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Hello Alma Families! I know we just spoke earlier this week, but I wanted to send you a message as soon as possible regarding a critical update to Alma’s re-opening strategy.
We are no longer planning on beginning the school year with all of Kindergarten and First Grade in person. If conditions allow, we plan to prioritize our K-1 scholars for returning back to in-person instruction in October.
We are still planning on serving a number of scholars in all grades who have complex needs with in person instruction instruction at the start of the year. This will be a small group to start with and then we will plan to expand it in October.
To be clear: This update does not change our re-opening plans for scholars entering Second through Eighth Grade, those scholars will still begin the year participating in remote learning from home. Now, when we begin our school year on September 14th, all scholars will be learning remotely, from home, unless they have been identified as part of a targeted group of scholars with high needs.
We knew when we mapped out our models last month that it was likely we’d have to shift between them in the lead up to re-opening. We also know how difficult it is for all of you to make plans as the situation continues to evolve. I want to assure you: These decisions are not being made lightly.
There are a number of reasons for this shift in our plan, which will not be the last such shift. Since we made our plans public on Monday,the state issued further indicators making recommendations for school re-opening based on public health data. The data showed New Bedford as being in the “green” zone with fewer than 4 daily cases of Covid-19 for every 100,000 people.
Wednesday evening, that same dashboard rated NB as “yellow,” meaning our daily cases reported over the last week had gone up slightly. This indicator will likely fluctuate every week until opening and we will continue to watch it.
Additionally, there has not been widespread improvement of rapid Covid-19 testing in our region, meaning that anyone showing symptoms may not be able to know if they have coronavirus for at least a week.
Each week we have more data that can provide us with a better understanding of how to re-open safely. My hope is that schools opening in less high-risk areas will pave the way for schools like ours to return to in-person more gradually.
I know how frustrating this must be for our Kindergarten and First Grade families who were told just days ago that their children would begin the school year in person. We truly appreciate your patience as we continue to improve our planning as more data becomes available.
Alma leadership and staff will be reaching out to each of you individually in the coming weeks to check in, hear about your individual needs and help you plan for the upcoming school year. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to call our front desk if you have any questions or pressing needs.
Thank you for your continued support of Alma and of each other during this challenging time. Be safe and be well.