The guidance in the toolkit will be adjusted over the coming weeks based on feedback and the evolving situation with COVID-19.
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Advisory Committee Meeting Archive
March 19, 2021
- CDE staff shared an overview of the Learning Impacts Toolkit, including the four major sections - Response Plan, Expanded Learning Opportunities, Instruction and Intervention, and Well-Being and Connectedness.
- Participants had an opportunity to provide feedback as to what would be helpful to see in each of these sections, as well as what might be missing from the toolkit.
- The group discussed the feedback as a whole and provided CDE thoughtful insights as to what information would be most useful within a Learning Impacts Toolkit.
December 11, 2020 Meeting
At the December 11th 2020-21 Advisory Committee Meeting:
- CDE staff shared quick updates about the Back to School Workgroup, quarantines, masks, and CDPHE tool changes.
- As a whole group, participants shared feedback on what they many need to see in place for staff, students, and parents to feel that it is "safe" to return to in-person learning.
- The group decided that at a future meeting they will discuss vaccines, how to support local public health agencies, and making decisions based on data.
September 17, 2020 Meeting
At the September 17th 2020-21 Advisory Committee Meeting:
- CDE staff shared quick updates about the new dial, learning pod guidance, performing arts guidance, ventilation guidance and the new mask order.
- In small groups, participants shared feedback on how the current CDPHE outbreak guidance is being used and any changes or additions that would be helpful.
- In small groups, participants shared how their expectations for the year are the same or different from their current reality, and any wishes they have for the rest of the year. Overall, participants shared that reality is better than expectations with lots of examples of how students and educators are adapting and making the year work. Participants also shared a strong desire to let people know that the year is going well, and to learn from the successes.
- The group decided to continue with optional meetings throughout the year to check-in on how things are going and any emerging needs.
August 6, 2020 Meeting
At the August 6th 2020-21 Advisory Committee Meeting:
- CDE staff shared updates concerning the three phase guidance, the cases and outbreak guidance, the instructional time policy and the communication tools available.
- In small groups, participants shared their school/district plans for the 2020-21 school year, what has been going well and what challenges they are facing.
- The small groups prioritized their challenges.
- The large group voted on the top challenges, to provide CDE with direction on where to prioritize staff time and resource development.
The group decided to add an optional meeting in mid-September to check in about the beginning of the school year.
June 23, 2020 Meeting
For its second virtual meeting on June 23, the Advisory Committee formed to provide feedback to the draft Toolkit for Planning the 2020-21 School Year and discussed the three remaining areas in the guidance: Conditions for Learning, Planning and Communications, and Policy and Funding.
The committee members, made up of education stakeholders from across the state, parents and students, moved into smaller groups during the meeting to allow for better discussion and opportunity for all members to share their feedback and recommendations. The guidance was developed in response to the disruption to in-person learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic last spring.
Facilitated by CDE staff, the committee provided the following considerations and comments to each remaining area of the draft guidance.
Under the Conditions for Learning area, the committee focused on the well-being and connection between students and staff. The committee shared the following feedback and ideas for solutions:
- Increasing support for students and families with no internet service or access to computers, specifically, instructions for parents on how to set up remote learning for their students
- Allowing students to connect with teachers they had last year and having a transition to their new teachers before beginning with academics will benefit both teachers and students
- Making more bilingual tools and resources available for students and families whose first language is not English
- Keeping in mind the privacy and needs of teachers and staff who may need to work remotely due to personal health needs and finding ways to make them feel connected when school restarts
- Providing messages to help reduce parents’ stress around learning gaps and where students should be academically by focusing on parents and teachers as “partners” in supporting student learning
- Amplifying social-emotional support for students when in-person learning resumes
Under the Planning and Communications area of the toolkit, the committee focused on what information teachers, staff, students and families need for the next school year. The committee shared the following:
- Communication with parents around what safety measures will be implemented will be a top priority for schools and emphasizing personal responsibility around new social norms
- Creating frequently asked questions that all parents have will be helpful to schools and districts
- Making sure families and students are involved in the planning process for local school/district restart plans
- Including email and social media as communication vehicles when reaching families and considering printed materials for families with limited digital access
- Offering sample surveys for schools and districts to collect feedback from parents and staff to make sure the right questions are asked around transportation, return to in-person instruction, school foodservice and expectations for staff returning to school.
- Increasing materials and resources available to families in Spanish, specifically around what support or services families qualify for during this school year.
- Highlighting resources available for senior high school students who will graduate this upcoming school year and their post-secondary transition, whether to college, technical school or career, in light of the pandemic context.
Under the Policy and Funding areas of the toolkit, which contains information about policy updates and funding sources and options, the committee shared the following considerations:
- Districts need clear guidance on educator evaluations and other ways to measure student learning when state assessments are not carried out.
- Schools and districts need more flexibility around the length of the school day requirements and instructional time.
- More guidance is needed around school attendance and how students will be marked as present in a remote learning environment.
- Clarification on transportation requirements in order to balance the feasibility of operating health orders with the goal to bring students back to school full-time.
- Time to provide professional development for teachers and staff this upcoming school year including safety, trauma informed practices, wellness and the new processes/ schedules for this fall.
- Concerns around how to provide for planning time for teachers this school year in a remote learning environment or when in-person instruction resumes with students staying in the classroom during lunch.
May 28, 2020 Meeting
The Advisory Committee formed to provide feedback on the draft Toolkit for Planning the 2020-21 School Year held its first virtual meeting on Thursday, May 28. The toolkit was released on May 26 by CDE in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The committee consists of education stakeholders from across the state that have direct experience in school during the spring of 2020, including district and school leaders, a school board member, teachers, parents and students.
Tasked with reviewing the draft guidance and considerations for restarting school in the fall, the Advisory Committee tackled two of the five areas that make up the guidance: Health and Safety and Continuity of Learning.
To help districts navigate the slew of factors required for back-to-school in the fall as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the guidance is broken down by required protocols that all districts need to take, guidance on how to implement statutes or rules, and considerations that districts may want to think about. Committee members appreciated the differentiation of requirements, guidance and considerations and noted that specific information and protocols were most helpful as they created their reopening plans.
Under the Health and Safety area of the guidance, some of the committee's questions and requests for clarity included:
- The notification process if a school has a student that tests positive for COVID-19 while keeping in mind student privacy and HIPAA concerns
- School bus transportation guidance for student/parent health screen checks before students get on the bus, social distancing at bus stops and current guidance on bus capacity with required social distancing
- Leave policies for employees related to COVID-19
- Collaboration with local health partners that vary by community and at times can undermine school district regional collaboration
- Mask and face-covering policies for students and staff that take student age groups and maturity into consideration
- Podiums with a protective plastic shield for teachers was shared as an option for modified personal protective equipment
- Under the Continuity of Learning area of the guidance, some of the committee's questions and recommendations included:
- Will families have an option to choose between in-person and remote learning?
- Will the state reconsider district attendance requirements and offer guidance for how to track learning hours especially for students learning remotely?
- Will there be flexibility to measure student mastery of subjects instead of monitoring the amount of instructional hours or attendance requirements?
- For students who continue with remote learning in the fall, will there be guidance on how they can join an in-person class virtually while keeping student privacy measures in place?
The student committee members asked for a focus on mental health in the fall. In addition, they supported extending in-person school days for the flex-instruction scenario where students rotate between in-person and remote learning so that there would be time to enjoy the “good parts” of school (like electives, extracurriculars and time with friends). The idea of teachers moving between classrooms instead of having students in the hallways during passing periods was also welcomed by the student committee members.
Communication with staff, parents and public health partners was discussed throughout the meeting as a key element in the school restart plan for districts. Sharing new protocols and guidance with parents and families was highlighted as a priority in ensuring a successful school restart in the fall.