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Fall opening for students at MLWGS

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MW Mural

Dear MLWGS Community,

Last week Gov. Northam and the Virginia Department of Education issued Recover, Redesign, Restart 2020 guidelines as to how schools may reopen in the fall.  The MLWGS Leadership Team looked at a variety of options that would best fit the needs of our students, families, and staff.  As a result of these discussions, MLWGS will pursue a combination of in-person and virtual formats for reopening in the fall.

Given the possibility that we will be unable to open as we have in the past with the full student body on campus, we are focused on creating a plan that combines two approaches: one hybrid model that combines in-person and virtual learning, and a second fully virtual option.  In the event that the City of Richmond, where the school is physically located, is in Phase 1 or Phase 2 of the reopening plan as outlined in Forward Virginia, MLWGS would open using a fully virtual model with no on-campus instruction.   If we are in Phase 3, we would open using the hybrid model.  It is important to note that it is possible that we may move forward and backward between these models as the situation requires. 

With the hybrid learning model, one portion of the student body would attend classes on campus for a period of time, while another portion would learn remotely. The two groups would have different days on campus to build a blended learning environment. Having fewer students on campus would make it easier to implement distancing guidelines.  The format that we are currently reviewing would have some students on campus on Mondays and Tuesdays while others would be on campus Thursdays and Fridays.  On Wednesdays, the school would be closed to students while the campus was thoroughly cleaned. 

The virtual learning model would be used if we are unable to have students on campus or if parents, guardians, or students opt for a fully virtual learning experience that parallels the “in-person” instruction happening in classrooms.  This could be due to a student or family member being immunocompromised or with other medical conditions that would merit greater social isolation.  

While the document from the VDOE provides guidance and flexibility, our partner school systems must ultimately decide on a reopening plan that works for them and is compliant with the guidelines.  It is entirely possible that we may not be in the same phase as one of our surrounding districts.  Any school district that opens will be required to submit a comprehensive instructional plan at least 15 days before the start of the new school year.

Because MLWGS plans would incorporate in-person instruction, we would also be required to submit a health mitigation plan.

As one can imagine, there are many details that are yet to be worked out, including decisions regarding athletics and extra-curricular activities.  The MLWGS Administration will be at work this summer to iron all of the details out and all can expect additional announcements as plans continue to be developed in accordance with the new health and safety guidelines.

Sincerely,

Bob Lowerre