VIRTUAL-PLUS (HYBRID) LEARNING MODEL: SPRING 2021 AACPS ROADMAP TO REOPENING

  • Hybrid Learning - (in-person and virtual) through spring semester of the 2020-21 academic year

    2 consecutive days per week of in-person instruction - and 3 days of virtual learning 

    Plans for the large-scale return of students by grade level to schools will consider the health and safety of students and staff first followed by the students who have been professionally identified to benefit most from in-person instruction:

    • Students who receive special services, e.g., some students with IEPs, some of our secondary English Language Acquisition students, some of our CAT Center students
    • Students in elementary school (ECI and preK-5)

    Weekly Framework

    The weekly framework for Virtual-Plus (Hybrid) Learning Model involves two consecutive days per week of in-person instruction and three days of learning in the virtual environment. Students will be assigned to a cohort that considers personal, academic, and staffing needs and accommodations while also meeting safety guidelines.

     

    The Hybrid Classroom

    • We will attempt to keep your student and their teacher together, but teachers may be changed or reassigned based on teacher and student choice of learning model.  If both do not choose the Virtual-Plus (hybrid) model, it is likely that your student will be assigned another teacher.  Even if both do choose the hybrid model, there is a possibility that a teacher will be reassigned due to greater need at another grade level, etc. This is true for elementary, middle and high school students.

    • Most classes will have in-person and virtual learning occurring simultaneously.  

      • One teacher will be facilitating the learning of 10-12 students at home and 10-12 students in the classroom, simultaneously
      • Some students will be assigned to hybrid learning on Monday and Tuesday while others will be assigned to a Thursday and Friday cohort. All hybrid students will learn virtually three days per week.
      • All students will learn virtually on Wednesday.
      • There will be 10-12 students per classroom, seated at desks spaced at least six feet apart.

    • Elementary students must bring:

      • Mask labeled with student's name
      • fully-charged Chromebooks
      • headphones provided in your backpack
      • backpack of learning materials
      • small yoga mat, towel, or rug only to be used in their personal space
      • teacher-requested materials

    • Elementary students should consider bringing (not mandatory):

      • three personal reading books to be used in student’s personal space
      • one small personal item, e.g., small toy, puzzle only to be used in personal space during midday break (Item cannot make any sounds, cannot be an electronic toy with a screen, and must fit fully in student’s backpack.)
      • extra face covering or mask (labeled with student’s first initial and last name)
      • pocket-sized bottle of personal hand sanitizer

    • Secondary (middle and high school) students must bring:
      • mask labeled with student's name
      • fully-charged Chromebooks
      • headphones
      • basic learning materials (pens, pencils, notebooks, calculator) in a bag or backpack
      • teacher-requested materials  

    • Secondary (middle and high school) students should consider bringing (not mandatory):

      • personal reading book to be used during midday break
      • one small personal item to be used in personal space during midday break (Item cannot make any sounds, cannot be an electronic toy with a screen, and must fit fully in student’s bag or backpack.)
      • extra face covering or mask (labeled with student’s first initial and last name)
      • pocket-sized bottle of personal hand sanitizer

    NOTE: Instructional materials, school supplies will not be shared between students.  Teachers may pass out materials or papers for students to use individually; the students will then turn them into the teacher at the end of the learning block or take them home, but never share them with another student. If a student brings a cell phone, it must remain on silent and stowed away in backpack at all times. 

    Learning Schedules

    The learning schedules in the hybrid and virtual platforms will be the same so we are able to attempt to keep the majority of students with their current teachers.  In addition, it is necessary to design a hybrid model that can pivot students back to virtual learning easily should the need arise based on health data to close a classroom, school or multiple schools for a period of time.  Below you will find the learning schedule overview for both in-person and virtual learning for our students.

    Schedule:  In-Person Learning at School

    In School schedule

    NOTE 1: When elementary students are learning in-person in their school classrooms, the midday block is the most flexible learning block. Students will eat lunch, take part in recess, and have some literacy time known as Engage! Some students who need special services may receive them during this block.  Certainly, services currently being offered within the AM and PM learning blocks will most likely continue to be offered at those times, many of them via the virtual platform.  Outdoor recess will also be available to students learning in-person with their cohorted peers during the midday block.

    NOTE 2: When secondary students are learning in-person in their school classrooms, the midday block is the most flexible learning block. Students will eat lunch, read, rest, have the ability to take part in study groups, socialize, or work independently. Middle school students may even be able to take part in clubs in person. Some students who need special services may receive them during this block.  Certainly, services currently being offered within the AM and PM learning blocks will most likely continue to be offered at those times, many of them via the virtual platform. 

    Classroom Layout for In-Person Learning

    When students are Hybrid students, teachers and students (both hybrid & virtual-only students) will be learning together (see diagram below) with their teacher facilitating learning of the students in front of them in their classroom and the students learning virtually from home, simultaneously. 

    NOTE: Most, but not all, of our preK classrooms will be the exception to this rule. Due to the relatively low student to teacher ratio in our preK classrooms across the county, preK students whose guardians choose hybrid learning for them, will learn in person two days/week with their teacher who will be teaching them live with no additional students learning virtually from home. On the non in-person learning days, these preK students will learn virtually with their teacher. We will try to do the same with our ½ day PreK students.  We will bring them in for two days/week for ½ day in-person learning and hold ½ day virtual learning on the remaining days.  AM and PM ½ day preK students will basically continue with their current schedules with a time shift based on individual start/end times at their individual elementary schools. 

    Sample Classroom Setup

     Important Notes for Consideration

    • The hybrid learning blocks will remain the same as in the virtual learning schedule.
    • Learning schedule start/end times will change to students’ school start and dismissal times when hybrid learning begins at each level; see school start/end times in right-hand column of this website.
    • The midday block for elementary students will include, lunch, recess, literacy time, quiet time for reading or personal play. It may also include time for intervention, special education support, and English Language Acquisition help. Such supported instruction will be facilitated by support teachers.
    • The midday block for secondary students will include, lunch, reading time, quiet time for study or time to attend a club. It may also include time for intervention, special education support, and English Language Acquisition help. Such supported instruction will be facilitated by support teachers.
    • Midday block supervision will be performed by teacher assistants, recess monitors, and/or midday monitors – all employees of the school district.
    • Students will consume lunch at their desks. Food and Nutrition Services will deliver meals (breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner) to the classroom.  Students may choose to bring their own lunch, if they wish.
    • Students will have some opportunity for learning station time/collaboration time and circle time (elementary students) or community building or meeting time (secondary students) with adjusted social distancing.  They will be able to socialize for some learning and play opportunities during each day.  They will have a significant amount of time when they will be required to be in their 6x6 sq ft area when structured teacher-directed learning is happening (as they would be required to be in their seat in our pre-COVID schooling).
    • Recess or Club time will occur in small classroom cohort groups with rotational outdoor stations, whenever available. Students must wear masks during recess/club time. Hand sanitizer will be provided for students to use before and after recess.
    • Hybrid learners may be asked to use their Chromebooks throughout the day, but will not be required to use them at all times.  Hybrid students will not be learning in front of their Chromebooks for all learning blocks as they do when they are virtual learners.
    • Hybrid and virtual learners will be using paper and pencils to produce work in conjunction with the use of their Chromebook.  Papers will be passed out in the classroom and may be collected and evaluated by the teachers and given back to individual hybrid students on subsequent days; this has been approved by our Department of Health.  Materials will not be shared between students.
    • We will strive to keep hybrid learning paired days (M/T or Th/Fr) the same for students from the same family.  Again, it depends on the breakdown of student demand and teacher supply at the school at any one grade level.

    Health & Safety

    NOTE:  Staff and students who choose to teach and learn in-person, respectively, may be routinely tested for COVID as needed or recommended throughout hybrid learning. [Guidance from the Anne Arundel County Department of Health]


    Facilities & Security

    • Students in the same classroom, attending on the same two days per week, will be considered a cohort and will remain together as much as is possible.
    • Controlled and staggered movement patterns will be established and monitored, including alternate and various entrance and exit points of access to the school building.
    • Arrival and dismissal procedures will minimize congestion and encourage social distancing. Signage will be posted to clearly communicate traffic patterns and procedures.
    • Large common areas will not be used, and large gatherings will not be organized for in-person participation.
      • Media Center (library), Cafeteria, and Gymnasium will not be used for their traditional functions.
      • School system staff will follow the established protocols related to cleaning, face coverings, and personal protective equipment as outlined at AACPS Safety Protocols.
      • Standard visitor procedures with proper identification and face covering requirements will be in effect; however, virtual meetings and appointments will be encouraged.


    Transportation

    bus

    • Hybrid Bus Stop Routes & Schedules Beginning 3/1/21
    • Students must wear cloth face coverings during the school day, including at bus stops and for the duration of the bus ride.
    • Buses will transport 22-26 students per route with staggered, alternating seating where only students from the same household will be allowed to sit on the same bench to comply with health and safety protocols.
    • All seats will not be used on the bus to accommodate social distancing. Bus drivers and school administrators will work to devise seating processes and plans.
    • Students will load the bus starting with the rear seats, filling all designated seats moving forward to the front of the bus until the bus reaches its maximum capacity per MSDE, MHD, and Anne Arundel County Department of Health guidelines.
    • Buses will be cleaned twice per day. Frequently touched surfaces will be wiped down between school runs.
    • Parents/Guardians of students who elect to travel by bus are required to complete the COVID-19 Parent/Guardian Acknowledgement of Risk form.

    Meals

    Students who enroll in the hybrid learning model will receive a free breakfast and lunch delivered to the classroom, and a free dinner and snack to take home at the end of the day.  If your child has a food allergy, please notify the school nurse and the school nutrition team will adjust the meal options according to the allergy. 

    Students who enroll in the Virtual Learning models will still be able to access free meals at any of the curbside pickup locations around the county during the midday break.

    For a complete list of meal sites and menus visit www.aacps.org/mealpickup


    Hybrid Overview – Student and Teacher Expectations

    Students Can Expect To: Teachers and Staff Can Expect To:
    • Wear face coverings at all times, except when eating lunch.
    • Interact (non-physical) with classmates, virtually and in person.
    • Work predominantly within personal, designated classroom spaces at least six feet apart.
    • Use their Chromebook at school and at home as the primary source for schoolwork management.
      • In-person learning will require limited synchronous learning on the Chromebook daily. Certainly, the online apps will be used for learning. Students will not be using their Chromebook constantly throughout the day.
    • Bring their Chromebook and headphones back and forth to school and home.
    • Follow the same learning time schedule at school and home.
    • Learn from a new teacher and with new classmates (in some cases).
      • Some teachers will seek accommodations due to childcare or health-related needs of self or family.  They may not be available for in-person teaching.
    • Receive support from their teacher, school counselor, or other school staff for resources that promote success at school, regardless of the learning model.
    • Wear face coverings at all times, except when eating lunch.
    • Work at assigned schools regardless of instructional delivery platform (except in some circumstances)
    • Conduct simultaneous lessons for students who may be attending class virtually or in person.
    • Follow a schedule similar to current virtual learning schedule aligned to school’s start and dismissal times
    • Access professional learning materials, web resources, and technology that well equip them to perform seamless instruction, regardless of the instructional delivery platform.
    • Collaborate with colleagues to uphold strong, professional bonds that benefit students.
    • Maintain meaningful connections with students and parents/guardians through clear, constant communication.
    • Receive support from their principal and other school system staff for resources and guidance that promotes professional growth and success, as well as safety and well-being.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting outdoor areas*

    • Outdoor areas, like playgrounds in schools and parks generally require normal routine cleaning, but do not require disinfection.
      • Disinfectant should not be sprayed on outdoor playgrounds- it is not an efficient use of supplies and is not proven to reduce risk of COVID-19 to the public.
      • High touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings should be cleaned routinely.
      • Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces (play structures, benches, tables) or groundcovers (mulch, sand) is not recommended.
    • Sidewalks and roads should not be disinfected.
      • Spread of COVID-19 from these surfaces is very low and disinfection is not effective.

    * From CDC Guidelines

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