Lindbergh Schools had two major announcements Friday about more students returning to school by the end of October: Lindbergh High School students will return to school for hybrid learning Oct. 26, and all elementary students will go to five days a week in person starting Oct. 27.
The district started an all-virtual learning academy this year, Accelerated Remote Courses or ARC, so that students have the option not to go back to in-person learning.
But for those students and families who want in-person learning, the “Lindbergh Green Light Plan” is giving the go-ahead to return to school as cases have fallen in the district since the highs of July and August. The district started the school with every student in all-virtual learning except for K-3, which attended part-time in-person hybrid learning.
Lindbergh High School has not seen students in the building for classes since March, when the COVID-19 global pandemic led to school shutdowns and stay-at-home orders.
The decision to return more students has been made after the “successful re-entry” of all non-ARC elementary and middle school students back to hybrid learning in the last several weeks, Superintendent Tony Lake said in an email to LHS parents.
All students, elementary and high school, will have to wear masks, as will all teachers under the plan. Students from all levels had to sign up for the bus at the beginning of the year, and all students have to complete a daily health screening before leaving home and agree not to come to school if they have symptoms or exposure to COVID-19.
High school students will start back with hybrid learning, in which half the students will attend in buildings while the other half virtually learns at home, rotating days in the classroom. All Mondays will be virtual days for Lindbergh High students, and each half of the school will spend two days in the classrooms for the other four days. Students will have prerecorded lessons from teachers or work independently on Mondays.
Tuesday through Friday, classes in person at Lindbergh High School will begin at 7:25 a.m. and end at 2:25 p.m. This includes in-person, Zoom and ARC schedules. The Monday virtual course schedule starts at 11:40 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26. ARC schedules will expand from the current 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. schedule to start at 7:25 a.m., the same as in-person learning.
For K-5 elementary students, they will get one last at-home learning day with pre-recorded lessons and independent student work Monday, Oct. 26, allowing teachers to finalize lesson plans for the return to the classroom. Then they will start back in person Tuesday, Oct. 27.
So far, elementary students have only attended school in person for two days a week with half their classmates, as the other half learns at home on those rotating days.
With more students in the classroom, it will be more difficult for students to socially distance, but the district will keep students in what it is calling “small cohort groups” to minimize their contact with other students throughout the day. The group of four to five children will learn together and also eat, line up and work on activities together. Students will wash hands often and “minimize direct contacts as much as possible.”
To reduce bus ridership and support families, the district will offer the “e-Hour,” one hour of free before- and after-school child care for all K-5 students while school is in buildings five days a week, on a space available basis Monday-Friday from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. This will allow families to stagger pickup and dropoff times to avoid crowds.
Families who take advantage of e-Hour will have to commit to it full time Monday-Friday. The existing fee-based child care, Flyers Club, will continue from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The programming for e-Hour will flow seamlessly with current Flyers Club programming, the district said. For existing Flyers Club children, rates will be prorated based on time spent in e-Hour.
Everyone who wants to participate in e-Hour will have to apply, even if already enrolled in Flyers Club. Flyers Club families will be given first priority, and if there are too many applicants, a lottery system will choose who attends. Applications will be accepted beginning at noon Monday, Oct. 12.