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Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Good evening, awesome SCS colleagues.

During tonight's Board Business Meeting, I shared our next steps for reopening schools and returning stronger this fall. This has been a historic undertaking since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, and I am extremely proud and appreciative of the countless hours put forth by our Board members, District planning teams and the S.A.F.E. Re-Entry Task Force. I also want to acknowledge the thousands of educators and families who contributed to our planning process by providing critical survey input and participating in our listening sessions and other feedback opportunities.

As I've said all along, the input of our stakeholders was essential in building a plan that truly meets the needs of those we serve. Nearly 18,000 families representing more than 30,000 students completed our survey, and we responded to their overwhelming interest in having multiple options for student learning.

In addition to a wide range of health and safety protocols that align with CDC and health department guidance, we will be allowing our families to choose one of two learning options in the fall based on the needs of their child. Beginning July 6, parents will be able to select either a fully in-school learning option with daily in-class instruction or a fully virtual model with teacher-led instruction at home.

As a way to ensure consistency across all schools and enable all students to learn at the same pace regardless of whether they're in school or at home, we are submitting a continuous learning plan to the State that would utilize the popular K-12 Florida Virtual Schools (FLVS) curriculum as our base curriculum for the 2020-21 school year. The online learning modules are aligned to state standards and provide rigorous materials and resources ready-made for teacher instruction. FLVS also ensures flexibility in the event of any unexpected closures so there is no disruption in learning. The Tennessee Department of Education will ultimately have to approve our learning model for the coming year, but we believe this is the optimal plan to ensure student equity. We look forward to sharing more updates about FLVS supports.

You can VIEW THE S.A.F.E. PLAN SUMMARY HERE, which outlines the following components:
  • Student Learning Options & Parent Commitment
  • Health & Safety Precautions
  • Digital Device Access to Support Virtual Learning
  • Frequently Asked Questions
One final update I want to share as a follow-up to my email last night is that I have proposed a shift in the 2020-21 school year start date to August 31 (pending Board approval). This is based on the Governor's extended state of emergency declaration through August 29 due to rising cases of COVID-19. This would not alter the structure or total number of days in the current calendar. It is only a matter of shifting dates so we can continue to prioritize health and safety. We will of course be seeking feedback from educators and families before bringing this proposal to the School Board for approval.

We will have more updates as we finalize additional details of the S.A.F.E. plan in the days ahead, including the release of the full comprehensive plan next week. We will also have more information about the FLVS curriculum and support for teachers, as well as details about our District-wide staff re-entry process.

As always, I appreciate your support and partnership in this important work for our families and community.
Dr. Joris M. Ray,