Superintendent Graden Previews Saline's Re-Opening Plan During Facebook Video


Saline Area Schools Superintendent Scot Graden previewed his plan for a return to school during a Facebook live video Thursday.

Graden said all students will begin learning virtually, but sometime in September, in-person instruction will begin for families who want that option. The district is also offering a fully virtual program for families not comfortable with the idea of in-person learning. The district will use the first few weeks of school to begin practicing safety protocols in the building.

In-person learning is predicated on staying in Phase 4 and the health conditions in the local environment. Local families will need to decide if they are going to commit to  fully-virtual or in-person instruction.

The school district will share more details about its plan during a special board meeting Wednesday, Aug. 5.

Q & A with Superintendent Graden

July 30th Update

Posted by Saline Area Schools on Thursday, July 30, 2020

Here's a synopsis of the community's Facebook conversation with Saline Area Schools Superintendent Scot Graden.Can kids taking virtual learning participate in sports? Yes. But they'll have to keep grades up and attendance up.

Will Chromebooks be provided? Yes.

Starting virtually? The intention we have now is to phase into school. That's our focus. We're asking staff to focus on digital instruction. We need to get serious about practicing safety in our buildings. We're going to need time in the school year to do that. We're going to train students and families. We need to practice and document it and communicate it.

Will teachers be available to the kids to talk them?  Yes. Forget about spring's virtual learning. This will be more robust. Digital assets, digital resources is the bedrock right now.

Summit learning in person? Summit by nature is in person. Someone who chooses online learning for the entire year no matter what will not have Summit learning as an option.

When will we know about the principal at SMS? We will share that at the board meeting Wednesday, Aug. 5. There were more interviews today. They are checking references and doing diagnostic assessments, too. 

If you sign up for virtual, is it for the whole year? Yes. We're asking for commitments. If that's what you want, we want to serve you in the environment. We need families to decide because we need to plan to provide quality instruction.

What should we plan for? They will be busy with virtual learning. The 8th will be our first busy day. That first week of Aug. 31, we will have activities. But Sept. 8 will be "when busy starts." Fully remote in the fall of 2020 will be different from what they experienced in the spring.

HVAC systems? Rex Clary and buildings and ground staff have been in the buildings working on cleaning, systems and airflow. Bond money was used to upgrade systems throughout the district. 

Will virtual learning be teaching only? No. There will be many aspects to it.

How can we find more about Summit? Talk to Alex Schukow at the middle school.

For kids or families with immune system issues: Reach out to the school and we will meet your needs. It's a challenge but I'm confident in our staff.

Can the district meet individual needs - for example, different school hours for certain families with different schedules? We haven't figured that out yet. There may be scenarios where we provide archived lessons. But for now, we're expecting students to be online at certain time.

Students with COVID-19? The currency of the day for staff is digital and virtual. We would provide instruction online for those students. We've had 250 students in summer camps and dealt with positive cases.

Are schools subject to the 10-person limit for gatherings indoors? No.

How are you handling students who fell behind due to distance learning? We will do assessments and meet students where they are at.

Music classes? It's a challenge. There are concerns about aerosols. If everyone's virtual to start, we can do things. Marching band camp is set to return in a few weeks. We can't offer specifics on that yet. 

What happens if a student tests positive for COVID-19? It's an inevitability. It's happened already this summer. There's a meeting with Washtenaw County Health Department to work on their expectations. The district needs to practice these protocols. How do we transfer a student from the class to a quarantine area for pick up and further care. How do we assess students who may have been exposed? A positive test case doesn't shut a building down. It doesn't necessarily shut a classroom down.

Career tech at the SWWC? They know there is a hands-on component to welding or auto-tech and certain classes. There could be small-group learning in the buildings before other students return.

Child has an IEP and won't wear a mask. Will the schools work with him? We will provide space for students facing these issues.

Planning for virtual instruction: Online curriculum will come from Google learning. It's robust. It's supposed to replicate what you would receive in-person. It's going to be school done virtually. Send questions to Dr. Laatsch, who is working on the online academy.

Specific services for kids with IEP? If you want the virtual option for the year, you can work on getting the specific services in person.

Why not go fully virtual like Ann Arbor? We're doing what's best for Saline. There are no perfect models. It's hard to find two re-opening plans that look the same.

Will online school be synchronous? Portions will be synchronous depending on the student's schedule.

How do you sign up for child care? Community Education is sending out information Monday.

How will mask-wearing be handled at lunch or during PE? When you are eating, you don't wear a mask. Otherwise, inside, you wear a mask. Phys ed outdoors you won't have to wear a mask.

Sports? You better have a sports physical. Pay to play forms are out soon. A week from Monday, fall sports begin. We have students in the buildings every day. School is progressing. 

School gyms vs Public gyms? The gymnasium is not considered a fitness center restricted by the state order.  There are nuances. We can't be in the pool for the girls swim team, but we can for instruction. You can use the gym and pools for phys ed.

Kindergarten face-to-face option? We have talked about ways to have families come into the building in small numbers for orientation. 

What happens if there are not enough teachers for face-to-face instruction? If we have to hire teachers to have face-to-face instruction, we'll hire teachers. If we can have school we're going to have school.

Class size? We won't know until families choose their route (online or in-class) Class size is a concern and it's a really big challenge. We're concerned about enrollment. Planning more challenging than ever before. 

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