Reopening Schools - Questions and Answers

Reopening Schools - Questions and Answers
Posted on 07/30/2020
Frequently Asked Questions

Gilmer County Schools
Reopening Schools
Questions and Answers
(More questions, answers, and updates will be added over the next few weeks.)


Gilmer Virtual Academy
 
Q. Will seniors be considered graduates of their home school or the virtual school?
A. Seniors will be graduates of Gilmer High School. (7/7/2020)
Q. How will virtual school affect class rank and honors at the virtual school?
A. We are not considering changes in calculations at this time. (7/7/2020)
Q. What are the virtual options for PreK?
A. No, our Georgia Lottery PreK programs are regulated by the Georgia Department of
Early Care and Learning, and we must meet their requirements and guidelines. For more information please contact Katrina Kingsley, Pre-K Director at katrina.kingsley@gilmerschools.com. (7/30/2020)
Q. Can I do Virtual School and Work Based Learning?
A. Yes, depending upon the requirements at the individual work site. (7/7/2020)
Q. What is the application fee for the Gilmer Virtual Academy and does dual enrollment apply to this practice?
A. There is not a fee to apply to the Gilmer Virtual Academy. Students can participate in Dual Enrollment courses at brick and mortar school and through the Virtual Academy. (7/7/2020)
Q. If a high school student qualified for 4th block opt out, can they take 3 classes at the Gilmer Virtual Academy like they would have at the brick and mortar school or would they 
have to take 4?
A. Yes, students who qualify for the 4th block opt out can take 3 classes at the virtual school. (7/7/2020)
Q. What would the Virtual option mean as far as band/Chorus/Connection classes?
A. Elective choices in the full-time virtual school are still being considered and developed. Please note that we will not be able to offer all electives currently offered at the brick and mortar school at the full-time virtual school. Gilmer Virtual School Students will be allowed to participate in extra-curricular activities such as Band/Chorus/Sports that take place in the afternoon after the school day ends, but not during the school day at the high school level only. (7/7/2020)
Q. Will elementary students in virtual learning still receive gifted services?
A. The availability of gifted services in the full-time virtual school will depend on our ability to staff the elementary virtual school with gifted certified students. (7/7/2020)
Q. Will there be structure and specific schedules for Gilmer Virtual Academy (GVA)?
A. GVA will have a structured online curriculum at the students own pace with their work being monitored. (7/8/2020)
Q. Will students participating in the Gilmer Virtual Academy be required to participate in testing?
A. All State Mandated Testing required of traditional students will be required of students participating in Gilmer Virtual Academy. (7/8/2020)
Q. How will students who choose Virtual Learning receive their Chromebook?
A. Students enrolled in GVA will be assigned their Chromebook at their designated school at a date to be determined. (7/8/2020)
Q. After the first 9wks are over, do students enrolled in Gilmer Virtual Academy (GVA) return to face-to-face instruction?
A. No, students will remain in GVA unless they transfer back to their districted school for traditional face-to-face instruction. If the student and family opts for GVA, they must commit to the entire grading period.  (7/8/2020)
Q. Can students who choose traditional school switch to GVA after 9wks? Can students stay enrolled through the GVA option throughout the whole year?
A. Yes, we encourage students and families to choose the best option and stay it for the entire year to maintain continuity. (7/9/2020)
Q. I just enrolled my child into kindergarten. Are they eligible to sign up for virtual learning?
A. Yes (7/9/2020)
Q. Will the instructors of GVA be actual teachers employed by Gilmer County Schools?
A. The curriculum will be provided through an online provider, OdysseyWare and Edgenuity. Each course will have a Gilmer teacher assigned to serve only as a facilitator to ensure the students are making adequate progress. The Gilmer staff member will not be responsible for course content or direct instruction. (7/13/2020)
 
Q. Will students who choose GVA be able to attend open house and meet his/her teacher/instructor?
A. No, the students will be contacted by phone or virtual meeting. (7/13/2020)
Q.
 Will GVA students be able to correspond with his/her teacher/instructor on a daily basis?
A.  Each course will have a Gilmer teacher assigned to serve only as a facilitator to ensure the students are making adequate progress. The Gilmer staff member will not be responsible for course content or direct
instruction. (7/13/2020)

Q. Will GVA be offered the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year?
A. Yes, we encourage those who register for Gilmer Virtual Academy to participate for the entire year and students will not be allowed to withdraw before the end of the first grading period. (7/13/2020)
 
Q. If a child chooses to enroll in the Gilmer Virtual Academy would he/she still be eligible to attend Prom, Graduation and receive a yearbook?
A. Yes (7/16/2020)
 
Q. What will virtual learning through GVA look like this year?
A. Students will participate in digital/distance learning Monday-Friday and will follow the GCSS school calendar. Students will be held accountable for daily participation in learning activities. (7/16/2020) 
 
Q. How will I know what the expectations are for my student enrolled in GVA?
A. We will have a virtual parent meeting on August 5, 2020 from 6pm -7pm for parents who have selected digital/distance learning for the 2020-21 school year. We will contact those parents with more information. (7/16/2020) 
Q. Are all classes offered through GVA?
A. No. At a minimum, all core, academic classes will be offered. At the high school level AP courses will be offered; however, no honors-level courses will be offered. Students in Virtual Academy will not be enrolled in any hands-on courses, i.e., band, chorus, welding, art, culinary, weight training, etc... therefore they will not receive credit for those classes. High school students may still participate in activities after school, but because they are not physically in the class they will not receive credit. (7/16/2020)
Q: Does Gilmer County Schools offer or promote fee-based tutoring for students enrolled in the Gilmer Virtual Academy?
 
A: Gilmer County Schools does not offer or promote any fee-based tutoring. If you have been contacted by someone stating they are representing the school system as a tutor, know that this is false information. (8/6/2020)



FOR FURTHER INFORMATION REGARDING GILMER VIRTUAL ACADEMY STRUCTURE PLEASE REFER TO THE LINK PROVIDED BELOW
7-20-2020 BOE Virtual Academy Re-Opening Presentation.pdf

 Special Education

Q. Will elementary students in virtual learning still receive special education services?
A. Special education services will continue in brick and mortar schools at the green, yellow and red levels. Special education will continue to follow student IEP's while providing services and supports in the full-time virtual school. (7/7/2020)
Q. Special Education: What would a day of virtual learning look like for students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP's)
A. Services will be determined on an individualized basis as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (7/9/2020)
Q. How will wearing a mask on the bus affect students with sensory issues?
A.
Some students with disabilities may have difficulty wearing a mask while at school or on the bus. Teachers will work with these students and parents to come up with an individual plan to assist these students. This plan can be developed by the IEP team. (7/16/2020)

 Traditional Face-to-Face Instruction

Q. For the Traditional Face to Face Option, will face coverings be required?
A. Face coverings will be strongly recommended in the buildings and required to ride the bus. (7/7/2020)
Q. Will breakfast and lunch be served? Will students receive lunch in the classroom or in the cafeteria?
A. Yes, breakfast will be served as “grab and go”. Lunch will be served in the cafeteria. (7/7/2020)
Q. Will building be disinfected daily? 
A. Disinfecting by custodians will occur throughout the day on high touch surface areas. Teachers will also be provided with disinfectant for use in between classes
as needed. Other commercial options can be used where necessary, such as in the case of a full school closure. (7/7/2020)
Q. How will you stop the fast spread of the virus between classes and grades?
A. Realistically, the school district cannot control the spread of the virus, we can only set the conditions to mitigate the spread. Examples of prevention protocols can be found at this link. CDC Stop the Spread of Germs (7/7/2020)
Q. Are face coverings required on buses? 
A. Face coverings are required to be worn on the bus if students choose to ride the
bus. (Financially, it is not feasible to accommodate 6 ft. social distancing on our buses.)  (7/7/2020)
Q. What steps will be enforced within the schools to ensure safety?
A. Our school district follows state requirements to ensure safety. Examples: fire drills, access control, severe weather drills. Modifications to
our safety plan will include prevention protocols for COVID-19. (7/7/2020)
Q. Will students be allowed to change classes throughout the year as in previous years or will they be required to stay in one classroom as suggested by the CDC?
A. This will vary depending on the level - elementary, middle, high school. (7/7/2020)
Q. How will the attendance policy be adjusted to align with the need to stay home when sick?
A. Attendance policies are being reviewed and will be adjusted. (7/7/2020)
Q. Are students in the same room all day?
A. This will depend on the school level - elementary, middle or high school. (7/7/2020)
Q. What will class size be at each grade level? Is there a change?
A. Class sizes will be kept as low as possible. (7/7/2020)
Q. What is the current plan for sports? And how does this plan change with the schools being at different levels throughout the year?
A. We will align our practice with guidance from the Georgia High School Association. (7/7/2020)
Q. Will brick and mortar lessons be recorded so those with symptoms stay home?
A. Teachers will have the capacity to record lessons and post recordings at the middle and high school levels. Instruction will continue through Google Classroom. (7/7/2020)
Q. Will masks be provided for students where they are required (buses)?
A. Students will be asked to wear masks from home if available; however, there will be masks available for those unable to bring masks from home. (7/8/2020)
Q. Will masks be available for students who choose to wear one?
A. Students will be asked to wear masks from home if available; however, there will be masks available for those unable to bring masks from home. (7/8/2020)
 
Q. If my elementary student elects to participate in face-to-face, traditional instruction, will they still have outdoor recess?
A. Yes, Recess groups will be contained to grade levels. Activity zones will be assigned on a daily rotation. The main objective is to regulate movement but still allow children to expend energy. (7/16/2020)
 
Q. If my student elects to participate in face-to-face, traditional instruction, and they or someone in my household test positive for COVID-19, what will instruction look like?
A. As with any illness, this will be treated as a short-term absence from school. They will follow our Continuity of Instruction Plan. Students will continue to participate in their existing classes with their current teachers. Expectations for attendance and participation in learning activities will remain the same as students who are attending school face-to-face. (7/16/2020) 


Other Information
Q. If we choose to homeschool for a period of time, then decide that the Gilmer Option 1 or 2 would be an acceptable fit based on other parents sharing their experience, will I be able to register 
and choose an option at any time after school starts?
A. Yes. Homeschool and private school students are accepted at any time during the year should they choose to enroll; however, we do encourage families to enroll at the very beginning of the year in order not to miss instructional standards that are taught from the very beginning. (7/7/2020)
Q. Last year, students in grades 1st - 5th were not issued a Chromebook to take home. Would that be different this year in the event the school was at a yellow or red level and needed to have classes online?
A. Chromebooks will be assigned to all students 1st Grade-12th Grade for check out if needed. Most virtual lessons for Pre-K and Kindergarten will include “unplugged activities” along with activities which may require a device to connect via Google Meets, Oddyseyware, and Edgenuity. (7/7/2020)
Q. If we are forced to shift to distance learning for students who select the traditional face to face model will there be a plan for meal distribution?
A. Yes, based on available USDA waivers. (7/7/2020)




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