Rockwood announces plans for second semester classes

Vijay Viswanathan and Jack Daws

Additionally, if students attend a Zero Hour class, they will meet from 7:20-8:22 a.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays.

“I think [the new schedule] will be back to what teachers and students know,” Associate Principal Michael Franklin said.

On Dec. 9, the Rockwood School District (RSD), released the schedule for second semester of the 2020-2021 school year. The schedule involves a rolling B/C day schedule, with 7th Hour taking place every day.

In addition, whether students choose to attend classes in-person or to be virtual learners, all students will have virtual learning days on Fridays during the first few months of school. Those virtual learning days are Jan. 29, Feb. 5, Feb. 26, March 5 and March 12.

Students return from Winter Break on Jan. 4 and then will complete their first semester classes until second semester begins on Jan. 19. There will not be half days at the end of the semester as in previous years since there will not be traditional final exams. However, Jan. 14 will be a half day.
Jan. 15 will be a teacher work day for staff to wrap up first semester grading and to get ready for second semester.

When second semester begins, students will be back to a regular semester schedule with seven class periods during the week.

“Students will have a longer time to cover material, compared to having to rush through three to four classes only. I think a lot of students and teachers liked the quarter system, so switching back may be a challenge for them,” Franklin said.

The district administration took time to decide what kind of schedule would be best for staff and students second semester before making the decision to go to the block format which has students moving around the building less during the day and sitting in fewer classrooms.

“The choice to move back to the blocked schedule has everything to do with mitigating COVID, to lower the risk of transmission,” Franklin said.

While Franklin does see benefits to the new schedule, he admits there are also some challenges to it.

“The main benefit is that students are back for a full school day, which I think is where a lot of us want to be. We want to get back to as normal as we can make school, with obvious COVID-19 protocols,” Franklin said.

With the second semester in-person schedule, there will not be a separate virtual academy for students who elect online classes.

Teachers will be allowed to run their classes either synchronously with their in-person and online students at the same time, or format learning asynchronously with online students working more independently through Canvas rather than with the class during the allotted class time. Some classes will only be offered in-person due to the nature of the class and the teacher’s ability to teach the class online.

“The district is going to come up with a catalog of classes [that cannot be done virtually] and it’s pretty extensive, meaning those classes will be limited,” Franklin said.

According to an email sent out to all Lafayette families from Principal Karen Calcaterra on Nov. 11, parents will receive an email in early January and will have to indicate if their child will be returning to in-person learning or staying virtual.

Whatever decision parents and students make, they will have to remain with that format until at least after Spring Break on March 26.  Then, if they want to change, a form will be available for parents in the same email and will be posted on Rockwood’s website.

More information as well as FAQ’s can be found on the Rockwood Safe Together website.