Elm Street Elementary 2020 Opening

2020 Reopening FAQ for Elm Street Families

Safety remains priority; evolving plans

Your child's health and safety has been and will continue to be a priority for the Coweta County School System and Elm Street Elementary. As we look toward our reopening of schools in August, our staff has been working hard on protocols and procedures to maximize safety and help keep everyone healthy. School reopening guidelines have been developed with the guidance of the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Department of Public Health, and the Coweta County Emergency Management Agency.


Just as the CCSS Guidelines for Opening Schools in August 2020 may continue to change and grow, our school protocols shall likely do so as well in response to changing circumstances and conditions. We encourage you to refer back to this page often (or future published pages) for updates and any changes. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we navigate this path to bring students back safely, happily, and healthily into the face-to-face learning environment at Elm Street.

Please keep your child at home if he or she has any of the following symptoms...

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Will my child have to wear a face mask?

In accordance with current state guidance, students are encouraged, but not required, to wear face masks at this time.

Will my child's teacher have to wear a face mask?

Staff will not be required to wear masks while in classrooms or during instruction when a social distance can be maintained. They will only be required to wear them in areas where it is difficult to maintain physical distancing (ex. in hallways with other classes), during lunch (if they eat in the cafeteria), or during car/bus duty (where they are around lots of students).


Will the school employ measures for social distancing?

Yes, as much as possible. Coweta County School System employees, students, parents, and any essential visitors will be encouraged to stay approximately 6 feet away from others, if possible, and avoid contact with others.


Elm Street will implement several practices where feasible to follow best hygiene practices and assist in social distancing, including encouraging hand-washing and face coverings. To the extent feasible, students will not share personal items, electronics, toys, books and other games or learning aids. We are working to minimize student traffic flow and developing traffic flow patterns to maximize social distancing, increasing desk spacing where possible, turning desks to face the same way where possible, minimizing group settings and limiting mixing between groups.


Students at increased risk of severe illness should implement individualized plans for distance learning.

What will arrival at school look like?

Bus riders will continue to arrive and unload in the bus loading zone as always each morning. Students eating breakfast at school may report to the cafeteria upon arrival for breakfast. Bus riders not eating breakfast at school will report to a designated location for their bus to await the start of homeroom. Traditionally, students arriving on early buses gathered at tables in the cafeteria by grade level during this time to socialize, but this year we have adjusted to allow each group of bus riders to await the start of homeroom in a separate designated area by bus to help support effective contact tracing, if needed. Students will be able to socialize with fellow bus riders in their area, observing appropriate social distancing of course. Bus riders will be released to homeroom between 7:15 and 7:20 in staggered groups following the early arrival of homeroom teachers. (Their workday typically begins at 7:30 a.m. but they are working to make plans for 7:15 a.m. arrival instead this year.)


Parents or guardians who drop off their children in the morning will need to stay in their vehicle and use the front car rider drop off area. Parents and guardians will not be allowed to enter the building, even on the first day of school.


As usual, car riders may begin officially arriving at 7:30 a.m., but we will open the doors for early morning drop off for those who need it at 7:20 a.m. Students arriving by car who are eating breakfast at school will report to the cafeteria to eat. Others will report directly to the classroom.


Random health screenings, which will generally include temperature checks, will be conducted at each student entrance (bus zone and car zone) by a trained staff member. Students and employees with COVID-19 symptoms or a temperature greater than 99.5 degrees taken orally or by temporal artery will be immediately isolated and arrangements will be made to send the individual home. Local health officials will be notified for guidance if needed on next steps, including deep cleaning and potential closures.


If a student is arriving late to school (after 8:00 a.m.), the parent will pull into the car zone at the front of the school and place a call to the front office. An office staff member will come out to welcome the student safely into the building and check the child in. At this time, parents will not enter the building with their child when arriving late. When arriving late (after 8:00 a.m.), no child should exit their vehicle or enter the lobby without an office or other school staff member. This is an important safety and supervision step. If a parent is unable to call the school upon arrival, the parent may knock on the front office window to alert an office staff member. Random health screenings shall continue during late arrival check-in as well. If more than one student is arriving tardy at the same time, it may take some time for the check-in process to be completed. We appreciate your patience if so, as we work to minimize contact with others as much as possible.

What will dismissal look like?

As in the past, students will have the option of leaving as bus riders, walkers, or car riders. It is possible that elementary school dismissal may begin earlier this year to provide additional time for cleaning and disinfecting of school buses and expanding bus routes. (Student dismissal began at 2:28 p.m. last year for Elm Street.)


Bus riders will be dismissed to load one bus at a time to minimize traffic in the hallways and allow for as much social distancing as possible.


Walkers will be dismissed separately as well (either before or after car dismissal; to be determined when elementary dismissal time is finalized) to minimize traffic in the hallways and allow for as much social distancing as possible. Parents and guardians of walkers will need to remain on the sidewalk on Elm Street, maintaining safe social distancing while awaiting their walker.


Car riders will remain in their classrooms in the afternoon rather than congregating in the hallway to await their car number. As in the past, parents and guardians will stay in their car and will use both lanes of . Children will be called from the classroom, and the child will come out to the sidewalk to a designated space for loading. Once the group is ready, children will be brought to the car, similar to car dismissal of the past but loading the inside and outside lane together this year. To help expedite the calling of car numbers while students are in separate locations, we plan to use a specialized app to support dismissal. In the classrooms, students and teachers will listen for the app to notify them that a student's number has been called and the student will then quickly exit the classroom to report to the sidewalk loading area. Parents and guardians are not allowed to exit their vehicle or enter the building.


In the event a child needs to be picked up early (more than 30 minutes prior to dismissal), the parent or guardian will pull up to the front car zone and call the school. An office team member, SRO, or other school staff member will come out to the car to check ID and then call for the student to report to the office to be dismissed. This process will likely take a bit longer than a traditional early dismissal but we appreciate your support of this safety measure.


If it becomes appropriate to reopen the school lobby for student checkout, students and parents will be asked to observe social distancing while in the lobby, are subject to temperature checks, and may be asked to complete a health screening checklist.

Can I visit my child at school?

Until further notice, no parents, guardians, volunteers, or mentors will be allowed on campus. The only people allowed on campus will be school system employees.


Parent conferences and meetings will be held via phone, email, or through virtual meetings.


If a visitation is absolutely essential and is approved by school administrators and/or district leaders, visitors will be subject to a temperature check and health screening checklist. Any such essential visitor shall bring and wear their own mask throughout the duration of their visit.


Unfortunately, this includes all school activities that parents traditionally enjoy, including having lunch with students, participating in classroom or office volunteer work, etc.


We greatly value our volunteers, mentors, parents, and other special guests and appreciate the important role you so often fill at school. However, the health and safety of all students and staff must remain the top priority.

What will hallways and transitions look like this year?

Hallway and other traffic patterns have been planned with social distancing in mind.


Elm Street students already observe traffic patterns when moving about the building, walking on the right hand side of the hallway on the blue tiles. These procedures will continue. However, at this time, when lining up for movement from one location to another, classmates will stand approximately two feet behind the person in front of them rather than standing directly behind one another.


As noted in the arrival and dismissal sections as well as the social distancing section, we are working to minimize student traffic flow and developing traffic flow patterns to maximize social distancing.


Common areas such as the cafeteria will have designated start and stop points as well as line spacing markers for students who are waiting to help ensure students remain approximately two to three feet apart in common areas.

What will my child's classroom look like?

Teachers are setting up their classrooms to maximize distancing for students. Students will keep their items with them during the day and will not share supplies such as pencils, markers, etc. In grade levels that departmentalize, traffic patterns have been adjusted to allow as much distancing as possible during transitions. Classes will not gather as large groups in small spaces, such as a whole class gathering on the carpet for read aloud. Instead, limited numbers of students can group on such areas, observing safe distances while others remain at their seat.


Each student shall have his or her own pencil box with daily supplies (pencils, markers, scissors, glue stick). If a family is unable to provide one with the needed supplies, we will find a way to supply one for the student so that each learner has what he or she needs.


Students will still have the opportunity for daily specials classes as normally scheduled (Art, Music, PE, Think Tank). All specials classes will encourage physical distancing where feasible and limit student contact. Any instruments, equipment, or other special class materials will only be used by one student each day. Students will take their own pencil box to Art and Think Tank to prevent use of commonly shared materials.


For at least the first month of school, skills block time will happen in homeroom groups only rather than cross-grade level movement. This decision will be re-evaluated as we ease into opening in consultation with district officials along with guidance from public health officials.


The school custodial team will follow guidelines for daily disinfecting of all classrooms and other areas with approved cleaning supplies. Classroom teachers may supplement with their own cleaning routines throughout the day as well, but custodial staff are responsible for daily disinfecting of all areas.

What about Orientation or Back to School Bash this year?

To protect everyone's health and safety we will not have our annual Back to School Bash. This year's Orientation will look very different from previous years as well. However, we will do our best to reach out and welcome parents and students.


Even though we cannot come together in person, we will offer an opportunity to connect virtually to introduce teachers.


We also hope to offer a drive up opportunity to give out back to school paperwork and forms, first day lanyards, and more. We will share details as they become available!


Homeroom teacher names will be available through Infinite Campus Parent Portal by the afternoon of August 4 if not sooner.


Kindergarten students will be contacted by their child's teacher to schedule a specific time to visit his or her classroom. Appointments will be made and only a limited number of parents and students will be allowed in the building at a time. Parents (as with all visitors) will be screened upon entry.


As soon as we have information about bus routes, we will post and share this information so that parents can look up their child's morning and afternoon bus number.

What will the lunchroom look like?

While in the cafeteria, students will be able to skip seats (in a zig-zag pattern across the table from one another) to allow for social distancing. Students will also have floor markers to guide them in line to be able to put distance between students while waiting in line. Only a small number of students will enter the cafeteria serving area at a time to help provide additional distance as well. In order to accomplish social distancing through skipping seats, classes will alternate eating lunch in the cafeteria and in the classroom, daily or weekly, by grade level.


During breakfast service, students will observe the same seating and line practices to help support social distancing. To begin the year, students will also not enter their number on the keypad when getting their breakfast or lunch. Instead, cafeteria team members will select the student on screen.


Unfortunately, we will not be allowed to have visitors for lunch until further notice.

What about lunch deliveries?

Until further notice, no outside food or packages will be received at school. This includes deliveries of lunch.

What is the Empower, Coweta's Online Learning Program?

The Coweta County School system has created a virtual learning option for all ages of learners to register and participate in virtual learning sessions led by Coweta teachers. Parents will have to register their student for the virtual learning option and must commit to virtual learning for a period of at least one semester. Elm Street students enrolled in the Empower virtual learning program will still be Elm Street students! Parents of enrolled students would be making the commitment to support learning at home in place of face-to-face learning at school.


Click here to explore Empower and learn more about the newly offered online learning option. Registration will be from July 6 - July 17. The registration form can be found on the Empower website noted above.

How will students receive special services, like special education, 504 plan, or gifted through Empower?

For students who receive Special Education or 504 Plan services, parents who register their child for virtual learning should contact Elm Street's Special Education ISC (Stephanie Steerman, Teacher/ISC) or 504 Plan Coordinator (Melinda Walden, Asst. Principal) to alert school staff. We will then schedule a time (likely during preplanning) to discuss a plan for services and accommodations for the student.


For students who receive gifted and other services, the system will have a teacher serve students for weekly services. The exact model used will depend upon the number of parents who choose the virtual option. Once we know who has registered, a schedule for services will be set. Please feel free to contact your child's Reach Teacher, Laura Bass, to alert her of your decision to enroll in Empower should you choose.

What about student organizations, clubs, and parent meetings?

Until further notice, all extracurricular activities such as Chorus, Running Club, Chess Club, Yoga Club, etc. shall be suspended. This also includes any community-sponsored groups such as K-Kids, Art Club, etc. While we will miss these opportunities to be together, we must protect everyone's health and safety. We will begin introducing clubs and group gatherings when it is deemed safe by local officials to do.


Parent meetings such as School Council, PTO, and Family Engagement will occur virtually when possible. School Council has met online several times throughout the closure period to provide guidance on key aspects of our ongoing work. Face-to-face on campus meetings will not happen at this time.


It is critical for parents to stay connected to the school through Class Dojo, social media (Elm Street's Twitter feed), sign up for Remind text messages, and regularly check the school or system website for information and updates.

What about field trips?

All field trips have been temporarily suspended. (Parents of students who paid for the first grade Zoo field trip last spring will have the opportunity to request a refund of the payment made when school resumes in August.)


Will students be able to use water fountains?

No. All water fountains will be temporarily shut down to stop the spread of germs around the school. All students are encouraged to bring a water bottle to school. It is our goal that water filling stations may soon be available for students to refill their water bottles during the day, but at this time they are not yet in place. Students are encouraged to be sure his or her water bottle is filled each morning before coming to school.


What if I need to pick up my child early?

In the event a child needs to be picked up early (more than 30 minutes prior to dismissal), the parent or guardian will pull up to the front car zone and call the school. An office team member, SRO, or other school staff member will come out to the car to check ID and then call for the student to report to the office to be dismissed. This process will likely take a bit longer than a traditional early dismissal but we appreciate your support of this safety measure.


If it becomes appropriate to reopen the school lobby for student checkout, students and parents will be asked to observe social distancing while in the lobby, are subject to temperature checks, and may be asked to complete a health screening checklist.

What protective measures will be taken on my child's bus?

Bus drivers will clean bus seats, handles, and railings before each route and students will be separated on the bus to the best extent possible.


Students arriving to school by bus will await the opening of homeroom classes as bus groups in a designated location for each bus rather than reporting to the cafeteria to await the opening bell in large group. Students will be dismissed to buses in the afternoon by bus groups in order to prevent large crowds from multiple buses in the hallway at one time.


Bus drivers remain committed to the overall safety of all student passengers each morning and each afternoon, including their role in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.

What if a child presents with symptoms of COVID-19 at school?

If a student displays COVID-19 symptoms or has a temperature above 99.5 degrees that does not decrease over time (multiple checks will be taken) and/or displays other symptoms that cannot be explained, the child's parents or guardians will be contacted to pick up the student.

The student will be moved into an isolation room until picked up by a parent or guardian.

Parents or guardians will be given a reasonable time to pick up their child. If a parent cannot be reached or a student is not/cannot be picked up within a reasonable time frame, 911 will be notified and the child will be transported via EMS to a local hospital.


The student will not be able to return to school until released by the system's lead nurse, Shannon Hendrix-Caplinger. Even if the child has a doctor's note, the child will still have to be cleared by the system's lead nurse.


Parents should contact their child’s school regarding any subsequent diagnosis of a child sent home from school, or who otherwise has exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses. Similarly, parents should notify their child’s school if anyone in the household has tested positive for COVID-19.


Any siblings or any other student living with a student who is sent home for fever or other symptoms may stay at school, unless they also display symptoms. Any siblings or any other student living with a person who tests positive for COVID-19 will also be required to quarantine off campus, and may not return to face-to-face instruction until cleared to do so by the system’s lead nurse.


All emergency and clinic cards need to be updated with current contact numbers and returned to school as soon as possible. Please include the name and numbers of any person (family or otherwise) who is able to pick up your child.


If a case of COVID-19 is diagnosed, local health and school system officials will be notified. Department of Public Health guidance will be followed, and local health and school officials will determine the next steps the school will follow, which may range from deep cleaning areas to school closing. Local public health officials will determine when or if letters will be sent home. The privacy of student, family and employee health matters will be maintained.

What about student attendance awards?

We will not recognize student attendance (ex. perfect attendance, good attendance) this school year at awards day ceremonies. As always, healthy attendance is what matters for learning and for health and safety.

Will my child still have recess?

Yes, all students will still have the opportunity for recess each day. Grade level classes will either have staggered times or play in different outdoor areas to limit contact with other students. Students will be encouraged to socially distance themselves while playing.

Will my child still have specials (art, music, PE)?

Yes, all students will still have the opportunity for daily specials classes as normally scheduled (Art, Music, PE, Think Tank). All specials classes will encourage physical distancing where feasible and limit student contact. Any instruments, equipment, or other special class materials will only be used by one student each day. In some cases, specials teachers may report to classrooms rather than students going to the typical specials location. Students will take their own pencil box to Art and Think Tank to prevent use of commonly shared materials.

How will my child be protected at school?

We will have a number of measures to keep students safe while at school.

These measures include:

  • Separation at lunch (one space, including diagonal spacing for optimal distance) between each student at breakfast and lunch

  • Two blocks of separation between students while walking as a class or group in the hallway

  • Right-hand traffic lanes will continue to separate face to face traffic as much as possible in the hallway

  • Desks and tables will be separated in the classroom to the extent possible (most commonly approximately 2-3 feet apart)

  • Group activities will be limited

  • Custodians will clean all areas at least once daily with approved materials for disinfecting. Custodians will have an increased cleaning schedule for common areas such as student hallway restrooms. Custodians will also pay special attention to areas where students are gathered or things touched regularly by students (ex. door handles, light switches, desks, cafeteria tables, etc.)

  • Students will keep their items with them during the day and will not share materials

  • Both arrival and dismissal procedures have changed to ensure that students are not gathered together and that they are staggered to the greatest extent possible

  • Hand sanitizer locations will be placed around the school once available

  • Students will have increased opportunities for hand washing during the school day

  • Students will be taught health and safety lessons on handwashing, social distancing, not using the materials of others and other safety measures

These procedures and protocols will continue to change and evolve as CDC regulations and guidance are provided throughout the school year.


We appreciate your support and willingness to work together with us to provide the safest learning environment for all children all year long.

Elm Street Elementary

Elm Street Elementary, where Every Learner Matters!

Empowering success in school and life.