December Back-to-School Reopening Task Force

TASK FORCE MISSION:
Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District
2020-2021 BACK-TO-SCHOOL TASK FORCE RE-OPENING PLAN OVERVIEW

Great effort was placed on a safe opening of schools this autumn only to see the District fall into an “Orange Zone” in November that precipitated a temporary closing. Remaining closed, with the prospect of re-opening again, means rethinking our approaches and opening a dialogue again with the public about how best to operate remotely in the short-term and long-term and when and how best to re-open. At this critical time, the mission of the 2020-21 Back-to-School Task Force is to examine the current issues, discuss options and challenges, and make recommendations going forward.

TASK FORCE FRAMEWORK:
To gain stakeholder and constituent input in our planning as a district, we actively solicit the contributions and ideas of as many of our partners as possible. To that end, this “Back-to-School Task Force” is charged with the mission above.

  • Each of the five working groups of the Task Force focuses on a particular element of re-opening, and each group generally divided into elementary school, middle school, and high school subgroups. The first meeting of subgroups is on ​Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at either 5:30 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. This is six months to the day that the first Back-to-School Task Force meeting occurred last spring. Like that meeting, this meeting introduces/re-introduces members to each other, review expectations, and kickoff important conversations on the topics below.

  • Each subgroup will be asked to
    (1) identify the primary areas that need to be addressed (​Issues​),
    (2) brainstorm options for addressing each issue (​Options​),
    (3) identify the constraints, problems, and complications of potential options (​Challenges​), and (4) propose the soundest potential solutions (​Recommendations​).

  • Subsequent meetings of each subgroup, if needed, will be determined by the members of each subgroup and the extent to which they consider their work complete. Conversations will be informed by an understanding of community standards and expectations, guidance from the New York State Departments of Education and Health, Westchester County Department of Health, and the federal Center for Disease Control.

  • The leadership of the groups and subgroups will then coordinate and, in conjunction with senior district leadership, collective bargaining units, and Board of Education governance, facilitate the implementation of Task Force recommendations.

TASK FORCE WORKING GROUPS, RESPONSIBILITIES, LEADERS, AND CONTRIBUTORS:

PHYSICAL RE-ENTRY GROUP
This group is responsible for reviewing the physical re-entry of students to our schools. Items to be considered would include staggered arrivals/dismissals, classroom seating and procedures, transportation matters, cafeteria procedures and school nutrition, gymnasium procedures, hallway procedures, etc.
Physical Re-Entry Group Leaders: Ray Renda and Mitchell Combs

Elementary Schools Subgroup Leader: Ivan Tolentino and Rosa Taylor
Middle School Subgroup Leaders: Patrick Swift and Joe Capalbo
High School Subgroup Leaders: Fortunato DiRenno and Luke Sotherden
Contributors:
All District and Building Administration, Director of Facilities, District and Building Safety Committee Representatives, Altaris

Consulting Group, Food Service Representative, Building Custodial Staff, Teacher Representatives, Parent Representatives, Student Representatives

INSTRUCTION GROUP
This group is responsible for considering and planning for all aspects of instructional practices and ensuring the continuity of learning for all students (general education students, special education students, English Language Learners, etc.).
Instruction Group Leaders: Dr. Colleen Carroll and Felipe Orozco

Elementary Schools Subgroup Leader: Felipe Orozco and Judy Diaz
Middle School Subgroup Leaders: Christine Rascona and Diantha Barone
High School Subgroup Leader: Luke Sotherden and Michael Ritacco
Contributors:
All District and Building Administration, Information Technology Staff, Parent Representatives, Teacher Representatives,

Student Representatives

MEDICAL GROUP
This group is responsible for considering the medical and public health needs of all members of the school community and for developing and implementing strategies to contain and mitigate health risks in the school environment.

Medical Group Leader: Jamie Kranidis

Elementary Schools Subgroup Leaders: Elizabeth Tutein and Elsy Gonzalez and Clara Reyes
Middle School Subgroup Leader: Christine Rascona and Joe Capalbo
High School Subgroup Leader: Juan Sanchez and Michael Ritacco
Contributors:
Director of Special Education, School Nurses, Open Door Representatives, Medical Director/District’s Physician, Altaris

Consulting Group, Teacher Representatives, Parent Representatives

MENTAL HEALTH GROUP
This group is responsible for developing and implementing protocols to meet the mental health, counseling, referral, and support needs of all members of the school community. This team will collaborate closely and stand ready to provide guidance and to address proactively the expected, ongoing, and emergent social-emotional and mental health needs of all members of the school community (general education students, special education students, English Language Learners, teachers, other school staff, etc.).

Mental Health Group Leader: Tatiana Memoli

Elementary Schools Subgroup Leaders: Judy Diaz and Bryant Romano
Secondary Schools Subgroup Leaders: Juan Sanchez
Contributors:
Director of Special Education, School Psychologists, School Counselors, School Nurses, Community School Coordinators,

Social Workers, Family Services of Westchester, Teacher Representatives, Parent Representatives

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES GROUP
This group is responsible for planning for the safe operation of all student programs that occur outside of the school day.

Extracurricular Activities Group Leader: James Ryan

Subgroup Leader: James Ryan
Contributors:
Director of Physical Education/Health/Athletics, Coaches, Club Advisor Representatives, District Music Coordinator, Carver

Center Chief Learning Officer, Teacher Representatives, Parent Representatives, Student Representatives

SCHEDULE OF TASK FORCE SUBGROUP MEETINGS AND TIMES:

  RESOURCES:

Microcluster Strategy Hot Spots: ​https://forward.ny.gov/
(Port Chester was formally declared in a Yellow Zone on November 6 and in an Orange Zone on November 11.)

Restrictions by Cluster Zone: ​https://forward.ny.gov/cluster-action-initiative
Westchester County Department of Health Coronavirus page: ​https://health.westchestergov.com/2019-novel-coronavirus

New Orange/Red Zone Guidance:

https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/12/guidanceforschoolsinredandorangezones.pdf

PCHS Instruction Task Force Meeting, Dec. 8, 2020

PHYSICAL RE-ENTRY GROUP

This group is responsible for reviewing the physical re-entry of students to our schools. Items to be considered would include staggered arrivals/dismissals, classroom seating and procedures, transportation matters, cafeteria procedures and school nutrition, gymnasium procedures, hallway procedures, etc. 

Physical Re-Entry Group Leaders:  Ray Renda and Mitchell Combs
Middle School Subgroup Leaders:  Patrick Swift and Joe Capalbo

Contributors:     All District and Building Administration, Director of Facilities, District and Building Safety Committee Representatives, Altaris Consulting Group, Food Service Representative, Building Custodial Staff, Teacher Representatives, Parent Representatives, 

 

        Topic                         Oct 19                                                     Thoughts  for mid Jan         Challenges & thoughts

Hybrid Continued

School used six doors for entry. Temperature taken before entrance. 

Maintain the same. Went very well. 

Parents are very happy with pick up and drop off.

Would like to see more kids in school but they know it is out of our control.

Weekly updates

School used text and voice calls.  Point to website

Love the texts. 

District needs to align the calls

Lunch Protocols

Students separated by poly carb dividers

Same

Students would like to sit at tables with their friends. Capalbo will work out. 

Parent tech tutorials 

Evening events at PCMS 

Please continue. Loved Veronica and the other guy, (felipe)

Move it to a site closer to down town. 

Testing students and staff for Covid

 

Shared tentative thoughts

We are adamant about not using the gym. My thought was auditorium stage or small gym. Even the hallway behind the auditorium.  Some asked for large tent outside.

New thoughts and ideas

Food

 

Parents felt food selection for students was not the norm.

 

PCHS Physical Rentry Task Force Meeting, Dec. 8, 2020

PCMS Physical Reentry Group Meeting, Dec. 8, 2020

TASK FORCE FOR PCMS INSTRUCTION

   
   

  • Social Component children seeing peers/interaction
  • Consistency with the hybrid during the three weeks prior to PCMS out
  • Parents would like more days for those that opt to be in the building-as many are keeping their children home
  • Goal to invite more students in more days
  • In a groove and we shut down-kids were attending
  • Nothing is ideal
  • Did not have hybrid long enough to know if pedagogically making a difference-management was already established-Good Model
  • If the model was not disrupted, students would have seen the consistency.
  • Parents:
    • If want to keep children home, it is personal preference nothing to do with school safety-rather the the dangers of the virus
    • If parents are sending students, they felt really good about efforts to keep students safe in the space, interactions, spacings, “very comfortable,” would like more days
    • Student felt awkward if they were in a space with only one other student in the small class sizes/generally felt good to always see other familiar faces-social interactions
    • Feedback about engagement and interaction between students in class and at home equally-”getting the attention that they need,” “A little confusion at first...not an issue to be concerned about.”
    • Issue: Imbalance of the scheduling creates issues with equity-Need to evening to classes
    • Chromebook issues-freezing, logging off and restarting computer, Help Desk is available, Techs repairing student chromebooks, swapping to send some devices out with repairs
    • Why the decision to have 30 minute periods-passing periods at school 2 minutes (not enough time for teachers to reset), at home 5 minutes, is there anywhere to obtain more instructional time…Look at how it would impact
      • Can the last 30 minutes be given back to the schedule to allow for more instructional time
    • Virtual learning-visual fatigue from being on the computer (teacher perspective) 5 minutes gives students a mental opportunity to get into the next period/ Parent once you take out the homework time, lunch, an hour off for lunch, specials-How many hours are these students getting instruction
    • Parent support of the schedule district has implemented in the fall-students having to keep to a schedule
    • 30 minutes is not enough-teacher view-suggestion for more teaching time
      • 42 minutes when we are back in hybrid
    • Homework times are used as extra help by some teachers (time can be utilized as extra help)
    • So many different schedules-too many to post-teacher put it on google classroom-confusing for students
    • Parent liked that they had until 1pm to pick up lunch ( hard to say what works for the community)
    • Sectionals potentially during homework time?? To not miss a core class
      • Children are missing one class once every 6 weeks
      • Clarify to parents

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Additional Comments Shared after 12/8:

Attendance impacts instruction and progress in learning- How can we improve it?

 

 

PCMS Task Force Instruction Meeting, Dec. 8, 2020

Extra Curricular Activities Task Force Meeting, Dec. 8, 2020

Take-away’s from the meeting:

  • There are no extracurricular activities at the elementary level at this time. 
  • At the MS & HS level, extracurricular activities have been slowly rolling out. 
  • It has been difficult to get things established with the changing of school models (remote to hybrid) 
  • Extracurricular activities leaders need to be flexible and establish new ideas and protocols to adapt to the safety guidelines. 
  • The school district in general will continue to offer whatever opportunities are possible within safe guidelines. 
  • Virtual clubs and organizations are being offered at this time. 
  • If in person opportunities are wanted, it will be easier to do them outdoors with less restrictive guidelines and better safety protocols. 
  • A fall interscholastic athletics season was successfully accomplished, however, they were not able to participate in post-season opportunities due to pandemic restrictions.

    What has gone well in regards to extracurricular activities?

The Extracurricular Virtual Fair at the HS was good, it connected kids with the clubs they were interested in and a place to find the Google Meet Links. 

  1. What do we need to improve upon in regards to extracurricular activities?

We need more virtual options.  Kids were coming up begging for my coding club and I was discussing with admin, but it didn’t get off the ground.  

Virtual options for the kids. 

Work with the PTO of the different elementary schools to put together after school activities like art, books and games.

  1. What do we need to keep in mind when planning extracurricular activities for the rest of the school year? 

-Student interest and guarantee to parents that things are safe and socially distanced. 

We need to keep in mind that families might be resistant to attending extracurricular activities due to safety concerns and concerns about social distancing.

-Access to the largest rooms is pretty crucial to guaranteeing that social distanced safety.  Music isn’t always feasible outside in winter.  Consistent access to the MS, HS, new gyms would be what the music department needs to function with small limited groups.

Jeanine Maiolini:
Here is my input from the Athletic standpoint

What has the school district done well in regards to extra-curricular activities?

  • Canceled all indoor sports and outdoor high risk sports
  • Mandatory masks provided for all outdoor activities

What needs to be improved on what we have already done?

  • Covid test for athletes and coaches in season so that they can play
  • Have event supervisors on site specifically to enforce mask wearing and social distancing when applicable 

What needs to be kept in mind when preparing for future efforts this school year in regards to extra-curricular activities?

  • Providing student athletes with the proper equipment so that shared equipment can be avoided if possible
  • Limit practice time to cohorts so that practice is working on individual improvement in small groups and have a rotating schedule (NOT ideal when dealing with team sports just a suggestion if its NO sports or limited practice time in cohorts).

Mental Health Breakout Group, Dec. 8, 2020

Click on the image below to view the Mental Health Breakout Group video

 

Back-to-School Task Force: K-5 meeting, Dec. 8, 2020

Click on the image below to view the video for Back-to-School Task Force: K-5 Winter 2020-2021

  

Task Force Meeting, K-5 Instruction, Dec. 8, 2020