By Nancy Richardson, Contributor

The April 27 CVSD Board meeting focused on the plan for the “restoration” of the school system after a year of pandemic operations. Jeff Evans, Director of Learning and Innovation, and Meagan Roy, Director of Student Support Services, have developed an extensive plan that conforms to state recovery process requirements. The plan recognizes that, despite heroic efforts by school staff and administrators, there have been negative consequences from pandemic operations for some students. Equity gaps among students that were present prior to the pandemic may have increased.

The process of recovery and restoration is expected to take two to three years and will be funded by state and local education funds, with a big boost from an increase in federal funding. The plan includes the assessment of needs, the creation of an active plan for intervention to begin on June 1, and feedback loops that will refine the plan as it proceeds. To implement the plan as soon as possible, there will be four major teams across schools and levels of administration and staff with a connection to the board. Of particular emphasis will be the identification of learning needs for each child in the system and an emphasis not only on academic progress, but on social emotional well-being and community connections.

The resources needed to implement individual student plans will be extensive. Tutors and interventionists, professional development for teachers, possible new consistent assessments, summer and after-school programs, and support services are examples of resources that must be in place.

Megan Roy stressed that this effort to reduce the effects of the pandemic year that required remote instruction will be layered on top of the ongoing student support system that has been well developed in the district. The notion that CVSD schools focus on meeting the needs of each child is an ethic that is well established.

In other business, Students Demand Action, a progressive student organization at CVU, presented a program on gun safety that emphasized proper ownership practices. This presentation did not present an opinion on gun ownership but stressed best practices for storing and handling guns.

There was also discussion of efforts to get high school and middle school students back to school for five days a week this spring. Some parents remain frustrated that this is not going to be possible. The school system has developed a process and criteria for deciding these matters based on health department guidance, the number of cases in the schools, and staff capacity when quarantining is necessary. In the first two weeks in April, COVID cases increased to six, reflecting a community increase in cases among young people. Over 100 contacts had to go through the quarantining process, straining staff capacity.