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2020-21 NPS School Reopening FAQ's

2020-21 NPS School Reopening FAQ's
Posted on 08/10/2020
NPS

2020-21 School Reopening - Frequently Asked Questions

These questions and answers will be updated with additional questions, as well as more information as plans are finalized or new details become available. The information below reflects revisions made after Governor Lamont’s announcement on July 27, which clarified that individual school would be making their own decisions on which model they will use to reopen schools.

Plans remain fluid and in some cases, are still under development, so please check back for the most recent information.

Schools are developing their own Reopening Operating Manuals to address school-specific procedures, such as any changes to drop off and pick up, etc. Those will be made available to parents once finalized, prior to the start of school.  

Updated:  August 10, 2020

 

Academic Model

What are the district’s plans for reopening this fall?  Will all students return?

Following new information put out by the State on July27, NPS is now planning on starting the school year under a hybrid model that combines in-person and remote learning to reduce density by 50%, with a full-time remote learning option for families who choose it.

What will the schedule be for elementary students who decided to attend in person?

Under this model, all Pre-K-5 students can attend school in-person five days per week. We believe that many of our elementary schools will be able to accommodate all students who elect to attend in person by re-purposing common areas such as gymnasiums and libraries so that more rooms are available.

If current elementary buildings cannot accommodate all elementary students who elect to attend in-person, plans are under development that would repurpose additional space in the district that was scheduled for construction, as well as middle and high schools if needed to house some 4th and 5th grade cohorts. Those decisions will be made based on parent choices made during the Reopening Selection Form process.

What will the schedule be for middle and high school students?

Because it is more difficult to reduce density at our middle and high schools, NPS plans for grade 6-12 students to alternate days in a hybrid model, combining in-person learning with distance learning to achieve 50% density.

We expect that will be a rotating schedule:  Group A would have three days in person and two days in remote learning during one week, and then three days in remote learning and two days in person the following week. Group B would have the opposite, coming in two days in person and three days in remote during week one, and then three days in person and two days on remote in week two.  However, the schedule is still being finalized.

Is the schedule any different for Students with Disabilities?

Students with disabilities may also receive in-person learning at all grade levels. Check with your school or the appropriate Department of Specialized Learning and Student Services administrator about your child’s program. 


What if I prefer that my child does not return to school in person this year?

Families who choose not to return to in-person learning will have a virtual learning option available at all grade levels

Will students on remote learning have different teachers?

Students on remote learning will be assigned to teachers and classes as if they were in school, and will take classes with that teacher whether they are in school or learning at home. If a student later returns to school, they will enter the same classrooms they are in during remote learning, so that their academic experience is consistent.

What happens if I select remote learning and then change my mind?

Requests for remote learning students to return to in-person, face-to-face instruction will need to be submitted to your school. To make sure that students, teachers and staff have the best possible transition, we recommend that any changes take place at the end of each marking period with at least two weeks advance notice. This will help make sure you child has a smooth return to school with no interruptions in instruction.

Will specials like art, music and gym still be offered?

All K-12 schools will continue to provide all students with access to virtual and performing arts, instrumental music lessons and physical education.

Will musical performances and shows still take place?

All elementary and middle school performances (theatre, music, instrumental, etc.) will take place virtually. Until health circumstances change, we are unable to hold our traditional, in-person performances with audiences.

High school performances such as marching band will follow guidelines from US Bands. All performances will be virtual or will remain within Connecticut, with no travel to out of state competitions.

Can parents still volunteer in the classroom or at school?

Visitors will not be allowed in school buildings unless the public health situation changes significantly. We encourage parents to find alternate ways to support their school and classes this year. 

Will there be field trips this year?

Elementary and middle school field trips or leaving the school campus will not be permitted this year. High school field trips will be reviewed.

Before and After School

Will there before and after school care for elementary students?

Yes. Each school will work exclusively with one provider, who will be required to operate according to the same health and safety protocols that the district has in place for schools.

Will there be outside enrichment available for elementary schools?

No outside enrichment providers will be allowed for elementary schools this year, unless circumstances change as the year progresses.

Will middle school students have afterschool sports or activities?

Enrichment and sports for middle school students will be offered only by NPS teachers who apply to offer an afterschool activity.  The application is intended to make sure there is a plan in place that is aligned to all health and safety protocols.

Middle school activities will only be offered on days that students are in school.

Will there be sports, clubs and activities for high school students.

Yes. NPS will follow CIAC established guidelines for sports, which have specified that all sports be played in Connecticut, with no travel outside the state. Like all other plans, guidelines regarding sports are subject to change.

Marching bands will divide students up into cohorts of 10-12 students to spread out over their rehearsal space outdoors.

All other clubs will be offered only by high school teachers; no outside providers will be permitted.

If my high school student is doing remote learning, will he or she still be able to participate in sports or afterschool activities? 

Yes. However, the availability of transportation for these students is still to be determined.

Health and Safety Protocols

Are students required to wear masks?  What about teachers?

Yes, all students and teachers will be required to wear masks. Any requests for medical exemptions from wearing a mask will be reviewed on an individual basis.

Will students have mask breaks?  How will that work?

Yes, there will be mask breaks. Each school will have scheduled mask breaks. Students will get a mask break only if 6 feet of distancing is possible. Information will be available in each school’s Reopening Operating Manual for details particular to your child’s school.

How will middle and high school kids rotate through classes?  How will social distancing be maintained in the hallways?

Because the middle and high schools are hybrid models, we have significantly reduced student density. There is signage that reminds students to social distance. There is also scheduling considerations that stagger transitions as much as possible. Ultimately, we want to reduce transitions as much as possible.

Will staff and students be COVID tested before entering the buildings?

The CDC’s guidelines for reopening schools say the agency “does not recommend universal testing of all students and staff.”

Will temperatures be taken before entering the school or bus?

Currently the CDC does not recommend temperature taking in the current guidance. We will determine this based on local health guidance as we approach the September 1st.

If a family travels to a state that is on the State of Connecticut list for a higher COVID risk level, will students be required to quarantine for 14 days before returning to school

Yes, this is per Governor Lamont’s executive order. Students will be provided remote learning during this quarantine. 


What public health data will be used to determine if the district needs to go to full remote learning again?

Any decision to close school or change the opening model will be made by the Superintendent in consultation with the City or Norwalk and the Norwalk Health Director. Norwalk will also monitor for any statewide changes issued by Governor Lamont and the Connecticut State Department of Education. 


Will face shields be allowed instead of face masks?

Cloth face covering over the mouth and nose are more effective. If a child or adult wishes to wear a face shield, a face masks/covering will still be required under the shield.

What will happen if a child feel sick at school with symptoms that look like possible COVID?

If the child present symptoms that are related to COVID-19, the child will be re-located to a separate room, and a parent or guardian will be asked to pick-up the child and seek medical attention. This is also true for staff. For more information, click here:   What will happen if a child feels sick at school?


What happens if someone in the class gets the virus? Will the entire class be quarantined?

There is a process that we use to determine which students/staff were within 6 feet of the pupil for longer than 15 minutes, and the students identified in this exposure tracing are asked to quarantine.

How are drop off and dismissal be handled?

Each school has created arrival and dismissal plans that will be shared in their Reopening Operating Manual. 
 
Will families be notified if students in the school may been exposed to someone with COVID?

Yes. We notify all families that we determine may have been exposed through our exposure tracing process once a positive case has been confirmed. 

Student Meals

Will breakfast and lunch still be available?

Yes. Breakfast and lunch will be available every day for both in-person and remote students.

How will meals work?  Will cafeterias be open?

Elementary and middle school students will pick up their meals from a “Grab & Go” cart and eat in the classroom with the same group of students, to limit interactions between groups of students. High school students will pick up their meals and eat in locations spread throughout the school. Schools will let their students know the areas that have been assigned for lunch.

Payment is through a touchless system. Students will swipe their bar code and the meal will be registered as paid, or as free or reduced cost if the student has applied and eligible.

 

Can students in remote learning get meals?

Yes. Grab & go meals will be served from one of the ten outdoor tent sites set up throughout the city. Parents can pick up the student meal. 

 

How can I apply for Free or Reduced Lunch?

Stop by one of the ten School Meal outdoor tent sites set up throughout the city, click here for the application, or contact your school.

 

Transportation

Will bus transportation be available? 

Yes, bus transportation will be available for students who are eligible on days that students attend school in-person. For more information on eligibility, click here.

How will you keep buses safe?

There will be several changes to reduce the risk during COVID. Buses will load from the back in order to limit students having to pass others. Students will be assigned a seat based on the schedule of their assigned bus stop, with the earliest stops on a route seated at the back. Students from the same household will be allowed to sit together. Buses will unloaded in the opposite way, with students in the front row exiting the bus first.

Will a student who shows up without a mask be allowed to get on?

A supply of extra disposable masks will be available for students who arrive at the bus stop without one. We strongly encourage all parents to make sure their child has mask before leaving the house.