JULY 29, 2020 Q&A
FINAL SEGMENT OF Q&A WITH SUPT. BENNETT
1. For elementary school students, will they have recess, and how will that be scheduled?
Each school will handle the scheduling of recess and determine what areas are available to students during recess. Playground equipment that may transmit the spread of COVID-19 will not be used.
2. Will students go outside and remain 6 ft apart to perform PE exercises or will they have to try and exercise indoors with masks on?
Students will go outside and distance for exercise as much as possible. Outdoor activities are preferred and will be utilized as much as possible.
3. My child has been receiving extra help and was tested by the BOE over the summer. I don’t feel comfortable sending him, but I feel if I don’t send him he will not receive the extra one-on-one help he needs to succeed and will fall behind. What is the system doing to accommodate these children if I choose to keep him home?
Students with an IEP will still receive accommodations from home in a virtual format.
4. Will students be able to continue with Honors classes and Beta if they have to choose virtual school?
Not all courses can be offered in the virtual school format. You should contact your child’s school for specific information on specific courses. Students can not participate in extracurricular activities while on the virtual model.
5. Can students use iPads (with keyboard) for virtual learning?
A Chromebook or laptop computer is preferred for virtual learning.
6. What supplies, besides computer and internet, do the students who are doing virtual learning need?
Suggested materials/supply lists for virtual school students will be given at the virtual school orientation that will take place at each school next week. Attendance to this meeting is required for the student and oneparent or guardian. The schedule for virtual school orientation by school is below:
- August 6 – Virtual School orientation at PCHS 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. for families with last names A-K in the gymnasium and auditorium. Orientation for families with last name L-Z will be 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
- August 7 – Virtual School orientation at BES, MES and PES as follows: 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. for families with last name A-G; 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. for families with last name H-Q; 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. for families with last name R-Z.
- August 7 – Virtual School orientation at PCMS as follows: 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. in the gym and cafeteria for families with last name A-G; 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. in the media center and cafeteria for families with last name H-Q; 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. in the media center and cafeteria for families with last name R-Z.
7. How will buses be handled?
All buses will be disinfected after each route. Buses will not transport students in a sealed environment. Students are strongly encouraged to wear masks on the bus since social distancing will not be possible. Students will have an assigned seat and that seat will be with other children in the same household when siblings ride the same route. Hand sanitizer will be available to students getting on and off the bus.
JULY 28, 2020 Q&A
1. Will teachers change classrooms instead of the students? (Hallways wouldn’t be as crowded and student contact with other students would be limited).
Some classes/grades will not require students to change classes and some will. Desks will be wiped down between class changes for those grades that have class changes. Students are encouraged to wear masks when in the hall during class changes.
2. Will there be dividers between desks to maintain social distancing between students? Will they have an assigned desk that won’t be shared by another student from the previous class?
Students will have assigned seats and desks will be wiped down between class changes. Rooms will be arranged to maximize social distancing as much as the space will allow.
3. Just need clarification on absenteeism. My child has had perfect attendance for 10 years. If he chooses in class learning and has to miss school, can he take the virtual class and be counted present?
We are asking all students to stay home if they are sick. Students who miss due to COVID-19 symptoms or quarantine will have no penalty for the absence and those absences will not count against them in any way. We are going to be utilizing Google classroom so students have access to instruction even if they are under quarantine.
4. Can the middle school be opened earlier in the mornings for the students so they don’t congregate out front huddled together?
Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, morning drop off for PCMS will be changing. To limit large gatherings and encourage social distancing, students should be dropped off no earlier than 7:40 a.m. where they will immediately enter the building. Students should not be congregating together on the front sidewalk. Should there be a conflict and you need to make other arrangements, please contact PCMS administration at 449-2077.
5. Are we going to be able to walk our kids to school the first day? (My boy is starting Pre-K, and it’s a huge adjustment of course. He will be freaking out if his Daddy and I can’t walk him into school.)
The school will not be open for parents to walk their child to class the first day, but they can be walked to the building where a faculty member will be available for our very young students to ensure they get to class.
6. Will we be working with any free test programs to test all children in the class if there is a positive, or are there any local clinics doing rapid tests that could see multiple children needing a test to return to school?
We will follow the guidance from the Department of Public Health (DPH) when there is a positive test in a class and communicate those recommendations to parents. There are rapid test available in out area.
7. What if after 14 days a student/teacher is still symptomatic?
If symptoms have not improved, the DPH guidance recommends the student/teacher remain in quarantine. We would ask the student/teacher to follow the recommendations given by their physician on returning to school or work.
JULY 27, 2020 Q&A
1. My child was selected for gifted last year, if we do virtual learning the first nine weeks will she be allowed to go back to gifted if she returns to school?
Your child would be allowed to still participate in the gifted program when she returns to the traditional schedule.
2. What will happen if we chose virtual school and can’t get on the computer that day, either due to poor signal or weather? Will there be recorded lessons the children can watch at a later time/date to make up for it? Or will everything be done just through a zoom video call during school hours?
Virtual instruction will mirror the same rigor, pacing, and expectations of the traditional classroom and will require the student to work everyday. Live meetings/lessons with teachers will be during school hours and will be at a scheduled time. Other lessons may be recorded and can be viewed at any time. Students and parents will be required to attend an orientation at their home school fully explaining the expectation of the program. Assignments will have due dates similar or the same as the traditional option. All assignments will be posted on google classroom. Progress of students on the virtual option will be monitored weekly. Virtual parent conferences will be required when students are not making adequate progress.
3. Will the virtual classroom be “live”, where students follow along with all the in-person students, or will only certain portions be live? Will students take Connections and ELT as well as regular classes?
Some lessons will be live, some will be recorded, and some will be assignments on the Google classroom the students work through independently. Not all electives and courses will be available through the virtual option such as high school lab courses. You should contact your child’s school with specific questions concerning course offerings particularly at the high school level.
4. Will the virtual instruction be just as rigorous as the in-person classroom? (My concern here is that if we choose to put him back in regular school after 9 weeks, he’ll be behind academically.)
Virtual instruction will mirror the same rigor and expectations of the traditional classroom and will require the student to work everyday. The best option for any child is face to face instruction with the teacher every day. However, the virtual plan is designed so that students doing their lessons and assignments through google classroom are doing the same assignments as much as possible as those in the traditional classroom. Progress of students on the virtual option will be monitored weekly. Virtual parent conferences will be required when students are not making adequate progress.
5. I signed up for the virtual learning. My kids receive speech help. Does that mean they are not eligible to receive speech any longer?
There is a plan in place to provide speech services even if your child is on the virtual option.
JULY 24, 2020 Q&A
The school system has provided a virtual option to parents because we realize some parents are not comfortable sending their students to school due to possible exposure to the COVID-19. You can not protect your child from possible exposure if you require your child to stay home during the school day but then send them to the school to participate in extracurricular activities. However, if a student begins the year virtually and then transitions back to traditional school, they would at that time be eligible to participate. At this time GHSA is moving forward with athletics, with football having a delayed time. They could announce that fall sports are canceled before the first game. Each day we get additional guidance that results in us adjusting our plan to meet these new requirements. The decision to keep the student at home should be based on what a parent feels most comfortable with at this time. Parents who have additional questions about extracurricular activities should contact their school principal.
2. What will be the triggers for closing schools again in the fall after reopening?
Throughout this year, there could be times that the school system has to close for short periods of 2-3 days or possibly up to two weeks depending on the guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health. The school system could close if/when we have several faculty members out having to quarantine either due to a positive test or to exposure. The school system will also close at any time the number of cases in our buildings indicate it is not safe to continue face-to-face instruction. We are going to start this school year with teachers instructing students to put their assignments on Google Classroom and use technology under the direction of the teacher so they will be prepared during periods of closure to receive instruction via Google Classroom. The school system is prepared to provide internet access points and Chromebooks to students who need them if the school system must close for an extended period or more than two weeks or if there is another shelter in place order issued by the Governor.
3. How will nurses provide care for students who may potentially be carrying the virus?
All nurses are being supplied with N95 masks, gowns, goggles, and face shields. Each nurse and school principal will determine an isolation room at each school to treat students with symptoms of COVID-19. If it is determined that the student should go home, parents will be called and asked to pick up their child as soon as possible. Each school nurse will have a designated person in the building to help them call parents and monitor students while they wait to be picked up from school. Parents will be asked to take their child to the doctor and follow return-to-school guidance given by them. The nurse and/or designee will follow up with the parent to determine what other action, if any, is needed such as quarantine of other students.
4. What is the disinfecting plan (daily, multiple times per day, all areas)?
Pierce County Schools takes the safety of our students and staff very seriously. Our custodians, maintenance, administrative, and teaching staff, will all be taking an active role to assure the safety for students. Some people have suggested that shutting down a building to have a “deep cleaning day” is the best way to keep people safe. While deep cleaning is never a bad idea, and can be the right action to take for certain situations and spaces, an environment that is occupied nearly all day long, all week long, and by so many different people coming and going within the same spaces, requires frequent cleaning throughout the day. You have to remember that after a surface has been wiped clean or disinfected, it can still be contaminated by someone touching it that may be sick. A simple example could be expressed by saying you can mop and wax a floor so that it is shiny and clean, but the second someone walks across it with muddy shoes it is now dirty again. When dealing with a virus that can be transmitted by touch on surfaces, frequent cleaning is the best defense in occupied spaces.
Ethyl Alcohol based hand sanitizer will be made available throughout the schools, both in classrooms as well as hallways and lobby areas. School custodial staff will be increasing the frequency of spraying and wiping down all public spaces in the schools that are touched by students and staff all throughout the day. This means that when students are in class, they will be out spraying and wiping down bathrooms, commonly touched surfaces such as tables, chairs, and door handles in the halls and common areas. They will take advantage of cleaning throughout the day as much as possible.
Our teachers will be supplied with hand sanitizer in every classroom for students to use. They will also be provided with sanitizing wipes and sprays that are certified to kill COVID-19. They will be using these to spray and wipe down all student desks, chairs, tables, and any other surfaces or commonly touched items within the room. This will be done after each class change before another group comes back in, or each time a classroom becomes empty. For example lunch, PE, visits to the media center, etc…
If it is discovered that someone tests positive for COVID-19, the spaces they are known to have occupied will be deep cleaned immediately upon learning this information. If it is determined that the outbreak is severe in numbers and spaces, we may elect to shut down an area or even a building for an entire day to do an even more extensive cleaning/disinfecting.
We are making sure we have plenty of supplies to help battle the spread of COVID-19. Currently, we currently have the following items at our disposal ready to use:
- 9,000 Regular Face Masks (both washable cloth, and disposable)
- 7,000 Youth Face Masks (both washable cloth, and disposable)
- 400 face shields: Can be distributed to teachers, bus drivers, nutrition workers, etc.
- 500 17 oz bottles of gel hand sanitizer: Each teacher will have one for their classroom
- 400 1 gallon size 300 wipe containers with skin safe sanitizing chemicals: Each teacher will have one in their classroom.
- 500 spray bottles for sanitizing solution: Each Teacher will have one in their classroom.
- 80 hand sanitizing stations on stands
- 60 no touch infrared thermometers
- 40 isolation gowns for nurses
- 5 bulk boxes of alcohol wipes (1 box per school for nurses)
- 5 Electrostatic sanitizing guns/foggers: Each school will have one for fast broad spectrum sanitizing of spaces.
- 400 gallons of gel hand sanitizer solution refills
The current cleaning chemicals used by our staff in all schools are:
- Zep – DZ-7 - Quaternary Ammonium compounds & Decyldimethloctylammonium
- Chloride (neutral disinfectant)
- Envirox- H2Orange – Hydrogen Peroxide & amp; Orange oil
- UNX Inc. – Sanix – Didecyl dimethyl Ammonium chloride (Disinfectant)
- Clorox wipes
- Health Guard foaming antibacterial soap
- Hand sanitizer 70 percent + alcohol
- Chlorinated disinfecting tablets for making sprayable disinfecting solution
All of the chemicals used in our schools, with the exception for H2Orange (which is listed to kill 99.9 percent of viruses such as Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2, Influenza A2/Japan and HIV-1), are listed and approved for killing the coronavirus.
5. Will masks or isolation be required for any child exhibiting possible COVID-19 symptoms?
When a student has symptoms of COVID-19, the teacher will give a mask to him/her if one is not already being worn and then send the student to the nurse. The nurse will then determine if the parent should be called and the student sent home. If the nurse determines the student does exhibit symptoms of the virus, the student will be sent to an isolation room with adult supervision to wait for the parent to pick him/her up. We encourage the parent to take their child to their physician and follow the medical advice given to them about returning to school.
6. Will class size be reduced while social distancing measures are being encouraged?
School administrators are currently working to ensure class size is as low as possible by scheduling all classes as even in number as possible. Another factor that will impact class size this year is the virtual option. Right now approximately 10 percent of our total student population has registered for the virtual option thus reducing the number of students in classrooms.
7. Can we have open house where working parents can attend? I know a lot of parents, including myself, that cannot attend open house and have scared babies.
Parents who can not attend the assigned time for open house should contact their school principal. If a school has several conflicts, another time may be scheduled in the evening or the current schedule may be adjusted. The best way to contact your school principal is by calling the school or emailing the principal directly. Email addresses can be attained on the school website.
JULY 23, 2020 Q&A
VIRTUAL SCHOOL Q/A
COVID-19 EXPOSURE/HEALTH RELATED Q&A
- At least 10 days have passed since symptom onset and
- At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- Other symptoms have improved.
- At least 10 days have passed since the positive laboratory test and the person remains asymptomatic.
JULY 22, 2020 Q&A
- Student and staff seating will be separated as much as room space will allow. (Spacing of 6 ft is optimal.)
- Desks will be arranged so that students are not facing each other.
- Teachers will monitor students for signs of illness each morning as they come into the classroom.
- Thermometers will be made available throughout the building to check temperatures of students who appear ill.
- Any student who does not appear to be feeling well/ has a temperature of 100.4 should be given a mask if they do not have one and sent to the nurse. The nurse or principal designee will contact the parent to pick up the student.
- Teachers and students will be encouraged to wear a mask anytime they are within 6 feet of others.
- Safety protocol is “soft lockdown” where doors stay closed during class. Teachers will make sure their doors are propped open during any class changes or as groups enter/exit to minimize the number of people touching door handles.
- Teachers will use wipes and sprays that will be provided to disinfect student desk tops and chairs in classrooms frequently during the school day, preferably after each class change before another group comes back in, or each time your classroom becomes empty.
- Teachers should encourage students to stay home if they do not feel well.
- Signage will be posted to communicate how to stop the spread of COVID-19. Signs explain symptoms, preventative measures, etc.
- Masks should be encouraged to be worn by everyone in the building when social distancing of 6 feet is not possible.
- Establish protocol for visitors and restrict nonessential visitors: Restrict any visitors or parents from entering the building past the receptionist area as much as possible. When visitors are permitted to enter, their temperature should be checked and they should be given a mask if they did not wear one.
- Screen students and staff temperatures to the extent practical: Digital infrared thermometers (no touch) will be made available in multiple areas throughout the schools in order to check the temperature of students and staff.
- Isolate and send home students/staff if internal temperature is over 100.4°F (38°C)
- Establish procedures for moving around the building that promote one way flow of student traffic as much as possible.
- Establish lunch procedures and/or schedules that will allow students to distance at lunch to the extent possible.