• How was the reopening plan developed?

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    Gordon County Schools has continuously monitored federal, state, and local guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the specific information that has been reviewed includes guidance from the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Public Health, and the CDC. Utilizing this guidance, district and school leaders have met to discuss the many facets of reopening school. Information and input were also gathered from various advisory groups (including parents and teachers) and through surveys to garner feedback from parents and staff members. Feedback included reflection on last spring’s on-line learning and response to COVID-19, as well as specific information regarding returning to school. The plan will be continuously monitored in conjunction with state and local officials, and any necessary modifications will be made accordingly.

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  • Will there be open houses, and how will they work?

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    There will be in-person orientations scheduled for each school. The schedule of dates and times can be found on our back to school page. The times for each grade band will be assigned based upon last name to allow fewer people in each classroom during the assigned time slot.

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  • Are any visitors allowed in schools?

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    Essential visitors are welcome; however, visitors, including parent visitors, will be required to have their temperature taken and answer a series of questions regarding potential COVID-19 exposure. In addition, visitors will be required to wear masks.

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  • Will students be socially distanced in classrooms and on school buses?

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    Schools will employ social distancing as it is feasible and practical. Teachers and administrators are reconfiguring classroom seating to offer more spacing and maximize distancing. It is not feasible to socially distance on our busses; however, we are implementing new practices such as loading from back to front and unloading in the reverse. In addition, students are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings while on the bus and any time socially distancing is not possible, such as entering/leaving school and during transitions.

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  • Will students be given an opportunity to have breaks?

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    Yes. Schools will schedule staggered breaks and recess times for students throughout the day.

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  • Will students be allowed to share materials and devices?

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    Students should have their own supplies and assigned iPads for use in the classroom.  Any shared materials, such as math manipulatives or books, will be collected and sanitized before use by another student.  Students will be discouraged from sharing other personal devices such as cell phones.

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  • Will face coverings be required for anyone?

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    School nutrition workers will be required to wear face coverings when serving meals, and visitors will be required to wear them upon entering the building. School nurses will also wear masks/face coverings when working with students in school clinics. Students who have symptoms at school will be required to wear a face covering until they are picked up from school.

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  • Will the district reconsider face coverings for students and staff to make them mandatory?

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    Per the Governor’s Executive Order, the use of face coverings/masks is not mandated but is strongly recommended, particularly in settings where social distancing is difficult to accomplish (i.e. during hallway transitions, drop-off/pick-up, etc.). Any policy regarding face coverings should be sensitive to the needs of students and staff with medical issues that make the wearing of a face covering inadvisable. However, the school district does strongly encourage all students and staff to wear face coverings. Should the wearing of face coverings become mandated by local, state or federal officials, the school district will follow that direction.

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  • What happens if a child is running a fever at school once we return to in-person instruction?

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    If a child is running a fever or exhibiting other COVID-19 symptoms, a parent/guardian will be contacted to pick up the student. The school nurse will ask the student to put on a mask/face covering (provided, if needed) and isolate the student and keep him/her comfortable until someone arrives to pick up the student. Remember, a student should not come to school if he/she is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

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  • What if my child is sick and can’t attend school? Will he/she be counted absent?

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    We highly discourage students from attending school if they are sick. However, work will be provided by the classroom teacher during this time, and they will be able to make up all of their assignments. There will be no attendance incentives in the 2020-2021 school year, including perfect attendance awards and exam exemptions based upon attendance.

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  • What happens when a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19?

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    The Georgia Department of Education provided a decision matrix in Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools. Please click here to access this document. The superintendent/designee works directly with the regional Department of Public Health representatives for guidance in making decisions regarding any type of class cancellation or temporary school closure. GCS follows a daily deep cleaning and disinfecting protocol which will greatly limit/reduce the need for an entire school closure.

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  • If a staff member or student tests positive, how will contact tracing occur?

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    In the event an employee or a student is diagnosed with COVID-19, the school district will work with the Department of Public Health once we are notified to make contacts as appropriate. Due to privacy and confidentiality laws, you will only be contacted if your student is identified as someone who was in direct contact with someone who tested positive (direct contact is defined as within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes). In some cases, those who had indirect contact with someone testing positive may be contacted and asked to monitor for symptoms. We will not share specific information regarding those who test positive due to privacy and confidentiality.

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  • Will schools transition to a hybrid model or go online after starting in-person instruction?

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    Based upon the amount of community spread for the virus, schools may transition, with little notice, to an online or hybrid model. This may or may not impact every school in the district or every class in the school at a given time. For information on how this will work, view our on-line learning framework.

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  • If there is a school closure, how will my child continue learning while at home?

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    We have updated our system distance learning framework. In the event of a class cancellation or school closure, GCS teachers will implement online learning through the use of Schoology platform also utilizing Microsoft Teams for live lessons. This will be different from our closure in the spring because attendance will be recorded and grades will be assigned based on the work completed throughout the closure.

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  • Will there be an after-school program for elementary students?

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    Yes, the Gordon County After School Program will operate until 6 p.m. each school day at all six elementary schools. Additional health and safety protocols will be implemented.

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  • What is VAL?

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    VAL stands for Virtual At-Home Learning.

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  • Can students switch to the virtual program (VAL) if the in-person instruction doesn't work for us?

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    No, having students switch back and forth between the in-person and virtual programs would create logistical and staffing issues. Students who register for the VAL program are committing to a specified amount of time (9 weeks for elementary and one semester for middle/high).  Those attending in-person may access coursework and keep up with their academics through Schoology if they need to be out temporarily due to something such as illness.

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  • If I chose the virtual option how much time will be spent at the computer each day?

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    Elementary students enrolled in GCS VAL will be taught using some live, interactive, videocast lessons between the hours of 8:00 AM and 2:30 PM similar to their peers who chose the option for in-person instruction. Live lessons and instructional support will be videocast and interactive, so students must be online to attend the live lessons (ex., TEAMS meetings). However, they will not be sitting in live lessons all day. The daily schedule of the live lessons will be determined by each teacher and communicated to parents in advance.

    When not attending the live videocast lessons, students will have independent classwork and assignments to complete on their own time. Parents can determine the other hours of the day when their children complete independent work. Just like the face-to-face classrooms, students will have a mixture of whole group lessons, small group support with the teacher, independent classwork, independent reading, activities, and assessments. Elementary parents can expect their children to participate in scheduled, live lessons and unscheduled independent classwork for a total of 4-5 hours each school day.

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  • If my child is enrolled in virtual at-home learning (VAL), will he/she be able to return to in-perso

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    Yes- Elementary students will have the option to return to in-person instruction after completing 9 weeks of full-time at-home learning, and middle and high school may return after one semester.

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  • What technology is available for students that choose VAL?

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    As part of the district’s 1:1 technology initiative, students in grades 3-12 have been issued iPads for use with instructional activities. Students who register for VAL will be able to take those iPads home with them. In addition, students in grades K-2 will be able to check out an iPad for home use.

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  • What technology is available for students K-2 who participate in VAL?

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    Students in grades K-2 will be able to check out an iPad for home use if registered for VAL.

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  • Will PreK be offered as a part of VAL?

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    No. Our PreK program is governed by a state agency- Bright from the Start, and they are not offering an online option at this time.

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  • Will school meals be provided to students that enroll in VAL?

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    No. Unlike with the meal delivery service that was provided during school closures in the spring or with our summer feeding program, students who are provided with school meals will need to be at school to receive them.

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  • Will students with special needs and an IEP receive instruction to meet their needs under VAL?

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    Special education services will be provided differently in an online environment. Once a student with a disability has been registered with VAL the Exceptional Students Department will facilitate a meeting to discuss services with the student's family.  A student must have been assessed and placed in the ESS program prior to VAL registration.

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  • Will students in Advanced or Honors classes be able to take equivalent courses in VAL?

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    Advanced Placement and Honors courses are offered through our online learning platform. Options for those courses may differ from those offered on our campuses. Dual enrollment is available through colleges and universities for those who qualify.

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  • Will students in VAL be required to physically visit attend to complete any requirements?

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    In rare cases, students may be asked to physically visit the school to complete certain academic tasks or take assessments. If parents/students object to this requirement, the school will work with the student to find an alternate solution. In the case of standardized assessments, please note that the Georgia Department of Education has filed a request with the federal DOE to exempt all Georgia students from standardized tests this school year. That request has not yet been approved.

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  • Will transportation be provided should students who participate in VAL need to physically attend?

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    No. A parent or guardian would need to provide transportation; however, these instances should be rare.

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