NAFCS Update: December 18, 2020
Dear NAFCS Families & Staff,
As we approach the semester break, I want to share with you the many challenges we have collectively faced.
Fall semester review:
- NAFCS Covid-19 positive cases among faculty/staff/students:
- August – 24
- September – 25
- October – 43
- November – 145 (237%) increased high school & staff.
- Our December numbers will most likely exceed November.
- Fall semester included:
- 83 instructional days (fewer than expected due to the delayed start to the school year)
- There will be 97 instructional days for spring semester.
- Students in grades K-6 had 56 days of in-person instruction (67%) and 27 days of eLearning (33%).
- We had numerous extra-curricular & co-curricular events and competitions which featured our students. Some were delayed, but the vast majority went on as scheduled.
- Early on, we closed down a few grade levels, but as we improved cohorting techniques and safety protocols, we never closed an entire school.
- For the majority of November, we were scrambling with all hands on deck. We eventually ran out of staffing options to keep operating safely.
- Substitute fill rates:
- August – 62%
- September – 60%
- October – 51%
- November – 44%
- Without staff in each classroom, it is impossible to conduct school. We have temporarily increased our per diem pay for substitutes in an attempt to increase availability. We are hopeful for a tangible yield.
- We remain depleted with transportation staff and instructional assistants. Teaching staff availability ebbs and flows.
- As of December 18, we have 42 vacancies for classroom instructional aides, 4 teaching assignments and 1 interpreter.
- NAFCS remains in dire need of bus drivers, substitute teachers and classroom aides. We must have adequate staff to safely supervise and operate the needed services required by students. If any community member is interested in applying or helping recruit, please follow-up with appropriate action. We are always hiring. https://www.nafcs.k12.in.us/careers/
Everyone wants kids safely in school in a sustained way. We want them to enjoy their youth, try new things, make friends, learn, succeed, and grow through guided experience. The Covid-19 virus has presented a significant challenge to this.
At times, Covid can suddenly become real for many. We will continue to respect the balance between individual risk tolerance and policies protecting the many. We are in this together.
We will continue to pivot e-Learning, postpone events, and make additional mitigation changes when they become necessary. Public safety will be our guide. However, if everyone does their part, we hope to put together a spring semester which will turn out more satisfying than the fall.
Below is a blueprint of how we will start the 2nd semester of 2020-2021. How we finish will depend upon our ability to work together as a community for the benefit of the kids as well as the magnitude of virus spread.
Here are the starting points for the NAFCS spring semester:
Parents and students will continue to have a learning path choice between virtual and in-person.
K-12: e-Learning will continue between January 5 and January 8.
CA-ELC preschool students will remain in-person on these 4 days.
CA-ELC families will be notified by Mrs. Schultze.
K-12 students in the intense intervention program will remain in-person on these 4 days.
K-12 will resume in-person instruction on Monday, January 11.
7-12 will remain on the A/B schedule.
Prosser will attend every day.
Middle school extracurricular school-sponsored programming will resume on January 11.
Optional practices may begin on January 5.
When MS extracurricular school-sponsored programming returns, we would appreciate a renewed commitment to Covid mitigation measures and appropriate modeling by all participants, affiliated personnel and spectators. We would love to see uninterrupted opportunities for the kids.
As of now, community use of NAFCS facilities will resume on Monday, February 8.
Our Principals and AD’s may allow limited accommodations on a case by case basis with Central office approval.
This is a difficult blanket policy because there are so many different organizations with different purposes, all of which creates added close contact tracing and individual communications to affected stakeholders, additional cleaning measures, setup and teardown, etc. The bottom line is we need improved expectations by everyone. If our Covid experience becomes improved, (kids remain in school) we may accelerate the February 8 community use date.
When our facilities reopen to community use, we would appreciate a visible renewed commitment to mitigation measures along with appropriate behavior modeling during all after school and weekend activities by all affiliated personnel. We want to keep our facilities open for community benefit.
K-12: Wednesday, January 13th and Wednesday, February 10th are pre-scheduled e-Learning staff professional development days (Cultural Responsiveness) which will create a modified instructional schedule. – i.e. synchronous morning and asynchronous afternoon.
Like always, the above plan and calendar will be affected by student and staff Covid-19 manifestations (and quarantine absences), and the ability to provide adequate staffing to ensure student safety.
If you have any transportation-related changes over the winter break please email the information to email@example.com.
If we continue to collectively do all of the “right things” (masking, social distancing, hand-washing, etc) and getting the vaccine when it is our turn, a renewed sense of hope may return. If we all do our part, I am hoping our 4th quarter (or after spring break), we can return to something closer to a “normal” school experience. Our students need that. Our staff needs that. And, our community needs that.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
To view this Update in Spanish, Click Here.
Traditional Learning Experience
The school year will start with the traditional learning experience that NAFCS has offered in the past. Steps have been taken to ensure that students and staff will be prepared to attend school in a safe and healthy environment. We will provide all students in grades K – 12 with an electronic device (iPad or Chromebook) to assist in the learning experience. In the event that closing school(s) is necessary due to COVID-19, we will provide continuous learning through a Digital Synchronous Learning (“DSL”) experience. Unlike last spring, students will be attending school on the same bell schedule as if they were attending school in the physical setting. There will be no days off during the week, and students will be expected to log-on and attend each course/class level for which they are enrolled, during those eLearning days.
Virtual Learning Experience
For families not wanting the traditional school setting, NAFCS will offer students a Digital Synchronous (virtual) Learning Experience option for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. Each DSL (virtual) student will receive an electronic device. It is important to note that internet access must be accessible during the school day for this DSL (virtual) experience. This is not something NAFCS will be providing to digital synchronous virtual learners. Students attending DSL (virtual) school will be on the same bell schedule as if they were attending school in the physical setting. There will be no days off during the week, and students will be expected to log on and attend each class as if they were onsite. If a student is under quarantine, exhibits symptoms, or is generally medically fragile, etc., and do not have internet access, the district will work individually with those families to provide a non-traditional learning option.