After 9 weeks of virtual kindergarten and distance learning, our district is returning to in-person or face-to-face instruction. This blog post explains our district procedures and shares our classroom setup. The classroom setup follows our district guidelines which were created using CDC guidelines. All of this is subject to change daily because, well, 2020.
In-Person vs. Hybrid
Our district made the choice to have dedicated teachers for in-person learning and dedicated virtual teachers. That means no hybrid teaching model. I am 100% teaching in-person. I will not be doing any hybrid teaching. This is a district decision. Yes, this means some students will have new teachers, thankfully 15 of my 16 virtual students chose to return to the classroom. That means I gained 5 new students from the teachers who are teaching virtually. I will have 20 students.
Our district announced the return to face to face learning shortly after Labor Day. The announcement outlined the procedures and information for classrooms and schools. Families were then given a survey where they could choose to return to school or remain virtual. The decision is binding until January when the families can revisit and change their decision.
Here are some more specifics:
- Masks are required for everyone. All adults and students will wear masks all day except when eating and outside (as long as they are away from each other). I will provide mask breaks for the students by having them all sit in the same direction, and remove their masks for a few minutes. The district has provided disposable and reusable masks.
- Lunch, breakfast, and all special areas (related arts) except PE will be in the classroom to limit movement.
- Lunch and breakfast will be served in to-go containers. I will hand them to students after washing and sanitizing my hands. This limits contact and movement.
- We do have assigned seats which I explain more later in this post.
- The district has been VERY clear to everyone involved that social distance of 6 feet would be maintained IF POSSIBLE and they were clear that this would not be possible at all times. This information was provided to families before they made their decision.
- I removed most of my carpets to make more floor space. In the pictures, you will see two carpets under tables.
In-Person Learning Classroom
Here it is! Our 2020 pandemic classroom setup!
We chose yoga mats as our seating. Each student will have an assigned seat which is required for contract tracing. These mats were purchased from yogadirect.com and were buy 1 get 1 free at the time I purchased mine! Here is a link directly to the ones I purchased. CLICK HERE I simply cut them in half. The mats are 3 feet apart. Again, the district was very clear that 6 feet would happen if possible and that it was not possible at all times. This is why we are wearing masks. The mats allow the kids to sit, stand, or lay down. The kids will wipe their mat down each day with a wipe.
Each student will have a bin at their seat. The bin contains a clipboard, whiteboard, box of math counters (Target mini-erasers), and a supply box.
The supply box contains: scissors, an individual glue sponge, pencils, dry erase markers, crayons, and a sock. The sock is used to erase the dry erase boards.
I also set up a sanitization station at the entrance to our classroom. It contains hand-sanitizer (district and state-provided), wipes, and disposable masks. There will be limited people entering the room but this will remind them to sanitize and protect everyone. The kids will also use the sanitizer when they enter. We have also placed bottles of sanitizer around the classroom so we will use it frequently.
Honestly, I’m not too worried about the kids wearing masks. I’ve heard from so many teachers that it’s a non-issue. I know we can train our kids to do the things we need them to do. I also know kids are visual learners, so I made these fun MASK UP posters and placed 10 of them around our room as a reminder to keep the mask on!
This is the information that I sent to parents outlining our plan to keep the classroom as clean as possible. Yes, this is extra work. Yes, it’s a lot of effort. Yes, it’s on me and my student teacher. It’s what WE are choosing to do.
We purchased a My Clean Buddy to help keep the room clean.
Some specifics on cleaning:
- Floor steamer/vacuum-we’ve steam cleaned our own floor for years because we have no tables and desks. This is something we choose to do to keep the classroom clean.
- Slippers-we have done slippers for 3 years and will continue this year. The students will remove shoes in the hallway and put their slippers on before they enter the room.
- Water bottles-students will need water bottles because all of our water fountains are disabled for safety. Anyone who can’t provide one will be given one by me.
- We are keeping our doors open as much as possible so students are bringing a hoodie or sweatshirt to wear as needed/wanted.
We will share specific routines/procedures and how we’re doing centers in a later post. As always, we will continue to be 100% real and transparent as we start on yet another new journey in our school year. I fully expect to move between in-person and virtual learning as the year progresses. I hope you’re along for the ride with us!!
Here is a video tour of our classroom setup:
We will be using our Germs Research Project during our first week back. We will learn about germs, hand-washing, and masks!