EASTERN Change in Instructional Model

Posted Mar 17, 2021EASTERN Cares Logo Color

Dear EASTERN Family,

We are very pleased to inform you that we will be offering four days of in-person instruction for all our students starting April 6th.  Having our students in our classrooms for the remainder of the school year allows us to focus on teaching and assessing critical hands-on skills and providing opportunities for our students to acquire licenses and certifications that require in-person learning.  We will also be making a concerted effort to help transition our students into the next steps of their career paths.  This includes assisting with job placement for students who wish to enter directly into their career field.  It also includes assisting students continuing to post-secondary education navigate and take advantage of any articulation agreements we have.

We are offering families the choice between in-person instruction, four days per week, with Wednesday being a virtual day or participating in 100% virtual option.  We respect a family’s right to choose what they feel is best for their child during these difficult times and understand that some families may be uncomfortable with their child returning to school.  We want you to be aware of the following before committing to any decision:

  • Our teachers will be in their classroom/lab area working with our students who are in person assisting them with hands-on skill development. With most of our students coming back, our teachers need to focus on occupational safety and health safety and skill development of our students who are in person. Our teachers creatively “front-loaded” the theory part of the curriculum, but now must focus on critical hands-on skills so our students are prepared to continue in their career field. Students who continue in a virtual model will be unable to gain these hands-on skills, will not be able to obtain certifications that are performance-based, and will be unable to complete all the tasks in our curriculum.  
  • Students who choose to continue virtually will be in an asynchronous environment, meaning assignments will be posted for them to complete.  Learning will be much more independent than it has been.  Students will still get exposure to their career field but will be missing the critical hands-on component of our programs.
  • On Wednesdays, synchronous (live) instruction will be offered to the AM class from 7:45-8:30 and the PM class from 12:00-12:45.  This is the only opportunity our teachers will have to provide whole-group instruction.

If you completed the survey already and wish to change your child’s instructional model, please email attendance@eastech.org.  If you have not completed the survey, our staff has been and will continue to reach out to you.  We need to send this information back to our districts so they can plan for transportation.

Our districts have been and continue to be very supportive of EASTERN.  Our districts will be providing transportation even for students who are in-person for us but virtual for them.  Any transportation questions should be directed to your high school.  We have limited parking for students.  Mrs. Larson, our Supervisor of Career and Technical Education, is collecting requests and will approve them as long as we have sufficient parking available.  Please see below for specific information on your district.  If your district is not listed, then there are no scheduling conflicts and no additional information on transportation required.

Abington: 

There are some conflicts in our schedules, with students missing part of period 3 or 7 (at Abington), depending on session and day.  Students will miss part of these academic classes to attend EASTERN.

Jenkintown:

Jenkintown is scheduling half-days on Wednesdays.  Our Jenkintown students are still required to participate in our PM virtual class.

Upper Moreland: 

Upper Moreland is holding half days on Wednesdays with a condensed schedule.  AM EASTERN students will need to log onto their virtual EASTERN class until they must leave for the academic class.  PM EASTERN students are still required to participate in our PM virtual class.   Upper Moreland will provide transportation for all students, but students who opt for a virtual model for Upper Moreland and in-person for EASTERN will need transportation mid-day.  AM students will need a ride home from Upper Moreland at 10:30 AM and PM students will need to have transportation to Upper Moreland for the bus to the PM session.  Our PM session starts at noon.  Students can arrive as early as 11:45 AM.

Safety Planning

We have made extensive modifications to our building to prepare for students to return for in-person instruction.  These include the following:

Sanitizing Stations:  Hands-free sanitation stations have been installed at every entrance and sanitizer is available in every classroom

Restrooms:  Converted to hands-free functionality (soap, water, towels, and flushing)

Water fountains:  Replaced to include filtered fill-stations

HVAC System:  Increased air flow and filtration and installation of bipolar ionization

Nurse’s Suite:  Moved to larger space to allow for social distancing and isolation room

Practical Nursing:  Entrance vestibule expanded to completely separate adult student access to building from secondary student access

Classrooms:  Learning stations are being set up and clearly marked in each program area to ensure social distancing

Safety Protocols

We have safety protocols in place that adhere to Center for Disease Control recommendations.  These protocols will be monitored and strictly enforced.  These include:

Masks: Must be worn at all times by everyone in the building.  Masks must be worn correctly, with complete coverage of the mouth and nose.  Students may wear their own mask as long as it has two or more layers of fabric and does not have exhalation valves.  Students and staff will not be permitted to enter the building without a mask.

Social Distancing:  Students and staff must maintain a minimum of 6 feet of social distancing at all times.  We are reconfiguring lab and classroom spaces to ensure 6 feet of social distancing between students and staff in all of our classrooms.

Water Fountains:  Water fountain “bubblers” have been disabled, but students may refill a water bottle at the fill-station part of the water fountain.  Four of these have been installed in our building.  Students received an EASTERN Cares refillable water bottle as part of their EASTERN Cares Kit.

Student Traffic:  Students and staff will be directed to walk down the right-hand side of hallways to provide one-directional pathways.

Cleaning/Disinfecting:  High-touch areas will be cleaned multiple times throughout the day and classroom/lab areas will be disinfected after each session.  Every Wednesday, our building will be closed to allow our custodial staff to perform a deep clean of the building.

Screening:  Staff and students will be asked to self-screen before coming to EASTERN.  Student and staff who are symptomatic must stay home.  Staff/students who become symptomatic while at EASTERN will be sent home.  We have renovated our nurse’s suite to include an isolation room where students can be held until a parent can pick them up.

Schedule:

AM Session:  7:45-10:30

PM Session: 12:00-2:45

On Wednesdays, students will be engaged in synchronous (live) instruction from 7:45AM-8:30AM or 12:00PM-12:45PM.  The rest of the session will provide opportunities for students to receive assistance from our teachers and instructional assistants and complete online assignments.

We look forward to seeing our students all together again!

Best regards,

Dr. Cathleen Plesnarski

Executive Director

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