One of the areas in which the COVID-19 Pandemic affected so greatly came with the impact upon schools across the United States and on the local level. The protection of students, teachers, staff and families became a priority for those managing the educational facilities across Collier County and here on Marco Island.
Professionals across the county scrambled to put a plan into action which would keep children safe, as well as those serving their educational needs. This would require a great deal of sacrifice by all within the equation. It certainly was an adjustment for those students, their parents, the educators and staff of the various schools.
“We can’t thank the parents, the students and our professional staff enough for the wonderful cooperation that was given to get us throughout last year. All portions of the community family were responsible for our success, as we strived to meet those challenges which were thrust upon us,” said Tarik Ayasun, President of the Marco Island Charter Middle School’s Board.
Their board recently met and voted to follow the Collier County School’s Academic Calendar after consulting with parents, teachers and staff regarding their options. Children will report for classes on August 31st to begin the 2020-2021 Academic School Year and will follow a carefully crafted plan to ensure their safety.
The MICMS will have a traditional learning environment that will adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines as well as synchronous instruction for families that feel a return to a brick and mortar setting is not in their families’ best interest at this time. This is in accordance with the school’s reopening master plan, which has been developed over the last several months.
As part of this plan, the school is acquiring Microsoft Chrome Books for all its students. This includes on–campus and at-home learners. The MICMS will be utilizing the Google Classroom as their Learning Management System. Students at-home will be scheduled into a live streaming instructional 90-minute period of learning with their peers within the classroom. This will provide the at-home student with the same interaction within the classroom with his/her teacher. They will be attending their instructional activities at the same time as their peers.
Should a parent choose to enroll in Home Education (such as FLVS and e-Collier) their seat will be offered to the next student in the grade level on the waitlist.
To provide a safe environment for students and staff within the school, the following precautions have been put into place, including the assignment of seating and the limiting of seating within the classroom to provide for adequate and safe distancing of students.
- Students may enter the building through the gymnasium doors beginning at 7:30 AM. At that time, before entry, they will have their temperatures taken.
- Beginning at 7:40 AM, students will have egress through four doorways into the building. Building 1 main entry doors. Building 1 interior side entryway (bus entrance). Building 1 exterior side entryway near bike racks and Building 2 gymnasium entryway. Students will all have their temperatures taken before entering the building.
- Temperatures will be taken prior to entry.
- Students will be required to wear masks as provided to them by the school. They will also be provided optional eye protection should they desire to wear some.
- Students will also be provided transparent backpacks as well as a Trapper Keeper and personal pencil/pen pouch (pens and pencils are their responsibility). Their summer supplies will be provided with those other items.
- Hallways will be one-way and marked as such.
- Desks must stay in place to ensure social distancing.
- Teachers will sanitize high touch areas between each class.
- Student lockers will no longer be utilized.
- Procedure to allow for a staged dismissal at the end of the day. Students will be released as part of a staged process. As part of the instructions going out to parents, they are requested to download the new Driveline “app” to assist in the orderly dismissal of students. All students will be provided a number for dismissal and each classroom will have the dismissal number prominently displayed. Parents are requested to stay within their vehicles during the dismissal phase.
- Students will have assigned seating on buses and will be socially distanced on them.
The staff has taken into consideration the provisions required for students with special needs and the requirements for English Language Learners. Students utilizing the school’s At–Home Innovative Learning Model will receive services remotely and without interruption, regardless of their presence on campus. Access to the necessary technology will not present a barrier to any student. Those provisions will be provided as part of the plan developed by staff.
Although no field trips are in the schedule for the first semester of school this year, other activities such as band, PE and athletics will be undertaken with the appropriate provisions for the protection of the students.
“We want all our parents and students to understand that our utmost efforts are being employed to provide a safe, caring and compassionate environment for all concerned, including our staff. We want all involved to understand we want to provide a great educational experience here at the school, but one which recognizes our responsibilities to be cognizant of our needs to employ the most compassion and understanding while dealing with the unforeseen challenges that may arise,” said Michele Wheeler the MICMS Principal.
The school will be hosting a Virtual Open House for students and parents on Thursday, August 27 starting at 6 PM. More information regarding the Open House, the Google Learning Platform and other informative material on the Marco Island Charter Middle School can be found on the school’s website at www.micms.org.