DISTRICT NEWS & NOTES
September 18, 2020
Hello School District Family,
At their September 15 regular meeting, the Board of Education passed a motion to begin in-person school for elementary and K-8 students on October 5, 2020. The Board also passed a motion to begin in-person school for middle schools on October 19, which is the start of the second quarter.
Schools will open on those dates if we are in the Yellow Operational Zone. If we are still in the Red Operational Zone on October 5 (elementary) or October 19 ( middle school), we will schedule the start dates for as soon as possible once we move back to the Yellow Operational Zone.
Middle school will be following the A/B cohort schedule.
The board decided to postpone the decision about high schools until their October 6 regular meeting. Creating a plan for in-person school at the high school level while meeting the Department of Health and Social Services and Department of Education Smart Start guidelines, especially those that require small pods or cohorts and 6 feet of social distancing has proven to be particularly challenging for high school administrators.
The most recent update from the Center for Disease control reiterates the importance of cohorting.
Cohorting: Cohorts (or “pods”) are groups of students, and sometimes teachers or staff, that stay together throughout the school day to minimize exposure for students, teachers, and staff across the school environment. Ensure that cohorts are as static as possible by having the same group of students stay with the same teachers or staff (all day for young children, and as much as possible for older children). --Center for Disease Control, September 15, 2020.
I urge families to be patient with our school and district staff and the Board of Education as we work our way toward startup. We understand the huge economic, academic and social emotional impact of school closures. However, when positive cases of COVID occur in schools, principals find themselves immediately the target of intense scrutiny from various sources regarding whether or not their building is following health and safety protocols. Our principals and school staff are on the front line in terms of accountability for the health and safety of our community.
We are walking our way to school startup one step at a time. Educators are doing the very best they can every single day to serve students and we want all our students back in school as soon as it is safely possible. Please help us by doing all that you can in the community to lower the COVID-19 case rates in Fairbanks. Wash your hands, wear a mask, socially distance, maintain your own personal cohorts.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s IEP or services your best source of information will always be your student's case manager who is most familiar with your student's specific needs. The Special Education Department is also available at any time to support you.
Below is a link to our ‘Who to Contact’ document to assist you in reaching the person most capable of providing you support.
Parents: Do you think your child (ages 3-5) may have problems with communication, learning, or skill development? Child Find screenings will be held throughout the school year either virtually or individual in-person screenings. Please follow the link below for more information and to begin the process.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
There is also a direct link to Technology Resources for Parents. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to contact the department at 452-2000, ext. 11422.
We have received our large shipment of about 2,200 Chromebooks! We’re working closely with Principals at each school and are beginning to replace the oldest Chromebooks.
Student Passwords & Cybersecurity
We've made changes our cybersecurity to make your data and accounts more secure!
Students can manage their own passwords here or from within PowerSchool.
Passwords should be unique, and must not include your name, username (for students this is your “s-number”), or any other personal information. The longer your password is, the better!
For more tips on choosing good, strong passwords, visit Tips for a Stronger Password.
Remember - we’re each responsible for our own account. Never share passwords with others.
Teaching & Learning has created this helpful tutorial: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1os4eMv4O4jJNLkJROPXTJUl5Vq1At9oz9alRCh7eP1c/view
If you need additional assistance, please contact your student’s school front office. Each school is prepared to provide remote learning technology help. School staff is prepared to assist with anything from verifying the wifi to submitting an assignment through Seesaw or GoogleClass.
If they can’t help you at the building level, they can put in a work order and our District Help Desk will assist you.
More Technology Resources for Parents:
If for some reason your student device isn’t properly running the district apps you need, such as Google Meet or other apps your teacher uses for class, please contact your school. We may be able to resolve the issues by updating your device, or in some cases issuing a different device.
SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES
Activities will continue forward based on the latest ASAA’s guidelines. The format of the new guidelines are based on the development and adherence to mitigation plans rather than community risk levels. This puts responsibility on all of us to ensure we are continuing to follow, implement, and adhere to all mitigation efforts. If anyone is exhibiting symptoms they must stay home.
The FNSBSD’s Event Guidelines are based on ASAA’s new protocols. With these new guidelines, events and games are starting to happening in the high risk level operational zone. Please note there are to be no spectators at indoor events, and outdoor events can have spectators based on each facilities capacity.
Practices can switch to operating in ASAA’s former medium risk protocols. ASAA will also be releasing some new training courses for coaches on mitigating Covid-19.
Kids Voting North Alaska is gearing up for the Presidential Election with several activities for students!
* Kids Voting Theme Contest, Your Voice Counts. Vote! Entries due on November 13. More information: https://www.k12northstar.org/Page/8808
* eVote coming in October. Look for instructions from your teacher and/or home school coordinator with your eVoting password.
* Kids Voting North Alaska facebook page, shares resources to learn more about voting, the election, and citizenship. check it out:
Board of Education
School Board Action Report from the September 15, 2020 Regular meeting.
Wednesday, September 23rd
5:30pm: Parent Engagement Committee
Tuesday, October 6th
The Board will review the Smart Start plan at each regular meeting.
6:00 pm: Board of Education Meeting
All Day: Municipal Election Day
Operational Zones and District Medical Advisory Committee
The school district is currently in the Red Operational Zone. The borough case rate trends continue to increase. Those trends were the primary factors considered by the district Medical Advisory Committee this week to make district operational zone determinations. Dr. Mishelle Nace is the committee physician chair and provides regular updates to the Board of Education.