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Frequently Asked Questions About Returning to School - Updated 7/28/20
Frequently Asked Questions About Returning to School - Updated 7/28/20
Joe Fisher
Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Most Recently Asked Questions (UPDATED 8-3-20)

What will the Pre-K classrooms do differently this year in response to COVID-19?  Answer:  ABC programs will be allowed to remain open if areas of the school close due to COVID-19 and as long as students can get meals.  Only essential staff shall be allowed in the building.  Parents will sign in and out outdoors.  Any student or staff with a 100.4 temperature will not be allowed in the preschool building and will need to get tested.  Classes will be completely separated. This includes staggered meals and recess time. 

What will happen at school when a student/staff member tests positive for COVID-19? Answer:  We will follow the guidelines set forth in the "Levels of Response" document (click here) provided by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

What is the last day that a student can sign up for the T-bird Virtual Academy (on-line learning)? Answer:  We need to know our numbers of on-line students by Friday, August 14, 2020, so that we can have everything ready for the first day of school.  Click here to register for the T-bird Virtual Academy.

Will high school students stay in one room and teachers rotate this year, or will students be switching classes like last year?  Answer:  Students will switch  classes like last year.

Will student-athletes be traveling to other schools for competition this year, specifically the basketball teams? Answer: Yes, the AAA has not cancelled, or moved the basketball season to a different time, or limited to home games.

Will students be required to use good hygiene practices? Answer: Students will be guided by teachers and administrators to use hand-sanitizing stations and to use good hygiene practices.

Will school close when a student, or teacher is determined to have COVID-19? Answer: The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) will be notified by the School Nurse when a COVID-19 issue arises on campus.  The ADH will determine the appropriate level of response the district will need to use and the district will  then communicate with our students/parents accordingly.  (The link to the levels of response can be found in a similar question below.)

Will band and choir still be able to have class and play instruments/sing? Answer:  At this time, band and choir classes will be able to have class utilizing social-distancing practices.



FAQS

What is the first day of school? (UPDATED 7-10-20)

The first day of school has been moved by the Governor's Office to the week of August 24-26, 2020.  The Guy-Perkins School Board will revise the 2020-21 school calendar at it's next Board Meeting on July 21. 

Who will be required to wear face coverings? (UPDATED 7-22-20)

Based on the ADH recommendations and our building configurations, the Guy-Perkins School District will require students in grades 4 - 12 to wear face coverings during the school day.   Students may wear their own face covering, or use the washable ones provided by the district.  Parents of students in Pre-K to 4th grade will have the option to have their child wear a face covering throughout the day.

We do not anticipate that students will have to wear their face coverings for 8  hours a day, only when social-distancing is not possible.  

Students and staff members with health issues and special needs may be exempt from wearing face coverings with medical documentation.  It will be important for these individuals to remain home if they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

Do families need to provide their children a mask?

The District will provide every student and employee with a washable face covering.  Students and employees may choose to wear a face covering of their choice, as long as it is deemed appropriate for use at school.

Will visitors be allowed on campus during the school day? (UPDATED 7-13-20)

ALL visitors must report directly to the office upon arrival to campus.  In order to reduce the health risks to our students and employees during the school day, only visitors deemed "essential" by administration will be allowed to proceed into hallways, classrooms, gyms, the cafeteria, or any other district facility.  

Will bus transportation be provided? (UPDATED 7-15-20)

Even though Arkansas school districts are NOT required to provide bus transportation for students to and from school, the Guy-Perkins School District WILL provide bus transportation in 2020-21.  All Guy-Perkins route buses are new and have air-conditioning, which will help students on extremely hot days.  Buses will be disinfected and sanitized after every usage.  

ALL students and drivers will be required to wear face coverings while riding the bus.  Students will be assigned seating and group by families. The District will continue to monitor ADH guidelines concerning student facial coverings.

What will a typical day look like for students?

The District's goal is for students to have as normal of a day as possible in a safe and healthy learning environment.  School leaders will work diligently to create a schedule and transitions to minimize close physical interactions and adhere to social distancing recommendations, while also allowing for normal school activities.  More information about schedules will be shared with families and students prior to the start of the school year.

Will Elementary students still have activity classes like art, music, P.E., G/T, counselor and library times?

Yes, students will continue to participate in activity classes.  In some cases, activity instruction may take place within the main classroom to reduce the amount of cleaning needed.  In other situations, such as P.E., students may have an assigned area in the gym with specific materials and equipment assigned to their individual classroom.

Will Elementary School students have recess?

Yes, Elementary School students will have outdoor play time with restrictions that limit student contact.  Additionally, playground equipment will be sanitized regularly following student usage.

Will water fountains be available for students? (UPDATED 7-13-20)

All current water fountains will be turned off and students will be allowed to have water containers and/or bottles of water.  Any other drinks will be prohibited. (Note - The district is pricing touch-less water fountains as a possible replacement for the traditional water fountains.)

Will social-distancing guidelines be followed?

To the degree it is feasibly possible, social distancing guidelines will be followed based on the guidance received from the ADH between now and the start of the school year.  Under current guidelines during times when social distancing would be a challenge such as during transitions and moving to other areas on campus, face coverings will be strongly recommended.  Reorganization of classrooms, cafeteria space, and other learning spaces will take place in order to promote good social distancing practices. 

What will happen if an individual tests positive for COVID-19? (UPDATED 7-13-20)

In the event a school employee or student tests positive, the District will be in contact with and follow the guidance of the ADH and act according to the thelevel of response needed.  This could result in a brief closure of the school/district to provide time for additional cleaning and disinfecting.  

Will students and adults on campus be screened daily?

Both students and adults will complete a daily screening tool.  Each will be asked the following questions:

Have you had fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or greater in the last two (2) days? 

Have you had a cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell?

Have you been in contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19 within the previous 14 days?

If students choose to do full-time virtual learning, will they be able to participate in extra-curricular activities?

Yes, the District will provide a blended option that allows students in grades 7-12 the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities.  Students concerned about returning to campus in the fall will have the option to not be involved in any on-site, or extra-curricular activities.

When and how will student registration take place in August? (UPDATED 7-13-20)

The District is currently working on an electronic registration that will allow registration to occur "on-line."  Parents may still choose to do the paper registration packet, instead of "on-line."

Will there be an Open House this year? (UPDATED 7-15-20)

Yes, but it will be held "virtually" for each school.  Each teacher will produce a brief video introducing himself/herself and giving an overview of the class.  Questions about the class can be emailed to the teacher prior to the start of the first class.

The T-bird Virtual Academy Coordinator will contact parents/students that have registered for the virtual learning during the week of August 3rd to set up a Zoom, or "in-person" orientation.  During the orientation, it will be stressed that students are to do their work on a daily basis and grades will be taken for student work.

Will High School students be able to participate in extra-curricular and sports activities in the fall? (UPDATED 7-13-20)

Yes, the District anticipates extra-curricular and sports activities will occur in the fall with possible modifications as required by the ADH.  Students must attend the extra-curricular class period (ex. athletic, band, choir, etc.) "on-site" in order to practice and rehearse with the extra-curricular group.  At this time, the District is still awaiting guidance concerning other activities such as band and choir, and guidance on transportation of students to and from extra-curricular activities.

Will students eat lunch in the cafeteria, or in a classroom? (UPDATED 7-15-20)

Because of current ADH guidelines regarding limited capacities in the cafeteria, we are preparing to adjust lunch schedules and/or use alternative areas, if needed.  Other measures will include sanitation and revised meal distribution protocols.  All  cafeteria staff are trained in ServSafe, which is intense food safety training.  

At this time, water fountains will NOT be available to students so water bottles (only water) will be allowed to be brought to school.  The District is pricing "touch-less" water fountains for each building to see if they would be cost-effective to purchase.  

What special precautions will be implemented regarding cleaning and sanitizing?

Sanitizing and disinfecting each building on campus has always been a high priority for the District.  The District will be focusing on cleaning high traffic  surfaces (door knobs, light switches, etc.) and restrooms continuously throughout the day.  The District has ordered fogging systems to help with sanitizing classrooms and installed new sanitizing stations across the campus.  Students will be directed to sanitize their hands each time they enter and leave a room.

What will happen if a student comes to school sick?

If a student comes to school sick, the school nurse will screen the student and check their temperature.  If the temperature is over the ADH recommended degree, the student will be sent home and will need to be fever-free for 48 hours without medication before returning to school.  When the student returns to school, he/she will need to check in with the school nurse for a health screening.  Upon clearance, the student will be allowed to return to class.

How will the District fill any "learning gaps" from the end of the 2019-20 school year?

Teachers have been working all summer to revise the curriculum so that any essential standard missed in 2019-20 can be addressed when students begin the 2020-21 school year.  Additionally, students will be assessed to determine individual strengths and deficits.  At the secondary level, missed skills from a previous course will be embedded into the next course in the sequence.  For instance, a student enrolled in Algebra II last year would have missing skills embedded into their Calculus course this year.

Will the "After-care" program be provided for students in the fall?

The "after-care" program will be suspended during the fall semester and re-evaluated for the spring 2021 semester later in the year.

What will happen if schools are required to close again?

If schools are closed again, we will use the "blended learning" approach to teaching students "on-line" (whether in person, or through recordings) in combination with digital content and lessons.  The District is creating a detailed "blended learning" plan for all students to move from "on-site" to "at-home" instruction at any time.  Blended learning will become part of our "new normal" in the district as teachers and administrators work to increase and improve our digital content on Google Classroom and other learning platforms. 

Students and teachers will use "blended" teaching and learning on a regular basis on campus in order to better prepare for any school closures, when necessary.  The District may consider planning a "blended" teaching and learning day for students and families to troubleshoot problems and prepare teachers and students for possible extended "on-line" learning time.  This approach will allow students who become ill, or must be quarantined to continue learning grade-level content standards even when they cannot physically be "on-site" in the classroom.

If I feel uncomfortable about my student returning to a traditional "on-site" classroom, what are my options?

The District has created a T-bird Virtual Academy with a registration link located on the front page of the district website - www.gptbirds.org.  This will provide students who are uncomfortable returning to school for "on-site" instruction with a totally virtual learning program.  Students selecting this program must commit by August 1 to a minimum of 9-weeks of "on-line" learning to allow for the District to make preparations.

We will continue to add "frequently asked questions" to this document as issues and questions arise.  Do not hesitate to call the Elementary School (679-3509), High School (679-3507), or Administration Office (679-7224) with your questions, or concerns about the start of school.  We will continue to work on your behalf to have our district "Ready for Learning" on August 13, 2020.  Thank you for your continued support of the Guy-Perkins School District.