We have received over 900 questions and comments these past two weeks regarding the Return to School Plan and the 2020-21 school year. We have done our best to summarize your questions from a broad approach to answer as many of them as possible here.
The intent of this Q & A is to give you an idea of what the upcoming school year will look like. Our hope is to meet with our Parent Focus Group this Tuesday, July 14th, then finalize our Return to School Guidelines and release them on Wednesday, July 15th.
Message From Superintendent Rowe
FAQ About Instruction
1. When will school start back?
Answer: The first day for students will be August 26th.
2. Will my student have to wear a mask at school? Will staff be required to wear a face mask?
Answer: Yes, they will have to wear a mask in all instances where 6ft social distancing is unobtainable. Basically, when the student/staff-person is moving, a mask will be required (hallways, entering and exiting the building and classrooms, etc.) Once a student is at their desk, if 6 ft social distancing is obtainable between students and staff, they will be permitted to remove their face mask.
3. Will there be in-person school?
Answer: We are planning to offer in-person instruction for our students. Students will be required to follow the Healthy at School Guidelines.
4. Will there be other options aside from in-person instruction?
Answer: Yes, we are planning to offer a virtual/online option for students who choose to not return to in-person instruction. Parents may choose for their students to attend school virtually. In doing so the parents and students will sign an agreement to adhere to the requirements of internet, accountability of attendance and accountability to complete content virtually. This will NOT be the same as NTI days (more specific details will be released next Wednesday).
5. Are you all considering an A/B option (alternating day) schedule for students?
Answer: We are not at this time. The biggest concern with this type of scheduling is finding a way to accommodate siblings and families that have students in multiple grades. The majority of people we've talked to prefer either virtual/online or in-person, and we feel like this best accommodates the needs of our community.
6. Will there be a hybrid option allowing for both in-person and online learning?
Answer: No, you will be asked to choose in-person or the virtual/online option when you enroll.
7. If my child chooses Online Patriot Academy, will you supply them with a laptop? Will a phone work?
Answer: Yes, a Chromebook will be supplied. No, the work will require internet access and the Chromebook.
8. If my child begins the year in-person, but decides that they would rather switch to Online Patriot Academy due to COVID-19, will they be able to do so?
Answer: Yes, however they will not be able to switch back from online to in-person until the end of the semester.
9. Will pre-school be offered?
Answer: Yes, it will be offered. We will likely have smaller class sizes to accommodate the guidelines. More information on pre-school is forthcoming.
10. Will there be recess?
Answer: Yes, we will offer recess with social distancing.
11. Will the in-person instruction and online/virtual instruction be the same?
Answer: Our intent is for the online/virtual instruction to be as rigorous as the in-person instruction. However, we feel like there is no replacement for the in-person experience your student receives from our staff at Lincoln County.
12. Will the online/virtual option be similar to the NTI work we did last spring?
Answer: No, the online/virtual will be as similar as possible to in-person instruction.
13. Can households with multiple children choose multiple options?
Answer: Yes, each family needs to choose the best option for their student.
14. Will there still be NTI days?
Answer: NTI days will be used for snow days, flood days, sick days, etc.
FAQ About Transportation
1. I've seen the Healthy at School Guidelines require symptom screenings, who does this? Answer: Parents/guardians are required screen their children for symptoms each morning. Students with symptoms shall stay home from school and not ride the school bus.
2. What is being done to keep buses safe?
Answer: Bus drivers are required to take their temperature and screen themselves for symptoms before they begin their bus route. Buses will be disinfected after each route too. There will be hand sanitizer available as students enter and exit the bus too.
3. Will students wear a face mask on a bus?
Answer: Yes, the Healthy at School Guidelines require a mask to be worn at school in all instances where 6 ft social distancing is unobtainable by both staff and students. The only exception is if the person is medically waived from wearing a face mask. Students will also be assigned to a specific seat on their bus to help with contact tracing, etc.
Bus drivers are permitted to wear a face mask, face shield, or neither if it inhibits their ability to safely drive.
4. Will I be able to drop off and pick up my child?
Answer: Yes, you still can. All students will have their temperature taken as they arrive at school by car or bus.
FAQ About the School Buildings
1. Will my student have their temperature check daily at school?
Answer: Yes, every student will have a temperature check as they enter the school.
2. Can my student wear a face shield instead of a face mask at school?
Answer: No, a shield does not replace a mask according to the Healthy at School Guidelines.
3. What will classrooms look like?
Answer: Our hope is to space desks out well enough to where students and staff can take their face mask off in classrooms. Indications from our polling lead us to believe this will be the case in most rooms.
Classrooms with round tables create more difficulty in achieving social distancing, for this reason we are looking into transparent dividers to help separate students at round tables.
- Students will be assigned to seats to help with contact tracing.
- Elementary and middle school students will likely not be rotating classes. Teachers will instead rotate from room to room.
- Rooms will be sanitized frequently throughout the day.
- Hand sanitizer will be available.
4. Will visitors be allowed in the schools?
Answer: Non-essential visitors will not be allowed on campuses.
5. What happens if a staff person or student begins to show symptoms once on campus?
Answer: Each school is required to provide a quarantine room. The district will work closely with Family Healthcare and the Lincoln County Health Department in terms of following protocol on keeping the symptomatic person and the rest of the building as safe and secure as possible.
- Breakfast and lunch will be provided on site and social distancing must be practiced. Schools are still developing the seating/eating plans. ·
- Breakfast and lunch will not be delivered to students who choose the virtual/online option. However, these students are permitted to come pick up food at the school building.
- Students will remove face mask once they are seated.
- Staff will be required to wear a face mask at all times and will disinfect eating areas after students are finished eating.
- Restrooms will be disinfected regularly throughout the day.
- Restroom breaks will account for social distancing and be monitored for overcrowding. ·
- Water fountains will be available in a limited capacity and cleaned frequently.
Athletics (middle and high school)
1. If my student chooses virtual/online school, will they be able to compete in sports?
2. Are there going to be fall sports?
Answer: The KHSAA decided today that the official start date for fall sports would now be August 3rd. This means all sports currently doing conditioning may still do so until then, using the same guidelines. The only fall sport permitted to start on July 15th is golf.
"We frequently mention that this is a fluid situation, and we are doing our best to adapt as things around us change. Our school administration and teachers are working diligently to best meet the needs of our students. I ask for your patience as we continue to prepare for the upcoming school year." - Superintendent Michael Rowe