Omaha Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Cheryl Logan, announced this afternoon that the start of school has been pushed back to August 18th and there will be no in-person classes. For the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year the 100% Remote Learning Instructional Model will be used.
The text of the full notice sent to staff and families is below, as well as a link to the OPS website with more information.
"Dear Omaha Public Schools Staff:
Health and safety has been our priority as we planned for a responsible return to school. Through the spring and summer, our district prepared for a range of possibilities in the school year to come.
We are writing you to provide an important update regarding our plans. For the health and safety of our community, we will shift the start of school for students to Aug. 18. At that time, we will begin using the 100% Remote Learning Instructional Model. We believe this decision is in the best interest of our community’s health. We care deeply about our students, staff and families.
Omaha Public Schools will be in the 100% Remote Learning Instructional Model through the first quarter for the 2020-21 school year. We will continue to work with the Douglas County Health Department and other state and local officials to regularly evaluate the health conditions in our community. If we are able to transition back to the Family 3/2 Model or 100% in-person learning at the end of first quarter, we will communicate that to staff and families.
This decision was made after thoughtful consideration, with health and safety at the forefront.
Why is Omaha Public Schools Making the Change Now?
Since our shift to remote learning in March, we have closely monitored the health conditions of our local and state community. We shared that our plans may have to transition quickly. We believe it is best for the health and safety of our students, staff and families to transition to the 100% Remote Learning Instructional Model at this time.
Remote Learning Instructional Model for Students
We have plans in place to ensure students engage and learn in the 100% Remote Learning Instructional Model. In this model, both synchronous and asynchronous learning is supported with communication and interaction using iPads and other technology tools.
Students in Elementary School:
- Students will participate in synchronous and asynchronous instruction.
- Classroom teachers will utilize a daily remote schedule that follows OPS remote time allotments for all core curricular areas as well as specials five days a week for all students.
- Attendance, feedback, and common grading practices will be implemented.
Students in Middle and High School:
- Students will participate in synchronous and asynchronous instruction.
- Students will likely have instruction for four courses per day. This will allow teachers to maximize instruction time. Students will be following an A/B schedule.
- A specific daily schedule for students and staff will be provided that will allow for attendance, feedback, and common grading practices to be implemented.
Special Education Services:
- Special education services will be provided virtually, based on the services in a student’s IEP.
- Students receiving special education services will receive services synchronously and asynchronously. Coaching and support to families will also be provided by the special education service providers.
- The IEP Team for each student receiving special education services will coordinate with the family to schedule virtual services.
- Students will participate in synchronous and asynchronous learning throughout the day.
- Our district has created overlapping lunch periods with elementary, middle and high school for home environments with students at multiple grade levels.
- Remote plans are suggested to have students engaged online no more than 4-5 hours per day.
- Student attendance is expected and will be taken by teachers.
Omaha Public Schools Remote Learning Program
The OPS Remote Learning Program was created to allow a fully at-home option for students and families when our district used the Family 3/2 Model. Because we will begin the year in our 100% Remote Learning Instructional Model, students and staff who had enrolled in the Remote Learning Program will return to their home school for virtual instruction.
Reporting to Work
All staff will report to their home building throughout the 100% Remote Learning Instructional Model. Non-instructional staff who are not able to complete their assigned duties, may be temporarily reassigned to assist in other district operations. Specific details will be shared with staff.
Instructional Staff Childcare
Due to generous community partners, we were able to provide childcare options for instructional staff during the Family 3/2 Model. That will no longer be available through this model. However, throughout the 100% Remote Learning Instructional Model, instructional staff may bring their school-aged child(ren) to their classroom. This is only currently available for instructional staff and only for school-aged children.
Meals2Go Program and The Food Bank of the Heartland
The OPS Nutrition Services team has worked with the USDA to provide balanced, nutritious breakfast and lunch meals to students learning from home. Take-home meals will be available on weekdays. To be sure staff prepare an accurate number of meals, they must be ordered in advance by a parent or guardian. Following school meal guidelines and for food safety, meals must then be picked up on a day-to-day basis from student’s school(s). For more information on the Meals2Go program, click here.
In addition, we are grateful for our partners at the Food Bank of the Heartland who have multiple pantry partners and distributions scheduled to assist families who need it. For more information, please visit foodbankhearland.org/Covid-19.
Athletics and Activities Suspended
During our time in the 100% Remote Learning Instructional Model, all activities and athletics will be suspended. We understand the important role extra-curricular activities play in a student’s school experience. This decision is made for the health and safety of all.
Following CDC Guidance During 100% Remote Learning
We want to reiterate that the purpose of beginning in the 100% Remote Learning Model is to limit groups and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. We ask that staff, families and community members follow the guidance of the CDC and Douglas County Health Department. The CDC recommends the best way to stop the spread in a community is to limit exposure to others.
Omaha Public Schools will be in the 100% Remote Learning Instructional Model through the first quarter. We will continue to work with the Douglas County Health Department and other state and local officials to evaluate the health conditions in our community. If we are able to transition back to the Family 3/2 Model or 100% in-person learning, we will communicate that to staff and families.
More information can also be found at ops.org. If you have school or classroom-specific questions, please contact your principal by email.
Please take care of each other and lend a hand to those who may need it. We are one Omaha Public Schools Community.
Cheryl J. Logan, Ed.D.