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Important Message from Dr. Glaser
Dr. Patty Glaser
Thursday, July 09, 2020

7-6-2020

Dear Discovery School Families:

Thank you for the wonderful response to both of our previous surveys. We heard from over 80% of our families. Your input is valuable in helping us shape our reopening plan during such an unusual time. As stated previously, we are following guidelines from the Louisiana Department of Education on the safe reopening of schools. We are also partnering with Ochsner Healthcare for a safe reopening of all campuses. Locally, we have attended multiple safe return to workplace webinars with JEDCO, the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana Charter School Association, and Ochsner. We have participated in national webinars from ASCD and the CDC. State and local leaders will determine each phase Jefferson Parish is in throughout the school year. Jefferson Parish and the state are currently in Phase 2.

During these unprecedented times, we are creating a complex reentry plan that is likely to be amended and changed for the good of all depending on the wellness of our Discovery community and the larger community in which we live. Discovery is committed to the safety and education of our students. Please give kind and measured feedback and be patient and flexible as we work out details. 

Discovery Schools will open in Phase 2. This gives us additional safeguards while we determine whether community spread is an issue. For the first 4-6 weeks of school, we will track community spread within each campus and within the entire Discovery community, then consider Jefferson Parish data. If the spread is minimal and Jefferson Parish is in Phase 3, we will move to Phase 3. Discovery will err on the side of caution during the coming school year for the safety of students, faculty, and staff.

In phase 2, K-5th grade students will attend school daily. 6th-12th grade students will attend school every other day (5 out of 10 days). Many safeguards have been worked out for a phase 2 reentry to school.  Logistically, we have worked out safe entry and exit to campuses, physically distant classroom layouts, student meal services, safe transportation measures, and online education options. We are working on baseline testing for students in K-8th to occur during the first few days of school. This data will help us strategically place students in groups that provide adequate support for their current level of learning. Start times and end times will be similar to previous years, but will be determined after we get a bus versus carpool count of students.

As requested by many families, we are providing an online learning option (Discovery Online Learning 2020-21). If this option is chosen, it is a year long commitment due to staffing reasons. 

Discovery Online Learning 2020-21:

  • Year long participation due to staffing reasons.

  • Synchronous and asynchronous student participation.

  • Attendance taken and counted toward student performance. 

  • Grades given and counted toward student performance.

  • Grades K-5 - Need a dedicated learning coach (parent/guardian) to facilitate task completion and submission of work. 

  • Grades 6-8 - Participates more independently, but will need some assistance from a dedicated learning coach. 

  • Grades 9-12 - Should be independent participation. 

  • Providing “Grab ‘n Go” meals weekly for online students. 

  • Virtual school culture/spirit/awards as was done in March-May, 2020. 

  • Participation in after school extracurricular activities accessible to online students if desired by families/students.

The majority of our families desire in-school learning. Discovery On-campus Learning 2020-21:

  • Classrooms with 13-20 students 

  • Students spaced 6’ apart to the extent possible

  • Classroom pods (static groups) where students can learn and interact with minimal prolonged exposure to large numbers of students. Pods also allow contact tracing within the Discovery community.

  • Clean high-touch surfaces often

  • Frequent hand cleaning by students.

  • Outdoor recess and Physical Education to all K-8 students. Physical education for 9-12 students who need the credit. Provide lunch/break time for 9-12 students.

  • Limited bus seating while in phases 2 (50%) and 3 (75%)

  • Provide masks and face shields for all teachers/staff. They will be worn on arrival and dismissal of students, in all common areas, and in classrooms when working within 6’ of a student. 

  • Teachers switch classes (pods) as opposed to students moving around the building for various classes. 

  • Lunch served in pods/classrooms, in the cafeteria with pod dividers, or outdoors if weather permits. 

  • Volley between phases as determined by state and local officials and our own community wellness. 

Discovery On-campus Learning 2020-21 also includes the following to promote community wellness. We will:

  • Take temperatures with a touchless thermometer before entering the bus and before exiting the car

  • Isolate any child with fever or COVID-19 symptoms and call family for immediate pick-up.

  • Require students to wear masks while entering and exiting the buildings, in common areas of the school, and in the classroom if working closely with the teacher. If your child has special health or behavioral needs and is unable to wear a mask, they will arrive later and leave earlier than other students. 

  • Limit visitors to the campus. All visitors/parents/guardians will need an appointment to visit. In case of an early pick-up or drop-off, you will contact the school’s front office, and the child will proceed into the building after an arrival screening.

In Phase 3, schools are open with less than 50 in a group and with fewer safeguards. At this point we hope that students do not need to wear masks and that we can gather in groups for school events. This phase is not yet well defined for schools, but it will require fewer safeguards and more access to clubs, sports, and other extracurricular activities. 

Due to the physical spacing of students and smaller class size, the following grades will be located on the following campuses for the entire 2020-21 school year. 

Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy = KDHSA 

Dr. John Ochsner Discovery Health Sciences Academy = DJOD 

1. 2504 Maine Campus - KDHSA K-3rd grade 

2. 201 Vintage Modular Campus - KDHSA 4th-6th grade 

3. 3837 Loyola New Campus - KDHSA 7th-12th grade 

4. 415 Williams Blvd. - Rivertown Campus - DJOD Kindergarten students 

5. 2012 Jefferson Highway Campus - DJOD 1st-4th grade 

This is a lot of information to digest. Please read it carefully and talk to your family members and children about the options. Then complete the following information so we can plan accordingly. 

If you chose Discovery Online 2020-21, click here. For this choice, please let us know if you opt for weekly meals. 

If you chose Discovery On-Campus 2020-21, click here. For this choice, you must also choose bus transportation or carpool. Private transportation is being encouraged for health reasons. Bus capacity will be limited in Phases 2 and 3. Also identify carpool partners. We will try to group siblings and carpool partners on the same day for 6th-12th grade.

All families must complete this form for all students by Saturday, July 11th, 2020. 

Thank you so much for your partnership as we face these unprecedented health and wellness challenges. We will not get it perfect, but we aim to provide the safest and most academically stimulating environment possible for your children in the coming school year. Thank you for trusting in Discovery Schools and for helping our multi-layered complex reentry plan come to fruition. 

With a Community Wellness HEART, 

Dr. Glaser and the Discovery Schools Administrative Team 

If you have questions about ONLINE LEARNING click here to submit.

If you have questions about ON-CAMPUS LEARNING click here to submit.