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Dear Du Bois Fifth grade families,
The Commissioner of Education and the Governor recently directed all public elementary schools to open for five days a week of in-person instruction. Our school committee has endorsed this transition and the superintendent has asked me to communicate our plan to staff and families. I held a Family Forum for Fifth grade families last night. There is a link to the recording below for families who were not able to join.
We will start five days per week full time instruction on this Monday, April 5 for the Fifth grade. All students can come to school in person. Families still have the option for their children to attend school remotely, and can choose that for the rest of the school year, or choose to have the student start in-person on April 5.
- Starting April 5, Every day will be an in-person school day for Fifth Grade.
- The school day will follow the same time schedule:
- 7:45 am: Buses arrive and drop off in the front for cars. Students report to their Crew classroom upon arrival.
- 8:00 am: School day starts with Crew for attendance and announcements. Students follow their regular period schedule.
- 2:45 pm: Dismissal, as usual. Students go to buses or to the front loop for pick-up.
- We will continue to serve breakfast and lunch for free to any student who requests it, thanks to generous federal and state programs.
- The Wednesday school day will be an early release day, ending at 1:00 pm, to allow time for teacher team planning and professional development. In addition we have the county vaccination clinic at Du Bois on Wednesday afternoons, so the early release allows for the building to be cleared and cleaned before the clinic sets up. We will serve breakfast and lunch on Wednesday.
- Remote learning will still be an option for students and families. Students will have links to join classes for every period of the day, and will participate in class with the in-person students.
- We will continue to maintain a high level of vigilance, closely following all COVID protocols and procedures. Building access restrictions will remain in place. Cohorting and separation of student groups will continue, and we will continue to call for daily use of the BHRSD Screening Tool.
The biggest change will be the size of the groupings. The groups will consist of two crews, just like we did in distance learning when we were remote earlier this year. The advantage is that students get a larger and more diverse social and academic group, even if we are still not mixing with other cohorts through the day besides the two crews. Students will still follow protocols for social distancing, but there will be more opportunities for class and group learning within the expanded cohorts. Also we will eat lunch outside, picnic style, so we can accommodate the groups with added safety. On days with inclement weather we will eat in the cafeteria, but still keep the required social distancing and silence with masks off.
Arrival and dismissal will be the same. Please factor in additional time if you are dropping off or picking up in the front loop. We are doubling the number of fifth graders in-person in the school building, so the line will be longer. We will be managing traffic, so just follow the directions of the folks directing vehicles for efficiency. The most important help you can give is to move your vehicle as forward in the loop as possible, not just stop at the front of the building. That will allow for the most vehicles to be in the loop at once, and shorten wait times. Buses will continue to run as normal.
We expect that students who have been attending in-person will join us in-person next week, and students that have been remote will continue to be remote. Please let the us know if you want your child to switch from remote to in-person next week–we are eager for all students to attend in-person if it is safe for the student and family.
We will add the sixth, seventh and eighth grades to the five day a week full time program on Wednesday, April 28, a few days after the April break. I look forward to seeing our students five days a week, and I continue to thank all families for their ongoing support and cooperation with our health and safety guidelines.
Have a good weekend!
Fifth Grade Family Forum Recording
Here is the link to video and audio recordings:
Ben Doren, Principal
W.E.B. Du Bois Regional Middle School
313 Monument Valley Road
Great Barrington, MA 01230