July 1, 2020
Good Afternoon CASD Families and Team Members!
The Spring of 2020 has been like no other. I appreciate your incredible support and hope you are enjoying your summer! I would like to provide a general update and ideas regarding the Fall 2020 Reopening planning process.
Your Catasauqua Area School District Administrative Team has been tirelessly reviewing research, best practices, medical-based recommendations, and the most recent stakeholder survey results. We have also led and participated in numerous Lehigh Valley Task Forces to determine the models and practices that result in the most valuable experience for our students.
We are in the process of creating the CASD Health and Safety Plan in preparation for a return to in-person instruction and expect to have the Board of School Directors consider approval during the week of July 20, 2020. We have begun the planning process with a goal of having all students physically present in school, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. We are busy planning instructional models to include an option for families who prefer a robust virtual learning model that is tied directly to a CASD classroom. We will also plan for online instruction should the region enter a phase that prohibits in-person interaction. In order to work towards a successful return in the Fall of 2020, it is paramount that we work together as a community in providing a safe environment for our students, staff, and families.
At this time, it is our intention to provide a 5 day per week “Physical Presence” model for our students with a virtual learning option that allows for a direct connection to our physical classrooms and parallel resources. However, a drastic change in medical-based advice or regional conditions could change this model. Final discussions will take place with our stakeholders and our Planning Committee over the next few weeks. In order for us to provide a “Physical Presence” Instructional Model, there may be different requirements and adjustments to the traditional day. As you know, this is a monumental task, but I am confident that we will produce a plan that meets the needs of all stakeholders of our School District.
In preparation, here are some action items you may wish to consider:
- Purchase a mask for your child to be in their possession during the school day and worn in situations in which minimal social distancing guidelines cannot be achieved. It is our plan to offer bus transportation, but face coverings may be required in order to operate our district vehicles in a practical manner and provide this crucial service. All staff members will be provided with face shields and Personal Protective Equipment in order to provide protection as well as the ability to communicate effectively and meaningfully.
- Have a thermometer available at home for daily temperature checking prior to school arrival.
- Staff and Students are highly encouraged to bring a water bottle to school/work. We are installing additional water bottle filling stations in each school building.
- If daycare is an issue, please prepare for the possibility of a school day that may be slightly shorter (30 minutes) in duration so that our staff may be available for students in the CASD Virtual Learning Program or learning remotely due to illness.
- Brand new iPads have been purchased for every student, K-12. This device will be used in school and taken home, providing the flexibility of virtual instruction if conditions necessitate the transition or if a family illness causes a need for a student to connect virtually to his/her classroom for a short period of time. You may wish to establish a quiet location in your home for your child to perform school work and communicate with Teachers and fellow Classmates.
Upon approval of the Plan, I will communicate with you, and Building Principals will send detailed information regarding your choice of instructional model, transportation preference, school day schedules, procedures, and more.
We are all in this together and it will take our collective efforts to provide a meaningful and enjoyable school year for all. I have no doubt that our Catty community will rise to the occasion! Please have an enjoyable and safe Fourth of July! #CattyStrong
Robert J. Spengler