After much careful consideration, Chatham Charter will start the school year with remote instruction. The remote instruction will last from at least August 17 until September 11, with instruction scheduled Monday through Friday.
Dr. John Eldridge, head of school, acknowledged the enormity of the decision saying in a message to the school community, "This is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made in nearly 30 years working in public education. Our administration, the Board of Directors, and our staff weighed the positives and negatives of remote instruction or a hybrid model of instruction. The health risks simply outweigh the other factors at this point, not only for students, but perhaps even greater for our staff."
The first three days of school, August 12-14, will be used for orientation and to pick up materials from 3:30-6:30pm. Families will be divided into groupings by last name much like the schedule used in June to return school items. There will be some changes to the school's Remote Instruction Plan from the Spring. For example, teachers will have assigned times for students to log on and receive live instruction, with student attendance being mandatory during their assigned times. More details will be shared as schedules are finalized.
Eldridge also noted the importance of addressing the mental/social/emotional strains that some students may struggle with as a result of not being on campus in the normal school environment, saying that additional information will come before the school year begins. Additionally, families and staff will be surveyed a couple of weeks into the remote instruction for feedback.
A team of staff has further developed the preliminary plan for re-opening shared several weeks ago. The hope is to be able to implement that plan starting Monday, September 14, with half the students (by family last name) coming on Mondays and Wednesdays and the other half coming on Tuesdays and Thursdays. At some point during this stage, groups will begin to alternate on Fridays. Administration will further assess if Chatham Charter can move to this plan based on the COVID-19 situation at that time.
Eldridge closed the message with a request from the school families and encouragement. "We value your continued trust, patience, and understanding that this is somewhat of a ‘no win’ situation with which we are faced," he said. "However, after meeting with the staff to discuss our plans, we are fired up and ready to do the best job we can given the circumstances. Please do your part on team Chatham Charter to help us stay 'uKNIGHTed' as a school."