SSFUSD FAQ on the Fall 2020 Class Options

South San Francisco, CA  July 15, 2020 h/t to Cindy K for this share, originated with SSFUSD website

Instructional Models & Process

Question: How did SSFUSD come up with the options for Distance Learning and Hybrid Learning? As a parent, I would be open to a year-round schedule (9 weeks on, 3 weeks off) to reduce the number of students in school during the duration of the year.

Answer: SSFUSD developed these options based on guidance from the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE), the San Mateo County Health Department (San Mateo Health), and feedback from parent groups who participated in the district’s Reopening SSFUSD task force in June 2020.

Question: Can students switch back and forth between distance learning and hybrid learning?

Answer: At this time, students approved for either the 100% distance learning or the hybrid learning model must remain in that model for the trimester/semester or until the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. However, SSFUSD recognizes and appreciates the fact that information is evolving quickly, so it is likely that things may change based on new information we receive.

Question: Are my children’s learning preferences guaranteed?

Answer: Aspects of the Reopening of School Plan are subject to change, as the district considers community feedback, receives more guidance from the State, and monitors COVID-19 trends.

Advanced Placement/Honors classes

Question: I think students got tested last year in 6th grade for placement into 7th grade Advanced Math.  If she is placed into Advanced Math and we choose distance learning for her, will that be offered in the program?

Answer: The Online provider that we are considering (Edgenuity), has many math classes to meet student needs. The SSFUSD teacher assigned will use the same instructional materials as if your student was in the Hybrid Learning model.

Childcare

Question: How has this schedule been communicated and coordinated with on-site daycare/SSF Park & Rec?

Answer: We had a meeting on July 9 with the City of SSF Parks and Recreation and the Boys and Girls Club. Once we decide on our schedules, then our community partners and SSFUSD can start discussing potential options for childcare for our families and staff.

Class Configuration

Question: Will there be a video of a classroom that will show parents, who choose the option for in class Learning, to view what a classroom will look like prior to my child attending school?

Answer: Our plan is to provide either a sample video or drawing of a classroom in order to show parents/guardians how our classrooms may be configured.

Cohorts/Scheduling

Question:  Can schools tell us how many kids would be in the cohort?

Answer: Cohort Size – Each cohort size will depend on if we can maintain a six feet physical distance requirement between students. With that in mind, the cohort size may vary depending on the size of the classroom.

Question:  If I have twins at one of the SSFUSD schools, will they be assigned to the same teacher AND the same cohort?  Do we get to request which cohort they are in?​

Answer: Scheduling of students is a site responsibility so we’re not sure about getting twins the same teacher. However, it does make sense that twins are in the same cohort even though they may have different teachers.

Question: Are pick-ups going to be staggered as well?  How will the back-end of class work?​

Answer: The schedules we’re proposing for our elementary schools include staggered starts. Site leaders will be able to provide specific times for a grade level/teacher before school starts. The same is true for dismissal where our elementary schools may dismiss students by grade level/teacher at specific times to assist with physical distancing.

Question: Why not utilize the full school day on in-person days?

Answer: SSFUSD is trying to provide time during the day for a teacher to have “office hours” to support students that are participating in at-home/asynchronous learning activities.

Question: What happens if I have multiple students attending school at SSFUSD?

Answer: The district can either keep siblings in the same cohort or split them up into different cohorts, based on parental preference. Please indicate your preference before July 15, 2020, by selecting your option for 2020 enrollment.

Question:  Why not utilize Wednesdays for needed instruction time?

Answer: There would be no live instruction on Wednesdays. Wednesdays are reserved for teacher-student check-ins, counseling support, and for staff to attend weekly meetings/lesson/unit preparation and attend professional development opportunities as needed.

COVID – 19 Testing – Staff

Question: We would also like to know if the teachers and other staff will have access to additional testing, and how often that would occur?

Answer: We encourage all staff and students to get tested on an as needed basis, however, that is something SSFUSD needs to address with our bargaining units.

Hybrid Learning

Question: What is a hybrid learning model?

Answer: In this model TK-12 students are split into two cohorts. Students will attend in person instruction/support twice per week and be at home completing assignments/projects three times a week. Cohort A attends in-person classes on Mondays and Thursdays. Cohort B attends in-person classes on Tuesdays and Fridays. Wednesdays are reserved for virtual or in-person socializing between students, outdoor learning, counseling, parent-teacher conferences, or student-teacher check-ins, deep cleaning, teacher preparation, and weekly staff meetings.

Question: What happens in “Phase 1” of the district’s hybrid learning model?

Answer: In “Phase 1” of the district’s hybrid learning model, all students will be participating in Distance Learning. There will be no on-campus visitors including volunteers will be allowed on campus. There will be no extracurricular activities or gatherings, and all meetings will be held remotely. Face coverings must also be worn at all times including during class if we need to meet with students individually. This phase is slated to last for a minimum of three weeks.

Question: What happens in “Phase 2” of the district’s hybrid learning model?

Answer: In “Phase 2” of the district’s hybrid learning model, SSFUSD most vulnerable students, which may include English learners, Special education, Foster youth and Homeless)  will have in person instruction/support based on your assigned cohort days. All other students will still be in distance learning.

Visitors and volunteers who directly support instruction will be allowed on campus. Extracurricular activities that directly support instruction will also be allowed to convene.

However, most meetings will still be held remotely, and gatherings will be limited to no more than 10 people. Certain organized sports that can be safely conducted with  social distancing and health and hygiene protocols (e.g., golf, tennis, swimming, and cross country) may begin without spectators.

Face coverings must also be worn at all times including during class. This phase is slated to last for a minimum of three weeks.

Question: What happens in “Phase 3” of the district’s hybrid learning model?

Answer: In “Phase 3” of the district’s hybrid learning model, all students will attend in person instruction/support based on their assigned cohort days.

Volunteers and visitors will be allowed on campus, if they wear a face covering, adhere to all social distancing and health and hygiene requirements, and limit gatherings to no more than 50 people. Instructional and interest-based extracurricular activities will also be allowed to convene in small groups observing social distancing guidelines.

However, gatherings will be limited to no more than 50 people, and social distancing must be observed. This includes organized sports and similar activities.

Face coverings must also be worn at all times including during class and especially when moving to different rooms on campus and in all common areas.

Distance Learning (100%)

Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 98 (“SB 98”) on June 29, 2020. Senate Bill 98 (“SB 98”) is the education omnibus trailer bill to the 2020 Budget Act.  School districts are required to follow new standards for distance learning laid out in the California budget.  Districts are required to track students’ participation and attendance, provide “live daily interaction” with teachers and devise plans to track down students who aren’t participating in distancing learning.

Question: How will SSFUSD enhance the distance learning model from the Spring 2020?

Answer: We will be striving to improve our distance learning model by providing distance learning expectations (students, staff, parents) and we will enhance our professional learning opportunities for staff. We’ve purchased specific technology (learning management system, apps) to enhance the experience and the interaction between students and staff. In a distance learning model, students will have asynchronous learning activities (independent assignments, projects) that he/she will complete individually.

Question: If we were to enroll in the 100% distance program, would my child have to check in for zoom meetings with their class or could they just be given the materials to make sure what we are doing at home through a homeschool program?

Answer: SSFUSD will offer two distance learning opportunities, SSFUSD’s District  adopted curriculum and an approved online K -12 platform, Edgenuity. For SSFUSD’s District adopted curriculum option, students will use the same instructional materials as students in the Hybrid learning model. We will have live synchronous sessions at least once per day at the elementary level and at least 1 once per week for each course at the secondary level. SSFUSD will support students using Edgenuity, which is a self-paced online learning platform. We will work with our bargaining units on specific requirements with Edgenuity.

Question: Can you provide additional information about the distance learning model?

Answer: Families of students that choose distance learning will be assigned an SSFUSD teacher. The family/student will be able to ask for support in completing assignments. We’re meeting with our bargaining units soon, so at this time, we do not have definitive information but we expect that there will be check-ins with students. All distant learning support will be 100% virtual.

Question: Does SSFUSD support homeschooling through the school?

Answer: “Per CA compulsory education law, students age 6-18 must be enrolled in school (unless legally emancipated at the age of 18). If there are extenuating circumstances that would not be feasible for a student to be enrolled in either of our program models, parents/guardians would contact the Student Services division to discuss options. Supporting documentation and/or other verification may be required. Parents/guardians may also consider private education options outside of district services, which would be at the expense of the  parent/guardian.”

Question: Can I see or preview the curriculum that SSFUSD is recommending for 100% Distance learning.

Answer: Here’s a link to the website for Edgenuity to find more information regarding the curriculum at the elementary level (here) and for secondary curriculum (here). For families/students that choose to use district adopted curriculum, we will follow our scope and sequence for our courses. We use a variety of instructional materials. Here’s a list of the district’s adopted curriculum.

Question: During the in class Options, are the kids only in school for two days? Or is there also online learning for when they are not in school?

Answer: Families that choose the Hybrid Learning model, students will have two days of in person instruction/support and three days at home completing assignments. Our goal is to have students check in at the elementary level daily, at the secondary level teachers will check in with their assigned classes at least twice per week pending negotiations with our bargaining units.

Question: What level of instruction will be provided on on-line learning days? Answer: SSFUSD is planning on meeting with our bargaining units in the next couple of weeks to discuss specific requirements of staff regarding distance learning.

Question: Will there be video access to teacher lessons that are taking place in-class?

Answer: SSFUSD is planning on meeting with our bargaining units in the next couple of weeks to discuss specific requirements of staff regarding distance learning.

Question:  If the stay at home order comes back into effect, will all students transition to the 100% distance learning program or will it be a separate track from those students who started at 100% distance learning?​

Answer: Students will be placed in a new distance learning track that is different from students that started in 100% distance learning at the start of the school year.

Question:  What are the expectations of teacher-student interaction?  What will be asked of the student-student interactions?

Answer: ​ ​SSFUSD understands how important interactions are between teacher and student and student to student. We will try to encourage interactions between teachers and students and student to student as much as possible while we’re in distant learning or in a hybrid model.

Grading

Question: Also last quarter, secondary teachers issued credit/no credit as grades for distance learning.  Will that be the same in Fall or will this new program of distance learning support letter grades?

Answer: The grading policy of Incomplete/No Credit was put in place during the Spring 2020 semester due to COVID -19 pandemic. Grading is a topic that we negotiate with our bargaining units if we want to pursue a change in our grading policy, such as Incomplete/No Credit. Currently, our normal grading procedures will be in place for the 2020-21 school year. Here’s some additional information from our board policy 5121 Grades/Evaluation of Student Achievement:

When an emergency situation occurs that prevents students from having access to the supports/resources needed, especially when they are expected to continue learning at home, students will not be negatively impacted or penalized by grading given the inherent inequities that may be presented. Therefore, when San Mateo County, the state of California or the US Government declares a state of emergency, the Board with a recommendation from the Superintendent or designee may determine the grading system.

Health & Hygiene

Question: How will the district guarantee student health and safety in a hybrid learning model?

Answer: The following protocols will be observed in a hybrid learning model to support student health and safety:

·   Temperature checks

·   Face masks covering worn by everyone

·   Regular hand washing

·   Social distancing

·   Opening windows/doors for ventilation

·   Cleaning of restrooms 3 times a day

Teachers and district staff will enforce these protocols daily to protect their own health as well as that of the students.

Question: What are the sanitation measures during school hours?

Answer: We’re working with our facilities department on developing a disinfecting/sanitization guidelines and checklist to be followed by custodial staff.

Question: If my child is enrolled in the Hybrid in-school learning option and becomes sick (Not covid related), can the distance learning option take effect until my child is well?

Answer: If families choose the Hybrid learning Model, students will participate in both Distance and in person instruction/support. So, in this case, your student would not report to in person instruction/support while he/she was recuperating.

Question: In the event that a child is Covid positive and attended in class instruction, how will parents be notified? Text, email or phone call? Would the whole class need to be quarantined and learning transitioned online?

Answer: It depends on a variety of factors. We do have a process in place where families will be notified via School Messenger (email, text or phone) and it is possible that SSFUSD might have to go back to a previous phase which could include 100% distance learning while cleaning and sanitization is occurring at the site. We would also communicate with the school community that a confirmed case has been identified and will outline the actions being taken to ensure a safe return to school. To ensure consistency with privacy laws and our own policies, we would not share specific health information concerning any individual who has tested positive.

Question: Are school staff and students required to wear face masks and coverings when they come onto the school campus?

Answer: Yes.  In June 2020, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued amended guidance that no longer implies that school staff and students are exempt from wearing face masks or coverings.  It mandates that face coverings be worn state-wide by the general public when outside their home, with some exceptions.  It is our recommendation that staff and students wear a face covering when they come onto the school campus.

Question: What is a cloth face coverings?

Answer: A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth.  It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face.  It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, sink, or linen.  A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised by household items such as scarfs, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. Face coverings will be part of the clothing that the students and staff wear when going outside of their home.

Question: How should I care for a cloth face coverings?

Answer: It’s a good idea to wash your cloth face covering frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily.  Have a bag or bin to keep cloth face covering in until they can be laundered with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle.

Question: Will the District provide disposable face masks to all staff and students?

Answer: The District is not able to provide a disposable face mask to all staff and students every day during the instructional school year.  It would require the district to purchase over 1,800,000 disposable face masks.  There is a limited supply, and they are in high demand.  So, this would not be feasible.  In addition, the California Department of Education (CDE) states that districts only need to maintain a supply of disposable masks for students and staff who do not have or forget to bring their face covering to school.

Question: You have Wednesday scheduled for ‘Deep Cleaning’, but what is the expectation for cleaning between cohorts Monday night/Thursday night?  Why the change from the original blocks of Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday?​

Answer: Our maintenance team has night crews that start at 2:00pm and will follow daily cleaning and disinfecting procedures for our campuses and classrooms.

Question: What is the procedure going to be if a teacher, or someone they care for, falls ill?  Will there be a substitute called?  Will all students be asked to isolate?​ Answer: Staff have the ability to use leave to take care of his/herself or family members. Staff also have the right to access leave based on State and Federal laws. We are working on a process to have a substitute cover for a teacher that is on leave. At this time, we are still working on a process.

Question: Will there be cleaning crews assigned to individual schools to reduce cross-contamination?​

Answer: SSFUSD has custodians that are assigned to specific sites to clean our schools.

Question:  If the stay at home order comes back into effect, will all students transition to the 100% distance learning program or will it be a separate track from those students who started at 100% distance learning?​

Answer: Students will be placed in a new distance learning track that is different from students that started in 100% distance learning at the start of the school year.

Question:  What are the expectations of teacher-student interaction?  What will be asked of the student-student interactions?

Answer: ​SSFUSD understands how important interactions are between teacher and student and student to student. We will encourage interactions between teachers and students and student to student as much as possible while we’re in distant learning or in a hybrid model.

Nutritional Services

Question: Since there will be no lunches at the upcoming school year, what compensation can be provided for families that were buying school lunches?

Answer: Neither the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nor the Department of Education are providing waivers for meals for students/families that do not meet the federal requirements for “Free and Reduced Price Meals” in the 2020 -2021 school year. Families are encouraged to fill out the Free and Reduced lunch application to see if they qualify. SSFUSD is not currently planning on subsidizing breakfasts/lunches for families that do not meet federal/state requirements. If we are in distance learning, we will follow a similar process to what we did in the spring; we will distribute meals twice a week, like we previously did.  However, the meals will not be free. As soon as school resumes, we will need to enter all meals in the Point-of-Sale (POS) system.

Recess

Question: What does physical distancing look like during recess time? ​

Answer: Students will not have access to playground equipment. Each teacher gets a designated area on the playground/blacktop. Some of the elementary schools are purchasing playground equipment to be used by the same cohort of students so it eliminates the sharing of all playground equipment among all students present.

Special Education

Question: My child will be in special Education for the 2020 -21 school year. Will children in the special education classes attend every day?

Answer: No. Students will be assigned to a hybrid learning cohort and  assigned specific days to attend in person instruction/support. However, all students may start out in Distance Learning for the 2020-21 school year. We have proposed three phases of how we will bring all students back to our schools and special education students will be one of the first student groups that return to in person instruction/support.

Step by Step/Phase in Approach

Question: What is the step by step or phase in approach to return to in-person instruction?

Answer: SSFUSD is proposing three phases:

Phase 1 – 100% – Distance learning – all students

Phase 2 – Most vulnerable students, which may include: English Learners, Foster Youth, Homeless, and Students with Disabilities and other students that may need support as identified by staff – would come for in-person instruction/support based on their cohort – all other students still in 100% distance learning.

Phase 3 – Hybrid – Cohorts – All students would come to in person instruction/support based on the cohort.

Each phase is a minimum of three weeks unless health data or a covid-related situation occurs at the campus; those indicators determine if we need to remain in a certain phase longer than three weeks. Staff will evaluate to determine whether to move to the next phase based on the latest data available..

Transportation

Question: I was wondering if the school run (Samtrans) will be available?

Answer: SSFUSD has participated in the surveys conducted by SamTrans. However, SamsTrans will be making some difficult decisions and may need to reduce the number of routes served due to a decreased need for ridership in the county due to a number of school districts that may either choose a hybrid or 100% distance learning model. As soon as our instructional model/schedules are approved we will communicate this information so SamsTrans can have all the information available to them in order to make an informed decision.

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