10/22/20 Community Update

Dear Hatboro-Horsham Families,

This week, the HHSD Board of School Directors approved the calendar dates to return students to in-person instruction, authorized school calendar adjustments, and approved revisions to the District's Health and Safety Plan. These dates were in addition to those previously approved on October 7. The Board meeting and presentation slides can be viewed here. Details of these changes and some frequently asked questions are below.

While this is a positive step in the process of returning students to in-person instruction, it is also a time of significant change. Any change has disruptive and challenging elements. While we are committed to working through these challenges with you, we need to be ever aware of the harsh realities of being amid a global pandemic. Through this, our community's commitment to caring for one another and keeping one another safe needs to remain a priority.  Committing to community care not only includes adhering to the advice of public health experts - social distancing, masking, washing hands, etc. - but also extends to being mindful of the well-being of one another.

On Tuesday, we welcomed Dr. Katherine Dahlsgaard to share strategies to help manage stress, worry, and anxiety, including as it relates to COVID-19. The stress and worry in society and our community is real – we are seeing it in our students, our staff, and our families. We have heard the many stories of stressed students and the impact this is having on them. We want to be responsive to and supportive of our students as they meet this challenge. I also see the stress on our staff members. They are being asked to do something they have never done before. And while they are facing it with professionalism, I know their worry is rooted in a strong desire to do the job well and do right by our students. Our collective community care will help all of us meet these hurdles with success. It is a time more than ever that we need grace, understanding, kindness, and civility. You should always expect that from our staff; I am confident committing to caring for one another will only make us a stronger community.  

When does in-person instruction resume?

The staggered return of students to in-person instruction allows us to provide additional support for our students who are transitioning to a new building this year (grades 6 and 9). These students will be able to experience time in the building with their grade-level peers before the students in all grades join them.

Kindergarten (all students)

Monday, October 26

Pre-K & Before/After Care

Monday, October 26

Grades 1-6 (Hybrid)

Thursday, November 5

Eastern Center (Hybrid)

Thursday, November 5

Grades 7-8 (Hybrid)

Monday, November 9

Grades 9 (Hybrid)

Thursday, November 12

Grades 10-12 (Hybrid)

Monday, November 16

 

What are the school calendar adjustments?

There will be one additional professional development day added to the calendar for each grade level of instruction. On these days, there will be no remote instructional delivery. Due to how the calendar was built, we are not anticipating any additional instructional days being added later in the school year.

Kindergarten

Friday, October 23

Grades 1-8

Monday, November 2

Grades 9-12

Wednesday, November 11

 

 

 

How will the Cohorts of students be divided? When will this be finalized and communicated?

The cohorts of students are being divided in grades 1-12 with the intent of keeping siblings and households in the same cohort. There are some complexities based on individual family circumstances that are being resolved. Students will have their designated cohort communicated on Wednesday, October 28. Most students’ cohorts will align with the alphabetical split below:

 

Cohort

Days of the week in school for in-person instruction

Students with last names

A

Tuesdays and Thursdays

A through Le

B

Wednesdays and Fridays

Li through Z

 

 

When will Elementary class placements/teacher assignments be shared?

Kindergarten class placements have been communicated. Elementary class placements (grades 1-5) are being finalized and will be communicated by individual elementary schools on Wednesday, October 28.

 

When will Middle School student schedule changes be announced?

Middle School students will receive their revised class schedules by Tuesday, November 3. Maintaining teaming is being prioritized, so nearly all Middle School students (remote or hybrid) will be remaining with their peers and teachers on their current teams.

 

How can I learn more about the Hybrid program?

We realize there are and will be many questions about the hybrid model that our students and families still have. Families can expect communication from their Principals about specific schedules and additional details in orienting families. We will also continue to update the website with FAQs and details on the Reopening webpage. To help you get a better sense of the student experience in the hybrid model, we have some short videos to hear from the principals about what students can expect upon our return.

 

What are the school hours for in-person instruction in the hybrid model?

School times have been adjusted for multiple reasons. First, with the additional time between dismissals by level, buses will be able to be sanitized between runs and still be present at schools at dismissal. This will improve transportation efficiency, reduce student gathering at dismissal, and provide a safer dismissal experience.  Second, there are instructional benefits in that the end of the school day will allow teachers to meet directly with students at home who were not in-person that day.

Elementary

8:45 am – 2:50 pm

Middle

8:00 am – 2:20 pm

High

7:35 am – 1:42 pm

 

Where can I find my bus stop?

Bus Routes are available for Kindergarten students on the Transportation page of the website. The routes will be slightly revised as more students return. Bus stop and route information will be posted for students in grades K-12 on Wednesday, October 28. As we phase students back to in-person instruction, please check back on Fridays starting October 23 for any revisions or updates.

When will special education programming details be communicated with families?

Due to the individualized nature of special education programming, this communication will be more targeted and tailored to the needs of students. Families of special education students will receive communication by Friday, October 23.

 

What childcare options are in place for before and aftercare?

Elementary Students will be eligible for before and/or aftercare on the days their cohort is in school for in-person instruction. Registration paperwork is available on the district website on the Child Care page. We ask that all interested parents complete the paperwork and submit it to the Child Care Department following the instructions in the registration packet. The childcare program will be following all district health and safety protocols to ensure your child’s safety. Additional guidelines and procedures will be sent to families who register for the program.

 

Are meals available for students in-person and/or in the remote learning environment?

The Hatboro-Horsham School District will provide free breakfast and lunch to all school-aged members of the Hatboro-Horsham Community (ages 0-18 years old). HHSD enrolled students over the age of 18 may also take part. This service is in place for students attending in-person or accessing their instructional program remotely. Click HERE for more Food Service details.

Are Pennsylvania travel restrictions being enforced in school?

Yes, students, staff, or anyone accessing the school buildings, who travel during the school year to states on the travel restriction list are expected to quarantine for the directed time (currently 14 days) upon their return.

 

Why are state immunizations required if a student is not returning in-person?

State requirements for immunizations for the 2020-21 school year remain in place with an extended deadline of November 8. By law, students who do not secure their immunizations by November 8 will be excluded from school beginning on Monday, November 9, even if that student is being instructed remotely.  Given the current public health status, immunizations are especially important. Also, flu shots for this season are highly recommended. More information can be found HERE.

 

We are excited to welcome back more students to in-person instruction. Through this transition, we can all expect a high volume of communication. We will continue to provide updates and information to our families in the weeks ahead about this exciting transition and encourage your communication, questions, and feedback.

 

Thank you,

 

Scott Eveslage, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools