Planning for fall in uncertain times
Just like teachers, librarians are facing uncertainty for the fall. As our librarians began trying to outline fall plans, we ran across Kim Borden’s Plainview Elementary School reopening plan which inspired us to create our own leveled plan. We wanted to have uniform expectations, even in uncertain times and provide leadership for our principals.
We learned a great deal from our experiences this past spring about what we can do instructionally. Also, like many librarians, we have been monitoring many safety practices including the REALM project and the CDC/IMLS webinar. In our plan, we especially wanted to emphasize and highlight the important instructional roles the librarians could be expected to play, even if we were working remotely.
Our district is allowing teachers and students choice as to whether to return to in person learning – a choice that will be reevaluated several times during the year. But as the summer proceeded, cases have spiked in Texas, sending our district into remote learning only for the first few weeks of school at least. (Our librarians are signed up to work remotely through the first “round” of staffing at least.) So we wanted to be clear what principals and parents could expect and show the scope of services we can do to support teachers and students-from virtual book clubs to planning with teacher teams to class instruction. Kim’s reopening plan helped us think in terms of tiers.
Our Covid Tiered Response Plan shows the three levels – Red(Remote), Yellow (hybrid), Green (more open) modes that we anticipate at some point during the year. This plan is still a draft as planning for the fall continues in our district.
As I mentioned above, we wanted to highlight the ways librarians support students and staff in Remote learning. But of course material circulation and space safety is a also primary concern for the district and staff.
The circulation plan for Yellow level includes:
- Checking out books to K-2 on a rotating basis (both in building and curbside for remote learners).
- To limit interactions and book handling, librarians will create “book bags” with “surprise” books, perhaps thematic throughout the year, or multi-genre. The bags will have 10 books and will be circulated every 8 weeks or so.
- The books will be sent out on a rotating basis – K one week, 1st the next week, etc. so that the librarians aren’t overwhelmed.
- The librarians will be working remotely – but will come in when the library space is empty to select and collect books.
Students in 3-12 grades will be able to use our SORA ebook collections, but can also request books through an ordering system.
As we move into safer territory in terms of local cases (5 new hospitalizations a day or lower), then individual students will be able to come into the library and select books.
Note: This is a living document – a couple of weeks ago the REALM project recently published their second round of material tests and we modified this template and changed our material quarantine time to four days in response to their tests.
Role of librarians during COVID
Last spring our librarians did Makerspace activities with students, ran bookclubs, visited teacher “classrooms” via Zoom, attended Zoom planning meetings, built ebook collections, did read alouds, and more. Some examples of the work of the Eanes librarians can be seen in this S’More.
Note: All of the Eanes librarians contributed to the language in the document, and I want to shout out two of our elementary librarians, Amy Tillman and Kate Ricter, for creating the graphic.