CORONAVIRUS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW
2020-2021 School Year FAQ's
Following the CDC’s guidelines issued to date and in partnership with the Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) and Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), the KGBSD Smart Start 2020 team has developed a framework for how KGBSD schools can safely operate in low, medium, and high-risk environments. Under every scenario (low, medium, and high risk) educators will be ready to provide full, flexible learning opportunities for all students P,K -12.
Why can’t schools reopen at full capacity?
We will start school with students on 9/7 at the risk level that is most safe and appropriate for our community.
-The state and CDC put forth guidelines for how schools must function in a low, medium, and high risk situation--things like PPE that must be in place, 6 feet distancing, temperature screenings, etc. In order for our schools to follow those federal and state guidelines we cannot run at full capacity. We just can't. There is no way we can follow the 6 feet rule, for example, in a classroom with 28 students. A committee who has been working on this for over a month researched and factored in a number of things like square footage, numbers of students, numbers of staff, etc. and found 50% capacity to be the most viable number to meet the CDC and state guidelines for low risk requirements in Ketchikan schools. If we experience active cases in Ketchikan, our community would move to a medium or high risk and we would then have even more stringent guidelines to follow which would make the 50% capacity undoable and reducing that to a 25% capacity or the full at home situation we experienced in March.
Due to the need for a blended learning situation, students will be at school part of the time, and have one dedicated “distance learning” day. This day provides teachers time to check in with those students who are working online, as well as, time to prepare distance lessons moving forward. This day will also provide Professional Development for staff, similarly to early release days. In this time of transition, it is our responsibility as a district to provide educators with ongoing training that develops their skills to design and deliver effective online and blended learning opportunities to all students, including our most vulnerable populations.
Why are other states opening at full capacity?
The Smart Start Team and Continuity of Learning Team have researched many other states to study how they are opening. Limited capacity, hygiene, static groups, CDC guidelines, state guidelines, state frameworks, etc. are guiding all reopen/restart plans.
What can we do together to support extra learning opportunities for our pre-elementary and elementary students?
-At the preschool and elementary levels, we see parents/caregivers as partners with teachers in supporting learning. Given the developmental and independence level of students, access to devices and connectivity, and the varying levels of support that parents/caregivers can provide based on their current life circumstances, KGBSD will provide extended learning opportunities (ELOs) during the days students are not onsite in their schools.
Extended learning opportunities (ELOs)are not a replacement for classroom instruction. Rather, they are meant to keep students engaged academically while at a separate location working on math, reading, writing skills, arts, music, band, field trips, swimming lessons, etc. Paraprofessionals will provide students grade-appropriate learning activities as well as assist with lessons through the digital platform (Canvas). They will also provide remote support for students and families. While parents/caregivers are partners in this work, we recognize that families face different situations that affect the level of support they can provide their children at home. Parents/caregivers are afforded flexibility in supporting their children in these learning opportunities and should work with their teachers if they have any questions or needs.
Will my child have academic work to do on the days they are not at school?
-Yes, your child’s teacher(s) will be providing rigorous assignments via Canvas for your child to complete while they are at home. These assignments will be extensions of the work they are doing in class.
During all scenarios, teachers are expected to maintain a current and rigorous virtual classroom so that the district has the ability to pivot if the scenario changes.
What should I do if my student does not have access to a computer and/or internet?
- Please contact your principal, teacher or counselor at your school and let them know. KGBSD wants to ensure that all students have the technology to access needed classes.
Will assignments online be graded/required?
-Yes, assignments will be graded and required. Assignments that your child’s teacher provides will be based on information that they are learning in class and it will be important for them to stay on top of assignments. Even in a “low risk” scenario, teachers will be required to maintain active connection with, teach, and provide timely feedback to their students who are not in school on a given day. Being that teachers will have students for the duration of every other day in the week -apart from the designated asynchronous learning/PD day- substantial time is required to adequately serve all students outside time serving students in person.
Do students have to report to a zoom meeting on days that they are not at school?
-That is up to the teacher. Some teachers may create a “homeroom” zoom session to include those students who will not be at school. Otherwise, information will be provided during those days that students are in class.
What about our students with special needs? Those who don't type, who are nonverbal, who need questions rephrased, etc.?
-Special Education teachers will be working with students and families to provide services in accordance with student individual education programs (IEPs).
Will there be training for parents about how to use Canvas?
-The school district is working on a plan to provide training for parents. Our goal is to ensure parents and students are able to access distance learning easily.
What will my kids do on the days they are not scheduled to attend school?
-In addition to their daily assignments available on Canvas, the district is currently working on extended learning opportunities for students to attend on the days they are not scheduled to attend school!
Why do we need a day dedicated to PD on the low and medium risk plans? [Distance Learning Day]
- In this time of transition, it is our responsibility as a district to provide educators with ongoing training that develops their skills to design and deliver effective online and blended learning opportunities to all students, including our most vulnerable populations. We wish to support the effective pedagogical uses of technology to provide the best education to our students even during a public health crisis. Not all staff have the same level of skill with these technologies.
- The continuous PD throughout the year will allow teachers to stay current with our technology needs and maintain the blended learning model as needed, so that we can pivot to any of the risk scenarios at any time. #PandemicProof
- In low, medium, and high risk scenarios, teachers will plan, teach, and assess instruction in two different mediums: onsite and online. During all scenarios teachers are expected to maintain a current and rigorous virtual classroom so that the district has the ability to pivot if the scenario changes.
- Even in a “low risk” scenario, teachers will be required to maintain active connection with, teach, and provide timely feedback to their students who are not in school on a given day. Being that teachers will have students for the duration of every other day in the week -apart from the designated asynchronous learning/PD day- substantial time is required to adequately serve all students outside time serving students in person.
Why Wednesdays and not Fridays (or some other day)? [What’s best for kids?]
- Wednesday or Friday can be used to clean the school/classrooms at the end of the week.
- Maintains a schedule that is closer to our ‘normal’ schedule, for when we return to “all clear” status
- This is a ‘draft’ weekly schedule. If Friday better meets the needs of our community, or better serves students, we could move the PD day to Friday (or another day of the week)- moved to Friday, June 19, 2020 in response to community survey results.
COVID-19 Resources and Links
The health and safety of our students and staff are paramount, and we are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19. Based on the rapidly evolving situation of the Coronavirus Disease-19.
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