Omicron Procedures

A Message For All Classes - 1 / 7 / 22

Hey all,

As of right now, BCPS is planning to move us back to in-person instruction on Wednesday - without us having any synchronous classes. It appears the current model is to flex from week to week based on how many staff members have Covid. It appears that there isn't an objective safety metric anymore; things are mostly based on whether the building can be staffed. We'll open up provided enough teachers are healthy, then close down again when a certain number get Covid. It's not entirely clear how much student attendance plays a role in this decision.

This means we might not actually have a synchronous virtual class. This is disappointing to me because teaching in person in these circumstances is going to be much less effective than online.

This is for a few major reasons:

  • Due to how easily Omicron spreads, I won't be able to be anywhere near your computers.

  • I expect massive numbers of students to be absent, and I need to plan lessons that work for students who are at home.

  • It's likely that at some point I'll need to quarantine too, and at that point you won't have a teacher for 2 weeks.

The model is going to be simple moving forward. We'll be using Google Meet to communicate during class. This is the main way we'll communicate in class - it's going to be hard to have a conversation from 20 feet apart in N95s. It will also be open to students who are at home. That said,
there will be no direction instruction and limited support for debugging.

If and when we pivot back to virtual, you can expect that I'll be providing something closer to normal, full instruction. I had a few planned for this week, but I'm going to go back to simply writing very-lengthy guides in the Coder's Handbook.

The overwhelming message I want you to get from this is simple: I'm going to do the best to make this situation work for everyone. As a student, you should not feel any pressure to attend school if you are sick or worried about exposure. My class will be exactly the same whether you're at home or in the room.

Covid Cases in MD


Washington Post January 7th, 2022

Procedure Changes

1) While we're in person, there will be no direct instruction

  • If you need help, you can text chat with me in the Google Meet. This is equally open to students who are at home.

  • This process is going to be much slower than normal, so I will need to ration support. Choose questions carefully.

2) Keep Your Distance

  • Students will not approach my desk - you'll ask questions in Google Meet.

  • You will need to stay in your seat, though right now there is no accommodation for students social distancing.

  • Our class might be combined with other classes when there aren't enough subs.

3) Masks + Ventilation

  • I'm switching to a KN95 Mask and I'd strongly encourage students to do the same.

  • We're going to have to keep the windows open for ventilation. Bring a warm coat.

4) Slowing The Pace and Cancelling Tests

  • Running a class in a "less unsafe" way is going to be very inefficient.

  • As a result, we'll slow the pace and reduce assignments in the coming weeks:

    • AP Principles - Bounce Back is your final grade in Q2. Assignments coming at about 50% pace. Tests cancelled for the near future.

    • AP Java - No new grades in Q2. Assignments coming at about 50% pace. Tests cancelled for the near future.

    • C++ - You are mostly unaffected, but you may find that it's easier to collaborate virtually from home if you're able.

5) Response Times

  • If and when we do go back to the classroom in these circumstances, Mr. M will *only* be providing support during work hours.

    • Do not send Schoology Messages for debugging. We'll handle it in class.

  • If we're virtual, Mr. M will respond to your messages more often due to the safety + flexibility it provides.

6) If Mr. M has to Quarantine

  • I'll keep you posted if I am out of school.

  • If Mr. M is out sick, please do not barrage him with a lot of questions on your projects.

  • He won't be teaching at all during his sick leave.

I have no idea what things look like through the end of the week, or next week. I'll figure it out - that's my problem, not yours. You guys just give me your best effort and follow the website. If you do that much, I'll do everything I can to support you.

Submitting Projects Online

Option #1 - Screen Share in Google Meet During Class (Preferred)

  • The Meet is going to be our main method of communication moving forward.

Option #2 - Submit Your Project as a Zip File

  • If you don't know how to do so, here's a tutorial.

Option #3 - Send A Video Of Your Project

  • Run your program showing all of its features and record a video of this

  • You can either use screen recording software (great!) or use your phone (okay).