FAQs About Reopening of Schools

FAQs Reopening of Schools

Curriculum & Instruction

Watch our video on Instructional Models for 2020-2021

  1. What are the instructional models for the 2020-21 school year?

    Option 1: Traditional In-Person Instructional Model (PK-12) The model of school has an intended goal of providing in-person learning opportunities for students. This model is the most well-known model for learning. Students attend school in person and on campus five days a week and learn in the classroom with the support of highly qualified teachers who design learning, provide instruction and ongoing feedback, and support rich interaction and collaboration. Parents, students, and the school system’s instructional design team strongly supported this model. It is important to note that the traditional model is offered contingent upon the following levels of community transmission of COVID-19 as determined by the Georgia Department of Public Health. The response to the three levels of community spread are reflected in the following chart.

    Option 2: School-Based Virtual Model (PK-12) In the school-based virtual model, instruction is delivered to students who are not at the school site. Students are taught by a Newton County School System teacher, who will follow the district’s curriculum maps and use virtual learning software. This option requires heavy use of instructional technology, including digital tools that already are available in our classrooms (cameras, digital meeting platforms, and learning management systems). This online model leverages the strengths of teachers and staff in supporting the learning success of students.

    Option 3: Self-Paced Virtual Academy Model (6-12) The school system will offer a 6-12 online learning academy that is aligned to the Georgia Standards of Excellence. This self-paced virtual academy combines the benefits of a traditional school with the flexibility and personalization that online learning offers. Our competency-based learning approach allows students to move faster or slower through the material, depending on their individual skills and knowledge. Students will have the freedom to adapt their schedules to accommodate their other interests. They can succeed regardless of time, place, and learning style.

  2. I am new to NCSS, and I do not have a student ID number. Or, I do not know my student ID number. How do I complete the option survey?

    The number that is required is the six- digit number used as the school lunch number by students. If your child is in Pre-K or Kindergarten, please enter 123456 in the student number field. If you have a child that is grade 1-12 and you do not know the number, please enter 999999 in the field. Please complete the remaining fields with accurate information (first and last name, no nick-names). If you have an active email in your child’s Infinite Campus profile, you will receive an email with a link to the learning model selection instrument, which has been pre-populated with your child’s information. If your child has not been enrolled in the Newton County School System yet, you will need to make your selection known at the time of registration/enrollment. 

  3. What is the difference between options one and two?

    The major difference between option one and option two is the learning environment. Students will be taught by Newton County teachers in both options; however, in option one, students will receive instruction in the school building, and in option two students will receive instruction virtually using a digital device to connect with teachers. 

  4. Can students transition between instructional models if one of the options is not working for them?

    No. Virtual learning courses are structured for a semester at all levels - elementary, middle and high school. In-person students will be unable to transition to online learning unless they are at the semester point. First semester runs from August 24th –January 20th, and second semester from January 21st–June 4th. 

  5. If I select option three for my student(s), will my child(ren) have a Newton County School System teacher to offer support?

    Students attending the Newton Online Academy will receive instruction via a virtual learning platform. Students will not be taught by a Newton County School System teacher; however, educators from within the district will monitor student attendance, track progress during the course, and support each student during his or her learning experience. Parents will enroll their student on an annual basis with the option of returning to the base school after the first semester. It is critical that parents are committed to playing a strong supportive role to ensure student success with the self-paced online program. 

  6. How will students receive instruction in courses like band, chorus, or music?

    Music is an important component of a well-rounded education, as defined by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Students should continue to learn and master the same standards, although the method might need to be temporarily adjusted due to the model selected. Band, chorus, and music will adhere to the guidelines from Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA). Please click on the following link to learn more about GMEA guidance: GMEA Guidance 

  7. Can my child participate in extracurricular activities if we select option two or option three?

    Yes. Your child will remain enrolled in his or her base school and may participate in the extracurricular activities offered by the school in which he or she is enrolled. 
     
  8. If I have multiple children enrolled in the district, can I select a different instructional model for each child?

    Yes. Parents and guardians are encouraged to choose the instructional model that works best for each child. 

  9. If I select the self-paced instructional model, what courses will be available to my child?

    Please click on the link to preview courses offered in the Edgenuity platform:
    Edgenuity-Georgia-Course-List-2020 

  10. How will special education students be supported?

    Newton County School System’s Program for Exceptional Children serves students with disabilities by providing specialized instruction and related services delivered by a staff of professionals and support personnel. All students with special needs will be provided services according to their IEP. If any virtual option is selected, IEP teams can meet, if needed, to determine needed accommodations. 

  11. Will my child receive specialized services (Quest, EIP, etc.) if they choose a virtual option? 

    The district will make every effort to accommodate services for students who choose virtual learning. 

  12. How will ESOL students be supported if they chose school based virtual learning?

    Students may receive a virtual session with an ESOL teacher and/or utilize Lexia Learning Core 5 (K-5) and Lexia Power Up (6-12) https://www.lexialearning.com/

  13. What will virtual learning look like?

    Grades PK-5: Teachers will use the NCSS curriculum and Edgenuity to support virtual learning with the exception of PreK. In the virtual option, Prek students will not utilize Edgenuity. More information on Edgenuity can be found on the company’s website. Canvas will be the platform, and instruction and support will be provided by an NCSS teacher. Parents may become familiar with Canvas by clicking here. Students will be provided with textbooks and manipulatives to support student learning, and more information regarding materials distribution will be provided as we get closer to the opening of school.

    Grades 6-12: Secondary schools will use Canvas and Edgenuity for both middle and high school instruction. More information on Edgenuity can be found on the company’s website. Parents may become familiar with Canvas by clicking here. Students will have access to textbooks and all school application resources (such as Canvas, Microsoft Office 365, Google Suite, Illuminate, Zoom, etc.) via Classlink. 

  14. Will my child be expected to be on the computer for the entire school day?

    No. It is not likely that students would be online in live classes the entire school day. We are encouraging teachers to conduct more live (synchronous) lessons, but with the understanding that occasionally students may not be able to participate at the specified time. Teachers, therefore, should record the live sessions for students who need to view the lesson at a different time. Other assignments may include reviewing recorded videos, class projects and independent work, which can be done any time during the day. We believe the use of a variety of instructional methods will be best for students. 

  15. Will my child remain on the AP/accelerated/honors path when we return from distance/digital to in-person instruction?

    Yes, students will continue AP/Accelerated/Advanced/Honors paths in the traditional model, school-based virtual model, and self-paced virtual model. 

  16. Will field trips be allowed?

    No. Schools will not schedule any field trips during the first semester. A decision regarding field trips during the spring semester will be made in December 2020. 

  17. Will after school programs be available?

    Yes. At this time, afterschool programs will be available. The same safety precautions as the regular school day will be put in place. 

  18. If my child becomes sick, should I enroll them in virtual learning?

    No. Students attending in person who become sick or who are quarantined will be able to receive and complete any missed assignments without penalty. Once a student has met guidelines for returning to school, the student will be able to return to in person instruction. 

  19. If I select the self-paced instructional model, can my child(ren) complete more than one-year of content?

    No. Students are only assigned one semester of work. Second semester assignments will not be released until the beginning of the second semester. First semester runs from August 24th –January 20th, and the second semester runs from January 21st –June 4th. 

  20. If my child(ren) is enrolled in the self-paced model, who will provide my child with support?

    NCSS has a virtual facilitator who will remain in contact with students enrolled in the self-paced model. If a student has a question or needs support with instruction, he or she will have access to a NCSS teacher. Office hours for support will be provided to students and parents. 

  21. What will Open House look like this year?

    Presently, we are working on a plan to address Open House. Information will be shared in the days ahead. 

  22. Will attendance and grades be taken?

    It is important that students and parents understand virtual learning for the 2020-21 school year will not be structured like virtual learning from this past spring. Expectations in terms of attendance, grading, and accountability will be the same for students participating virtually and in-person. 

  23. Will my child lose his or her spot at the Theme School if I choose a virtual model?

    No, your child is still enrolled at the Theme School. 

  24. If I select option one or option two, will my child be taught by a teacher from the school he or she is enrolled in?

    Presently, we are working to ensure that students are taught by a teacher at their base school. New data may cause us to pivot in this response, however. We can affirm at this time that all students who select option one or two will be taught by a NCSS teacher.

Social Emotional Support

Watch our video on Social & Emotional Supports available for 2020-2021. 

  1. All students have heard their parents’ perspectives and the media going back and forth concerning police brutality, protests, and systemic racism. How are we as teachers going to build that bridge of equality and unity? 

    All schools will have resources for social emotional learning and supports to create an educational equity and inclusive school environment. 

  2.  Will more counselors be available to assist students and staff in dealing with all the changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Our team of school social workers, school climate specialists, and APEX clinicians are available to assist schools as needed. 

Afterschool Program 

  1. Will the ASAP or 21St Century program be provided this school year work? If so, how will it operate, virtual or in-person?

    At this time, the 21st Century program is planned for on-site operation. The ASAP program will be offered on-site based on need and student enrollment. Each program will follow the instructional and safety protocols of the district.

    For more information on our ASAP Program, watch our brief video:
    ASAP  for 2020-2021

Technology

Watch our video on NCSS Technology and Learning Supports for 2020-2021.

  1. How will computers be sanitized between classes? 

    We will follow building cleaning protocols. 

  2. Will students be allowed to bring their own laptops and tablets to school so we can be as close to one to one as possible?

    Yes, students can use the NCSS BYOD network and their own device to seamlessly utilize Canvas to connect to their assigned coursework. 

  3. Will the district require all teachers to use the same digital learning platform so there is some uniformity?

    Yes, all teachers will use the same digital platform, Canvas. 

  4. Will students be allowed to check out books?

    Yes, students can still check out books. Additionally, there are digital books available to all students on demand.   

  5. There is a concern for students in areas with no internet access. Can the school district enter into contract with someone to provide low-cost internet service?

    Mobile hot spots for students are available upon request.  

  6. Is there a 1:1 option for all students to have computers and internet access? 

While we are not currently providing 1:1 devices for all students, if parents select the remote learning or virtual school option for instruction, upon request, a device is available for check-out.

School Operations

 

  1. Will students be physically (socially) distanced at school?

    Schools will take steps to maximize social distancing to minimize the spread of the virus. Where feasible, rooms will be arranged with student desks facing the same direction and students seated at tables will sit on the same side. Depending on the school, hallways may be one-way where practicable. Schedules may be revised to accommodate better traffic flow within hallways and at school entrances.

  2. Will students be physically (socially) distanced on the school bus?

    Every effort will be made to maximize physical distancing as ridership allows.

  3. How will the school system handle students who become sick at school?

    The school clinic will continue to serve students who feel ill at school. Each school will have an area set up (separate from the clinic) for students who have symptoms associated with COVID-19. Students will be socially distanced and monitored in that area while the parents are contacted to pick them up. It is essential that parents are aware that students who are ill should be kept home and that students who develop symptoms of illness while at school must be picked up in a timely manner.

  4. How will schools be cleaned?

    Schools will be cleaned daily and high touch surfaces disinfected and sanitized multiple times throughout the day. Cleaning and disinfecting protocols will be used in computer labs, media centers, and athletic facilities. The school system will continue to ensure that cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitization procedures align with CDC and DPH guidelines using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved cleaners. Sanitizing and deep cleaning of schools and administrative offices will take place periodically.

  5. Will students and staff wear face coverings?

    A washable face covering will be provided to all staff and students. Employees are expected to wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible - for example, helping a student with an assignment at their desk. Students are also expected to wear face coverings. Students who are transported on a school bus must wear masks as recommended. Every effort will be made to maximize physical distancing while on school buses. If staff members or students have clinical reasons for not wearing a face covering, exceptions may be granted. 

  6. Will hand sanitizer be available?

    Hand sanitizing stations will be strategically placed throughout each facility. All school buses will have hand sanitizer available. Teachers will be provided hand sanitizer. 

  7. Will water fountains be operational in schools?

    Water fountains will be temporarily disabled and students may bring water from home or use a bottle filling stations. 
     
  8. Will HVAC systems be checked before school starts?

    The design of each HVAC system includes the introduction of outside air into the building, as recommended by the CDC. We ensure this fresh air intake functionality through regular preventive maintenance activities.

    In their guidance COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings, the CDC recommends increased air filtration. Increased filtration means that the filter removes smaller particles from the building’s recirculated air. Increasing the filter rating throughout the district from Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) 10 to MERV 13 will vastly reduce the number of airborne particles that pass through the filter, creating improved air quality within the buildings. 

  9. What is the process if a student or staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19 while at school?

    If a student or staff member develops signs of COVID-19, he or she will be immediately separated from others until they can leave. While waiting to leave, the individual will wear surgical mask. The staff member or student’s parent will inform the school immediately if there is a positive test result for COVID-19. If the student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the school system will follow CDC guidelines on cleaning and disinfecting affected areas and follow the DPH guidelines for notifying the school community.

    The school system will follow CDC guidance on allowing students and staff to return to school after having COVID-19. A staff member or student who had signs of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 can return to school or work when:

    • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery – defined as no fever without the use of medications and improvement in respiratory signs like cough and shortness of breath; AND

    • At least 10 days have passed since signs first showed up, OR

    • It has been at least three days (72 hours) since recovery AND a health care provider has certified that the individual does not have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

    If a person believes they have had close contact to someone with COVID-19, but they are not sick, they should watch their health for signs of fever, cough, shortness of breath, and other COVID-19 symptoms during the 14 days after the last day they were in close contact with the person sick with COVID-19. They should not go to work, child care, school, or public places for 14 days.

  10. What is the process if a student or staff member has a positive COVID-19 diagnosis?

    If a student, teacher, staff member, or visitor tests positive for COVID-19, the school system will follow the guidance of the local health department regarding necessary school closures, home quarantine or isolation requirements and close contact notification protocol. The health department will determine whether a closure is warranted, the length of the closure, and the number of schools impacted based on the specific incident and risk level within the community. Based on the level of community spread of the virus, the health department and other state or federal health officials may prescribe additional mass closures. If a closure is ordered by state or local health officials, students will transition to the virtual learning model platform to ensure instructional continuity. Cleaning and disinfecting of affected areas will take place following CDC and DPH guidance.

 

 

 

 

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