Carson City Schools issue more on re-open plans; parents need to fill out ‘intent form’ before Aug. 5
The Carson City School District is seeking input from parents and families about whether they intend to participate in school through full-time online learning or a hybrid learning model in which students would attend class in-person twice a week and remotely three days a week.
The school district has an online parent intent form available on its website at http://www.carsoncityschools.com, announced by Superintendent Richard Stokes and associate superintendent Tasha Fuson, after Tuesday night’s regular school board meeting. The form is an online Google Docs form asking for the names of the parent or guardian and student, student number and grade level for the 2020-21 school year, the school the student will be attending, the student’s preferred educational program, whether the student will ride the bus this year and whether there are other children in the household attending school who need to be in the same cohort.
The form is available in English and Spanish on the site and needs to be completed by Wednesday, Aug. 5 in order for cohorts to be assigned and student schedules to be arranged, according to the district. Two cohorts will be available according to school site, with cohort 1 for in-person attendance, scheduled for in-person attendance Tuesdays and Thursdays, and remote learning Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and cohort 2 for in-person attendance, scheduled for Wednesdays and Fridays, and remote learning Mondays Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Families who have more than one student would have their children assigned to the same cohort for convenience, and they can fill out a single parent intent form for all their children.
Fuson said it’s a goal of the professional learning communities in the district to ensure students who are working in the hybrid model come the start of school receive the same instruction as students working within a remote learning program.
Trustees also asked if parents opted for a full remote program if they would be enrolled for a full semester, and Fuson said they are asking families to commit on a quarterly basis for now.
District officials also are asking families to complete their online registration in the Infinite Campus system for each child.
Those who do not have access to the Internet or an electronic mobile device can contact the Carson City School District office for help.
For transportation purposes, students must register for buses, another issue covered by the parent intent form, and buses will not allow for more than 42 seats, or 50 percent occupancy due to social distancing.
The reopening plan was approved Tuesday night in a 4-3 vote by the Board of Trustees, which debated for hours, heard public comment in support of the three different models – a return to traditional in-person learning, remaining in remote learning or the move to the hybrid model – and asked questions of various staff members to determine which measures would be best for students, families and staff members before the school year starts in August.
When will school start?
The first day of school for K-12 students will be Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, and the first day of school for pre-K students will be Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. Teachers and support staff members will return on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, as previously scheduled (Aug. 5, 2020 for new teachers). Teachers will have eight days of professional learning and preparation time to prepare for remote learning and the new school year.
Will instruction be in school buildings or online?
We will offer a hybrid model of instruction for students who are able to return to school. See “How will the hybrid learning option work” for more specific details. Online learning will be available for students with health concerns or those who have immediate family members with health concerns.
Will social distancing be required?
In accordance with the State of Nevada Declaration of Emergency Directive 024, students, employees, volunteers, visitors and contractors will be strongly encouraged to observe social distancing practices. While we anticipate that it may be challenging to maintain 100 percent social distancing of students at all times, appropriate engineering and administrative controls will be implemented to facilitate adherence to the guidelines. Signage and other communications around the buildings will educate occupants on the desired behaviors.
Will masks be required?
All students, employees, volunteers, visitors and contractors are required to wear cloth face masks at school. Students must have two cloth face masks as part of their back-to- school supplies. In accordance with CCSD Regulation 519 Dress and Grooming, students may not wear masks which advertise controlled substances, display inappropriate words or pictures, gang related, or derogatory to any ethnic group or intended to cause disruption of any school, class or activity. If you need assistance obtaining masks, please contact your school counselor, social worker or nurse for assistance. Disposable masks will be provided to students who arrive on campus without a mask.
What if I don’t want my child to wearing a mask?
The school district is required to abide by the Declaration of Emergency Directive in order to open. The State Health Department cited a 40 to 60 percent reduction in COVID-19 transmission when masks are used by all. While children may be at lower risk of infection, they may be carriers of the virus, transmitting it to school staff. The school district has an obligation to protect staff from workplace exposure to disease.
What will be different on school buses?
Seating models will be facilitated by the bus driver. Siblings may sit together and masks will be required on buses. Also, parents must reserve a spot for their child to ride the bus and students will be assigned seats. Students will not be able to ride a friend’s bus home.
Depending on how many students reserve a seat on the bus, we may be required to modify walking zones. For now, parents should answer our required bus question in general, indicating whether their child plans to ride the bus.
I bring my child to school; will anything change?
We anticipate an increase in parents dropping off and/or picking up students at school. Some schools may need to assign staggered dropoff and/or pickup times and change dropoff and/or pickup locations to accommodate this increase. Your school will provide more details.
What changes will students see in the cafeteria and at water fountains?
Students will eat lunch in the cafeteria on days they attend school. Students may be assigned seating according to social distancing restrictions. Masks will be required while picking up food in the cafeteria line. All students will be required to wash their hands prior to entering the cafeteria. No cash will be used in lunch lines. (Cash will still be accepted for pre-payments.) It is preferred that payments be made via the online family portal at family.titank12.com or the TITAN School Solutions smart phone app as needed.
Students in middle and high school will see the same changes mentioned above during breakfast. Elementary students will eat breakfast in their classrooms. Additional information will be provided by individual school sites.
Students will be assisted by food services staff in the cafeteria line rather than picking up their own items. Food selections will be prewrapped and choices may be reduced. All water fountains will be turned off and we will be using water bottle filling stations to provide students with access to water throughout the day. Students should plan on bringing a water bottle to school.
How will students receive meals for distance learning days?
Students who qualify for free and/or reduced lunch will receive bagged meals for the days they are assigned distance learning. The prepackaged meals will be distributed as follows:
Group 1 attending class on site Tuesday and Thursday
o Tuesday – Breakfast and lunch for Wednesday will be bagged and passed out as students leave school on Tuesday
o Thursday – Breakfast and lunch for Friday and Monday will be bagged and passed out as students leave school on Thursday
Group 2 attending class on site Wednesday and Friday
o Wednesday – Breakfast and lunch for Thursday will be bagged and passed out as students leave school on Wednesday
o Friday – Breakfast and lunch for Monday and Tuesday will be bagged and passed out as students leave school on Friday
If a student is participating in 100 percent distance learning, please contact the nutrition department no later than the day before needing meals at 775-283-2150 to schedule pickup times and locations.
Per USDA regulations, the Carson City School District may no longer provide weekend meals as we did during the emergency shutdown last spring.
What changes will be implemented on playgrounds and in specials?
To limit exposure, classroom groups will play at recess within playground zones and will rotate through different play zones throughout the week.
Scheduling for PE, music and computer classes are being developed at the individual elementary school sites.
What changes will be implemented in school health clinics?
Students who develop flu-like symptoms during the school day will be isolated in a designated area and parents will be expected to come and pick them up immediately. Students sent home will not be allowed to return to school until there have been no flu-like symptoms for 72 hours.
Parents will not be allowed to enter the health offices. Nurses will coordinate with families that need to deliver medications to the school.
Based on CDC guidelines, you can also expect to see some changes in how we administer stocked medicines. In addition there may be new criteria for staying home from school/returning to school.
Please reach out to your school nurse if you have specific concerns regarding your child’s medical care.
Will students be screened for COVID-19 symptoms?
Parents need to be attentive to the daily health of their children and will be required to sign an exception agreement indicating their commitment to ensure their child is symptom free and safe to attend school each day. This includes being fever free for 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medication. School staff will also be receiving professional development on how to recognize potential COVID-19 symptoms. No one should be in our buildings if they are experiencing any symptoms of illness.
What will happen if my child is exposed to COVID-19 at school?
Exposure potentially occurs when a person is within six feet of an infected person for fifteen minutes or longer. The school district will not notify you if your child is exposed at school and has no authority to do so. This is a function of our local health department. The local health department performs contact tracing and notification of individuals who may have been exposed. The school district is taking steps to prevent exposure but cannot guarantee that your child will not be exposed at school and will not be held liable for such exposure.
What will happen if my child becomes ill from COVID-19?
If your child is presumed positive or tests positive for COVID-19, you will need follow the instructions given to you by the health department. This will likely include a period of quarantine at home until your child has had two negative test results. Contact your school nurse and report the illness. This confidential health information will only be shared with school administrators having a legitimate interest in your child’s education.
What if my child/family is instructed to quarantine?
You must follow the lawful orders of the health department and fully cooperate. Younger people may experience the virus differently; some may have only mild symptoms while others require medication and/or hospitalization. If your child is physically able to participate in online learning and complete assignments while awaiting negative tests results, arrangements can be made with your school’s administrator to continue distance learning. If your child is symptomatic and unable to complete assignments, your school will mark these as excused absences in accordance with district policy.
What will happen if someone at my child’s school tests positive for COVID-19?
If we have a confirmed case of COVID-19, we will follow direction from the Health Department. This may include closing a classroom, school or schools for a period of time and shifting quickly to eLearning at home for students who are impacted. Many of our new procedures are designed to support contact tracing should a confirmed case occur. This will assist the Health Department with quickly identifying and contacting individuals who may have been exposed.
Will schools be open all year? Will these procedures be in place all year?
The pandemic shifts rapidly and we don’t know what the rest of the school year may bring. If cases surge, schools may be ordered to close again, requiring all students to shift to online learning. If the situation improves, we may be able to abandon some elements of this plan and return to more normal operating conditions.
How will the full-time online learning option work?
The Reopening Schools Plan offers families the option of a full-time online instruction as a replacement to in-person instruction within Carson City School District buildings. Family decisions to participate in this model are made based primarily on concerns about the potential for virus exposure with attendance at a school site. If health conditions improve that would allow CCSD to resume in-person instruction for all students, the district will reassess its operating status and any additional options for families at that time.
Families are asked to communicate their intent to participate in this model by Aug. 5 and commit to continuing with full-time online instruction for the full academic year. Families should be prepared to support their children’s active participation in all online learning activities. They will need to ensure their children have adequate space, materials and technology access for their daily online instruction, requesting school assistance to provide a Chromebook and Internet service as needed. Families will need to be ready to follow the established daily learning schedule and will need to work with school staff to arrange for their children to participate in standardized assessments and other mandated educational activities.
To manage staffing and scheduling, students must commit to in-person or online learning for an established period of time and will not be permitted to move back and forth during this commitment. Students in grades K-8 will have the option to select online learning for nine-week grading period sessions. High school students who are learning online will select that option for a semester at a time.
This model involves four days per week of teacher-directed/synchronous instruction and one day per week of independent/asynchronous learning. Students taking courses through this full-time online model are likely to have larger class sizes than their peers taking the same course in-person with social distancing at the school. Specific schedules for online instruction will be finalized and communicated in mid-August 2020, as CCSD Reopening Parent Intent forms are collected and processed, allowing schools to assign students to specific classes.
Students who do not attend school in person will be enrolled in online learning facilitated by Campus Learning, our Learning Management System. Students will receive both synchronistic instruction (class meetings, small group and one-on-one) and asynchronistic instruction (pre-recorded lessons that focus on essential standards in each core subject area of reading, writing and math). Students will be engaged in learning approximately 2.5-3.5 hours per day. In addition, CCSD staff will provide specialized instruction, as needed, such as ESL or special education services. The amount of special education service will be determined by IEP teams.
Students who do not attend school in person will be enrolled in a software platform that provides online instruction. Their progress will be monitored by licensed staff, but course content will be delivered online through the software. In addition to online readings and practice exercises, instruction and assignments may include other activities such as video tutorials and projects. All courses necessary to fulfill Standards of Learning and graduation requirements are guaranteed for students. However, it is important to note that students may not be able to participate in all courses they originally selected, including electives, honors sections and special programs. Families should recognize that full-time online instruction may not be able to support some specialized programs and course offerings that would otherwise be available to enhance student options and experiences, such as Advanced Placement (AP) and certain career and technical education (CTE) and fine arts electives. The time needed to complete coursework varies for each student but should be comparable to requirements for in-person learning. CCSD staff will also provide specialized instruction, as needed, such as ESL or special education services. The amount of special education service will be determined by IEP teams.
What about my pre-K or kinder student? What will the school day look like for them?
Pre-K and kinder classes will be assigned a hybrid schedule in a similar fashion to first to 12th grade students. However, pre-k and kinder students may only spend approximately 60 to 90 minutes engaged in online meetings with teachers and online programming during remote learning days. Activities to engage in at home may be assigned in lieu of online work.
What services will my EL student receive?
EL students who normally receive a daily English Language Development (ELD) lesson, in addition to the ELA lesson per their established EL proficiency need will still be provided this lesson per NDE Title III guidelines. EL teachers and paraprofessionals will provide additional small group support for students requiring those services as determined in their ILEP plans.
Will my student still receive special education or 504 services?
Students who are served on a 504 or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will continue to receive the services outline in their respective plans.
Will students be graded on a pass/fail system?
No. Our traditional grading system will be used for all pre-K through 12th grade courses.
Is the district still offering the Jump Start program this year?
Students who have been accepted in the Jump Start program will still be able to participate in the program as originally planned. Western Nevada College will determine if classes will be held online or in person and how students will be graded.
How often will classrooms be cleaned/disinfected?
Our standard Clean, Healthy, Educational, Environments (CHEE) process cleaning program requires our staff to disinfect touchpoints, table surfaces, and restrooms every night. We began an enhanced disinfectant program, Electrostatic disinfectant misting, in nurses’ offices every night in January and will continue this process throughout the 2020-21 school year. In addition, the same process will be performed each night students are in attendance in common areas, hallways, cafeterias and main entries. Classrooms will be electrostatic disinfected twice a week and CHEE disinfected twice a week. Bio layers will be stripped off surfaces and cleaned with surfactant (soap) once a week so that the disinfecting can begin again.
What cleaning enhancements are being implemented in school buildings?
We’ve stocked up on personal protective equipment, hand-washing materials and cleaning supplies that will be available to staff.
Liquid/foam sanitizer stations will be provided at every building main entrance in the school district and all students/staff members will be asked to use these dispensers when entering the school. In addition, wall mount dispensers will be positioned throughout the building and classrooms. Hand pump dispensers are provided for office areas.
What measures are being taken to provide the appropriate and safe Indoor Air Quality?
All the buildings in the district are enhanced by a Building Management System that adheres to fresh air standards and proper indoor air quality. The district has taken steps to contract with an HVAC Specialist to perform a HVAC Readiness and Pre-Occupancy Assessment so that we can return to our schools with confidence. The assessment will be performed on HVAC, filtration, ventilation and domestic water systems. A final engineering report will be produced summarizing the general recommendations of OSHA, CDC and ASHRAE. In addition, the district has upgraded to a MERV-13 filter for all conditioning equipment that will be changed three times per year.
What social and emotional resources will be in place as students return?
We recognize the importance of providing students and staff with extra social and emotional support as they return to school this year. Expect to see special welcome activities, extra time for building relationships and establishing new routines, and focus on coping strategies.
Our counselors, social workers and psychologists will be ready to assist students and staff in need of support. We’ll be sharing additional resources throughout the year and you can find suggestions on the Parent tab of our website.
Will back-to-school and sporting events still be scheduled?
Individual schools will provide information on back-to-school events taking place in Carson City schools. In alignment with state guidance, many of the activities have been canceled or modified to meet social distancing requirements.
We will follow all guidelines set forth by the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Associate (NIAA) for all sporting events and activities.
Will students be allowed to attend field trips or out-of-district activities this year?
The district has restricted all non-mandatory travel for students and staff until further notice. Since we do not know how long state travel restrictions will last, it would be irresponsible to pay for travel and conference fees that may not be refunded in case of cancellation.
What can parents do now to ensure a smooth start to school?
We encourage parents to talk with, reassure and support their children about these changes, and the importance of social distancing and wearing masks.
Allow your child to ask questions and answer them to the best of your ability.
Explain the why behind wearing a mask and have your child practice wearing their mask.
Follow recommended guidelines regarding masks and social distancing to help prevent a future surge in cases that might impact the start of school.
Help students get back into a normal schedule at least a week before school begins, such as reinstituting bedtime and wake-up routines.
Be sure that all your child’s immunizations are up to date, including newly required immunizations for students entering kindergarten, sixth and 12th grades.
Stay in close communication with your school should your health situation or return plans change.
What other changes can we expect?
Unfortunately, we must restrict all school visitors to promote health, safety and social distancing. Persons experiencing any symptoms of illness are not to enter district buildings. We’ll be reviewing our overall attendance policies for staff and students, as well as eliminating any attendance recognitions that could encourage attending school when not feeling well. More information on the specific attendance policy changes will be coming at a later date. The pandemic shifts rapidly and we don’t know what the rest of the school year may bring. Other changes could certainly be implemented and we will be in close communication with staff and families as future decisions are made.