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UPDATE: GPSD "Ready for Learning" Plan
UPDATE: GPSD "Ready for Learning" Plan
GPSD
Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Guy-Perkins School District COVID-19 Guidelines for 2020-21

UPDATED APRIL 12, 2021 

Guy-Perkins School District (GPSD) strives to provide a safe and healthy environment for all students through rich, educational learning experiences and opportunities for social interaction and extracurricular activities.  In order to accomplish this goal, GPSD will follow the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) guidelines and the Arkansas Ready for Learning guidance issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

The following guidelines have been created and updated by the GPSD Ready for Learning Committee to help answer specific questions about the district’s COVID-19 practices.  If you have any additional questions or comments about these guidelines, please let us know by completing this brief survey:  https://forms.gle/hnqXc993MMu2t55Y7.

What has ADH and DESE advised schools to do concerning protecting staff and students from COVID19?

The ADE and DESE strongly advise districts to continue to follow all measures that have allowed successful in-person learning to occur.  The success is being attributed to the multiple layers of mitigation strategies that have been implemented by schools, such as social distancing, reduced class sizes, mask wearing, disinfecting and cleaning, handwashing, and physical distancing to the extent practical.  

What is the first day for students to attend school in 2021-22?

School will begin on August 16, 2021. This date will only change if the ADH, DESE, and/or Governor’s Office sends out new guidance to Arkansas school districts.

Who is required to wear face coverings?

On July 20, 2020, Governor Asa Hutchinson issued a statewide mask mandate for indoor environments where any person is exposed to non-household members and social-distancing cannot be assured. Exemptions to this mandate excluded children younger than 10 years old.  As a result of this mandate, GPSD students in grades 4-12 and all GPSD staff were required by the district to wear masks while on campus. All bus riders and drivers were also required to wear masks while riding on GPSD school buses.

On April 1, 2021, Governor Asa Hutchinson removed the statewide mask mandate leaving GPSD to decide whether, or not to continue requiring staff and students in grades 4-12 to wear masks.  The GPSD School Board decided at its March 2021 meeting to continue the current district mask requirement for staff and students.  The GPSD School Board will re-visit this decision during its May 2021 Board meeting.   

Do we need to provide a mask for our child, or will one be provided?

The district will provide masks for students who are unable to bring one from home.  All masks must meet the district’s dress-code requirements and not be a distraction to the learning environment.

Will bus transportation be provided?

Yes, the district will continue to provide bus transportation for all students. Based on the most current DESE guidance, all students and drivers will continue to wear masks while riding the bus. There are no changes in bus schedules, or bus stops, being planned at this time.  

How normal will the day be for a student?

Our goal is for your child to have as normal of a day as possible while we continue to provide a safe and healthy environment.  Students will continue to make normal transitions from class to class and building to building while being encouraged to practice good hand-sanitizing practices. The district’s custodial staff will continue to frequently sanitize high-traffic surfaces and areas in each building on campus.  Several hand-sanitizing stations will be made available throughout the day for both staff and students.

Will students at the Elementary School have activity classes like P.E., art, music, guidance, and library times?

Yes, students will participate in activity classes, check out library books, and receive guidance and gifted instruction. In some cases, the teacher may present their lesson in the student's classroom to reduce the amount of cleaning possible. In others situations, such as P.E., students will maintain maximum 3-foot spacing and may have an assigned area in the gym with specific materials assigned to their classroom. When possible, activities may be moved outdoors.

Will my Elementary School student have recess?

Yes. Elementary students will have outdoor play time with restrictions that limit the number of students together at one time.  Additionally, playground equipment will be sanitized as much as possible between groups of students.

Will social-distancing guidelines be observed?

Social-distancing will be observed as much as physically possible; but at times, students will be closer than the recommended 3-feet apart.  When social-distancing requirements cannot be maintained such as class exchange time, etc., students in grade 4-12 will be expected to wear masks. Classrooms and cafeteria spaces have been modified to meet the 3-foot spacing requirement.

Will classrooms be arranged differently to protect students?

Yes, classrooms will be arranged to provide 3-foot spacing between students. GPSD will make every effort to provide safe distancing without limiting students’ ability to interact and communicate with others in the classroom.  Additionally, supplies and materials will not be shared by students, as much as physically possible.

Will students attend school every day, or will there be some type of alternative schedule?

GPSD plans for students to attend school using a traditional school schedule.

If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, what will happen?

In the event an individual tests positive, he/she must follow the current ADH quarantine requirements.  If an individual has direct contact with COVID-positive individual, the exposed individual will not be required to quarantine if:

  • Both the exposed individual and COVID-positive individual were properly masked; or
  • The exposed individual has been fully vaccinated and not exhibiting symptoms; or
  • The exposed individual has fully recovered from COVID-19 and is within 3 months of the original diagnosis date.

Will students and adults be screened daily?

Both students and adults will complete a daily screening.  Included in the screening will be the following questions:

1.) Have you had a fever of 100°F or greater in the last 2 days?

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

3.) Have you had nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or rash in the last 2 days?

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

If my child stays home with any of these symptoms, will it count against their attendance?

Students who are COVID-positive or have had contact with someone who is COVID-positive, but do not meet the ADH quarantine exemption requirements, will be allowed to stay home without penalty.  Parents should contact their child’s school to notify them of the absence and it will be excused.  Students will be allowed to complete classwork at home and be given due-date requirements in order to be counted as present.  Perfect attendance awards will be suspended for the 2020-21 school year.  

If I do not want my child to return to a traditional classroom in 2021-22, what are my options?

GPSD mailed a letter to each student’s home outlining the virtual-learning options available in 2021-22.  A brief survey   was posted on the district’s website and social media pages to collect information regarding interest in a digital option for students through the T-bird Virtual Academy. Parents were required to commit to this option by April 1, 2021.

If students choose to participate in the virtual-learning option (T-bird Virtual Academy), will they be able to participate in extra-curricular activities?

T-bird Virtual Academy students in grades 7-12 may participate in AAA activities (band, choir, and athletics) in person at the school.  K-6 students will not participate in on-site extracurricular activities.    

How can I enroll in the T-bird Virtual Academy?

Contact the Elementary School Office at 501-679-3509 for students in grades K-6, or the High School Office at 501-679-3507 for students in grades 7-12, to see if space is still available in the T-bird Virtual Academy.  

Will we have “Open House” in the fall 2021?

We are currently planning to host a traditional “Open House” at both the elementary school and high school.  GPSD will be posting information on the district’s website and social media pages once the dates/times have been finalized.  It will be determined prior to August 2021 if masks will be required for the “Open House” events.

What school supplies do I need to purchase for my child?

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds and PTO fundraisers have enabled GPSD to help our families with school supplies during this time. GPSD will again provide basic school supplies for all students in 2021-22.  Students will only need to bring a backpack of their choice. In the event that any additional supplies are needed for a specialty class (such as headphones, or a flash drive), the teacher will share that information with your child when they arrive to school in August. 

Will students be able to participate in extra-curricular activities and sports in the fall of 2021?

Yes, unless the AAA, ADH, or DESE provides guidance limiting student participation in extra-curricular activities. 

Will my child eat breakfast/lunch in the cafeteria?

The number of students eating in the cafeteria at one time is being limited to provide for the district’s 3-foot distancing requirement.  Breakfast and lunch schedules have been staggered to allow for the cafeteria tables and serving lines to be cleaned and disinfected. Procedures do not allow students to pick up utensils, self-serve, or share food.  Parents are encouraged to send a water bottle with their child since water fountains are available on a limited basis.  All students will continue to eat for FREE in the 2021-22 school year.

What special precautions will be implemented in regard to cleaning and sanitizing?

Sanitation and cleanliness is a high priority for GPSD as we return in the fall. Our custodial staff will be responsible for cleaning high touch surfaces (door knobs, light switches, etc.) and restrooms on a continuous basis throughout the day. We have also purchased disinfectant sprays to quickly sanitize rooms between usages. We will also provide time for hand washing and hand sanitizer throughout our campuses. Students will be asked to sanitize their hands each time they leave and enter a new space.

If a student comes to school sick, what will happen?

If a student comes to school sick, the school nurse will screen the student, and the student will be referred according to ADH guidance. When the child returns to school, they will check in with the school nurse to be screened before admittance to class.

How will you help fill any gaps my student has from the previous year?

Curriculum teams and teachers will be working to revise the curriculum so that missed essential standards will be addressed when students return. Additionally, students will be assessed to determine individual strengths and deficits. These assessments will determine if students need additional supports, such as remediation or summer school.  At the secondary level, missed skills from a previous course will be embedded in the next course in the sequence.  Secondary students will also have the option to make-up missed credits (via APEX) by attending summer school in June 2021.    

What happens if we have school closures again?

If schools close again, a plan for virtual digital learning is being developed prior to May 1, 2021. All GPSD teachers will utilize Google Classroom to provide access to the content needed for students to access for virtual learning.  This approach will also allow students who might be ill, or quarantined for a limited amount of time, to continue their education even if they are not physically present in the classroom.

Will my student be provided a technology device?

Students in grades 3-12 will be assigned a device for their use at the beginning of the year and will be allowed to take devices home.  Elementary students K-2 will be assigned a device for school use and for home use in the event of school closure.  Students needing Internet access at home will need to contact the school office.

Will our students have the same arrival and dismissal times?

Arrival and dismissal times may be varied, in order to increase social-distancing and to decrease the number of students in the cafeteria and gym before school starts.  Parents will be notified via Apptegy website notification system (text/voice).

What advice do you have for students with special needs (autism, asthma, panic attacks, anxiety, etc.) or students with weakened immune systems and preexisting conditions?

The district will be prepared to accommodate students with special needs through both on-site and virtual instruction. Our Special Education instructors will be taking extra precautions when working with students.  If parents have concerns about their child who is “high-risk” because of COVID- 19, they may explore the virtual-learning option which allows the student to continue their education safety from home.

In the event of a temporary school closure, how will the district serve students who have special needs (Special Education, GI504, Dyslexia, etc.)?

In the event of a school closure, services will be provided virtually, or by phone to help meet the individualized needs of our students. 

Note:  This document will be updated as new information is provided.  If you have further questions, please contact your child’s school at:

Elementary School          501-679-3509

High School                        501-679-3507

Information Regarding T-bird Virtual Academy

What is the deadline to enroll?

Students need to be enrolled by May 1, 2021. 

What if I enroll and change my mind?

You can revoke your application prior to school beginning, but we ask that you be fairly certain in your decision before applying, as schedules are based on enrollment counts. 

If my students were home-schooled in the past, can they enroll in this program?

Absolutely. You can enroll them as Guy-Perkins students and into the T-bird Virtual Academy. 

How is this program structured?

T-bird Virtual Academy instruction will be provided 100% on-line.  Students will not have to be on-site unless they have special services being provided by the district; have testing through Virtual Arkansas that requires supervision; taking standardized testing on-site; or need remediation to make up missing work. There will be routine interaction with the academy Coordinator via video conferencing, email, and phone calls to ensure understanding of material and completion of work.   

I want my child to attend school in a regular, on-site classroom. Do I have to enroll?

No. The T-bird Virtual Academy is only for those who wish to do all classwork on-line for the entire school year. 

Can my child still participate in school extracurricular activities such as band, sports, etc.?

T-bird Virtual Academy students in grades 7-12 may participate in AAA activities in person at the school, including band, choir, and athletics.  K-6 students may participate in on-site extracurricular activities including student club activities.