Moffat County School Board votes to approve reopening plan
After a few changes were made to the first draft of the school re-opening plan, Moffat County School District officially has a set re-opening plan for the start of the school year following a unanimous vote by Board of Education members Thursday night.
Following feedback from parents and staff members, Craig Middle School and Moffat County High School had to make a handful of changes, while Preschool and K-5 elementary schools didn’t make any changes to their original planning.
Students who choose in-person learning will report to school on Aug. 31. Teachers will report on Aug. 17.
CRAIG MIDDLE SCHOOL CHANGES
CMS had to make some of the largest changes to the original reopening plan.
CMS Principal David Grabowski presented to the Board of Education some of the key changes Thursday night, highlighted by the switch from an A.M./P.M. model to an A and B cohort, with each cohort attending school in person two days a week with a third day a week every other week.
One cohort – which will be 50 to 100 kids – will attend school in person Mondays, Wednesdays and a Friday every other week, while the second cohort will attend school in person Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other Friday.
“Students will still see all four core content teachers, which is very important, and they’ll probably have one or two electives a semester,” Grabowski said. “We’re still trying to work through the schedule to figure out specifics on electives.
Additionally, Grabowski announced that middle school students – in the Safer at Home phase – will be required to wear masks all day long, while also following 6-foot social distancing guidelines.
HIGH SCHOOL CHANGES
MCHS Principal Sarah Hepworth said that trying to find smaller cohort sizes was incredibly tough to do, which led to them sticking with two cohorts, switching to an A and B cohort, rather than a pairing of ninth and 12th graders in one cohort, and 10th and 11th graders in another cohort.
Students will still go to school for all-day in-person learning on alternating days with alternating Fridays for each cohort. At this time, cohorts are not assigned as Hepworth said the school is trying to work with the middle school to match up families in the same cohorts.
“It was just too hard to find smaller cohorts,” Hepworth said. “I’ve talked to people in other districts that are the same size or slightly bigger, and they can’t figure out the cohort issue, so they’re starting the school year online only.
“We just couldn’t find a way to decrease the cohort sizes.”
MCSD Director of Curriculum Zach Allen rolled out a new virtual learning option for students whose parents choose to keep them home.
MoCo Virtual is a remote online learning option for students that is tuition free, and provides an iPad to students. The option is open to students K-12 and is an online school powered by Edgenuity.
Students that decide to select the MoCo Virtual option will still graduate with a Moffat County School District diploma. Additionally, the program provides an easy transition back to in-person learning, according to Allen, as Edgenuity course align to the school district’s in-person courses, and has the same graduation requirements as MCSD.
While some virtual leaning programs take students out of the school district, MoCo Virtual will keep online students connected to MCSD staff and schools through teachers, counselors and principals.
For parents interested in MoCo Virtual, online enrollment opens on Monday, Aug. 3
Following the presentations from staff, the board had some thoughts on the changes to the reopening plan and how the community can help support the district.
“When I think about conversations like this, I think about our community and how we all have a responsibility to limit large gatherings and to wear a mask to keep our numbers down in the next four weeks,” Dr. Elise Sullivan said. “It would behoove us all as a community to prioritize the education of our children over some things that are easier to sacrifice.
“I really appreciate all the hard work that’s been put into the is plan and all the hours and hours spent on this.”
“It’s going to take all of us – our staff, our parents and our community – to support this program of getting our kids back into school,” Jo Ann Baxter said. “We’re all going to have to be a little bit more understanding; this is a moving target and flexibility will have to be key as we think outside the box. We’re going to have to forge ahead.
“The time that the staff has put into this has been tremendous, and I really, really appreciate all of your hard work.”
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