Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the 3 options for education?
- Traditional: classroom based instruction with school-specific modifications
- Full Virtual: fully online instruction with limited face-to-face. This model is served by the Virtual Preparatory Academy. Applications to the program can be found online at www.sccboe.org
- Hybrid (both; decide at end of each grading period): a combination of traditional and online for each grading period (9 week duration)
How do I decide which model is best for my child?
- Traditional: choose this model if you want your child to be in the school's classroom each day. Please understand that we will sanitize as much as feasibly possible. We have very detailed sanitation procedures for cleaning between classes, after school, after bus routes, etc.
- Full Virtual: choose this model if you want your child to be online all year long. There will be some time for face-to-face instruction by appointment only. The base location is in Moody. You must complete an application because space is limited.
- Hybrid: choose this model if you are unsure of starting back as traditional, but may return to traditional this school year. Please understand that we ask for a 9 week commitment (based upon grading period). Your child will be placed online using a program to meet their educational needs. No face-to-face instruction. Your child's teacher will be the facilitator and will answer questions through Skype, email, and Microsoft Teams. Student will be online for a whole grading period for 5 days per week. We do not offer alternating days.
If I choose traditional and my child has to be quarantined, will I have to now move to the hybrid option?
- No. Your child will be placed in the same program we used in the Spring….Beyond the Classroom. Your child's teacher will provide lessons through our Microsoft products online. If being online is an issue, arrangements will be made to provide paper assignments. Once the quarantine phase is over and your child shows no symptoms for the last 24 hours (without medication), then they can return to traditional.
If we select our child to be hybrid can he start out Traditional and then move to online after the 1st 9 weeks if we feel that is necessary for safety precautions?
- Yes, this scenario is exactly what Hybrid offers for our students. Also, the student could choose Hybrid for the 1st 9 weeks and then return to Traditional.
Will my child have the same teacher in the hybrid model as in the traditional model?
- It is possible but cannot be guaranteed. Each school’s plan for the hybrid model will be based on the number of students selecting this model and the number of teachers at each location.
Who wears a mask?
- Every employee and every student in grades 2 - 12 are now mandated to wear a mask or clear face shield.
What if I don't want my child to wear a mask?
- The Governor has allowed exemptions for certain cases. The one that applies to school is that if the student has an underlying medical condition that prevents a mask. We simply ask that your doctor provide a note to verify validity of the claim, and your child will now be exempt.
- If you can't claim an exemption and still do not want to wear a mask, then you can become a hybrid student and have lessons delivered online.
If my child wears a mask, what does it need to look like?
- Masks need to be generic. Just as clothing can be a distraction and lead to disciplinary actions, so too can masks. Don't put obscene drawings or words on masks. Masks should be used for safety, not cause a distraction to others. Students can also wear a clear facial covering. As long as the mask or facial covering covers the mouth and nose, and is plain/generic, then it is acceptible to wear at school.
What am I required to do as a parent?
- Each morning you should check your child's temperature and assess them for any symptoms of COVID19 (or any other illness). If running a fever of 100.4 degrees, or any other symptom, contact the school immediately, and quarantine your child. Your child should show no symptom and be fever free for 24 hours without medication before returning to school. If your child tests positive, they are to be quarantined for 10 calendar days. Communication with the school is vital so that assignments can be given during the quarantine phase of recovery.
Should I expect this year to be different?
- Absolutely. The statement, "we've always done it this way", no longer applies. We will have new procedures in place that will govern every aspect of school. Expect changes and many restrictions to ensure the safety of our staff and students. Every person will be required to wear a mask and students in grades 2 and above.
What about the buses?
- Facial coverings are required. Students must be assigned a seat and will be required to sit with their siblings. If a student appears to be sick, he/she will be provided a mask (if needed) and will be required to sit in the front of the bus. Upon arrival to school, he/she will be seen by a nurse and the parent will be contacted to pick-up their child. Hand sanitizer will be provided on each bus. Each bus will be sanitized after every route.
Will there be additional custodial staff hired to help with cleaning/sanitizing?
- No. We have a very strict budget. Every employee is expected to clean and sanitize their area. Custodial staff will continue with their current duties, but will also be expected to sanitize common areas and classrooms using sanitization machines.
How will special education situations be handled? Some students need to be restrained, moved to sensory rooms. How will this be addressed to keep them safe from the spread of the virus?
- IEPs will be served as written. Each plan will be reexamined to meet the needs of the student based upon which educational offering chosen. Staff in special needs classrooms will be required to wear masks and other safety equipment to protect themselves and their students. Extra sanitation precautions will be taken in these classrooms because of their needs and because some are high risk for sickness. More specifics related to special education will come once the ALSDE has released information.
How will parents be notified when someone in their child's school and or grade test positive for COVID 19? We do not need the name of the child/adult but something like, an individual in your child's class has some symptoms and is being tested or in some cases a student or adult has tested positive. Will the entire class be sent home to quarantine? Will the entire school close? Is there a certain percentage that has been marked that if that number of students are out that the schools will close again?
- The school will contact parents and will provide general statements. We cannot provide identifying information of the child in any way. Please understand that we anticipate people will test positive or will show symptoms similar to COVID 19. Many calls may be made during this time. Be patient as we will do the best we can. Contact tracing (specific notifications) will be handled by the parent of the child with guidance from the Alabama Dept of Public Health. The schools are not required to contact each person the child has been in contact with. We will only communicate with general information. The entire class will not need to be quarantined as long as they do not come into contact with the person within 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes. Schools will only close as a last resort. There is no certain percentage that will dictate this decision. It will be done so under strict guidance from the ALSDE, ADPH, and the State. If a school closes, there is a very high chance that the schools within that community will also close.
How will the nurses keep the area clean and clear for well students that may need to take regular medications so they are not contaminated by those that are sick?
- Each school is required to have an isolation area for sick children. If a child reports to the nurse sick, they will be isolated, be given a mask, and the parent contacted for pick-up. Those taking medications will do so with the nurse in a non-isolated area. The nurse's area will be sanitized and cleaned throughout the day.
How will counselors be used this year? Will they be able to hold small groups and have individual counseling with those that need it as they have in previous years?
- Counselors will conduct business as usual, with safety measures. Masks, social distancing, and sanitation will be used to ensure safety.
How will you handle late arrivals? Will the parent need to come in an check them into school? What about checkouts?
- We will be conducting most business using front door service. We will not allow visitors in the building, unless absolutely necessary. Masks are required to enter school buildings under the Governor's new Health Order.
Will the times change for when I can drop my child at school this year?
- This will be determined and communicated by each school district. Expect that we may change the arrival times of buses so that students can report directly to their rooms upon arrival.
Will volunteers be able to continuing assisting in the schools during this time?
- Not at this time. There will be situations where the answer is yes; however, this decision will be the Principal's after discussing with the Superintendent, Curriculum Coordinator, Lead Nurse, and Local School Nurse.
Communication is key! How will parents get notifications and information this year?
- We will be utilizing callouts, newsletters, website, the county app (download from your app store), Microsoft teams, email, and social media. Parents need to make sure they have a working email and an updated phone on file with the school in order to receive updates.
I know that we were asked to stop using "Remind". Will we be able to use it this year?
- No, we have a school app that functions similar to Remind. We use Microsoft Products.
Can parents visit the classroom or have lunch with their child this year?
- Not at this time. We will not allow visitors to enter the building this year, unless conducting official business and under very strict guidelines. The Principal will decide about "Meet the Teacher", "Kindergarten Drop Off", etc. with guidance from Central Office.
If a student gets in trouble at school, are they going to be allowed to go to hybrid as punishment and return back to school later?
- No. Students will be disciplined as in the past. If a child withdraws to avoid discipline, the discipline follows them and will be enforced when returning to school.
How will attendance work?
- Regardless of the which option chosen, each student is considered present and accounted for each day. If the student is truly absent from traditional school, then a parent or doctor note is required. Students receiving instruction through the hybrid option will be indicated in INOW. Students on quarantine and using Beyond the Classroom will also be indicated in INOW. Students in full virtual at VPA will be enrolled in VPA and on their roster and are always present.
How will grading work?
- Grades will count regardless of which option is chosen. Teachers will need to insert the hybrid grade into INOW. More details for teachers will come from their Principal. Parents need to expect some delay in reporting grades. Please be patient as teachers insert grades into INOW.
Will high school students be able to take AP classes during the hybrid option? What about science labs that may be critical to the AP or advanced level curriculum?
- AP will be offered through the APEX or ACCESS platform. Those receiving traditional services will be able to utilize labs as instructed by their teacher. APEX offers other solutions to traditional science labs.
Concession area. If the concession stand has a serve-safe certified food handler, will that meet requirements for serving open air food or is that a completely different license through food and beverage (or whoever does restaurant/food service licensing)?
- No. All food handling must follow the Governor's Health Order under the section for restaurants. Concessions will consist of prepacked food and drinks to minimize exposure and handling by volunteers. Concession workers will be required to wear masks and gloves and will have their temperature taken before enterring the concession area.
Teacher units are based on the enrollment/attendance numbers each year. Virtual schools may be calculated differently, but we don't know. Is the state going to use this year's numbers to determine teacher units for next year?
- If the students are hybrid, then they are counted for their home school, so that would not affect the numbers. Since our hybrid model and our VPA both are accredited schools, they receive teacher allocations as traditional schools do. If this changes, it changes through State legislation.
If there is a significant number of students who decide to transfer to the VPA and our home school student attendance/enrollment number goes down a full teacher unit or more, how will that affect our teacher/class size for the 21-22 school year? If those same students decide to transfer back to their home school for the next school year, what happens regarding teachers/class sizes?
- If students withdraw from the St. Clair County School System, that lowers enrollment, which lowers teacher units. The State determines allocations based upon the Average Daily Membership on the 20-day after Labor Day report. Teacher units are funding a year in arrears, so enrollment is affected this year, will impact the numbers for next year.
We understand when the students arrive they will go to their class instead of the gym, but what about dismissal? Will students be called from their individual classes instead of lining up in the hallways (middle and high school)?
- The Principal will decide what is best for their school. They will follow safety guidelines.
Will high school students who choose hybrid need to find their own transportation to ECTC for vocational classes, or will those classes be online also?
- In order to obtain Career Tech Endorsement, there are requirements for hands-on learning. For those students enrolled in Hybrid or Full Virtual, they will need to communicate with the Principal of ECTC for specific details. At this time, students will report to their base school to board the bus. Students will not be allowed to drive to ECTC unless given permission by the Principal of ECTC.
Will all hybrid learning be through Microsoft Teams and Microsoft programs or will there be any live lessons via Zoom or other platform?
- We will be utilizing multiple platforms this school year. K-6 will be using School PLP. 7-12 will be using APEX. Virtual Preparatory Academy will be using School PLP. Students being quarantined will be using Microsoft products during their time away.
Will the school still serve breakfast? Lunch?
We will still serve all meals as normal. Safety precautions will change the delivery method, but not the meals. Where the students eat may change. Some will eat in their classrooms, others in the lunchroom, others outside (weather and space permitted), in hallways, etc.
Will before or after-school care be offered at each of the school?
- This is a local school decision and each Principal will decide. The decision is based upon avaliable funding, staffing, and enrollment. Please contact the Principal.
Has a decision been made about athletic events?
- As of now, the AHSAA is moving forward with games for the Fall. Spectators will be required to wear a mask or facial covering as MANDATED by the Governor's Health Order.
IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION NOT LISTED HERE, PLEASE EMAIL YOUR CHILD'S PRINCIPAL FIRST.