McCurdy Charter Schools released a proposed school reentry plan, which would have all students remote starting in mid-August until October and students grade 7 and up learning online until at least January.
McCurdy plans to move into Phase 2 beginning Oct. 1, with a decision made by Sept. 15. In this phase, grades 3-12 will be remote, with K-2 on campus in small rotating groups, with an option for parents to opt-out.
Phase 3 is scheduled to begin Oct. 26, with K-6 students entering in-person education and secondary students remaining online, with an opt-out option still available. Small group in-person learning will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
On Aug. 17, there will be a virtual open house where students can meet teachers and administration. The next day is a distribution of Google Chromebooks to every student and other materials, and has WiFi hotspots available.
Virtual classes will begin Aug. 19, with teachers helping students and parents access online materials.
Online classes will be provided on Zoom and Google Classroom. All instruction and assignments will be online.
All staff will work from campus beginning Aug. 12.
Research published by the Legislative Finance Committee showed that students of all ages suffered from the transition to online learning in the spring, with the biggest losses concentrated on the youngest students.
A full return for students in grades 7-12 will not be until January at the earliest, according to the reentry plan.
During a July 31 info session, McCurdy Director Sarah Tario said she expects virtual learning for secondary students to continue for a while, and they might still be remote through March or April 2021 or longer.
Daily attendance will be required for students in remote learning and grades will be given to all students.
“Students should treat the online learning environment as a classroom,” the plan reads.
The secondary school is shifting to a semester-based course load. Instead of taking seven courses over the year, each student takes four courses each semester, for eight classes over the year. Students will take each class for 1 hour and 15 minutes every day.
The reentry plans are pending Governance Board approval at a Thursday (8/6) meeting.
“As with any plan developed in this time of uncertainty and change, it is not a perfect plan,” the plan reads. “We cannot predict every eventuality or need. However, we have formulated a plan that we believe is flexible enough to adapt to the changes and needs of the continuing pandemic.”
Masks or face coverings will be required for anyone on campus until the Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revisit guidelines. The school will provide a mask to all students and staff.
According to the plan, hallways at McCurdy are too narrow for social distancing, and will be marked with one-way arrows. Drinking fountains will be turned off, and students are encouraged to bring a personal water bottle.
During the info session, Tario said that they may have students staying in the same classroom the whole day with teachers moving between rooms.
Every student will have a daily temperature check before entering the building, and will be sent home if they have a fever.
The plan says that staff who are sick may work from home “under some circumstances,” but advance notice is required and medical documentation might also be required.
Grab-and-go meals will be available every Monday through Thursday.
If a staff member or student is diagnosed with COVID-19, the school will close for two days for sanitation.
However, the CDC reports that COVID-19 is spread through individuals in close contact or potentially through airborne droplets, and that surface transmission is rare. Other studies have found that surface transmission of COVID-19 is likely impossible in any realistic situation. A person can be infected with the virus but not show symptoms or test positive for up to 14 days.
The plan does not make any mention of precautions specifically for high-risk individuals. While parents have the option to opt-out of in-person education by filling out a form, staff must provide medical documentation providing reasons that it would be unsafe for them to be on campus.
The plan also gives tips for parents to maximize the value of online learning, including making a special school space that is clean and comfortable, make your space comfortable, and keep the room clean. The full 64-page plan can be found on the McCurdy website at mcsk12nm.org.