NCSS Stakeholder Update-July 7, 2020

NCSS July 7, 2020 Stakeholder Update on Reopening of Schools
Posted on 07/07/2020
NCSS Weekly Update

This week’s announcements:

1. Newton County School System will offer two models of instruction for elementary students and three for middle and high school students. NCSS will post more, in-depth information on the three options later this week and allow parents the opportunity to select which curricular model they prefer for their student by a set deadline. Those with questions regarding instructional options may reach out to us by email at [email protected] once the detailed information on the three options are released later this week. Until then, a brief synopsis of the three choices is available below.

Instructional Options:

In-Person, Traditional Model: Parents of students in grades Pre-K through twelfth grade may choose the traditional, in-person instructional model. In the traditional in-person instructional model, students attend school in person on campus five days a week and learn in the classroom with the support of highly qualified teachers. This traditional model is offered contingent upon levels of community transmission of COVID-19 as determined by the Georgia Department of Public Health.

School-Based Virtual Model: A second option for students in grades Pre-K through 12 is the school-based virtual model whereby students are taught by a school system teacher who will follow the district’s curriculum maps and use virtual learning software. This option requires heavy use of instructional technology, including digital tools that already are available in our classrooms. This online model leverages the strengths of teachers and staff in supporting the learning success of students.

Self-Paced Virtual Academy Model: Students in grades six through 12 also have the option of a third, self-paced virtual academy model that gives students the freedom to adapt their schedules to accommodate their other interests. In this model, which again is only available for grades 6-12, students receive instruction via a virtual learning platform with little teacher support.

2. The Newton County Board of Education today voted to amend the 2020-2021 school calendar. Students will now report to school on Monday, August 24, 2020. As a result of the change, the last day of school for students is Friday, June 4, 2021. The new, revised calendar will be posted on the NCSS website later this week.

3. Newton County School System announced various health and safety measures that the district will utilize to diminish the risk of student/staff exposure to COVID-19. These include the following:

School Setting:

  • All students and employees must stay home if exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, test positive, or had close contact with a person with COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  • Desks and tables will be spaced to maximize physical distancing
  • Class change schedules will be staggered
  • Visitors to buildings will be restricted to only those essential to be there
  • All students and staff will receive cloth masks; usage of these masks will be expected. (Parents of younger children are encouraged to have students practice wearing masks now so they are familiar with them prior to the start of school).
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be available in hallways
  • Handwashing and sanitizing will be encouraged throughout the day
  • Paper towels and soap will be readily available
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces will occur throughout the day
  • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols will be used in computer labs, media centers, and athletic facilities
  • Effective cleaners and hand sanitizers will be provided to teachers and office staff on a continuing basis
  • Those who become sick at school/work will be sent home immediately
  • All schools will have a room to isolate symptomatic persons
  • Students reporting to the clinic will have their temperature taken
  • CDC guidance on students and staff returning to school will be followed
  • Water fountains will be temporarily disabled and students may bring water from home or use a bottle filling station where available
  • Community use of school buildings will be limited to preexisting contracts and programs providing direct support to students
  • Physical partitions will be used where needed, such as the front office desk, media center desk, etc.

Cafeteria Setting:

  • Students will pick up meals through serving lines in cafeteria and return to their classrooms
  • Employees will plate all food items; no self-service options will be available
  • Students will practice physical distancing while in the cafeteria line
  • Routing cleaning of high touched areas will take place
  • No point of sale keypads will be used

Pupil Transportation Setting:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be followed after every route
  • Students and staff will be expected to wear masks and sanitize hands while on the bus
  • Students will be required to physical distance at bus stops and on the bus as allowable
  • School bus drivers and monitors will self-screen for symptoms each morning before reporting to work; Parents will assess children each morning for fever and other symptoms
  • Students and staff with fevers of 100.4 or greater or exhibiting other signs of illness will not be allowed to ride the bus