The Plymouth Community School Board will conduct a special meeting on Tuesday, September 7th in the PHS Cafeteria at 6 p.m. The special meeting is to hear comments on the 2021-2022 Return to Learning Plan.
As a recipient of one-time federal funds under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) grant, Plymouth Community School Corporation is required to develop a plan outlining how the Plymouth Community School Corporation will return to in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year. This plan must address how the school district will maintain student and staff health and safety and how it will ensure continuity of services for academic and social-emotional needs, as well as how it meets guidance from health officials to the greatest extent possible.
The Return to Learning Plan states:
Plymouth Community School Corporation conducted school through an in-person learning environment available for all students throughout the entire 2020-21 school year while also offering a virtual option for any student whose family selected. The preventative and mitigating efforts to host in-person instruction safely were successful and will serve as a baseline for the efforts going forward into the 2021-22 school year. For the 2021-2022 school year, the in-person learning environment with all mitigating and preventative measures, including appropriate spacing of student seating where possible, frequent hand washing and sanitizing, utilization of effective and frequent cleaning strategies, as well as proper maintenance and function of HVAC systems will remain in order to maintain the healthiest environment possible for students and staff. A virtual learning environment will not be available for students for the 2021-2022 school year as an option. The only access to synchronous virtual learning will be if a student has to be isolated or quarantined due to testing positive for COVID-19 or for being officially identified as a close contact by the school.
Students’ academic needs will be met through a multitude of supports. These will include participating in a normal academic school day in person with their peers and highly qualified and caring teachers. Those who need additional supports will receive those needed through the school’s multi-tiered system of supports. Additionally, the opportunity for after school tutoring and programs may be available if needed. The ability to identify students’ academic needs will also be enhanced with additional software upgrades. In some grade levels and/or content areas, class sizes will become smaller in order to ensure that those with the greatest academic needs will be able to be met. During this 2020-21 school year, PCSC added school counselors and expanded partnerships with community based mental health organizations. These will continue for the 2021-22 school year.
The use of face masks in the school environment will continue to be based on the recommendations from local health officials. When masks are required for certain venues or events, they will be expected to be worn correctly.
PCSC will maintain a separate room in each building for isolation if a student begins to show symptoms indicative of COVID-19. If testing is determined to be necessary, the student will be referred to the local health department for diagnostic testing. If positive cases arise among students or staff, PCSC administration will work in conjunction with the local health department to isolate the positive case and identify and quarantine any close contacts that are in line with the local health official’s recommendation. Lastly, with the availability of a vaccine for individuals 12 years of age or older, coordinated efforts with the local health department will be made in order to vaccinate all students or staff who desire to receive one. Students or staff who are considered to be fully vaccinated according to the local health official and who are considered a close contact of a positive case, will not have to quarantine.
Event management also played an important role in mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 during the 2020-21 school year. The efforts taken in any limitations to the fans who attend the various after school or evening events are based upon local metrics and following the recommendations provided by the Indiana State Department of Health and the Marshall County Health Department. The collaboration with the MCHD will continue throughout the summer and into the upcoming school year to ensure big events are managed in ways that support the health and safety of everyone involved.
This plan may change as the school year approaches or after the school year begins, depending on the local metrics and/or recommendations or requirements from local, state, or federal officials. This plan will need to be reviewed again no later than December 2021.
The public will have an opportunity to give the comments, questions and concerns to the Plymouth School Board in the special meeting on Tuesday, September 7th at 6 p.m. in the PHS cafeteria.