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Colonial School District Reverses Course, Remote Learning Only To Start The Year

In a letter to parents, the Colonial School District announced that they will not offer face-to-face instruction at the beginning of the school year.

Letter below:

Good evening, I hope all is well with you and your families. I am reaching out to share an important message about the 2020-2021 school year.

After careful, thoughtful, and countless discussions, it has become clear that the Colonial School District will not be able to offer face-to-face instruction in our school buildings on September 8th. We have decided it is in the best interest of students and staff to delay the face-to-face option and only offer remote learning to all students grades Pre-K through 8 for the first six (6) weeks of the school year. This allows for learning to begin for all students on September 8th and allows our teams the time they need to finalize our preparations. This decision does not affect our plans to start the school year remotely at William Penn. We are sorry that we could not satisfy the preference of those parents and staff who selected the face-to-face option to start the school year. This decision does not affect our plans to start the school year remotely at William Penn.

This decision did not come lightly. Our instructional and operational teams spent the summer working tirelessly to develop plans that we called “The Safe Return To Schools,” or SRTS. Those plans included using federal emergency funds provided under the CARES ACT (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) to purchase building signage, as well as face masks and thermometers for every student, along with an abundance of sanitizing supplies. We rearranged classrooms so students would be socially distanced, we modified offices and work spaces to ensure that our employees would be safe in their work environments. We made plans to safely deliver meals to classrooms and to safely transport students to and from school using social distancing guidelines. Our custodial staff was prepared to meet guidelines to sanitize necessary areas in schools every 15 minutes to two hours.

As we received updated guidance and the virus resurged, we modified our plans so frequently that “pivot’ became a word constantly used by our teams. Unfortunately, just this week, we came to realize we just could not ensure the safety of everyone in time to start face-to-face instruction on September 8th. Still, we remain determined to do everything possible to make the SRTS feasible for students and staff on October 19th.

Fortunately, our instructional team has developed a robust remote learning program called the Colonial School District Virtual Academy. I encourage all families to review the link below for details.

Colonial School District Virtual Academy
https://docs.google.com/…/13dCmtOOG65remIS6exxIavGjer…/edit…

We realize the CSD Virtual Academy isn’t the first choice for some of our families, but we ask for your understanding. This was a tough decision to make. We know our teachers and students miss each other, and our students miss the educational, social, and emotional support that schools provide in a traditional sense. In the coming weeks, we will provide information to those who wish to contact school counselors if students appear to be struggling emotionally during their extended time away from school as they know it.

We will have a device distribution and material pick up prior to September 8th. Those dates will be announced. If you need a chromebook or any technical assistance to support your student in remote learning, our IT team is ready to assist you at http://www.colonialschooldistrict.org/technology-help/.

As always, we promise to keep you informed. I am certain many of you will have questions. At this time we may not have all those answers, but we will have more information in the coming weeks. We are still working through and fine-tuning our processes. Please continue to monitor Colonial Clippings, social media and our website at www.colonialschooldistrict.org.

We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we adapt to the rapidly changing environment that is caused by this pandemic.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jeffrey Menzer
Colonial School District Superintendent

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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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