The letter below was emailed to families on behalf of Superintended Dr. Marie Wiles on July 23, 2020.
Dear GCSD Families,
With summer approaching the halfway mark, I hope you have found some time for well-deserved rest and relaxation. But August is on our doorstep; I know that the start of our new school year and what it will look like is on everyone’s mind.
Last week we released some preliminary plans for reopening our Schools in September and on Tuesday evening we live streamed a panel discussion about those plans (you can view recording and slides of the event here). Thank you to everyone who sent in a question before the event, we received over 750. Your responses helped us design Tuesday’s discussion in a way that we hope addressed some of your questions and concerns about returning to school. Please be on the lookout for a similar event some time in mid-August.
As I tried to underscore during the presentation, our plan is still preliminary. While we have a framework for the opening of schools based on guidance from the Department of Health and State Education Department, the details of its implementation continue to evolve as new challenges come to light.
For example, on Wednesday, we discovered the need to adjust the plan for grades 8-12 at GHS. Rather than have students in grades 8-9 and students in grades 10-12 attend in person on separate, two-day alternating schedules, we will have half of all students in grades 8-12 in person on a one-day alternating schedule, which will match the 7th-grade schedule at FMS. This allows us to access shared staff between FMS and GHS and continue to offer all our courses based on the existing master schedule, something we couldn’t have done under our original plan. The adjusted model increases the frequency of students’ in-person contact with their teachers, and makes it possible for siblings in different grades at GHS to attend school on the same days. As part of this plan, 8th grade students will be clustered together in part of the high school building so that travel and contact with students in grades 9-12 will be limited.
The district is required to submit its plan to reopen schools to the State Education Department and the Department of Health tomorrow, July 31. We will post our plan to the district website as well. As we continue to fine tune the details of our implementation of the plan throughout the summer, we will keep you informed. Please feel free to continue to submit questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and reference the district’s reopening updates page.
In the meantime, the district needs critically important information from all families regarding the following:
- Your intent to send your child(ren) to school for in-person instruction per the district’s outlined plans. Grades K-6 is in person every day, and grades 7-12 is a hybrid of in-person and remote instruction.
- Your intent to have your child(ren) ride the school bus to and from school each day.
We will be gathering this information through the eSchoolData Parent Portal. The deadline to submit your election on these two questions is August 10, 2020. The district will email all parents/guardians on Monday, August 3 when we start accepting responses.
Thank you for your continued patience and partnership as we plan for the safe opening of school for all of our students.
Dr. Marie Wiles