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Frequently Asked Questions on Reopening SVSD Schools
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Teaching & Learning – In-Person/Remotely
The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), posted July 15, address planning underway around reopening SVSD schools in the fall – to help families make informed choices on the Parent Survey. The district will continue to add to this FAQ resource as more details are confirmed, and as guidance from the state and pulic health official evolve. With safety as our top priority, see below on some of the consideration that is guiding our preparations for the start of the school year.
What is the Snoqualmie Valley School District’s plan to reopen school in 2020?
On July 8, Superintendent Rob Manahan shared an overview of our district’s plan for educating all students in the fall that involves a combination of in-person and remote learning opportunities. The plan identifies three instructional models which will allow the district to serve students while complying with requirements from the state around social distancing and other safety measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. Those options include Full-time Remote Learning - available to all, Full-time In-Person Learning - for K-2 grades (if space available) and special groups; and a Hybrid A/B Rotation model - for grades 3-12.
Why can’t all students attend school full-time face-to-face in the fall?
Our district is following the guidelines required by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Department of Health (DOH). These guidelines require social distancing of 6 feet in classrooms, which will result in smaller class sizes. We do not have the space or the staff to allow us to have school for every student with this requirement.
Full-time Remote Learning Model
What is the Full-time Remote Learning model?
This option is available to all grade levels, for families who choose not to attend school in-person. Students will complete all academic coursework from home, with no instruction on campus. We plan to support those students with a program similar to last spring but with improvements focused on greater connections, engagement and best practices for remote learning. SVSD staff will be designated to support Full-time Remote Learning and will be provided with additional training for remote learning.
If my child chooses the full-time remote learning, what will online instruction look like?
Learning will look different, depending on a student’s grade level:
- Students K-5 will complete grade-level aligned work for completion at home. There will be opportunities for connections with SVSD teachers for support and some live and/or recorded instruction.
- Students in grades 6-12 will be provided with coursework they need to make academic progress and progress toward graduation, but will not have access to the full range of courses available on campus. Instruction will be facilitated by SVSD staff and may include vendor-provided curriculum and staff, if needed.
Our remote learning format is not designed for continuous live interactions with a teacher.
Will 100% Remote Learning be flexible like last semester or will students be required to be online for more hours each day?
There will be some flexibility within the program, but students will be required to be online for more hours each day than they were in the spring.
What are some ways the district will be improving the Full-time Remote Learning program?
Teacher contact with students will be more frequent and will include a greater variety of opportunities for students to engage in learning. Students will receive grades and participation will be required. Professional development will be provided to teachers to increase their comfort and efficacy in online learning. The district will be providing additional hardware to teachers this summer to provide more consistency in capabilities. SVSD is also working this summer to streamline logins and how to turn in assignments, as well as provide a single sign-on for most district-sponsored software tools, so students and families can more easily access online tools.
Will the Full-time Remote Learning option incorporate real-time learning via video conferencing?
Possibly -- The logistics of the 100% remote learning option are still being worked on by the district team. It is likely that there will be some form of interactive instruction via video conferencing as part of this option, provided by SVSD certificated teachers dedicated to the remote learning option. How that will specifically look depends on a variety of factors such as: the nature of the course, the material being used, and how we schedule online days and times. We are not supporting live streaming of real-time classroom activity.
If I choose the Full-time Remote Learning option, will a device be provided?
If I choose Full-time Remote Learning, how long will I be committing to this format?
We are asking for a commitment of at least one grading period. For elementary schools (K-5) that is a trimester, and for secondary schools (6-12) that would be the first semester. Subsequent trimesters or semesters will be dependent on classroom capacity, staffing availability, and the status of public health.
Hybrid A/B Rotation Model
What is the Hybrid A/B Rotation Model?
This learning model combines in-person instruction and at-home learning each week. Available to grades 3-12, students will be designated into two groups (A & B, split alphabetically) with alternating schedules. Each group will attend two days on campus for in-person instruction and participate in at-home learning the remaining days each week. Group A will attend school in-person Mondays and Thursdays, while Group B will attend in-person Tuesdays and Fridays. Wednesday schedules are still to be determined.
On the Hybrid model, how will the two groups/cohorts be divided? How will the cohorts be balanced?
The two groups will be divided alphabetically, with consideration for keeping households intact (so siblings in grades 3-12 can attend in-person on the same days). A decision has not been made yet on how to split the alphabet to form the A and B groups. The results of the July Parent Survey will help us determine how to balance the two groups.
Was there consideration for splitting the A/B cohorts by geography/neighborhoods, rather than alphabetically?
Yes, this was considered. However, it would be much more difficult to balance groups by geography for scheduling, equity, and bus routing.
When will the decision on A/B groups be announced?
Our goal is to announce the A/B groups the first week of August.
Will students be allowed to switch cohorts (A and B groups)? If so, what would be the criteria and appeal process?
We ask that families support their assigned group, as much as possible, to help balance the district’s educational services and supports for students. However, we also recognize there could be extenuating circumstances that may necessitate a change. More information on the process for appeals will be provided when the A/B groups are announced. For any change requests, the district will need to consider balancing class sizes, social distancing mandates, staffing implications, etc.
What about siblings who live in same household but have different last names that may place them into different cohorts?
We will work with families to keep households together.
Why did the district choose an AB/AB Hybrid model rather than an AA/BB Hybrid model?
Feedback we received from Thoughtexchange and focus groups emphasized the desire for more teacher connections with students throughout the week. Using this feedback, educators in our work groups discussed both scenarios and felt our Hybrid A/B model, which has student groups attending in person Monday & Thursday (A) or Tuesday & Friday (B), would provide more opportunity for student connections throughout the week to help engage students in their learning. In the AA/BB Hybrid model, which has one group attend Monday/Tuesday and the other group on Thursday/Friday, there was concern that having five days in between the in-person attendance days would not be in the best interest for student engagement and learning.
In our Hybrid A/B model, if teachers are busy during the day teaching half of their students in-person, what will the at-home learning look like for the other half of their students on alternating schedules?
During the “at school” days, teachers will prepare students for working independently on their at-home learning days. We will also identify times and methods for students to connect with teachers on days when students are not at school physically.
What are the differences between online learning on the Full-time Remote Learning model, and at-home learning through the Hybrid A/B Rotation model?
The Full-time Remote Learning model does not include any time on campus, and will have SVSD staff dedicated to supporting students virtually. The Hybrid A/B Rotation model includes at least two days a week on campus, with the remaining three focused on at-home learning. Teachers will teach either a Fulltime Remote Learning group OR a Hybrid A/B Rotation group.
Full-time In-Person Model
What is the Full-time In-Person Model?
This is a learning option for students in Kindergarten through 2nd grades (if space allows), plus some special programs such as Preschool, Transition Learning Center, Specialty/Life Skills. Our desire is for these groups to attend in-person full-time, 4-5 days a week. Wednesday schedules are still to be confirmed. This model supports select groups of students for whom in-person instruction better suits their learning and developmental needs. (NOTE: We still need to verify if this will be possible to serve all three grade levels: K, 1st and 2nd in person while social distancing. This will depend on how many families choose remote learning.)
Due to the social distancing requirements and capacity challenges, what if the school district cannot support all the younger grade levels daily (4-5 days/week)?
If we cannot meet the social distancing requirements for all our primary students, we would use a hybrid model, similar to what is planned for older students.
When will we know for sure if the district can accommodate all K, 1st and 2nd grades in-person, in this model?
Once we confirm which students will choose the 100% online model, the district will be able to consider capacity and staffing needs to support both learning options. Our goal is to notify families in the first week of August.
Can my Kindergarten student attend in-person for half-day?
Kindergarten will continue to be a full time program.
What if I would prefer a hybrid model for my K-2nd grader, is that an option?
That is not available at this time. Current choices for these ages include Full-time In-person Learning or Full-time Remote Learning.
General Teaching & Learning Questions:
Will there be any changes to the start/dismissal times?
Yes. Compared to last year’s schedule, we currently anticipate starting elementary schools 30 minutes later (around 9:45 a.m.) and dismissing secondary schools approximately 30 minutes earlier (specific times will varies by school). These adjustments would allow additional time for teacher planning/collaboration/ professional development, and would lessen the impact on our students and staff of the required safety measures. A revised schedule will be provided in our back-to-school information.
What is the plan for Wednesdays?
Currently, we are in discussion with our employee associations and other staff to confirm our plan for Wednesdays. We are considering designating Wednesday as a day for at-home learning for students, individual student connections/interventions, lesson planning and teacher collaboration, professional development, and additional disinfecting of our buildings. With this change, Fridays will be full days.
What will scheduling look like for middle schools and high school students who have many teachers?
Students will have a typical full daily schedule and will attend all courses while on campus in the Hybrid model.
Are there any classes that will not be offered in person?
We are still determining this with consideration for safety/distancing guidelines, student schedules, and staff availability.
Will my child be able to access a counselor on days when they’re not at school?
Yes. We are working to create virtual opportunities as well as develop a way to see a counselor live/in-person, if needed. This will follow state-mandated social distancing regulations.
Will there be recess at the elementary schools?
Yes. We are planning for social distancing during modified recess times.
What are the implications for the following educational programs?
- STREAM (Gifted) Program will be offered, in the Hybrid model or Full-time In-Person model. (STREAM will not be available in the 100% remote learning option.)
- Running Start will be available. Please refer to those institutions for details.
- Mount Si High School Online Program will be offered as it usually is during a typical school year.
- Two Rivers High School may be able to attend daily due to the ability to meet social distancing requirements as a result of smaller class sizes. More information will be forthcoming if implemented.
- Parent Partnership Program may be able to attend regularly due to the ability to meet social distancing requirements as a result of smaller class sizes.
What if I prefer to homeschool?
Contact our district office for the proper documentation for home schooling.
What programs will be served in-person?
The district intends to serve students in developmental preschool, specialty classrooms, Life Skills, and the Transition Learning Center in-person at this time.
If in-person learning is not feasible for my student, what accommodations can be made for students with disabilities?
For students receiving special education services, case managers and IEP teams will partner with families to identify accommodations and supports that can be feasibly provided should the student be unable to attend in-person.
How will my student receive related/therapy support services (i.e. SLP/OT/PT/Eval etc.) if we close again?
Related service providers, also known as therapists, will work with families to schedule services remotely during a closure. Services provided would look different than in-person services, as they did this spring during the statewide closure.
What if my student with disabilities is unable or unwilling to wear a cloth mask?
We recommend families begin creating routines for all students to practice wearing cloth masks during this summer break. Additionally, we understand there may be students who are unable or unwilling to wear masks, and we will work individually with students and their families on a case-by-case basis to provide guidance during this fluid situation.
Health & Safety
What social distancing will be required?
In general, students and staff will need to remain 6 feet apart, based on requirements for schools from the Department of Health and OSPI. Our district’s Operations Department is working with building administrators to set up classrooms to maximize space and ensure physical distancing. The 6-foot requirement may be waived for quick passings, such as when a student walks across the room to get a drink of water or to sharpen a pencil. There may also be an exception at times when a teacher needs to give quick feedback to a student.
Does the 6-foot social distancing requirement eliminate the need for masks?
No. Both the 6-foot social distancing and the wearing of masks are required by OSPI.
What are the state requirements regarding wearing masks?
The Department of Health requires everyone in a school building, on school grounds, or on a school bus to wear a face covering, with specific exemptions identified in the guidance.
Can face shields replace masks?
Per OSPI guidelines, cloth face coverings have a superior ability to capture more droplets from speaking, coughing, sneezing, etc., however students may use face shields in the classroom as an alternative to a cloth face covering. OSPI is requiring cloth masks only on buses.
Will the district be providing masks for students?
Students will be asked to provide their own cloth face covering and it’s recommended that they bring a spare face covering (as a back-up). The school will also maintain a supply of extra face coverings for students in the office and each classroom. Essential visitors who may be on-campus will also need to wear a face covering; and if they do not have one, the office will provide one (while supplies last).
How will health screening take place?
Staff will be supporting the safety precautions that are required by the Department of Health and OSPI requirements. The SVSD health screening plan is a partnership with parents who will have a role at home before sending their students to the bus or school. It is based on a daily at-home/prior to bus/school screening (questions and temperature checks) and a reporting system for both students and staff. This will be regulated and enforced daily at all schools. Schools will have the ability to and will take temperatures of those who have not had them before school. More details will be coming as these processes are being developed.
What are my responsibilities as a parent before sending my child?
- Screening (questions and temperature) your child and reporting results to the school (likely an app)
- Keeping students home who fall into any of the “stay at home” criteria
- Ensuring the “return to school” criteria have been met, if your student has stayed home
- Ensuring your child has a face covering (and a spare in the backpack)
What happens if my student gets sick while at school?
A parent/guardian will be called for immediate pickup. Until pickup, the student will be separated/isolated with safe supervision and wear a cloth face covering or mask while waiting, if tolerated. (It is important for parents/guardians to make sure their school has up-to-date contact information on file, and that each family has a plan in place ahead of time.)
What happens if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID?
They will be excluded from school/work according to Public Health requirements.
Will families be informed if there is a positive case?
Notification will align with public health guidelines and privacy laws.
How will you support my child if they have to stay home due to illness or quarantining 14 days due to exposure?
We will work with your student to support them remotely until they can safely return to school.
Operations & Facilities:
How up-to-date and effective are the air filtration systems in our schools?
All schools have air filtration systems that are automated. Every classroom in the district is equipped with a carbon dioxide monitoring system, which measures occupancy and drives the air circulation system. As carbon dioxide levels rise, the system automatically increases airflow. The district currently uses carbon dioxide thresholds that are more stringent than current recommended levels to initiate increases in airflow.
Since only about 16 students can fit into most social-distanced classrooms, how will you address the facility needs to support full-time instruction for K-2? Some of our elementary schools are at full capacity already.
Our district Operations team is currently measuring every classroom individually and setting up classroom furniture to meet the 6-foot distance requirement between seated students and the teacher. After parents have elected either the 100% Remote Learning option or the In-Person Learning option, the district will determine if the current K-2 model can be supported with our classroom capacities. If capacities are insufficient, a hybrid model similar to grades 3-12 would need to be implemented.
What changes will we see in our buildings to encourage social distancing?
Buildings will look different this fall. Additional signage will be added. Classrooms will have less furniture to meet the social distancing requirements. Lunch delivery will be different. We are currently looking at how to space students during the lunch period in order to provide staff with a lunch break themselves. Additional lunch periods may be necessary in order to accommodate students within the social distancing guidelines.
What about passing time safety?
We are working on implementing ways to reduce exposure during passing time. This could include direction hallways where students either only go one-way, or only use the right hand side of the hallway. Lockers may not be necessary with the hybrid model, which would reduce congestion during passing time.
Does the district have enough PPE to meet the needs?
We currently have a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and have ordered more this summer. Families can help our schools by providing masks for their students, as the supply chain for PPE is fragile and under stress during this time.
What cleaning and disinfecting protocols will take place in our schools?
Every classroom and school bus will be provided with disinfectant that is EPA approved. This disinfectant is hydrogen peroxide-based and can be applied without the need for gloves, goggles or other protective equipment. Staff will be able to use this disinfectant on the common-touch areas of their classrooms. Additional custodial personnel will be hired to provide increased cleaning and disinfecting of common-touch areas. The district has purchased additional disinfecting equipment and supplies to provide more frequent cleaning/disinfecting.
If someone with COVID attends school, how will school facilities be sanitized/disinfected?
Custodial staff will perform specific disinfection of areas used by someone who has tested positive for COVID.
How will meals be served at school?
We are working to determine exactly how meals will be served, in ways that align with safety and social distancing requirements.
Will school meals/food be offered “to go” to students who are learning at home?
Meals will be made available for student learning at home. We are working on details for exactly how those meals will be distributed.
Will the district be able to offer free meals to all, like this spring – even to families who do not qualify for the federal Free and Reduced-price Meals program?
Not at this time. The USDA has informed school districts that they must run their regular meal program, so students would have to pay for meals or be counted according to their eligibility status. Free and reduced-price meal applications will be available on the district website by August 1 for the 2020-2021 school year, for families to fill out.
What are the state requirements regarding school bus transportation?
Bus Transportation principles for COVID prevention include:
- Maximize outside air and keep windows open as much as possible
- Encourage walking, biking, or being driven by caregivers as much as possible
- Riders and staff members must wear a cloth face covering
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces
- Keep riders as far apart as possible on the bus
Will masks be required on buses?
Yes, students and drivers are required to wear cloth face coverings while on the bus.
How will buses be cleaned/disinfected?
Drivers will be trained to properly disinfect all common touch areas utilized on the bus, between each school run/student load.
How is it that my child can ride a bus with 60+ other children?
OSPI’s guidelines for students on the bus are not as stringent as the 6-foot social distancing requirement for classrooms. Their bus guidelines are based on the minimal amount of time the students are on the bus as compared to in the classroom, the ability to ventilate by having all windows opened at safe levels, and the compartmentalization of the high back seats that help separate the students. That said, our Transportation Department is considering ways to help space riders where possible to limit contact.
Will the district provide students with devices for remote learning?
Yes. All SVSD students will be provided a device for remote learning, if needed.
What if I do not have internet access at home?
Hot spots will be made available for students who need internet access at their home.
If we choose the hybrid model, do students (in grades 3-12) need to bring their assigned laptops to and from school? Or, can they leave it home when attending in person?
Students should bring their assigned devices to and from school. This will allow connections to be made between students learning at home and those at school. This will also provide opportunities to practice technology skills needed at home with adult support in a school setting. Technology will increasingly become part of our instruction to allow for fluidity between in-school and at-home learning as needed. Additionally, students using their assigned devices at school is to help minimize common-touch surfaces of shared keyboards.
To be continued...
As details are confirmed and as directives from the state and health department evolve, additional questions and answers will be added to this FAQ. Thank you for support and patience during these extraordinary circumstances due to the pandemic.