William Penn HS Will Begin School Year Remotely, PreK-8 A Mix For Colonial

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The Colonial Scool District has announced that William Penn High School Students will start the year with remote learning.

What you need to know:

William Penn High School (Grades 9-12) Plans

After much thoughtful consideration, Colonial’s Safe Return to School (SRS) workgroups have determined that William Penn students will begin the school year remotely. 

  • This decision was made based on the number of William Penn students, the guidance from the Delaware Department of Education, and the complexity of student schedules. 
  • Plans for fall sports hinge on decisions made by the DIAA (Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association).
  • Plans for Wallace Wallin and some of our other special programs are pending.

the SRS teams who have spent countless hours making solid plans for the best and worst scenarios because WE cannot say this enough–the safety of students and staff is Colonial’s top priority.

On  Jul 17, 2020 parents that have children in Colonial’s Prek-8th grade were notified that the would be given a choice of either Remote Learning or Face to Face Learning. Feedback was gathered through a survey that ended on Wednesday, July 22nd.

Presently, each school in the district has a team working on building-based plans because what works for one school may not work for another.  About 270 administrators, teachers, and staff are figuring out what a student’s day may look like in each of our Colonial schools based on the DOE guidance, district instructional, and operational workgroup recommendations, and survey information from parents.  Those plans include how instruction will be delivered, transportation, building entrances, meals being served, student movement throughout the day, and how social distancing will be practiced, to name a few.

More than 4,300 Pre-K to 8th-grade families who have already submitted their intentions for their children for this fall in the online survey.  This helped us further develop the district’s plans as they work to ensure the safety of staff and students.  Schools also have teams that have been tasked with making phone calls to households that did not respond to the survey.  Parents of high school students were not included in the survey since the SRS teams realized face-to-face learning was not a viable option to start the year.

Prek-8th grade Plans

  • Colonial is offering two options in Pre-K through 8th grade: Remote Learning or Face-to-Face Instruction
  • Parents who opted for remote learning were advised in advance that students are held to that expectation through the end of the 1st semester in mid-January.
  • At this point:
    • 39% of parents chose for face-to-face instruction for their children
    • 61% of parents chose for remote instruction for their children
  • Both approaches will be provided five (5) days a week and will hold similar expectations for teaching and learning.

Remote Learning (at home)

In order to offer families the opportunity for remote learning, we have developed a more robust remote learning plan and approach that mirrors the high quality instructional and learning expectations of face to face learning for students and staff.
This learning option is at home or from a non-Colonial location.
Students will be expected to actively participate each day in both Zoom and independent digital activities.
The schedule and plan for expectations varies as appropriate for the developmental age of students.
Regular attendance and grading of assignments are part of the expectations for participation.
If selected, students are enrolled for and committed to that option for at least the 1st semester of the school year. They will not be allowed to switch options for that semester.

Face to Face Learning (in Colonial School Building)
We understand that sending your child back to school is a difficult decision and we cannot emphasize enough that the safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. We will be following Delaware Department of Education guidelines in regards to social distancing, PPE, cleaning, and safety measures. We envision school looking a lot different in the fall than it has in the past. Students that opt into face to face instruction
Will be required to follow the guidelines prescribed based on their age and special needs.
Students will be placed in cohorts and have limited movement throughout the building. This would reduce their contact with multiple staff members.
Students would be spaced out appropriately in classrooms and staff would be wearing appropriate PPE.
Class sizes will be adjusted to comply with the distancing regulations provided by DOE.
All shared areas of the building would be off-limits for students and hallway movement would be limited.
Students would continue to receive their typical instruction as usual in the classroom.
Exploratory classes will be adjusted and look different than previously.
Transportation will be available to students following guidelines such as 1 child per seat to ensure safety.

Now that you have had an opportunity to review the options for the fall, the next step in this process is for us to gather more information from you.

  • If you DID fill out the survey:
    Someone from your child’s school will contact you to confirm your decision.
  • If you DID NOT fill out the survey:
    For anyone who was unable to complete the survey, a Colonial staff member will reach out to their best ability to get your feedback.

Any additional questions, the district ask you to email them by clicking here

The district is asking parents to remember all Safe Return to School plans are subject to change at any time due to the unpredictable impact that COVID-19 has had on our state and school district.

About Staff Writer

First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at desk@firststateupdate.com.

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