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News Parent COVID Questions from SIAC

Published on December 2, 2020

During November’s meeting of the School Improvement Advisory Council (SIAC), parents who serve on the council participated in a Q & A session with building principals and administrators.  The following are FAQ’s from that meeting:

Q: If there is a need for one building to shift learning plans, can the other buildings continue with on-site learning?

A: Yes. Student and staff attendance is being monitored at each building. If a change in learning models is needed, it will be evaluated at each building individually.

Q: If a building needs to shift to hybrid, how soon are they able to shift back to on-site learning?

A: The goal for changing learning formats is to lessen the risk of exposure. Typically, that timeframe would be around two weeks. The district will look at positivity and attendance data to determine when it is prudent to return to on-site learning.

Q: What are expectations for logins and attendance during virtual learning?

A: Every level of Pella Schools has a little different requirement around virtual learning. Our main goal is that students keep learning.

In all cases we expect classroom assignments to be completed. For class grade levels and classes that offer live instruction, we would prefer students join the classroom live. Many teachers are also recording classes. At a minimum we expect students to watch classroom recordings.

In classrooms that have learning activities posted with no video, we expect learning activities to be completed.

Attendance during virtual learning is required where live attendance is possible. Completion of learning activities is required.

Q: If we move to a hybrid model what is the expectation of logging in to classrooms and completing work?

A: The expectation for logging into hybrid classrooms is for students to be present live. If this is not possible, we will expect students to watch recorded videos. Students will be monitored by completing the work by the intended due dates.

Q: Considerations for shifting specials/electives teachers to other rooms to help cover for staff absences to keep school going?

A: We believe that all teachers are valuable in their respective roles. It is challenging to pull one teacher to cover for another teacher as that still creates a void. Principals will look for creative ways to fill teacher absences as needed.

Q: Considerations for parents who might have a child in a school that shifts to hybrid learning while other children are in schools that are continuing with on-site learning?

A: Families who have children in multiple buildings and learning models are encouraged to make arrangements with the building principal if adjustments are needed in these situations.

Q: How would re-entry (after a hybrid or virtual model change) look?

A: Quarantine looks much like an extended absence from school. Secondary students have access to the teacher classroom sites (google classrooms) which may be located through the learning hub. Some classes at the secondary level offer a virtual livestream that students may participate in. Students on quarantine that have been intentionally engaged have had higher success of keeping up with work. Students receiving special education support should refer to Page I to determine how support would look during that time. School staff will not report to student homes.

Q: For all areas of staff (teachers, bus drivers, etc), what is the threshold for needing to adjust learning models due to staff shortages?

A: We will shift people around as much as possible to cover priority positions. This could include moving associates with substitute authorization, Reading Plus Teachers, specials teachers, etc into general education teaching positions. Each department will cover as best as possible. The administration team will discuss weekly how we are doing with covering positions.

Q: Are staff losing their planning periods to help cover?

A: Yes, our staff has been amazing at offering to help cover their teammates as situations are fluid. If we are unable to find a certified sub, we reach out to staff to cover each other.

Q: Will there be a 3 day notice before switching?

A: If the district decides to change learning models (to Hybrid B or totally virtual/online), then we will attempt to give at least 3 days notice beforehand.
If the governor makes a proclamation that changes our learning model, there is no guarantee that advance notice will be given.

Q: What numbers would be used to make a change back to everyone in person?

A: We are looking at several different numbers. They include daily attendance, numbers of known covid positives in students and staff, and numbers of students that need to be quarantined.

Q: In a hybrid, would any students be able to come every day?

A: The purpose of the Hybrid plan is to provide enough space in the buildings and on the bus for appropriate social distancing. Bringing students to school daily in such a learning model would make that difficult to achieve.

If a student has an IEP, page I should indicate the educational plan for a Hybrid or Virtual/All Online change. In some cases, there may be a possibility that a student who receives special education would attend school daily in a Hybrid or Virtual/All Online model.

Q: How seamless are kids moving from on-site to virtual learning?

A: Students doing on-site, virtual and hybrid learning are following the same curriculum and timeline. Our goal is to create as much consistency as possible.

Q: What is the expectation for coverage of content in virtual or hybrid models?

A: Our expectation is that we will be maintaining our normal pace for content coverage. We need to do this to keep all of our students on track to progress through the curriculum.ia