South Butler Families,
I hope that you and your family have found an opportunity to relax this summer. Please know that the SBCSD leadership team is working hard to prepare for the start of the new year. Preparations have been based upon the information that you provided with our Enrollment Declaration Survey. Over 85% of the respondents (approximately 1,500 families) would like to send their children back utilizing the 5 days per week option, while 15% have chosen the opportunity to complete coursework remotely.
As we move into the school year, there are a few items that I would like to address for your consideration prior to the start of school:
- Superintendent Office Hours – Starting on Monday, August 10th, I will be conducting daily Google meetings to answer your questions and concerns. Meetings will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday-Friday, as well as in the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. These meetings will occur each day until the start of school. The meetings will be conducted through the Google Meet App, and meeting links can be found on our website.
- School Calendar - A school calendar change was made at the July Board Meeting. Both in-person and remote learning will begin on August 31st. This alteration to the schedule was made to assist with teacher training in preparation for the new safety measures and with the Edgenuity/Compass Learning platforms. It is important to note that even students who choose the 5-day option will be logging into the Edgenuity/Compass Learning platform to maintain familiarity with the program. Teachers will participate in beginning-of-the-year training and will be sharing all of the necessary information with your children during the first day of school.
- Masks - As per the July 1st Governor/Department of Health mandate, masks will be worn by all students and adults within all of our school buildings. No students or adults will be permitted within the schools without a mask. Exceptions will be made for students and adults with documented health concerns. If your child has a documented health concern, it is important to contact your building principal as soon as possible to schedule a 504 meeting to ensure that a written plan is developed prior to the start of the school year. Please note that a visor-type shield will be provided to all students and adults on our campus should a mask be a challenge due to health concerns. Local medical professionals, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the CDC have been consistently clear regarding the role of masks in reducing the transmission of the virus. In order for our schools to successfully open and to remain open, we must wear masks.
- Social Distancing – Most of us are comfortable with 6’ of social distancing, and 6’ has been the recommendation from the beginning of the virus. Health agencies remain consistent with the 6’ recommendation; however, most recently, according to health officials, wearing the mask does allow for closer proximity. The District is working to create conditions where 6’ between our students is possible; however, in many of our classrooms this may not be a possibility. Therefore, masks must always be worn while in school and on our buses.
- Transportation – If possible, we are encouraging parents to drive your children to and from school. We know that with your busy work schedule, driving may not be an option. Our normal bus schedule will be in effect, and adjustments to busing will be a possibility throughout the school year as needed. Social distancing on the school buses is not possible. Therefore, students will not be permitted on the school bus without a mask. Students will be sitting two-to-a-seat or one-to-a-seat when possible. When loading the bus, students will fill in the seats from back to front. We are attempting to reduce the amount of times students are passing each other.
- Ill Student/Staff Member – The PA Department of Health has assumed the responsibility of contact tracing. Certainly, the school will assist in supporting the Department of Health. The SBCSD will be contacting the Department of Health with any questions and concerns that may arise within the District. The SBCSD will also communicate any confirmed cases to the students, parents and employees of the District. The Department of Health will share insight regarding the need for quarantining with instructions related to how best for our District to proceed.
- Remote Learning - At our most recent Education Committee meeting, the remote learning option was presented to assist with the decision-making process of our families. We understand that this is a difficult decision for many of you. While some families remain undecided, it is important to spend time evaluating the remote learning option by clicking here. As you continue to weigh learning options, there are a few items to consider:
- Our classrooms are not currently equipped with cameras to make livestreaming lessons possible for our students. The only camera that exists in our classroom is the webcam in the teacher’s laptop. Classroom cameras may be considered in the future, but at this time students learning remotely will participate through the Edgenuity/Compass Learning systems.
- Learning remotely will look a bit different than it did this past spring.
- Secondary Learning - Students working remotely will be utilizing Edgenuity resources in grades 5-12, South Butler departmentally certified teachers will have specific periods built into their schedules and will be facilitating the program by conducting office hours and ensuring that students are mastering concepts. Teachers will be monitoring attendance and supporting student learning so that assignments are being completed and our students are on pace for course completion. Staff members will be providing assistance depending upon whole group and individual student needs.
- At the elementary grade levels, there will be several elementary certified South Butler teachers who will be assigned to remote instruction only. These teachers will be supporting and facilitating the curriculum found within the Compass Learning program. Teachers will be providing live and/or recorded lessons that reinforce challenging concepts for our students. At both the secondary and elementary grade levels, teachers will hold regular “office hours” in which students and parents will be able to check in with questions and concerns as needed.
I am certain that you still have many questions about the start of school that this letter may not have addressed. I encourage you to attend the Superintendent Office Hours as mentioned in the first bullet above and to ask any questions you may have. I will continue to communicate in written form, and I encourage you to utilize the District website for the most up-to-date information. I have appreciated your patience throughout the last five months. We need your ongoing cooperation to have a successful school year. If you have not already done so, please take the time to review the SBCSD Phased Reopening Plan, and let me know if you have any questions.
Respectfully,David Foley, Ed.D.