Return to Headlines

Superintendent Smith Update Dec 15, 2020

December 15, 2020

Newport School District Families,

In my last correspondence with you on November 2nd, I promised to provide an update on how our students would begin the new year. After much analysis and consideration of the work that has been done to keep our students safe at school, we will be phasing in our 7-12 students to on-site learning in a hybrid schedule. This decision is derived from many factors including no virus transmission thus far in the current K-6 hybrid schedule. That fact, coupled with the social, emotional, and academic impacts remote learning is having on our students, it has been decided that when our students do return from the holiday break in January, we will indeed pursue an on-site, hybrid schedule for all.

Some may be asking why are we returning now when we are experiencing spiking COVID cases in our community. Recent studies have shown that when schools implement strategies to mitigate the spread of the virus, there is very little transmission of the virus from student-to-student or student-to-teacher. As a district, we have strict protocols in place to limit virus transmission and we have observed other school districts, who are engaging in on-site learning, successfully navigate on-site instruction during the pandemic. In addition, our local health officials have stated that they have also observed very little school transmission because of the safety measures that have been put into place. For more information on our district’s safety measures as well as what we have observed from implementing them, please click here to see the January Phasing-In Plan.

While we are confident that we can greatly minimize the spread of COVID within our schools, there is never any guarantee that we will not have virus transmission. We do anticipate that we will have close contacts and that we will have to isolate a number of students and even staff over the coming months. We will continue to keep our students on site, however, if we do need to isolate a class or a grade level, we will do so in order to contain transmission but not disrupt district-wide on-site learning. If you are not comfortable having your son or daughter engage in on-site learning, we do have remote options for you.   

Please read the information below carefully, as it outlines how we will conduct the phasing in of our students in the month of January. In addition to this communication, Newport High School and Sadie Halstead Middle School will be sending out written communication regarding your student’s “new” schedule. Much work has been done to coordinate older and younger sibling schedules to accommodate any daycare our older students may have been facilitating within their families. 


K - 12 Phasing-in Plan:  January 4th - January 29th

K-6 STUDENTS:

ALL K-6 students will continue with the Hybrid A/B schedule, Monday - Thursday. This hybrid schedule will require students to attend on site two days each week and work the remaining days remotely using work packets, Canvas, and Zoom. Teachers will notify parents whether their child has the A or B schedule.  

  • A Group will attend on site every Monday & Tuesday, except for the week with no school on Monday, January 18th.  This week, A Group will attend on Tuesday (1/19) and WEDNESDAY (1/20).
  • B Group will attend every Wednesday & Thursday, except for the week with no school on Monday, January 18th.  This week, B Group will attend on Thursday (1/21) and FRIDAY (1/22).
  • Typically, there will be no students on site on Fridays (with the exception of B Group scheduled to attend on Friday, 1/22).

(Preschool will maintain the current schedule: Monday-Thursday, morning session = 7:45am-10:45am/ afternoon session = 11:45am-2:45pm)

7th & 8th GRADE:

All 7th & 8th grade students will begin on Monday, January 4, with the Hybrid A/B schedule, Monday - Thursday. This hybrid schedule will require students to attend on site two days each week and work the remaining days remotely using work packets, Canvas, and Zoom.

  • A Group will attend on site every Monday & Tuesday, except for the week with no school on Monday, January 18th. This week, A Group will attend on Tuesday (1/19) and WEDNESDAY (1/20)
  • B Group will attend every Wednesday & Thursday, except for the week with no school on Monday, January 18th. This week B group will attend on Thursday (1/21) and FRIDAY (1/22).
  • Typically, there will be no students on site on Fridays (with the exception of B Group scheduled to attend on Friday, 1/22).

9th - 12th GRADE:

All 9th - 12th grade students will begin Monday, January 4, with the Hybrid A/B schedule, Monday - Thursday. This hybrid schedule will require students to attend on site two days each week and work the remaining days remotely using work packets, Canvas, and Zoom. In October, when our students briefly returned to on-site learning, freshman and sophomores attended on Monday & Tuesday while juniors and seniors attended on Wednesday & Thursday. Our students will be on different schedules when they return in January.  You will receive a letter from the high school indicating what days of the week you will attend. Schedules were created taking into account classroom counts as well as days of the week younger siblings were also attending school. 

  • A Group will attend on site every Monday & Tuesday, except for the week with no school on Monday, January 18th.  This week, A Group will attend on Tuesday (1/19) and WEDNESDAY (1/20)
  • B Group will attend every Wednesday & Thursday, except for the week with no school on Monday, January 18th. This week, B Group will attend on Thursday (1/21) and FRIDAY (1/22).
  • Typically, there will be no students on site on Fridays (with the exception of B Group scheduled to attend on Friday, 1/22).

*We want to support all students and their learning needs.  Please contact the office, (509) 447-2481, with ideas as to how we can support your family at this time.

GRIZZLY REMOTE STUDENTS:

  • Students enrolled in the Grizzly Remote Connect program will continue to work remotely.

 

Phasing in Procedures and Protocols

Safety Procedures:

  • With K-12 students returning on Monday, January 4, we will continue to adhere to all of the safety procedures and requirements of our state. For daily arrival and departure of students, we will continue to utilize the same procedures that were implemented in October:  health screening at entries or attestation tickets signed by parents, physical distancing of 6 feet, and face coverings/masks required to be worn indoors.  

Transportation:

  • Transportation for K-12th grade students will begin Monday, January 4. Please remember that all students are required to wear a mask on the bus and that all students will be assigned a seat in order to track close contacts in the instance we have a student test positive for COVID.

Meals:

  • With K-12 students returning to school, we will offer both breakfast and lunch on site for your students while in school. Additionally, bagged meals will be offered at the end of your student’s A or B scheduling for days they are at home (if you would like to participate). Meals are offered free of charge to all students.
  • On site students will have the option to take home additional meals for the days they are not onsite. Group A will have meals available on Tuesday and Group B will take home additional meals on Thursday. (Please make sure your children know to bring these home.)
  • For our Distance learners or ANY child, ages 1-18, regardless of whether they are enrolled in the Newport School District, we will continue offering FREE weekly meal packs until the end of the school year. Meal pickups are every Tuesday starting January 12th, from 11:15 am - 12 pm, in front of Stratton Elementary. PLEASE NOTE: MEALS MUST BE PRE-ORDERED. Go to: https://www.newportgriz.com/Page/1505  (newportgriz.com -  Departments - Nutrition - “Meal Sign Up Form”) for additional information and ordering. You can also call Sheila Myrvang, Nutrition Services Director, at 509-447-3167 ext. 4521. Remember: all children on site and off, 1-18 years of age, receive free breakfast and lunch through June 2021.

This phasing-in plan will begin on January 4, 2021. Building principals will be sending out the Hybrid A/B calendar later this week. We are committed to keeping our students safely on site and if virus numbers decrease in mid- to late-January, we will be looking to increase our K-8 student’s time on site to all students Monday - Thursday. Unfortunately for our high school students, due to social distancing requirements, we do not anticipate increasing on-site learning beyond the hybrid schedule for some time. 

If you have any questions, as always, please do not hesitate to contact the Newport School District.  

Respectfully,

Dave Smith

Newport School District Superintendent