Back To School FAQ
All the questions - and some answers! ;)
Art City Families:
I am so excited to have students and teachers back in our building! I have appreciated the calls and visits with many of you as we discuss your concerns and answer any questions you may have. I hope you have read the FAQ that Nebo District has published. That answers many questions. In my efforts to keep you up to date with as much information as possible, I’ll share a few things.
If I have not been as quick to get information to you as you would like, please remember that it is important that I send the correct information (as much as humanly possible). There are a lot of opinions, rumors and suggestions out there. Things change daily. If you are ever in doubt, please call or refer to the Utah County Health requirements and the governor’s office. Those are the directives we follow. You can call us anytime – we don’t mind one bit.
If you have not completed the registration process, please do so as soon as possible. If you change your mind about face-to-face vs. at-home learning, there is an easy process to make this change. However, we are asking for a final decision by JULY 30th because we need to get kids assigned to classes and we need to staff our schools accordingly. I also ask that you remember to log back in and pay a donation. These donations are vital for our teachers and students. We do not send home a list of required supplies. Everything is provided. Sometimes teachers may mention things that are useful in the classroom, but that is not required. Donations help provide these supplies. 85% of all donations goes directly back to the teachers for activities and supplies for the classroom. The other 15% is used for assemblies and student rewards. We are suggesting $25 per student. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!
I want to send my kids back but I'm worried about the safety protocols. Is anything being done and if so, what will it look like?
We have spent many, many hours defining every possible scenario we can think of. We want to be thorough and ensure student safety, yet make sure kids enjoy coming to school each day. Here are some details:
- · Contactless entry and exit (exterior classroom doors will be propped opened and supervised for a 10-15 minutes before the start of school). Students will be able to play on the playground before school if they are here for breakfast. The playground equipment will be sanitized once each day. All entry and exit will be touchless as much as possible.
- · Parents are encouraged to limit drop off to 8:30-8:45. Please do not send children to school too early. Children who arrive for breakfast (service begins at 8:15) will be allowed to go out to the playground after eating, until the bell rings. Supervision will begin at 8:20.
- · Sanitation stations are available throughout the school so children can sanitize upon entering. Staff will monitor, teach and train students how to properly sanitize.
- · Each classroom has a supply of rags and sanitizing spray. All surfaces are cleaned each day.
- · Signage has been created and will be placed strategically throughout the school to remind and teach children about safety procedures.
- · Hallways will have directional pathways that will be taught and reinforced. We will be teaching students to stay on the right-hand side of the hallway.
- · Teachers are building handwashing times into the schedule each day (at arrival, before and after lunch, after recess, after a transition).
- · We have purchased soap dispensers and hand sanitizer dispensers for every classroom.
- · We have purchased a fogger so that we can fog/sanitize rooms at night.
- · Masks or face covering will be required upon arrival and while in hallways before and after school.
- · All hallway drinking fountains will be closed. All children are asked to bring a water bottle each day clearly marked with their name. Water bottles can be refilled in the classrooms.
- · Parents will be asked to assess their child before school each day to ensure there are no signs of illness. If parents do not have access to a thermometer, the school has purchased several no-touch thermometers and would be happy to take temperatures upon arrival for those who can't do it at home.
- · A child with any sign of illness will need to stay home until they feel well enough to return. Teachers will provide work for students home ill, just as they have done in the past.
- · We have created a quarantine room at the school where sick children can wait until parents are able to pick them up (away from the main office and other children).
- · Custodial and administrative staff will be routinely cleaning and disinfecting the front office, bathrooms, or other common areas.
- · Parents are asked to provide a mask for their child each day. Children who come without a mask will be provided one for that day. Please make sure you write your child's name on their mask. (If you would like to donate some hand made masks that can be used for volunteers or students who do not have a mask, we are gratefully accepting those donations. Re-usable masks are laundered and sanitized after each use.
- · Each classroom will have a few plexiglass dividers for each teacher.
- · Each student will have a face shield at school. They will have a large envelope that they will be able to keep their shield in. Throughout the day students will be able to use shields in place of masks.
- · Students will all have their own supplies (no shared supplies such as markers, scissors, art supplies, etc.).
Are you really going to require the students to wear masks for 6 hours a day? Will they ever get a break?
The governor’s office as well as the Utah County Health Department is requiring masks in school and we will support this directive. I understand that wearing masks is going to be difficult, but I also believe we can rise to the occasion.
Your children will absolutely get breaks throughout the day. Teachers are already thoughtfully considering how they will build in breaks where students can be socially distanced enough to take off their masks. We are building in additional recess breaks where students can get outside. Teachers are planning lessons that can be done outside or in different locations throughout the school where kids can spread out, be socially distanced and take off their masks.
For our youngest students (preschool, kindergarten) we understand that this will be a work in progress and that more breaks may be needed. Students will not be punished when they are struggling with their mask.
There will be times throughout the day that students are able to use a face shield and not a mask. Each child will be provided a face shield for at school use.
If parents are completely against having their child wear a mask, then the at-home learning option may be better for your family. Wearing masks will allow us to get students back in the classroom and moving forward with their learning. We will do all we can to make this bearable and doable.
We are too nervous to send our kids to school, but they didn't do well with remote learning in the spring. How will this look different? What support will our family receive? What will at home learning be like? How many hours per day?
Remote learning will look much different than at home learning did in the spring. In the spring teachers had 2 days to learn to remote teach. An army of teachers, specialists, coaches and administrators from multiple districts have been working all spring and summer to design a better, more engaging, more comprehensive at-home learning platform for families. That said, it requires a commitment on the part of families to make sure that students are getting their assignments done and staying consistent with school work so that children do not fall behind.
- · The curriculum will be focused on the essential standards for each grade level. Students will complete learning modules focused on the most important skills to be mastered.
- · If your child has an IEP, a meeting will be held with the IEP team to decided how to meet the goals of the IEP.
- · The school can provide devices for all of your children that can be checked out.
- · Your child will have access to all of our learning platforms (iReady Reading, Math, Imagine Learning, etc.).
- · You will have access to an entire curriculum including lessons, activities and resources for your child to learn the core standards at home.
- · Your child will be assigned a Nebo District teacher to support, train and help your child with their learning. Please note that this won't necessarily be an Art City teacher, however, it will be someone who is good at navigating digital learning platforms and can offer a high level of support for your family.
- · Your child will be given assignments and assessments. Grades and attendance will count this time around.
- · The at-home learning will take approximately 4 hours per day (time adjustment for kindergarten and first grade).
***Parents who choose at-home learning will have to stick with that decision for the whole term. At the end of each term you can enroll your child back into face to face learning. Call the school for details on this process. Here are the term dates for this school year:
TERM 1: August 19th - October 29th
TERM 2: November 2nd - January 14th
TERM 3: January 18th - March 25th
TERM 4: March 29th - May 27th
*Many parents have asked about the difference between at-home learning and homeschooling. Families who chose home school will be seeking out their own curriculum, gathering their own resources and the children will be un-enrolled from Nebo School District and from Art City Elementary.
What will lunch look like? Will kids get a recess?
Lunch time is going to be redesigned for safety... and it's going to be a good.
- · Our lunch schedule will be completely staggered with only one grade level in the lunchroom at a time.
- · Each grade will have 15 minutes to eat their lunch, then students will be able to go outside and play for an additional 15 minutes.
- · If your child needs more than 15 minutes to eat, please contact me so we can make appropriate arrangements. I do not want any child to feel like they cannot finish their lunch.
- · Students will no longer have to punch in their lunch number or touch a keypad. This will speed up our ability to distribute food and seat children quickly and safely.
- · Students will be spaced out at lunch tables, with limited number of students at each table. We are placing stickers on the lunch benches so kids know where to sit to maintain appropriate space.
- · New rules will be taught and practiced including hand washing/sanitizing, not sharing food, etc. We ask parents to make sure their children can open the items in their lunch by themselves so no one else has to touch their food.
- · The playground will be sprayed with disinfectant spray each day.
Is school going to be fun at all? I'm worried that my child is going to be unhappy with all the changes and expectations.
It is true, there will be a lot of changes. However, the faculty and staff at Art City are determined to ensure students have an enjoyable experience at school. We can continue to do many of the things we have always done, we just have to be a little creative and think in a different way. Each student’s social, emotional and physical well-being is top priority. We will count on our parents to keep the communication lines open so we can address and adjust as needed.
We will be honoring, recognizing and celebrating kids every day, just like we did in the past.
Teachers are gearing up to provide engaging, fun lesson that integrate technology and teach students to better navigate their digital learning platforms so if it becomes necessary to move to online learning again, we will be ready!
What will happen if there is a positive case of the virus? Will we have to go to remote learning again? How will you deal with a possible outbreak?
The district is planning to handle any outbreak or positive cases on a school-by-school basis. If one teacher in a Springville school tests positive, it wouldn't make sense to shut down all the schools in Payson. Things will be handled by situation and location.
If we have a positive case, we will work with the Utah County Health Department through our school nurse and our social worker to contain, quarantine and support families who may be affected. We are planning to organize our classrooms and the school day to provide us reliable ways to do contact tracing. We want to be able to quickly identify and mobilize if a case emerges. The district will be sharing more detailed protocols regarding positive cases in the near future.
If it is determined that we need to move to at-home learning for a short time we are prepared. Teachers have been training in digital learning over the summer. They have spent many, many hours learning and thinking through scenarios. Teachers will start out the year helping students be comfortable and knowledgeable in accessing on line resources.
What can I do in the next few weeks to help my child get ready to return to school? Is there anything I can do to help?
First and foremost, please be positive with your children. If parents are saying things like, "This is going to be awful!" or "there is no way my kids are going to wear a mask", children will hear that and internalize it. This will only make the return more difficult and stressful for kids.
Parents will be asked to send their children with a mask. Several parents have shared how they are taking a positive spin by letting kids pick fabric and help sew their own masks. Another mom told me she purchased some masks and her kids had fun matching their clothes to the mask they would wear each day. Another mom said she let her kids try out different styles of masks so they could choose and decide which ones felt the most comfortable and breathable. One family has face shields that the kiddos love. If you need help getting masks, please contact the school.
If you have the means, I also suggest finding your child a good water bottle that has a tight-fitting lid and easy access to the water (ex: a flip lid or straw). Choose one with enough capacity that your child may only need to fill it up once or twice throughout the day. Let them help decorate it and add their name in big letters.
Several parents have contacted me wanting to know how they can help. Teachers have expressed a need for mechanical pencils, pencil boxes and Clorox wipes. Students will not be sharing supplies. We also could use some re-usable masks. If any parents are inclined to sew masks and donate to the school we would appreciate that. We will be washing/sanitizing them after each use.
Please join and get involved with our PTA. They are a wonderful group, and are always in touch with the needs of the school. We would love for you to join and get involved.
Please check our Facebook Page and website often. If there are needs at the school it will be posted there. I will also send out the weekly Monday Message as I have in the past.
As always, please call or stop by if you have any questions or concerns. The most important thing to me is the safety and well-being of students and staff.
I am so excited to welcome our students back to school! For those who are choosing to learn from home at this time, I love you and want to also offer my support and encouragement. We can do hard things! Together we can accomplish ANYTHING! I fully intend to have a wonderful school year!!