LABBB launched its first in-person services since March with our LSEP (LABBB Summer Extension Program) at Lexington High School on August 3rd. It ran for two weeks with great success. We worked together as a team, became familiar with PPE and how to use it in different situations, and helped our students navigate this new school environment with its many changes, including wearing their masks and physically distancing.
Now that we've had that successful experience, we are ramping up to have students return in all our 16 buildings. We want to get our students back in a routine of coming to school every day. As long as the buildings are ready for us to occupy, we were going to move in this direction.
The LSEP program started with a shortened day and this gave students the chance to experience all the changes and get comfortable with a new routine and new rules without getting too overwhelmed. With this success, we felt it would be an effective way of helping all students transition back to school. Every aspect of coming to school will be a different experience for our students. Right when they step onto the van, they will need to follow new guidelines. Throughout the school day they will experience new rules about how to move around the school, use bathrooms, and participate in all the daily living activities we typically do, while keeping safe. They will also see staff engaging in new cleaning routines in our various environments to keep our community healthy.
LABBB has an expansive Transition Department and students who typically go out to work on specific days of the week will not be able to return to their work sites at the beginning of the year. We are communicating with our community business partners and will slowly get back to work as we develop plans for returning safely. Our community partners want us back, but they and we want to move slowly and make sure all necessary safety measures are in place. The good news is that some students who are working independently at sites may be going back when we return or have already started back. We are looking at this on a case by case basis.
A few of our programs may need to shift to a hybrid model if we are not able to keep physical distancing in the classroom due to the number of students and staff who need to be in that space, but we will continue making every effort to move towards a full in-person model.
We believe if everyone can return and focus on getting acclimated to our environments, new routines, working with our new guidelines, and wearing masks and other PPE, then we can begin to focus our full attention on what LABBB has always done best for almost 50 years and that is provide special education services in the most inclusive settings.
We have had to think differently and there are so many people who are working to help make this possible. While there are some things we might not know yet, we do know this, working together collaboratively is what will make the transition back to school successful.