2020-21 Reopening Plan - Employee FAQs
  • We have assembled the following responses to Frequently Asked Questions by employees, in the hope that it will help address some of the questions and concerns of our patrons. As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, and as new directives or guidelines may be given from the State or from local health departments, the answer to some of these questions may change also. We will do our best to keep the answers up-to-date and accurate.

Reopening Plan - General Questions

  • The Reopening Plan doesn’t contain a lot of details. Why not?

    Posted by:
    • The Reopening Plan provides a general overview of our plan to reopen schools. This is intentional.  All of our specific protocols such as hygiene, illness monitoring, cleaning, case investigation, contact tracing, special education procedures, etc., sit outside the plan.  We anticipate that protocols and procedures will need to be adapted as situations evolve. In addition, employees are being trained in principle-based strategies for reducing the spread and transmission of the virus and then they will apply those principles in their own unique settings.   

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What are the chances that “the plan” will change between now and the first day of school?

    Posted by:
    • One thing we have learned during this experience is that change seems to be constant. A plan is simply that, a plan. We will do our best to adhere to our plan, but will also be flexible to changing circumstances.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How will COVID-19 impact the 2020-2021 school calendar?

    Posted by:
    • The current plan is for school to begin on August 20, 2020, and finish on May 28, 2021, adhering to the academic calendar as closely as possible. Circumstances may force us to make changes to the calendar. Any changes must be approved by the School Board.
    • The Professional Development Day scheduled for February 12th will now be a principal directed day to be used before school starts. February 12th will now be a day off for all teachers and students. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How did the district determine a schedule for next year?

    Posted by:
    • We received over 6,800 surveys from parents with feedback before developing our school reopening plan. 77% of our parents expressed the desire to return to normalcy with in-person instruction on a Monday through Friday schedule.
    • To support teachers, we shortened the school day by 45 minutes to provide time for them to support remote learning students who stay home when ill. We also moved a professional development day from February to August to provide additional preparation time for teachers before school begins.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What will school start and end times be?

    Posted by:
    • Elementary school will begin at 9:05 am and end at 2:50 pm Monday through Friday.  Morning kindergarten will run from 9:05 am-11:45 am.  Afternoon kindergarten will run from 12:10pm-2:50 pm.
    • Middle school and high school will begin at 8:00 am and end at 2:00 pm Monday through Friday.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Can we have a more gradual transition into the school year so we can see what happens with COVID-19?

    Posted by:
    • We are monitoring the situation carefully and will adjust our schedule if needed.  

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Did the district consider an alternating schedule?

    Posted by:
    • Yes, however, we were concerned about the impact of alternating schedules to families and to student learning.  
    • The Center for Disease Control has offered the following guidance on alternating schedules: “While alternating schedules may reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk, there may be additional costs related to lesson planning for teachers, childcare costs for parents, and other potential costs. More research is needed on the layered impact of alternating schedules with other SARS-CoV-2 mitigation strategies (e.g., social distancing, cloth face coverings, proper hygiene, and cohorting) as well as the impact of alternating schedules on students’ learning and well-being.”

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Were employees included in the development of the plan?

    Posted by:
    • We surveyed teachers in May as we were completing the school year and also held some teacher focus groups to help us understand what worked well and what didn’t work well during the school dismissal. District and school administrators spent two days reviewing this information and feedback.  
    • In July, after we received state requirements and recommendations for reopening, we sent that information to all employees and surveyed them again.  We received over 1,500 responses which provided us with a snapshot of how employees felt about school reopening.  
    • After developing the draft of the plan, we again surveyed employees on any concerns with the plan. The feedback we received was very helpful. One challenge with any feedback is reconciling all of the different opinions. We also have to balance those opinions with state requirements and recommendations.  
    • We also worked with the Cache Education Association to address the concerns of teachers in returning to school.
    • In the coming weeks, our administrators will be working with school staff to implement the state recommendations and requirements in school settings.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What outside groups have been consulted in the development of the Reopening Plan?

    Posted by:
    • The Leavitt Group consulted with the State of Utah in the development of the State requirements and recommendations and provided the models used for mitigation strategies the district is employing.  
    • The school district has worked closely with the Bear River Health Department in the development of the plan and our protocols for reopening. 
    • We also consulted with local pediatricians to get additional information for school reopening.

     

    Comments (-1)

Face Coverings (Masks, Shields) for Teachers

  • Will employees be required to wear face coverings during school hours?

    Posted by:
    • All employees are expected to have a clean face covering and remain masked throughout the day. The school district will provide a cloth mask for each staff member. Face shields will also be provided and utilized when required. 
    • We expect some employees will want to customize their face masks or shields and fully support creativity as long as it doesn’t compromise safety.
    • N95 masks will be provided for high-risk teachers. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Are face shields and masks interchangeable? Can employees wear a shield but not a mask?

    Posted by:
    • Face shields may only be worn without a face mask when the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication, including for an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing or while participating in speech therapy. Face shields will be made available to students who have accommodations due to special needs. However, students and staff members with face shields will also be asked to increase their physical distance. However, it is noted that the CDC does not recommend a face shield as a replacement for a face mask.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How will staff members be held accountable if they refuse to wear a mask?

    Posted by:
    • Unity is key. Administrators will work with staff members to ensure compliance.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • My classroom has no AC. Can teachers/students take breaks from our masks to cool off?

    Posted by:
    • While time and cost prevent us from adding air conditioning to the 15 schools in our district without air conditioning, we have been able to locate and purchase 500 air coolers for those classrooms without air conditioning. This will help to reduce the room temperature and provide relief for students and employees. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Some students/subjects will be hard to teach if students can't see teachers' mouths. What can we do?

    Posted by:
    • We are planning to provide face shields for all teachers and instructional staff. However, according to the state public health order released on August 14th, face shields should be used only in very specific circumstances such as working with students who are deaf or hard of hearing or students receiving speech therapy, or with students with medical conditions, mental health conditions, or disabilities. 
    • It is noted that the CDC does not recommend a face shield as a replacement for a face mask. Teachers who wear a face shield should try to maintain a distance of 6’ or more while interacting with students.  

     

    Comments (-1)

Face Coverings (Masks, Shields) for Students

Physical Distancing

  • What is the district doing to enable and encourage physical distancing?

    Posted by:
    • Nonessential furniture should be removed from classrooms.  Desks or chairs should be spread out as much as possible in classrooms with students facing forward.  
    • Each employee who works with students should look at their environment and do what is possible to facilitate physical distancing. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How will we ensure physical distancing in a school environment?

    Posted by:
    • Employees should do their best to facilitate physical distancing, but recognize it will not always be possible in a school setting. This is where face coverings can be an important tool to mitigate risk. In classrooms, teachers have been asked to remove nonessential furniture and space student desks and chairs as far apart as possible with students facing forward. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How can you enforce physical distancing in a school setting? One-way hallways, staggered lunch, etc?

    Posted by:
    • The tactics mentioned will all be employed. However, masks are an effective alternative when physical distancing is not possible. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will class sizes be smaller to help with physical distancing?

    Posted by:
    • According to the Center for Disease Control, “To date, there is no published scientific study on optimal maximum or minimum cohort sizes in reducing SARS-CoV-2 transmission among school-aged children.”
    • We chose to have all students at school with a Monday through Friday schedule to provide more consistency in teaching and learning and to accommodate parents with work schedules. For these reasons class sizes will remain the same. Face coverings will be used when physical distancing is not possible.

     

    Comments (-1)

Spread of COVID-19

Cleanliness & Classroom Safety

Instruction - General Questions

  • What options do we have for instruction/school for the 2020-2021 school year?

    Posted by:
    • For the 2020-2021 school year, we will have two instructional options available for students.
      • In-Person Instruction - Students will attend class in-person as normally scheduled. Elementary students will be assigned a classroom teacher. Middle and high school students will transition between scheduled classes throughout the school day. Students who become ill or who must be isolated at home will participate in remote learning. Teachers will provide schoolwork and opportunities for those students to stay engaged in learning. Regular school hours will be reduced by 45 minutes each day at all campuses to allow for teachers to hold open office hours for both in-person and remote students and to prepare instruction for both of these learning environments.
      • Online School - Students who are unable to attend in-person instruction may choose to participate in the district’s online school for grades K-12. These students will be enrolled in courses based on grade level and credit requirements and will complete all of their coursework and assignments from home. This online school option will not include all of the same class options that students have for in-person instruction, but will include the essentials. For example, K-6 courses will include instruction in English Language Arts (reading and writing), Math, Science, and Library Media/ Digital Citizenship. All K-12 online courses will be taught by a licensed teacher. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Are teachers expected to plan for both in-person and online instruction?

    Posted by:
    • No, teachers will be teaching either in-person or online but not both.  Teachers will be supporting students in remote learning when they are absent for 10-14 days. But that will be short term and is different from “online instruction”.  The school day will be shortened 45 minutes at the end of each day for elementary, middle, and high school to allow teachers additional prep time.    

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will we have a choice to teach from home or online?

    Posted by:
    • Accommodations may be made for staff in high risk categories.  Some of those teachers may be able to teach online. However, we will have limited positions available in our online school.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What’s the difference between Remote Learning and Online Learning?

    Posted by:
    • Remote Learning - Remote learning is short term and is provided to students who are in in-person instruction and become ill or who must be isolated at home. These students will remain in their current class or class schedule. Teachers will provide schoolwork and opportunities for those students to stay engaged in learning. Remote learning opportunities are available to students enrolled in in-person instruction classes, who for a short time cannot attend in-person.
    • Online Learning - Online learning is provided to students in grades K-12 who are unable to attend in-person instruction. These students will be enrolled in courses based on grade level and credit requirements and will complete all of their coursework and assignments from home. This online learning option will not include all of the same class options that students have for in-person instruction but will include the essentials. Online instruction will be taught by a licensed teacher. K-6 online instruction will be provided through Cache Students Connect. 7-12 online instruction will be provided through Utah Students Connect.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will students be allowed to switch from in-person to online instruction or vice versa?

    Posted by:
    • Students will have the option to transition back into the classroom or to online instruction during the school year. Transitions for elementary students should be able to occur at any time, however, secondary students may be asked to wait on a transfer until mid trimester or the end of a trimester.   

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Why not just keep students and teachers home and do online learning as we did in the spring?

    Posted by:
    • The State recognizes the importance that schools play in supporting our economy for working parents, as well as the need for students to be learning and have a meaningful place to be during the work day. Online instruction did not prove to be an ideal method for teaching and learning and meeting the needs of all students and families. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What if we have an outbreak and have to shut schools down again like we did last year?

    Posted by:
    • In a situation where we experience a classroom, school, or district dismissal as directed by the local health department, schools will continue to provide remote learning using a similar pattern as we used in the spring of last year.  We did spend a considerable amount of time working through best practices we can employ to improve remote learning should we find ourselves in that situation again and plan on implementing those best practices. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • If a student becomes ill and needs to quarantine, how are they supposed to keep up with school work?

    Posted by:
    • Students who become ill and are isolated at home or who have been exposed and are in quarantine at home will remain in their current class or class schedule. Teachers will provide schoolwork and opportunities for those students to stay engaged in learning.  This learning environment is referred to as “remote learning”.  

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will teachers be penalized for lower student achievement?

    Posted by:

    Teachers should do their best to continue to cover the essential curriculum.  Students should be encouraged to perform their best on any district or state assessments. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Are students going to have the option of a Pass/Fail grading system this year?

    Posted by:
    • There are no current plans to use a Pass/Fail grading system this year. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How will state assessments work this year?

    Posted by:
    • The State Office of Education will make any decisions regarding statewide assessments. These decisions will be uniformly applied across all school districts.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • We have a new ELA program this year, PowerTeacher Pro, new science standards, etc.

    Posted by:
    • It will be difficult. Teachers are not being asked to do online school, only to provide remote learning opportunities for students who are absent for illness or quarantine.  This is one reason 45 minutes of extra prep time is being provided per day.  When the new ELA program was adopted and the decision to change to PowerTeacher Pro was made, we were unaware of the onset of COVID-19.   We are providing training for these two programs and trying to do our best to provide that training before the school year begins. However, we know adopting a new grade program can be challenging. 

     

    Comments (-1)

In-Person Instruction

Group Activities, Recess, Lunch & Classroom Parties

  • What does lunchtime look like? Kids can’t eat with masks on.

    Posted by:
    • Where feasible, lunch schedules will be staggered to reduce the number of students in the lunchroom at one time. 
    • Every student will be expected to have a face covering and wear it when standing in lines.
    • Students will be encouraged to use hand hygiene (hand washing or hand sanitizer) before and after meal services. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Do elementary students still get normal recess?

    Posted by:
    • Yes, recess can occur. However, schools are encouraged to follow the principles of good hygiene, physical distancing, etc. This can be a great time for students to get a break from their masks. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Can we still do "rug time" and group activities for social development?

    Posted by:
    • When physical distancing is not possible, masks can be worn to facilitate these types of activities. However, you should weigh the benefit of the activity with the risk of transmission.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Can we still have holiday games and parties in elementary classrooms?

    Posted by:
    • We cannot possibly anticipate every potential activity in the classroom and must rely on teachers to make the best possible judgement and weigh the benefits of an activity with the risk of transmission.   

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will there still be assemblies?

    Posted by:
    • Schools are asked to cancel nonessential gatherings. If an assembly is nonessential schools should cancel these events.   

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will there still be parent-teacher conferences and Back to School night?

    Posted by:
    • Schools have been asked to rethink those events and move to more virtual alternatives. 

     

    Comments (-1)

Online Instruction

  • How will we ensure that online students have access to Chromebooks and suitable wifi?

    Posted by:
    • We have ordered extra Chromebooks to accommodate more students, as well as wireless hotspots to help students at home.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Is there a deadline for when parents can enroll in the online program?

    Posted by:
    • Preregistration is open through August 7th. Parents are encouraged to make a decision by August 7th, so we can begin to staff the online school. However, we will accept registration for online school after August 7th. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What does online school look like for elementary students?

    Posted by:
    • Elementary online learning for the district will consist of three 20-minute live sessions with a teacher each day: a morning meeting, a reading lesson, and a math lesson. In addition, there will be a weekly science lesson/project and a weekly library experience. Students will have an assigned teacher, but it will not be the same teacher they would have had in a face-to-face classroom.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What will online school look like for secondary students?

    Posted by:

    Students who are unable to attend in-person instruction may choose to participate in the district’s online school for grades 7-12. These students will be enrolled in courses based on grade level and credit requirements and will complete all of their coursework and assignments from home. The online school option will not include all of the same class options that students have for in-person instruction but will include the essentials as well as a selection of electives.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Is it true that students who choose online classes will only be required to focus on core classes?

    Posted by:
    • For the younger grades, courses will be limited to essential courses. High school students will have more, limited options but will still be required to meet graduation requirements. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will all teachers be using the same platforms for online instruction?

    Posted by:
    • We have encouraged principals to work with teachers to be more consistent with the platforms used. Canvas or Google are the platforms of choice for teachers and should be used for in-person, remote, and online teaching and learning.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will students have the option of doing choir, band, art, etc. online?

    Posted by:
    • There will likely not be options for choir and band classes online. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How do I get consumables into the hands of my elementary students in online school?

    Posted by:
    • This will be the responsibility of the online teachers and not the regular classroom teacher. 
    • However, classroom teachers will be responsible to provide support to remote students who are at home for a short period of time. Materials should be distributed much the same way we did in the Spring, with parents picking up those materials from the school.

     

    Comments (-1)

Life Skills Students, ESL & Other Considerations

  • What is the plan for Life Skills students?

    Posted by:

    Life Skills classes will move forward on a regular schedule. Teachers and aides will be provided with a mask and a face shield. They will wear one or both at all times while working with students. Students will also be provided a mask although arrangements will be made for students who are unable to wear one. Life Skills students will be separated as much as possible to adhere to physicall distancing guidelines. Rooms will also be cleaned with hydrostatic cleaners consistently throughout the day.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Who will provide online special education services for students with IEPs?

    Posted by:
    • This depends on how many students that have IEPs choose online school. We are watching enrollment numbers closely and have teachers and speech language pathologists currently in contact with students who have pre registered for online school and have an IEP. This plan is currently fluid and will change depending on what online enrollment numbers do over the next couple of weeks.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • I’m a speech language pathologist. What protections will be provided by the district?

    Posted by:
    • All speech language pathologists will be provided with a mask and a face shield as well as a barrier.  Speech language pathologists that did the ESY program tested these products and found them to work appropriately.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • How do we support our ESL students and families?

    Posted by:
    • Spanish speaking groups and individual meetings will be held regularly to address difficult circumstances for many in our Latino population. Our full-time, Spanish-speaking counselor will meet with students in order to help them with managing anxiety, integrating mindfulness practices, and learning resilience.  

     

    Comments (-1)

Time Off, Substitutes & Paraprofessionals

  • How can teachers afford to quarantine 14 days without pay?

    Posted by:
    • For eligible employees there are leave options including (but not limited to) 10 days of paid sick leave, short-term leave without pay at the discretion of your supervisor, and paid leave in conjunction with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  The FFCRA grants employees two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave if they have worked for the district for at least thirty days and meet certain criteria.  Reach out to Human Resources at the district office for more information and to see if you qualify. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will there be paid sick leave for paras and aides?

    Posted by:
    • For eligible employees there are leave options including (but not limited to) 10 days of paid sick leave, short-term leave without pay at the discretion of your supervisor, and paid leave in conjunction with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  The FFCRA grants employees two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave if they have worked for the district for at least thirty days and meet certain criteria.  Reach out to Human Resources at the district office for more information and to see if you qualify.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Will there be enough substitutes to help cover classes when teachers are sick or quarantined?

    Posted by:
    • This will be a challenge, but we will work with Kelly Services to provide subs. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What if I can’t find a substitute?

    Posted by:
    • Work with your principal to find a solution.  

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What are the expectations for substitutes whose classes have students studying remotely?

    Posted by:
    • Where possible, we would encourage teachers to rely on their other grade-level teachers and departments to assist students in remote learning situations. When a teacher is the only one teaching that subject, they should work with administrators to find a good solution.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • What is the district doing to support teachers' social and emotional health?

    Posted by:
    • CCSD insurance covers counseling services. Project AWARE counselors can help direct employees to additional resources. For example, Bear River Mental Health has a drop-in counseling service called “Community Walk-in Crisis Clinic” which is available to all community members.

     

    Comments (-1)