In previous years, school districts have almost always had an extremely difficult time identifying substitutes for classified staff members, bus drivers, and regular classroom teachers. The situation has worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As our community members know far too well, quarantining close contacts is a necessary process in our present circumstances. However, between quarantine, seasonal illnesses, family-specific and personal situations, and confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, our buildings and district operations frequently run the risk of not being able to adequately assign staff members across a variety of roles.
Out of necessity, if the district had to transition to fully remote instruction and close school buildings, the primary reason to do so would be the availability of regular staff members and lack of substitutes. If the district were forced to move to fully remote learning for any sustained period of time for ALL Milton-Union students, we would make every effort to provide 24-to-48-hour notice in addition to the weekend for families to make plans and arrangements.
However, what happens if a particular grade-level cannot be covered with enough teaching staff members? If there are not enough bus drivers, how do we transport students?
Please understand that we are investigating options and trying to maintain meaningful, in-person instruction for as long as possible. In specific circumstances, the district and individual buildings may need to consider non-traditional options including, but not limited to, the following examples.
- For a short period of time, designating an entire grade-level for remote learning if enough staff members are not available for supervision, instruction, etc. Example: Grade Six students have been designated for remote learning while the schedule for the remainder of the district/building remains unchanged.
- Communicating with families that a certain bus and route may not be available on a given day due to the lack of substitute drivers. Example: Bus #18 will not run its route and pick-up or drop-off students on a particular day. Parents and caregivers of students riding Bus #18 could still provide their own transportation and drop-off students at the building. Families who choose not to transport or are unable to transport their children to the building will be provided remote learning opportunities aligned to in-person instruction. If unable to attend in-person, this day would be considered a remote learning day for those students who ride bus #18.
- Identifying a particular grade-level and classroom for remote learning due to quarantine or other unforeseen issue. Example: Mr. Smith’s Grade Two classroom will complete instruction remotely for a period of time while the other Grade Two classes continue to attend in-person. These days would be considered remote learning days for those students in Mr. Smith’s classroom.
- Asking parents and families to send their students to school with packed lunches if there are staffing or operational issues with Food Service. Example: Due to quarantine or illness, the district cannot staff the cafeteria and would communicate to parents and families as soon as possible that children should bring a sack lunch.
The above is not a complete list of scenarios or examples. Although every effort would be made to provide parents and families sufficient time to plan, circumstances could lead the district to use one of these non-traditional solutions far more quickly and without substantial lead time for families. Once again, our intent in using one or more of these solutions would be to maintain in-person learning for as many students as possible, for as long as it is safe to do so.
If you have questions, please contact your child’s teacher, building principal, or the Board of Education Office. The district wanted to communicate these possibilities prior to use so that parents and families can reflect and plan.
Thank you for your continued support of Milton-Union Schools! Your patience and understanding are appreciated!