School Start 2020-21
The Anchorage School District is actively planning for the start of the 2020-21 school year. The District has formed a School Start Task Force, consisting of administrators and educators, to determine the way forward. The task force will be informed by multiple working groups focused on a variety of areas including curriculum, delivery, special education, equity, safety, and logistics. To round out the planning triad, ASD will facilitate a community advisory committee that will provide a wide-range of perspectives and input related to the reopening of schools. District Administration will present the proposed plans to the School Board for approval in the latter part of July.
ASD’s planning framework will be nested within the State of Alaska’s “Smart Start 2020” framework for the 2020-21 school year. The school start and reentry framework consists of three different risk categories (Low, Medium, High) and will assist Districts to create reopening plans for each category. For information on Alaska’s Smart Start go to www.aklearns.org/smartstart2020.
To align with the “Smart Start 2020” framework, ASD will develop plans to conduct school for each risk level. While it is still early in the planning process, the District has a sense of what conducting school at each risk level may look like.
Low Risk: Classes would be conducted in ASD buildings and would be as close to “normal” as possible. However, schools would incorporate certain mitigating factors to ensure the safety of students and staff. These mitigation factors will vary based on the current situation and the recommendations of State and local medical professionals.
Medium-low Risk: School would incorporate a cohort model, modified schedule or hybrid of in-class and online learning. This option would be the most challenging to plan for and implement, as it contains the highest number of variables and planning factors. All students attend 5.5 hours of school five days a week.
Medium-high Risk: School would incorporate a cohort model, modified schedule or hybrid of in-class and online learning. This option would be the most challenging to plan for and implement, as it contains the highest number of variables and planning factors. Alphabet-based cohort model with 50% of students attending 5.5 hours of school two days a week. Wednesday is a student eLearning/staff professional development day.
High Risk: School would most likely be conducted entirely online with no student/staff contact in school buildings. In planning for this option, the District would build upon many lessons learned and community input during the fourth quarter 2020.
As the COVID-19 situation remains fluid and unpredictable, schools must be prepared for multiple possibilities. For this reason, educators will upload their classes into an online learning management system so they can rapidly transition to teach through a hybrid or online learning environment as needed. The District is also looking at offering new, robust distance learning opportunities for families who prefer that option.
The first day of school for students has been changed to Thursday, August 20. The change provides educators two additional preparatory days (Aug 18, 19) and safely accommodates for municipal elections to be held in schools on August 18.