PAC MEETING MINUTES OF 2/17/2021
Number of cases has gone done dramatically since Winter Holiday surges.
If we remove the Lehigh Univ cases from Northampton, we’re doing quite well. Changing guidance from St. Luke’s and CDC has BASD looking toward the return of elementary students to school 5 days a week for 4th quarter, April 11 start date.
Kids under 10 really don’t transmit it well it seems. Still will be a matter of social distancing suggesting 3-6 ft, and masked, the import of the distance decreases.
They are beginning the process to gather info to see what a return for the 4th marking period might look like. Notice goes to staff tomorrow, parents on Monday to get their data/feedback on this potentiality, so see how that might work out.
St. Luke’s staff are keeping a close eye on the variants of the virus and that if the UK strain in particular increased in the population, that could derail that return. Hoping that the April 11 start of 4th quarter may be possible. This is even being considered due to lowering case counts, but as importantly, the results of the hybrid learning effort indicate that the benchmarks for the mid year assessments indicate a significant drop off…back to 3 or even 4 years ago just before we had the Reading by Grade 3 effort. Some kids held on, especially 2/3 graders have better mid year scores, but the K-1 grades and the gaps evident in attendance, indicates we’re back to just about where we started.
BASD is well aware of the social/emotional connection with learning and eventual outcomes, and with the updated info we’re learning with COVID, it is now something that they feel they can now better balance given the need to be in school but the value of masks.
The paediatrician that consults weekly with St. Luke’s indicates that there have been very few serious illnesses with kids in the BASD.
PTO Pres from Northeast voiced the desire from her constituency that they want the kids back to full time immediately. Dr. Roy said they would not consider it unless the medical groups agree it’s ok.
Dr.Silva indicated that teachers are now having much more subjective control over grading in relation to not scoring their assessments based on the standards, but the teachers opinion of where the kids are at. . . need to get his specific wording on that but it spoke to allowing teachers to teach and work their craft, as opposed to pure measurement/rubrics.
The thought to vaccinate teachers, let alone elementary teachers given a possible return in April, was completely bumped from 1A way down the list to 1B given the expansion of the 1A qualifications.
Once 1B is open, BASD would work to see elementary teachers vaccinated asap ahead of the 4th quarter.
Question raised about the move back to full time for elementary, would there be options for Hybrid familes to move toward the fully online e-classrooms? Dr. Roy indicated that if parents don’t want full time back, we don’t have the capacity to move many parents to E Learning. It’s got to be we all go back or stay hybrid.
Survey tools to both teachers/parents will inform how hard we push toward that April 11 for elementary. MS/HS is not get being considered.
Not a huge number of BASD teachers have received their vaccinations, more support staff (cafeteria, bus drivers, etc.)
Dr. Roy gets the feeling that teachers want their kids back. They know the reading is dropping and he believes the majority of teachers at elementary want kids in. Not the MS/HS teachers at this point, those kids are bigger, take up more space, etc., transmit better..again age 10 and under don’t spread well.
Numerous parents shared the sentiment that far too many HS students are suffering, having severe lack of engagement and grades are suffering. Lack of instruction, structure, etc. is crushing students. Some HS teachers are going above and beyond, but so many e-learners for example, aren’t getting the time/interaction/instruction needed. E Classroom product is not doing the job as intended.
Talk of some teachers really stepping up, talk of others not doing the job well. Some teachers feeling the same stress/anxiety of the families and students as well.
Issues with letters of truancy issues being automatically mailed out as some system issues are arising when tracking attendance, by logging in, etc. Fixed on the back end are possible but they know it’s frustrating that some schools are doing better than others with that attendance issues.
Question raised that if concurrent classes were begun, would MS/HS students remain engaged? Data suggests that this has better success with older students in 11/12 graders, but for MS levels, the teacher teaching live but also online as well doesn’t work well.
Synchronous work for hybrid students on off days, even for a little bit, could be good to provide structure and engagement. Dr. Roy agreed as did others that when the teachers are teaching virtually with just one group could be really good. Zoom fatigue is real!!!! Very short windows could work.
Ms. Simpson the PTO lead at Freedom asked that if it might be possible for someone from the BASD Proud Parents group to attend/visit the parent group there to showcase what we do. Elliot extended the invite to other PTA’s that if they have interest, someone from the BASD Proud Parents group could work to attend and showcase what we do.
Appeal from Dr. Roy to have parents in Rep Ann Flood’s district to reach out to her as she seems far more amenable to education discussions given her campaign. Virginia from Hanover’s PTO seemed keen to help.
Talk of an electronic medium by which BASD might be able to collect funds, ala PayPal may be possible at some point in the future. Keep you posted.