Second Semester Plan
At the start of this unprecedented school year, Sycamore Community Schools set priorities to be nimble, flexible, and responsive to ensure the health and safety of all of our students and staff. Our commitment to these priorities remains unwavering as we prepare for the second semester.
After careful consideration and review of our Healthy Aves 2020-21 Plan, we will move forward for the second semester with no changes to our health and safety protocols, including adhering to the previously approved facial covering policies and physical distancing guidelines of 3-6 feet. We will continue to maintain a minimum of 3 feet distance for students and 6 feet distancing for adults in our buildings.
When we opened the school year, we asked families to commit to a learning model for one semester. We encourage families to remain in their current learning model for the second semester for stability and consistency in teaching and learning as well as for the safety and health of our students and staff. However, we understand that in some instances, that learning model may not be working for their student. From November 19-30, we accepted requests to change your student’s learning model. Students will be automatically re-enrolled in their current model unless a request form was submitted by November 30.
It is important for families to review our Healthy Back to School 2020 plan, which will remain the same for the second semester prior to making a decision. Our health and safety protocols as well as our teaching and instruction will remain unchanged. We will provide you with virtual opportunities before the November 30 deadline to have your questions and concerns heard and answered.
We understand that this school year has been incredibly difficult for all students, families, and staff on top of the anxiety and stress that this pandemic has placed on all of us personally. Thank you for continuing to be supportive and understanding as we considered all options for the second semester. We also appreciate how our students, staff, and families have been so resilient in the face of changes and challenges throughout the first semester. Your willingness to engage, roll with course corrections with sometimes minimal notice, and sacrifice has not gone unnoticed. We will continue to do our very best to make the school year a safe, successful, and happy one for all.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to your building leaders or the district administrative team with any questions or concerns you may have.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I didn’t fill out a form by November 30?
Students will be automatically re-enrolled in their current model unless a request to change form was completed by the November 30 deadline.
Will I be able to request a change in the learning model after the November 30 deadline?
No, we will not accept requests after the November 30 deadline. This will allow us the necessary time to make adjustments to schedules, class assignments, and staffing for the second semester.The district is still working on a plan that would allow for additional opportunities to request a change in the learning model after the start of the second semester on a case-by-case basis. We will communicate that information with families after the start of the second semester.
When does the second semester begin?
Due to our adjusted school year calendar, the second semester begins February 1, 2021.
When will I find out my child’s assignment?
If you have requested a change in the learning model, your building administration will reach out to notify you of your student’s status for the second semester by the end of the day on December 18, 2020.
Is it possible my student may have another teacher if they change learning models?
Your child will have a different teacher if he/she changes learning models.
Is it possible my student may have another teacher if they remain in their current learning model?
We will make every effort to maintain our current teaching staff assignments. If your child’s current class does not see a major shift in students changing their learning model, your child will likely have the same teacher for the second semester. However, if a large number of students leave your child’s class, we may need to make shifts in staffing which will result in your child’s teacher changing.
What health and safety protocols will remain in place for the second semester?
Our Healthy Aves 2020-21 Plan will remain the same for the second semester. This includes all previously approved health and safety protocols including facial covering policies, 3-6 feet physical distancing, and frequent hand washing. It is important to point out that enrollment pressures may cause a minimum of 3-feet of physical distancing between students in some circumstances. We will maintain the 6-feet of physical distancing for all adults. Please refer to our Healthy Back to School Guide for more information on these safety protocols.
Will my child’s class size change for the second semester?
As students transition from one learning model to another, we expect class sizes to increase and/or decrease slightly. We will not allow average class sizes to exceed averages in a typical year in either model. If there is a major shift in students leaving a class, this may result in the remainder of the class being absorbed into another class, which may be taught by a different teacher.
How will the process work for assigning students who request model changes?
We will fill available seats in our current face-to-face classrooms first. Some of our buildings currently have empty classrooms reserved in the event students need to be quickly moved out of their classroom for deep cleaning due to exposure to COVID-19. We could use those classrooms to accommodate additional classes if needed. If those spaces are filled, we would then consider any non-traditional classroom spaces, like gyms, theaters, and teacher’s lounges to hold class. Finally, if all other options have been exhausted, K-4 students would be placed in another elementary school building due to enrollment issues for the remainder of the year.
If my child moves to face-to-face learning, will she attend her home building?
We will make every effort to place K-4 students back in their home building. However, if enrollment exceeds typical year levels, students may be placed in a different elementary building for the remainder of the year. This would be a last resort but families should be aware of the possibility when choosing to change the learning model.
Can you ensure that siblings will attend the same K-4 home building?
We cannot guarantee that siblings will be able to attend the same K-4 home building. Each request must be handled individually. This is due to enrollment limitations and class assignments at each grade level.
If I request a change and my child is assigned to another K-4 home building, can I withdraw my request?
Yes, in the event your child is assigned to a different K-4 elementary school, your building administrator will work with you to withdraw your request.
If I request a change and my child is assigned to another teacher, can I withdraw my request?
No, if you change learning models your child will be assigned to a different teacher.
It seems like the priority is being given to families who maintain the status quo. Why can’t everyone just re-register for the second semester?
We wish that we could start fresh for the second semester and allow everyone to re-select their choice, but doing so would essentially mean starting the school year over again for all students and staff. Students and staffing assignments, course offerings, schedules, cohorts for safety, bus routes, and child nutrition would all have to be completely redone. By maintaining the status quo while still allowing families to switch learning models, there is less of an impact on the overall system, ensuring that the second semester will be more stable and consistent for students and staff. That’s something we could all use a little more of during this pandemic.
Why are families being encouraged to remain in the same learning model when families were asked to commit to only one semester?
For stability and consistency in teaching and learning, we encourage families to remain in their current learning model as well as for the continued safety and health of our students. However, we understand that in some instances, the current learning model may not be working for your student. Each request that is received causes a complex ripple effect through the district. The more students who switch learning models, the increased likelihood that staffing, class sizes, and assignments will be changed. This could result in a different teacher or K-4 school building for your child.
Will my child be “grandfathered” into her learning model for the next school year?
No, we will evaluate the health situation this summer and determine if there is a need for various learning models. If we continue to provide two models, all families will have the opportunity to re-register before school begins.
Is the district considering using rented spaces outside of our school buildings to house face-to-face students?
No, the district will only utilize its seven school buildings for face-to-face students during the second semester. We will not use rented space at this time.
Is it possible my child may come back face-to-face to a non-classroom setting?
We will fill available seats in our current face-to-face classrooms first. Some of our buildings currently have empty classrooms reserved in the event students need to be quickly moved out of their classroom for deep cleaning due to exposure to COVID-19. We could use those classrooms to accommodate additional classes if needed. If those spaces are filled, we would then consider any non-traditional classroom spaces, like gyms, theaters, and teacher’s lounges to hold class.
If my child moves to face-to-face, can she ride the bus?
Additional transportation information will be provided to families who request a change to face-to-face learning. Please note, transportation services will be impacted and likely capped if many students request to return face-to-face and need transportation. As we did at the beginning of the school year, we encourage families who can provide alternative transportation to do so.
I have been providing alternative transportation for my face-to-face learner during the first semester. Can he/she use the bus for the second semester?
While we are still encouraging families to seek alternative transportation for the second semester, we understand that sometimes things change. A form will be sent out to all face-to-face families in early December regarding transportation needs.
I’m having a difficult time deciding if my child should change learning models. What should I consider?
You need to make the decision that is in the best interest of your child. We know our families spent a lot of time thinking through the best placement for their students at the beginning of the school year. Since our Healthy Aves Plan remains the same, the same factors that drove your decision in July should be driving your decision for the second semester as well.