Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates in CMCSS
March 14, 2020
The CMCSS Communicable Disease Team (CDT) comprised of leaders from CMCSS and the Montgomery County Health Department meet regularly to review the latest guidance from the CDC and make recommendations for the health and safety of students, employees and the community.
Update on 6/23/2020 –
During the Director of School’s report at this evening’s CMCSS School Board Study Session, Millard House shared an update on the plan for reopening the district’s 40 schools for the 2020-21 school year with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The reopening planning process is led by the CMCSS Communicable Disease Team (CDT), composed of leaders from all CMCSS departments and the Montgomery County Health Department. The CDT continually monitors and evaluates the latest local, state, and national data, guidance, and best practices to develop a flexible plan with the safety and health of students, employees, and the entire community as the first priority.
In an effort to gain feedback from CMCSS stakeholders about the safe return to school, the CDT sent surveys in early June. Parents and guardians of more than 36,500 students in addition to 5,100 employees had the opportunity to complete the survey. With nearly a 50 percent response rate, 54 percent of parents/guardians and 60 percent of employees prefer returning to a traditional, in-person setting in the fall based on comfort level and safety concerns.
The CDT’s goal is to prepare the district with strategic plans for a Continuum of Options that will ensure the district can provide a high-quality education for all students no matter the circumstances of the pandemic. At any point during the academic year, CMCSS may need to move between any of the following options:
Traditional refers to in-person classes for 100% of students with health, safety, and operational changes to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Hybrid refers to a modification of the traditional five-day, in-person school week with a reduction in class sizes, transportation, and building capacities by 50 percent to allow for increased social distancing.
Remote learning refers to the ability for the entire district or a specific school to move strictly to a model in which students are not physically present in the school building but continue learning remotely.
In addition, the district has developed a virtual learning option open to all K-12 students for the upcoming school year. Virtual learning provides a comprehensive online learning environment, led by a CMCSS administrator and taught by CMCSS educators. The program will begin in September. More information will be shared soon.
The Board-approved first half day of school for CMCSS students is August 11. Wednesday, August 12 will be an additional half day, with Friday, August 14 scheduled as the first full day. The method in which schools will reopen in August on the Continuum of Options will be based on the level of community spread of COVID-19 and the district’s ability to adhere to laws, policies, and guidelines related to the pandemic. Since these factors continue to evolve, the CDT’s goal is to make the reopening recommendation at least one month ahead of the first half day of school.
Resources and information regarding the reopening of the CMCSS schools can be found at cmcss.net/reopening.
ACT – In Fall 2020, CMCSS will provide opportunities for students to participate in the ACT. The dates are either September 22 or October 6, and a make-up date of October 20 with scores arriving 3-7 weeks later. This will not interfere with Fall break, which is October 12-16, 2020. ACT National administration dates are still in transition for those who would like to participate in those administrations. Please check their website act.org for further information. If you have a senior in need of an ACT retake before the fall, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Athletics – Beginning July 6 for high school and July 13 for middle school, CMCSS will begin permitting limited in-person athletic practices and conditioning on campuses with modifications and protocols for the health and safety of students, employees, and the community.
The plan was developed by the District Programs and Activities Coordinator in collaboration with local and regional athletic directors and coaches with input from the district’s Communicable Disease Team. Guidance from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) as well as from the Tennessee Pledge Access Guidelines for Noncontact Sports and the CDC were taken into consideration.
Some of the modifications and protocols in the plan include:
- required parent/guardian consent for students to participate (Parent and Student Return to Campus Waiver and Consent)
- daily temperature checks and COVID-19 symptom evaluations for students and employees
- social distancing guidelines
- limiting groups to no more than 10 people at a time (including both coaches and athletes)
- members of workout groups will remain the same each day to aid in contact tracing
- staggered work out times
- students and employees must bring their own water bottles
- increased equipment and facility sanitization and personal hygiene expectations
- no spectators
Athletic directors and coaches at each school will be responsible for adhering to the plan. Workouts will be on a voluntary basis. No athlete or coach will feel pressure to participate in or experience any repercussions for not attending any on-site, face-to-face workouts. Accommodations, including virtual options, will be provided for families who do not feel comfortable with students returning to in-person practices at this time.
Grades – On April 9, the State Board of Education determined that no student will be issued a grade lower than what had been earned as of March 20, 2020. Grades for high school credit-bearing courses have unique circumstances, so parents should reach out to teachers or administrators with questions. Parents at any grade level should contact your child’s teacher or administrator if you have concerns about grades.
Kindergarten – Kindergarten Kickoffs originally scheduled for April 21 are postponed. After schools and district offices resume normal business hours, we will begin accepting full kindergarten registrations at the schools when they are open and throughout the summer at the CMCSS Enrollment Center. According to the State Department of Education, children entering kindergarten shall be five (5) years of age on or before August 15 of the current school year. Tennessee State Law also requires that a student going into the first grade must show proof of attendance in an accredited kindergarten program.
Pre-K – Click here for more information about Pre-K applications for the 2020-2021 school year.
Promotion/Graduation – Students who were on track to be promoted to the next grade level or graduate as of March 20, 2020 will do so. Teachers, counselors, and/or administrators have already reached out if your child was at risk of not graduating or being promoted. There are concerns across the nation and world that this gap in classroom instruction will cause students in Pre-K through 11th grade to not be prepared for the 2020-21 school year. Our Curriculum and Instruction Department has provided the standards-based Continued Learning Library to help close this gap, and they will continue to refine the curriculum plans for the 2020-21 school year to ensure students are on track. Please contact your child’s teacher or administrator if you have concerns about promotion or graduation.
Registration – You may begin the enrollment process at enroll.cmcss.net. When schools are back in session, someone from CMCSS will contact the primary guardian listed during pre-registration to provide instructions for completing the enrollment process.
Food for Children:
Click here for the latest updates.
CMCSS is providing weekly grade-level Continued Learning Resources for students. Click here for more information.
Children thrive within structured environments and it will be important to provide opportunities during the day for your children to be creative, read and discuss what they are reading, and participate in physical activity. It is a good idea to create a daily structure in the mornings and afternoons for your children to do these things.
Social and Emotional Resources:
During this time of fear and uncertainty, students will look to adults for information and comfort. It is important to provide evidence-based information to reduce fears and to seek mental health services or other support when needed. The following resources can help:
- Discussing COVID-19 with children – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/talking-with-children.html
- Taking Care of Your Emotional Health – https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/selfcare.asp
- Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/coping.html
- Talking to Your Kids about the Coronavirus – https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/
- Find a local therapist – https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
- Anxious about coronavirus? Text TN to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
General COVID-19 Information:
COVID-19 information is continuing to evolve as the experts learn more about this disease. We know there is a lot of fear and anxiety around this pandemic, and we assure you the CDT is continuously monitoring this situation. While education is important, the health and well-being of our students and staff are far more significant.
For up-to-date information from the CDC on COVID-19, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html