While in-person instruction remains the default instructional model at MSD, circumstances may indeed warrant a shift to a temporary instructional model. MSD has contingency plans in place for virtual learning.
Virtual learning shall be considered when the number of unavailable staff results in limitations to safely operate our school. While there are no predetermined thresholds that would result in the decision to close a department, a campus, or the school, the decision on whether to close or transition to virtual learning will be based on the number of staff who are testing positive and the number of staff out due to COVID-related absences. MSD must also evaluate operational factors including the availability of classroom staff, school nurses, and food service and housekeeping employees.
If a shift to virtual learning is necessary, this instructional model will remain virtual only until adequate numbers of staff return and school operations may continue safely in an in-person setting. At this time, there is no specific time frame pertaining to the number of days virtual learning will occur. The length of this temporary arrangement may vary from a single school day, to several consecutive days, or even a week or two.
The number of students testing positive and the level of spread within a department will also be assessed when deciding if a transition to virtual learning is indeed necessary. This decision will include a discussion with the local health department.
The decision to close a department, a campus, or the school shall be made on a case-by-case basis and shall be communicated with families and staff as soon as a decision is made. Please note that the closure does not automatically result in a transition to virtual learning; this is contingent upon availability of teachers and staff to provide synchronous instruction.
MSD may also close buildings and move to online instruction for all students if the state government officials order the school to do so.
Schedule and Planning
- All students and staff shall bring their school-issued device home and to school daily.
- If a department or the school goes into virtual learning, the virtual school day will begin and end at the same time as in-person learning. Classes will begin on time.
- Teachers will deliver all virtual instruction in a synchronous, live format. The amount of time spent in each class may be adjusted to allow for appropriate screen time and breaks during the day.
- Related services and student support services (i.e.: Counseling, Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, Orientation and Mobility, and Physical Therapy) will remain as scheduled and shall be provided on a virtual platform.
- WiFi hotspots shall be made available for families in need to ensure access to virtual instruction and online resources.
Hybrid learning shall only be considered should health metrics require reduced capacity in school buildings for an extended period of time. In this circumstance, MSD may shift to a hybrid learning model where students would be assigned to a cohort and receive in-person instruction on some days and virtual instruction on other days.
Because MSD is a residential school with students commuting to campus from counties throughout the state in addition to the significant challenges of teachers leading concurrent learning and ensuring students have full access to communication and language at home, the hybrid learning model is not a feasible option for a temporary shift from in-person learning; therefore, the hybrid learning model will only be implemented if reduced capacity is absolutely necessary for an extended period of time.