Washington

Manassas School Board votes to return pre-K through 4th grades; no decision on older students – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-02-24 00:11:21 –

Students from kindergarten to 4th grade at Manassas Municipal Public School will be able to return to hybrid face-to-face learning from March 23, but the Board of Education on Tuesday night will set a timetable for older students to return home. I refused to do that again.

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Students from kindergarten to 4th grade at Manassas Municipal Public School will be able to return to hybrid face-to-face learning from March 23, but the Board of Education on Tuesday night will set a timetable for older students to return home. I refused to do that again.

For lower-grade students of the general population who parents choose to send to school, face-to-face learning will begin twice a week starting March 23. Career and technical education programs begin on March 15th and learners who depend on other schools will return on March 17th. ..

However, the vote to bring back junior high and high school students from April 6 failed 4-3. Although a small number of special education and English learners have received limited face-to-face instruction since the fall, alternative plans to return their older students to the classroom by the end of the school year were not discussed.

At the final meeting two weeks ago, the board showed willingness to bring students back sooner, with staff planning to bring back students from Pre-kindergarten to fourth grade by March 15 and older students by the following week. I presented it.

Instead, a new date was presented on Tuesday night. The board voted 4 to 3 to return the CTE, school-dependent young students to the classroom. Chairman of the Board, Sanford Williams, voted for a return with members Christina Brooks, Tim Demeria, and Robinn Williams. However, in a second motion to return junior and senior high school students on April 6, Williams canceled the vote and the bill failed.

At the end of the meeting, Williams took some time to talk about what he saw as an inconsistent message from the Virginia Department of Health, Governor Ralph Northam’s office, and the federal government. Northam has called for some reopening of all schools by March 15, but as Williams pointed out, Manassas remains at the top of the “primary” risk indicators, according to VDH, and is “secondary.” It remains at the lowest level of the indicator.

“It’s great to have expectations,” Williams said of Northam’s March 15 goals. “But I don’t think it’s useful at all because it gives parents, staff, and students expectations of what we’re going to do because of this nature. It gives us the resources we need to do and why we should. It will open by a specific date without explaining. “

Williams also almost agrees that pediatric experts are safe in classrooms away from masking for young learners, but in some studies the virus is in classrooms with older students. Said that it has been shown to spread more easily.

For pre-kindergartens and elementary school students returning to school buildings, the internal situation is very different and follows state and federal guidelines for masking, signage, and plexiglass barriers located in specific locations. According to a presentation from department staff, the ventilation system has been “inspected and tuned to maximize outside air intake” and all HVAC air filters will be upgraded by the time students return.

In addition, all school staff will have the opportunity to receive two vaccinations by the end of the month. At the last meeting, the board requested that staff move the start date back a week before the teachers and other staff welcome new teachers into the classroom so that the second shot is fully effective. did. Susanne Sieberg, who made the request two weeks ago, said Tuesday night that COVID levels were declining rapidly, but still too high in Manassas, and voted against both motions to bring back students. It was. She also said that at this point, the transition from virtual learning to face-to-face would be confusing.

“Teachers are provided with vaccination opportunities and vaccines bring us closer to a direct ready position, but vaccines are not everything,” Siebberg said. “Vaccines, along with other mitigation efforts, are a factor we need, but we also need to take into account the metrics. By metrics, we are still in the highest risk category in red.”

Manassas continues to have relatively high levels of COVID infection throughout the pandemic compared to other parts of northern Virginia. However, as of Tuesday, the 7-day average of new cases per 100,000 population was 15.4, down from 97.4 on January 17.

At this point, Demeria, a member of the longest-serving board of directors who had previously criticized Northam’s support for the return of the local school sector, provided direct guidance and interaction with other children and adults. The student risk in need is a reduced risk of the virus. He, Brooks, and Robin Williams voted in favor of setting a timeline for return to all grades, the board convened an emergency meeting, and could slow down the process if transmissions began to increase again. Said there is.

“We believe we have enough kids to get in our building, leave the house and enter our building … those kids desperately need this. I think, “said Demeria. “And I think the chances of getting infected are very low. The potential for mental or physical health of children requires contact with other adults and needs to be in our building. . “

Manassas School Board votes to return pre-K through 4th grades; no decision on older students Source link Manassas School Board votes to return pre-K through 4th grades; no decision on older students

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