Reopening Plan Guiding Principles
Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 (FFC8) is committed to reopening school for all students ready to attend in August 2020. FFC8 has been monitoring the ongoing developments across the state and country regarding COVID-19 and has been collaborating with El Paso County Health Department, other area school districts, national organizations and community partners, including the City of Fountain and Fort Carson. FFC8 administrators have been working diligently to understand needs and develop practices and procedures that will support students and families when the district reopens schools. By establishing health safety protocols and adhering to the following guiding principles, the District will remain prepared to adjust and adapt as additional or new information becomes available. This document is intended to support schools in planning for the start of school and will be updated as necessary to align with current health recommendations.
Health and Safety of Students and Staff
FFC8 believes the health and safety of students and staff must be the highest priority as schools reopen. It is essential that all staff, students and families understand and embrace the health guidelines, including the implementation of risk mitigation practices as recommended by El Paso County Health Department and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. As FFC8 must follow any active health and executive orders, all constituents will need to remain flexible and willing to adjust and support practices that provide the ability for schools to remain open and educating students. One of the most important practices to reopening schools will be the necessity to wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth. All staff and students K-12 are expected to wear face coverings to the greatest extent possible while in the proximity of others. This document will outline additional practices, procedures and protocols for staff, students and families to understand and follow to maximize the health and safety of
FFC8 is committed to providing quality instruction for all students. Quality instruction is the foundation of student success and must remain available to students during any situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic. FFC8 administrators and teachers have worked tirelessly to ensure that no matter the method of instruction, consistency and quality will be provided. FFC8 will continue to utilize data to inform instructional practices and seek input from families to understand needs and successes. FFC8 also is dedicated to professional learning for staff and believes it is critical to continue to anticipate needs to effectively deliver instruction during this uncertain time.
Mental Health: Social Emotional Learning and Supports
FFC8 has been focused on supporting the mental health, social and emotional needs of students and staff for some time. Now more than ever, FFC8 must continue to prioritize the social and emotional needs of students and staff by providing services and resources such as counseling and wellness activities, as well as encouraging communication that not only provides information but solicits information from staff, students and families on pertinent needs. Furthermore, high-quality instruction must integrate social and emotional learning strategies into the daily classroom experience to reinforce safety, well-being and engagement of students.
Commitment to Equity
FFC8 has a responsibility to be culturally responsive to all students and provide opportunities for students to achieve to their full potential. The academic environment must incorporate accessible, personalized, culturally relevant and responsive opportunities that aim to include ALL students, including students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, foster youth, English Learners, and students from diverse cultures and different ethnicities. To this end, FFC8 is committed to engaging in equity work that educates administrators and staff on institutional and systemic aspects of racism and how present-day policies, practices and procedures should be updated to commit to equity in our system.
Partnering with Families and the Community
FFC8 respects and understands the importance of family voice and choice during this unprecedented health crisis. For students to be successful, families must be provided information that allows for thoughtful decisions to be made based on individual circumstances. FFC8 recognizes that a balance between physical and emotional health, academic need and socialization is necessary and all of these factors will be part of an individual family’s decision to participate in virtual learning or in-person learning. FFC8 will provide as much information as possible to allow for families to feel confident in their approach to learning as school resumes in August 2020.