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Margaret B. Pollard PTA Pony Express

In This Special Edition

  • A letter from the PTA Board to Pollard Families
  • Information to help families sort through the details of the Hybrid and Virtual models
  • Links to resources

Pollard Families

Earlier this week the Pollard PTA Board had an opportunity to meet with Mr. Perlberg and Dr. Giles regarding the Chatham County Board of Education’s decision to transition students to Plan B on Dec. 7. We understand that some of you are eager to get your kids back to school and that others would prefer students to remain remote-only. Regardless of which plan works best for your family, there will be changes, and we are concerned about the disruption these changes may cause our children, especially during the middle of a grading period. 

It is important to note that these preparations have been in the works for months, as it has always been a matter of when (not if) the schools would transition to Plan B. As Mr. Perlberg and Dr. Giles unveiled their plans, we were impressed with the detailed preparation and safety protocols the administration has put into place and are grateful to Mr. Perlberg and Dr. Giles for their leadership, foresight and planning. We are sharing the information below because we think it might be helpful for other parents to understand the massive amount of work taking place behind the scenes to ensure a smooth and successful transition for our students. We also want to share some of our key take-aways from the meeting, in hope that you will find the information helpful when making your own Plan B decision.

The logistics involved are staggering. To add context, Pollard has more than 760 students. Once the Nov. 23 deadline for declaring Hybrid vs. Virtual Academy passes, Mr. Perlberg and Dr. Giles must review - and revise - each student’s schedule. Keep in mind that 75% of Pollard students have a sibling - either at Pollard or attending another Chatham County school - whose schedules must also be considered when planning for in-person attendance. 

Additionally, the administrators must reassign teachers to cover the Hybrid and Virtual Academy classes. And, when students return to school, all of Pollard’s teachers, regardless of whether they are teaching students in-person or virtually, will need to physically be in the building to help keep students safe and ensure they are abiding by necessary health and safety requirements. While teachers are preparing for in-person instruction and how best to support their students, they must also consider their own health and safety. Some teachers may opt out of returning, making the already difficult task of confirming that all teachers are appropriately licensed in their subject areas even more challenging. As you can imagine, this process is extremely complicated.

None of the above mentions the obvious responsibilities that Mr. Perlberg and Dr. Giles will need to focus on as they create new schedules for both Hybrid and Virtual Academy students: identifying, communicating, and implementing new safety procedures (following best practice protocols), preparing classrooms for socially-distanced learning, developing protocols for student/teacher screenings and cleanings. The volume and scope of work is immense.

Mr. Perlberg, Dr. Giles, and all of Pollard’s teachers have our complete support - and we hope they can count on yours, too. We have great confidence in the administration’s ability to transition the entire Pollard community to the new at-home/in-person and virtual formats. Their care for our students, teachers, staff and community is clear. If we can be of assistance to you or your students as we ease into Plan B, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our board.

Sincerely, 

The Margaret Pollard Parent Teacher Association Board

Jen Bowman, President
Emily Patterson, Vice President
Julie Smith, Treasurer
Rosalind Jerkovic, Secretary
Jen Adams
Cate House
Suzannah Hunter
Lindsay Phillips
Jamie Swain

General Information

  • Each time there is a change in the number of students learning remotely versus in-person, there will need to be a change in class groupings/teachers. Be prepared for these changes on Dec. 7 and again at the start of the spring semester. To limit these changes, consider making a decision for Dec. 7 that will continue until the district moves to Plan A. This decision will need to be made by Nov. 23.
  • Understand that your student’s schedule, classmates and teachers will change as a result of shifting students and teachers to Hybrid and Virtual Academy. Mr. Perlberg and Dr. Giles have explored every possible way to minimize the impact of this change, but unfortunately, there is no solution that will keep students and their teachers (or friends) together as we move to Plan B. 
  • School administrators will not be able to finalize which teachers will teach Virtual Academy or Hybrid until parents commit their students on Nov. 23. In other words, it will not be possible for families to make decisions about their status based on a favorite teacher.
  • You will not be able to request which days your student attends school in person on the Hybrid plan. Given that 75% of Pollard students have siblings who must be considered when scheduling, it is impossible to honor requests for specific days of the week.
  • It simply isn’t feasible to accommodate special requests for a specific teacher, friend or schedule. Please do not make those requests of Mr. Perlberg or Dr. Giles.
  • If you are changing your initial decision from (or to) Virtual Academy, you must contact Mitch Stensland by Monday, Nov. 23. The form to apply can be found at https://bit.ly/2WRXAaX.
     

Hybrid Students
(In-person and At-Home Learning)

  • Students will attend class 2 days/week (example Mon/Tues) and have independent work 2 days/week (example Thurs/Fri). Wednesday will be a time for extra help and interventions. (AIG, ESL, etc) 
  • Students will have temperature checks each day upon arrival, but please refrain from sending your children to school if they are showing symptoms of any sickness.
  • Students will be masked at all times EXCEPT while actively eating lunch or when outside, six feet apart from other students.
  • Once in the building, students must report directly to their classrooms. There will not be any congregating in the halls or reporting to the gym or MPR.
  • Students will remain in their homeroom classes for most of the day, including for lunch. Core teachers will rotate into the classrooms. 
  • Class size will likely be between 12-14 students. Each student will have their own desk, socially distant from their classmates. They will sit at the same desk each day.
  • Students will attend one 90-minute encore class each day. This class will be in the larger encore spaces and will rotate each day. 
  • Outside activity time will be given each day. Students may remove their masks but must remain socially distant from others. There may be 1 to 2 classes outside at the same time.
  • During lunch when masks are removed, conversations will not be allowed.
  • During dismissal, students will leave on a schedule that will be available to parents.
  • During the independent work days, students will not have access to their teachers as those teachers will be actively teaching other classes. Questions will be answered on their in-person learning days and on Wednesdays during teacher office hours.
  • Please also remind your children that they must adhere to all health and safety requirements. There will be no tolerance for misconduct.

Virtual Academy Students
(Remote Learning Only)

  • The Virtual Academy will be taught by Pollard teachers.
  • Students selecting the Virtual Academy will also have changes in their schedules/teachers as students shift to Plan B.
  • All teachers will be physically teaching from the school, as they will be needed onsite to help keep students safe and abiding by the health and safety requirements during arrival and dismissal.
  • The Virtual Academy schedule will be similar to the current remote schedule with some modifications in the timing. There will continue to be multiple zooms per day (meeting with core classes 2-3 times per week; encores will likely be held on Wednesdays) with asynchronous assignments given on the alternate days.

Resources

The following video was sent by Mr. Perlberg to families on November 19th. It includes pictures of classrooms set up for socially-distanced learning and of marked hallways.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=EnnFcUYnnp4&app=desktop 

Chatham County schools Re-Opening Guidebook. 
https://sites.google.com/chatham.k12.nc.us/safereturnfamily

Form to apply to the Virtual Academy (by November 23rd)

Email to unenroll from the Virtual Academy (by November 23rd)
The current plan is for sports to return at the start of the second semester. Both Hybrid and Virtual Academy students may participate.

All information presented is subject to change as needed.
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Margaret B. Pollard PTA · 185 Granite Mill Blvd · Chapel Hill, NC 27516-0386 · USA

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