GCCS Reopening Plans for In-Person and Virtual Instruction

Reopening Plan Summary and Instructional Program Scenarios

The Genesee Community Charter School staff is aware that the most important component of a successful school year is safety.  In order to ensure the safety of the school community, the 2020-2021 school year will likely move between multiple scenarios as the community responds to the regional, city, and campus infection rates.  However, with instability of moving between in-person and remote instruction, the school will also focus on building positive relationships and creating a predictable and sustainable plan as possible so that the year feels equitable and welcome to the entire community.

Click here to see our reopening presentation

Click here to view our reopening Family Town Hall Meetings on our school’s YouTube Channel.

Responsible Parties: The GCCS Reopening Task Force

Genesee Community Charter School formed a Reopening Task Force for the purpose of creating and evaluating reopening plans throughout the 2020-2021 school year.  There are 13 members on the Task Force (4 of which are GCCS parent representatives ) all providing expertise regarding a successful reopening this fall.  Our reopening plans fall into three categories and the following staff members are the points of contact for each category:

Scenario 1: In-Person Instruction

In this scenario, all students will attend school each day according to the school’s calendar.  However, spaces and classrooms will be modified to accommodate cohorts (½ class classrooms) of approximately 16 or less students across a larger campus footprint.  Students will remain in these ½ class cohorts as much as possible throughout the day.

Scenario 2: Hybrid Instruction

In this scenario, students will be placed into cohort A or cohort B.  The cohorts are formed to create ½ classes of 16 or less students in each classroom and include siblings from the same family.  Additionally, the cohorts were formed based on bus routes so ½ of a bus would be filled each day.  Each cohort will attend school twice a week and receive remote instruction three times per week consecutively.  However, students who have an IEP or qualify for ELL services will be invited to attend all four days of in-person instruction.  Both cohorts will receive remote instruction on Wednesdays to provide a day for cleaning and disinfection.  Meals and instruction will still be provided regardless of whether the cohort is receiving in-person or virtual instruction that day.

 Scenario 2 Instructional Schedule

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Cohort A In-person In-person Virtual Virtual Virtual
Cohort B Virtual Virtual Virtual In-person In-person

Scenario 3: Virtual Instruction

In this scenario, all students will receive virtual instruction remotely from home or other off-campus placement.  All students will be provided with a device from the school at the beginning of the school year and both families and students will receive training using these devices.  Additionally, if families require connectivity support, Genesee Community Charter School will provide families with mobile hotspots with unlimited data throughout the school year or as needed.  Students will be engaged in a combination of recorded and live lessons daily that support individual academic and social-emotional needs and highlight our unique programming such as arts-integration and experiential learning.

Tentative Scenario Calendar

This schedule is subject to change based on the school’s ability to follow the “in-person” guidelines as found in the “Safety and Wellness” section.

Fall Expedition (September – Thanksgiving Break)

  • Scenario 2: Hybrid Instruction for grades K-6

Winter Expedition (December – Spring Break)

  • Scenario 2: Hybrid Instruction for grades K-6
    • OR
  • Scenario 3: Virtual Instruction for grades K-6

Spring Expedition (April – End of School Year)

  • Scenario 2: Hybrid Instruction for grades K-6
    • OR
  • Scenario 1: In-Person Instruction for grades K-6

While considering these scenarios, scheduling decisions are subject to change and will be determined by the most current health and safety standards, and the most up to date guidance from the New York State Health and Education Departments. In the interest of social distancing and limiting exposure to COVID-19, the school will:

  • Work with the Rochester Museum & Science Center to find alternate spaces for in-person instruction.
  • For arrivals, buses will arrive at 7:50 a.m. and each bus will be released as all temperatures are taken and cleared. Parent drop offs will occur after the buses are released.  Student temperatures will be taken at parent vehicles.
  • For dismissals, classes will dismiss between 2:45 and 3:00 p.m. Schedules will be staggered to promote social distancing.

PLEASE NOTE:

Families who are not comfortable with in-person instruction are able to participate in full-virtual instruction regardless of the scenario GCCS is following at that time.  Students who refuse to comply with the safety protocols adopted for in-person learning may be assigned to a virtual learning program.  GCCS will continue to contract with Julia K Caters through the 2020-2021 school year and is prepared to provide meals (breakfast and lunch) in any scenario.

Guidelines for In-Person Instruction at GCCS

Genesee Community Charter School may open and students can participate in Scenario 1 or 2 instruction if:

  • The Finger Lakes Region is in Phase 4 of Reopening
  • The infection rate for the Finger Lakes Region is below 5% August 1st – 7th
  • If the regional infection rate remains below 9% over a seven day average
  • There is enough space for students and staff to be socially distant in classrooms and/or on the Rochester Museum & Science Center Campus. Based on the square footage and rearranged floor plans, each classroom can accommodate 16 or less students maintaining a 6-foot distance apart.

GCCS will follow the Monroe County Department of Health Guidelines to determine who will need to move to virtual instruction if a positive case occurs during in-person instruction.

Transitioning to Virtual Instruction

Genesee Community Charter School may transition to virtual instruction for the following reasons:

  • Advisement by the Monroe County Department of Health
  • The Governor provides an Executive Order for the Finger Lakes region to close
  • Rochester City School District moves to virtual learning for all grade levels and therefore will not provide transportation
  • Precautionary measure based on increasing trends of infection either in the city of Rochester or with the neighboring RMSC Preschool

Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Case in the Community

If there is a confirmed positive COVID-19 case among a student, staff member, or member of the RMSC Preschool during any scenario that includes in-person instruction, the Department of Health will conduct a contact tracing examination to consider those who were in direct contact with the infected individual and may require a 48 hours school closure to do so.  The Department of Heath will determine how many individuals need to be quarantined/isolated and tested before returning to in-person instruction.  Any students who are quarantined, isolated, or confirmed positive for COVID-19 have the opportunity to be provided virtual instruction during this time.

The Monroe County Department of Health advises students and staff to work in cohorts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce contact across an entire school community.  Based on the cohort model, it is likely that only the students and staff who had closest contact with the infected individual will need to be tested and quarantined for 14 days to monitor symptoms.

Strategies to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in the GCCS Community

  • Symptom monitoring
  • Daily screening questions and temperature taking for staff and other building visitors
  • Daily temperature taking for students
  • Weekly screening questions for families
  • Social distancing (including adjusting the layout of classrooms and operating at 50% capacity, adjusted arrival and dismissal procedures, utilizing outdoor spaces and larger areas for PE, Music, and classroom breakout space)
  • Relocating the Health Office and identifying a COVID-19 isolation area
  • Allowing limited or no access to the building for visitors, guests, special education service providers, and vendors
  • Require face coverings (masks) for all who are in the building (students, staff, visitors, campus personnel)
  • Social and academic gatherings will be virtual
  • Cohorting (on busses and in classrooms) while keeping siblings together in the same cohort
  • Documentation systems to support contact tracing
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfection
  • Hand and respiratory care and training
  • Frequent and accessible communication with the community
  • Using open doors and windows to promote airflow
  • Frequent cleaning of the HVAC filtration systems

Program and Policy Changes due to GCCS’s COVID-19 Response

Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

It is imperative that GCCS keeps students engaged in learning, whether in-person, hybrid or all virtual. GCCS is responsible for developing a mechanism to collect and report daily teacher/student engagement or attendance regardless of the instructional setting.  While keeping the social-emotional needs of our families in mind, our procedures must focus on the academic consequences of lost instruction time, and address absences before a student falls behind in their learning. GCCS will communicate attendance expectations to families for virtual and in-person instruction.  Families must communicate their plans for participating in in-person instruction if GCCS is offering this scenario so students can be accounted for accordingly.

Scheduling and Curricular Program Changes

GCCS will operate between the three instructional scenarios listed above.  Whether students are engaged in in-person or virtual instruction, it is imperative that GCCS does not lose the key design elements that make us a unique school of choice.  Therefore, the arts schedule as well as our academic schedules will be adjusted based on these scenarios, however concepts such as Learning Expeditions, Arts Integration, EL Education, and Responsive Classroom and Character Development will all continue to be important pillars of our instructional program.  This year, the school is implementing a new “crew” structure to support Social Emotional Learning, hone our Restorative Practices skills, and normalize talking about race and bias in service of building equity.  Overall, students will receive a more individualized program to meet their academic and social-emotional needs.

Special Education and Bilingual Education

Our Special Education Coordinator will work closely with districts, service providers, and classroom teachers to ensure all requirements are met according to the guidelines. Our English as a New Language Teacher will support students and families in both in-person and virtual instruction. All students who have an IEP or qualify for ELL services, will have the option of in-person instruction and services for 4 days a week during the hybrid model.

Technology and Connectivity

According to recent survey results, all families had access to a laptop or tablet for remote instruction, but half of the respondents said they needed to share the device with other family members. Only 1% of respondents said that they had difficulty with connectivity.  All staff members are provided with school-issued laptops and some have connectivity issues. In order to ensure all students and staff have the needed technology (device and high speed internet connection) to attend school remotely, GCCS will:

  • Survey staff and families to determine internet needs and printing capabilities
  • Provide a laptop for all staff and students
  • Provide a mobile hotspots for staff and families needing high speed internet access
  • Monitor connectivity and technology support throughout the school year
  • Provide alternative instructional tools for families to reduce screen time and/or respond to technology challenges.

It is important that students and family members are comfortable with devices and platforms used for remote learning. To ensure usability during the first few weeks of school, GCCS staff will:

  • Provide families with a device commitment form to sign prior to releasing the device. This form will have expectations and procedures for care and cleaning the device as well as how to handle damaged equipment or receive technology support
  • Explicitly teach students how to use and care for the provided device
  • Explicitly teach students how to access and use each platform needed for home learning
  • Create a library of “how to” videos to support families with device use and platforms
  • Conduct virtual technology meetings to teach parents about the devices and platforms
  • Provide a “point person” for families to contact with technology questions.