Reopening 2020-21 FAQs

  • June 25, 2020

    (Updated 7/23/20)

    Rogers Public Schools COVID-19 Guidelines for 2020 – 2021

    Rogers Public Schools will follow the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) guidelines and the Arkansas Ready for Learning report issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in planning for re-opening in the fall. We hope the following information helps answer many of the questions you may have about re-opening schools.

    Our goal will be to provide as safe an educational environment as possible that includes a rich educational experience, with opportunities for social interaction and extra curricular activities while adhering to physical distancing protocols when feasible and practical, and following the guidelines provided by the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education.

    1. GENERAL & DAY-TO-DAY INFORMATION FOR BUILDING ATTENDANCE

      What is the first day for students?

      School had been scheduled to start August 13, but this has been delayed by the state.​  Our school board voted to change the first day of school to August 24.

      Who will be required to wear face coverings?

      All students and staff will be required to wear face coverings when physical distancing of six feet is not possible. Face covering breaks should occur throughout the day. Breaks should occur when students can be six feet apart. Exceptions to face covering requirements will be made for those for whom it is not possible due to medical conditions, disability impact, or other health or safety factors. Face coverings should not be used on anyone who has trouble breathing. Students may be exempted from this policy due to special behavioral or individualized needs as determined by the Director of Special Services. For those with specific health conditions that require they not wear face covering, a physician's note shall be provided to the school nurse. More information can be found in the board approved guidelines.

      Do we need to provide face coverings for our student or will one be provided?

      Parents need to provide students with their own individual face coverings. It is recommended that a student have a minimum of three face coverings.  Schools will have extra disposable face coverings in the event a student loses or forgets his/her face covering.

      Will our students have the same arrival and dismissal times?

      Principals at each school are evaluating their building to maximize physical distancing during these times.  It is possible that these procedures will look different at our building(s).  If there are changes at your building you will be notified by your building administrator.

      Will bus transportation be provided?

      Yes, the district will provide bus transportation for all students who need it. All students and staff above the age of 2 will wear a face covering when riding a school bus or district transportation since physical distancing will not be feasible. Students should practice social distancing at the bus stop. 

      How normal will the day be for a student?

      Our goal is for student(s) to have as normal of a day as possible while we also adhere to safety guidelines. Students will not remain in the same classroom all day but will be able to transition from one class to another. Of course, sanitation will take place before a new group of students enter a space.

      Will my student eat lunch in their classroom?

      Based on current guidance, the ADH is recommending cafeterias limit the capacity of students in the cafeteria. We anticipate this may either mean we will be required to adjust lunch schedules or use alternative areas, such as large gathering spaces or potentially have lunch in their classroom. Proper sanitation of all areas will be completed after each meal. Procedures will not allow students to pick up utensils, self-serve, or share food.  Parents are strongly encouraged to open an online payment account at our third party online payment portal, SchoolCafe.com. This would be particularly beneficial at the secondary level for the purchase of ala carte items so that no cash is exchanged. Parents are encouraged to send a labeled water bottle with their students.  Hydration stations will be available for students to refill their bottles.  Water fountains will not be available.

      Note: Parents and visitors will not be allowed to eat lunch with their children during school business hours due to the safety of others. 

      Will elementary students still have extra classes like PE, art, music, guidance and library?

      Yes, students will continue to participate in activity classes, check out library books, and receive guidance. In some cases, the teacher may present their lesson in the student’s classroom to reduce the amount of cleaning needed. In others situations, such as PE, students may have an assigned area in the gym with specific materials assigned to their classroom.

      Will my elementary student have recess?

      Yes. Elementary students will have outdoor play time, weather permitting, with restrictions that limit the number of students they come in contact with.

      Will social distancing guidelines be observed?

      Social distancing will be observed as much as feasibly possible but at times students will be closer than the recommended 6 ft. apart. When social distancing requirements can not be maintained such as class exchange time, etc., it is strongly recommended that all students wear face coverings when practical and feasible.  We will redesign classrooms and cafeteria spaces to increase the space between students but can not always guarantee it will be 6 ft.

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

      Sanitation and cleanliness will be a high priority for our district as we return in the fall. We will be adding additional staff to clean 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 usage. 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.

      Will classrooms be arranged differently to protect students?

      Yes, classrooms will be arranged to provide more space between students. That might mean all desks are arranged in rows facing in a single direction. It might result in reading areas with bean bags, couches or comfy chairs being removed. It might include dividers between students who are seated at a table. We will make every effort to provide distance but not limit students ability to interact and communicate with others in their classroom. Additionally, supplies and materials will not be shared by students.

      Will students attend school every day or will we have some type of alternative schedule?

      We plan for students to attend school daily following a very similar schedule to the traditional school day.

      Will students be able to participate in extracurricular activities and sports in the fall?

      Yes, athletes returned to campus June 1, 2020, to begin practice. We anticipate sports activities in the fall with possible modifications as required by the ADH and the Arkansas Activities Association. At this time, we are still awaiting guidance on band and choir.

      Will schools have assemblies, pep rallies, or other large gatherings?

      Current guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Department of Education indicates that these types of large group gatherings should not be allowed at this time.

      Will students be allowed to go on field trips?

      At this time, field trips during the school day will not be allowed. Parents will be notified when field trips are reinstated.  

        

      Will students and adults be screened daily?

      Students and adults will be asked to complete a daily self-screening.

      Parents should screen students at home by monitoring daily temperature of the student and answering the following questions:

      1.) Have you had a fever of 100.4°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 been in contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19 within the previous 14 days?

      Staff members will perform a daily self-screening at home by following this same protocol.  This screening should be done each day before a staff member or student enters a school bus or a school building.  Students and adults who answer yes to any of the above questions should not report to school.

      Entry to buildings will be limited to those who need to conduct essential school business.  Any visitor entering the building may be asked to complete an ADH screening form. 

      Will parent volunteers be allowed in the school for things such as PTA meetings?   

      Visitors to the school will be allowed for school business only.  A final decision on how PTA/PTO meetings will be conducted has not been made but virtual meetings could be an option. Any visitor entering the building may be asked to complete an ADH screening form. 

      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 check their temperature. If temperature is over the ADH guidance, the student will be sent home and will need to be fever free for 48 hours without medication before returning to school. When the child returns to school they will be seen by the school nurse before going to his/her classroom.  Individuals testing positive for COVID-19 could result in brief closures of schools to provide time for additional cleaning and sanitizing.

      I have a student with special needs, what might I need to know?   What advice do you have for students with special needs (autism, asthma, panic attacks, anxiety, etc.) or students with weakened immune systems and pre-existing conditions?

      Special education services will be delivered by qualified special education teachers and related service providers following the student’s individual education plan for both on-site and virtual instruction.  Safety of both students and staff are top priority and appropriate CDC and AHD guidelines will be followed to the extent feasible.  The district will be prepared to accommodate students through both onsite and offsite instruction with special needs. Our Special Education instructors will be taking extra precautions when working with students. If parents have concerns about their students who may be at high-risk because of COVID-19, they may explore the virtual learning option which allows the student to continue their education from the safety of their own home. Safety of students and staff will be a priority and there will be many protocols in place to ensure we are following the CDC and ADH guidelines to the extent feasible and practical.  However, parents of students who may be at higher risk if COVID-19 is contracted may want to consider exploring the virtual learning option.  This option allows students to continue their learning from the safety of their home.

      If an individual (student or staff member) tests positive for COVID-19, what will happen?  Will I be notified?

      In the event an individual tests positive, we will follow the latest guidance from the ADH. We will be in direct contact with ADH for contact tracing and providing information, including making decisions about who needs to be informed, and/or if necessary, a brief closure of a single school within the district to provide time for additional cleaning and sanitation.  Rogers Public Schools is bound by all HIPPA and FERPA laws pertaining to an individual's privacy.

      What happens if we have school closures again?

      We learned much from our unexpected closure in the spring and that informs our plans for the fall.  The Teaching and Learning Department is making plans to train and prepare teachers to deliver all instruction in a blended format that involves face to face and digital learning on a daily basis.  This will enhance our ability to offer uninterrupted instruction in new learning should school need to close.  In this manner, we are planning to continue to move students forward in their mastery of the standards and learning expectations.  If schools close again, a plan for at-home digital learning has been developed. This plan will use Google Classroom to post lessons and for students to submit assignments. Teachers will utilize Google Meet to deliver lessons. Students will learn how to use these systems while at school.

      In the event of a temporary school closure, how will the district serve students who have special needs (Special Education, 504, Dyslexia, etc).  

      In the event of a school closure, students will participate in live instruction with scheduled Zoom sessions.

      If the school building closes and my child needs to switch to virtual learning for a period of time, will he/she be receiving video instruction from her teacher? Or will he/she just be given a list of AMI-style activities to do?   

      New learning will continue whether we are in the building or the students are at home.  There will be a blended format for learning that will include the teacher meeting with the students virtually on predetermined schedules and lessons that will have video, Google Slides or Powerpoints with voice over to provide instruction.  It will be very different than what we had in the spring.  Students who choose the building attendance option would receive instruction from their assigned classroom teacher via digital means while the school is closed.  Students would return to the building after a short period of time once a deep cleansing of the building occurred.  All ADH guidelines would be followed before students would be allowed to return to the building for face to face instruction.  

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

      Curriculum teams have identified missed standards and learning expectations from previous grade levels or courses.  The missing standards will be taught at appropriate times.  Additionally, students in kindergarten through 8th grade will be assessed to determine individual strengths and deficits.  Additional support will be provided based on student needs.  At the secondary level, missed skills from a previous course will be embedded in the next course in the sequence.  For example, a student enrolled in geometry would have geometry skills embedded in the his/her Algebra II course.

      Will we have open house?

      We are currently considering options for open houses and orientations.

       

    2. Virtual Learning

    If I don’t want my student to return to a traditional classroom, what are my options?  

    The District has provided a survey to all parents to collect information regarding their interest in a digital option for students. This would provide an online educational program for students who do not feel comfortable returning to onsite instruction. Parents will be asked to sign up for the virtual education program and commit to a minimum of a semester. Exceptions to this commitment will be on a case-by-case basis.  Parents and students will be required to commit to the Virtual Education option no later than July 20, 2020. Upon your return to the traditional school setting, you will be given priority for assignment to your zoned school but placement will be dependent upon availability.

    K-5 Virtual:  Students selecting virtual learning will have their lessons delivered through a digital platform using the same curriculum as those attending the traditional school setting. Students will be assigned a virtual teacher who will be responsible for supporting the students, providing feedback related to the students’ work and assigning quarterly grades. Teachers will be accessible to their students for prescribed daily time slots for technical support and learning support.

    6-12 Virtual: Under this model, all instruction is delivered by an outsourced provider, Red Comet, which the district has used in the previous school year. Students may register for core classes and electives through this platform. Each semester students may take a maximum of six classes. This model allows for a “work at your own pace” throughout the semester. Students may communicate with a teacher and/or administrator for technical support and learning support if difficulties arise. All learning occurs via digital means by students logging into the Rogers Virtual Learning system. Grades and performance are monitored by district officials to support students during their digital learning experience.

    Would students choosing virtual learning receive a device from the district to complete the digital assignments?

    Any student choosing to participate in the virtual learning option will receive a Chromebook from the district.  Students are responsible for the care of the device and must return it to the district at the completion of their virtual learning experience.  

    How is attendance calculated for virtual learning?

    Based on the rules set by the Arkansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:

    A student is absent from remote, off site, and virtual learning if the student is not: 

    1. present for onsite instruction provided by the district, 
    2. participatingin a planneddistrict-approved activity, or
    3. engaged in scheduled instruction at an off-site location, including remote learning.  

    What are the expectations with online classes? How much time will I spend each day?   

    Students are expected to engage with their learning opportunity via either their virtual classroom teacher or instruction delivered via digital means.  Students will be expected to complete various assignments, quizzes, and examinations throughout their virtual experience.  Grades will be based on student understanding and completion of assignments, quizzes, and examinations.  Virtual learning provides flexibility for students to complete lessons and assignments at various times in the day but students should plan for three to four hours per day to complete all their work.  Students should complete all assigned lessons daily so that teachers may provide appropriate feedback in a timely manner.

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

    RPS Virtual Learning Academy students in grades 6-12 may participate in AAA activities in person at the school, including band, choir, orchestra and athletics. Students must attend at least ONE class in person on the campus to participate in an AAA activity. The activity can be the one class on campus if provided during the school day. RPS students will not participate in clubs, etc. that are not AAA activities.  K-5 students will not participate in onsite extracurricular activities.

    Are Pre-AP and AP classes offered via virtual learning?

    Currently, RPS does not have an option for Pre-AP courses to be offered in a virtual setting.  Students must enroll for these courses at their respective boundary school for credit.  The district is still exploring whether AP courses may be taken virtually.    

    Will students be allowed to participate in the associates program at NWACC if you are taking full-time virtual courses?

    Students will be allowed to participate in the Associates Degree Program while taking virtual courses if his/her schedule allows. 

    Will the internship program be available for Virtual Learning?

    The internship program will be available to the extent that placements can be provided for students in our community.  Many businesses in the community have altered their practices due to COVID-19.  Students will be allowed to participate as placement spots become available.

    Updated Wednesday, July 23, 2020

    Please check back for future updates.