James M. Bennett High
Respect. Responsibility. Ready to Learn.
- James M. Bennett High
Superintendent's Update on Instruction - 11/17/2020
Good morning, families and staff of Wicomico County Public Schools. This is Donna Hanlin, Superintendent of Schools, with an important update for everyone about a change in instruction for our school system effective at the end of the day today. This morning, in a virtual special meeting, the Board of Education unanimously approved my recommendation to return to all virtual learning beginning at the end of the day today and continuing through the end of the day Friday, December 18th, when winter break begins. This change is due to very concerning trends in Wicomico County’s COVID-19 health metrics for both new case rate and positivity rate, and we have made this decision with the support of Wicomico County Health Officer Lori Brewster.
While we know this news will not be welcomed by all, the return to fully virtual instruction will support the health and safety of students, staff and families while providing robust, consistent virtual instruction in the challenging weeks ahead. As a school system, we have enjoyed seeing the faces of our youngest learners in the classroom, and we are disappointed not to be able to continue with the steady roll-out of our Return to School Action Plan. But we realize this pause is necessary. We hope that community health metrics will improve and we will be able to restart hybrid in-person learning the week of January 4th.
Here’s what will happen now:
- In-person instruction will continue through the end of the day today in our schools.
- On Wednesday, all students will have asynchronous learning; there will not be any small group activities at our schools during this time of all virtual learning.
- Starting Thursday, students will participate in synchronous instruction four days a week on the schedule that their school has been following. Teachers may continue to teach from their classrooms, or they may choose to teach from home.
- After-school in-person activities including band and athletics are on hold for now.
- Special Education assessments will continue with full health and safety precautions, as long as there is parent or guardian consent.
- As currently planned, and dependent upon improved community health metrics, all grades from Prekindergarten through Grade 8 would have hybrid, in-person instruction starting the week of January 4th. High school students choosing hybrid would start in-person instruction the week of February 2nd.
- Middle and high school parents and guardians should respond by November 24th to the Student Learning Survey, so schools can create schedules for the second semester.
- Meal bundles will continue to be available at curbside at every school each school day, 8-10 a.m. at middle and high schools, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at elementary schools, and both times at Pittsville Elementary and Middle. Meals are not given out from Choices or WELC, or currently Delmar Elementary.
Thank you for continuing to support our students during this shift to virtual learning for health and safety reasons. Have a good day.