety guidelines and protocols: do we need to stagger arrival and departure times and/or update our attestation procedures? What additional coverings do we need to secure in order to fully take advantage of our outdoor spaces during the rainy season? What will lunch look like, etc. The days in January after the break will prove invaluable as we plan and we are excited and confident that we will be able to work out solutions to these details.
One important factor in our planning, as we look at student and teacher assignments and numbers, is knowing who will be returning to campus. We understand that there are some students who, due to personal circumstances, will not be returning to in-person learning for the 2020-2021 school year. We will be focusing on their experience as well but we need to know how many students that will be in order to appropriately plan. To help us with this, please complete this short survey, HERE, indicating your inclination for blended (in-person and remote) vs. fully remote learning. Completing this survey will not commit you to either model at this time. When I share out more details after our January planning, I will, at that point, reach out for a firm commitment to your choice.
It is very important to note that in order to have MS students back on campus, all members of the Villa community must commit to all health and safety guidelines on this webpage to keep our community safe and well. Before students arrive together on campus in January, please know that I will follow up with you regarding our safety and health requirements. In essence, we expect all families to monitor themselves and their children for illness every day, to quarantine and get tested if someone in your house is sick and to quickly communicate your family health and travel information directly to Ms. Padilla in the main office. Additional health and safety details and reminders will be forthcoming. Thank you in advance for your close attention to the safety guidelines.
Thank you for your continued partnership and perseverance. We look forward to seeing as many Villa middle school students on campus as are able in 2021.
Mr. Joseph and the Middle School Faculty/Staff