Dear Shippensburg Area School District Families,
As you know, the Shippensburg Area School District has been working tirelessly on a plan as to how to reopen our schools. A plan that is constantly overshadowed by the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Reopening Schools Task Force considered plan options that included (1) traditional, in-school instruction, (2) virtual, on-line instruction, and (3) a hybrid plan, which is a combination of in-school and virtual instruction. Please know that every discussion always centered on the health and safety of our students, staff, and families.
The Board of School Directors approved a school reopening framework during the virtual July 27/29, 2020 board meeting. The Shippensburg Area School District will be returning to face-to-face instruction on alternating days for students entering Kindergarten through 3rd Grade. These students will be divided into two groups or “cohorts,” A and B. Cohort A will attend on Mondays and Thursdays and Cohort B will attend on Tuesdays and Fridays. Wednesdays will be virtual instruction for both Cohorts A and B. On days of the week when students are not scheduled for face-to-face instruction, virtual instruction will take place. For example, if your child is part of Cohort A, he or she will physically report to school on Mondays and Thursdays. Your child will not report to school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Fridays and instead, will receive virtual instruction.
Students in Grades 4 through 12 will begin the 2020-2021 school year with all virtual instruction. Please know that providing face-to-face instruction for all grades, while continuing our focus on safety and health, remains our ultimate goal. Our strategy is to reevaluate this framework at the end of September.
We recognize that our Kindergarten through 3rd Grade families may feel apprehensive about sending their children to school for face-to-face instruction. For these families, we will also be offering full-time virtual instruction. Staff members across the District are working to finalize plans that will provide all students with equally high-quality virtual instruction and learning experiences. This full-time virtual option will be the best alternative to ensure a seamless transition back to full-time classroom instruction for these families when they are ready.
During the next few days, we will be requesting every family to complete a school survey. For parents of our Kindergarten through 3rd Grade students, we will be asking for your preference of face-to face instruction, with an alternating schedule, or full-time virtual instruction delivered by District teachers using the District’s curriculum and pacing. With the survey link, you will receive more detailed information about the options available for your child(ren). Families of students with IEP’s will receive a separate communication from the Special Education Department, highlighting additional options that will be available.
The Board of Directors also approved moving the first day of school from Thursday, August 20, 2020 to after Labor Day. We anticipate the first student instructional day to be Tuesday, September 8, 2020. The delayed start will allow the District to conduct more professional development for our faculty and staff to ensure an exceptional learning experience.
I am humbled and proud of our community families that have shared their passion for their children and their children’s education in a safe environment. We deeply appreciate your feedback, trust, and support in the reopening plan and I look forward to continuing our work together as a school community in getting through this unprecedented time.
Dr. Chris Suppo