NPS Mandatory Survey & FAQ Update

Hello Newton South Families,

As many of you know, the School Committee voted YES to the NPS Hybrid Return to Learn plan on August 14, 2020.  Many of us watched the meetings, discussions, office hours and chat comments in the last 2 weeks. We now have to digest, assess and make a decision in this difficult time.

COVID-19 has impacted each and everyone’s lives this past 6 months, and will continue to do so.   Given the last 6 months, we have all made decisions on what we are willing to do with the presence of COVID-19.  It’s a personal choice.

Attached below is the latest announcement from NPS about the Return to Learn Hybrid Plan and FAQs.

I hope your family stays well and safe, finds news ways to cope with our changing landscape, and we all continue to do our part, in and out of home with social distancing to keep our community safe and as we fight COVID-19 together.

May Chiu, co-President NSHS PTSO

August 15, 2020

Dear NPS Families,

We have received many questions related to the survey that went out last night. Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions.

How do I fill out the survey for more than one student?
To fill out the survey for more than one student, you may need to clear the cookies from your browser. For instructions, visit this link.

Is the decision I make on the survey binding?
We ask that you make the most definitive decision you can make right now. This information is essential for planning purposes given the complex task we are undertaking. Changes can be made on a space available basis as we always want to be as accommodating as possible and we do recognize that circumstances may change. You can find the survey link here.

Can I switch between hybrid and the Distance Learning Academy during the school year if our choice now does not work for my student or our family in the future?
Yes, you may switch from hybrid to distance and vice versa. However, given class size and scheduling challenges, there will be a transition period. This transition period could be between 3-4 weeks.

If the district moves from the hybrid model to the distance learning model, would all students come back together into one distance learning model?
No, if you select the DLA to start the year, your student will stay in the DLA even if the district shifts from hybrid to distance. You will need to request to transition out of the DLA to engage in the other model. This transition period could be between 3-4 weeks.

If I choose the Distance Learning Academy (DLA) now, is my student still enrolled in the Newton Public Schools?
Yes, your student is still enrolled in the Newton Public Schools. If your student is a senior they will receive all college application and guidance supports and will receive a diploma from their respective school.

Will the Distance Learning Academy be taught by NPS teachers?
Our goal is to have every student in the DLA taught by an NPS teacher. At the elementary and middle school level, students will learn from a pool of NPS teachers who do not return to in-person school. The teacher may or may not be from your districted school. At the high school level, every effort will be made to teach courses with NPS teachers. However, given the breadth of classes offered at our high schools, it may be necessary to use online platforms for some courses. If this is the case, we will provide opportunities for students to connect to NPS teachers. This information will be confirmed as soon as we know the numbers of students and teachers who will be in the different models.

Will students in the DLA “Zoom into” the classes taking place in person?
No. Teachers will not be teaching to in-person students and students on Zoom at the same time. Students enrolled in the DLA will have a separate schedule with separate teachers. Instruction will be delivered by teachers who are also in a distance environment.

If I enroll my student in the DLA, what will the schedule be?
The schedule will approximate the schedule laid out in the Return to Learn blueprint document for distance learning. You can find the proposed schedule here.

What is the proposed schedule for students in a hybrid model?
You can find the proposed schedule for the hybrid model here. The schedule provides the approximate times for the days in which students are learning in the school building and for when they are learning at home.

For elementary students, given the proposed 12:30 dismissal on in-person days, will childcare be offered?
Yes, we are working on a plan to provide childcare from 12:30 – 3:00 p.m. We are also working with our aftercare providers to provide childcare from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

My child is a student with disabilities. Should I complete the survey?
Yes, you should select the model that meets your student and family needs. Regardless of model, IEP services will be provided in full. In hybrid, we will utilize state guidance to identify ‘high needs’ students for more in person instruction as needed. In the DLA, a full educational experience is available, including inclusive special education services and specialized instruction. We expect to be making individualized schedule decisions for our high needs students in the hybrid and DLA models as identified through this survey.

If I do not select hybrid or DLA, what are my options?
If you do not select hybrid or DLA, you may choose to homeschool your student or you may unenroll them from the Newton Public Schools. If you choose to homeschool, you must file a homeschool plan with the district. Please visit this link for details. If you elect to unenroll your student, please contact your building principal as soon as possible.

Will masks be required in school buildings?
Masks will be required for anyone entering a school building. Very limited exemptions for serious medical issues will be granted. We are developing a specific protocol that will provide clear instruction on the type, quality, and fitting of the mask to be worn in school. This protocol will follow the most recent health data on the most effective and protective masks.

For more information about health and safety guidance in the schools, including quarantining and testing, please visit our Return to Learn blueprint document.

David Fleishman

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