Questions & Answers 7/29/2020
FROM THE DISTRICT OFFICE
Thank you so much for the thoughtful questions and concerns expressed throughout the summer, as well as the messages of support and encouragement. We are excited about getting students back in school and moving forward with our shared mission of educational excellence.
Our goal with this newsletter is to share answers to many of the most impactful questions recently addressed by our staff and administrators. We hope this is helpful, but above all our greatest hope is that the start of school is successful for you and your students. Let us know what you need.
Q and A
- We are using a staggered start this Thursday and Friday to keep the number of students down and allow teachers and students to orient to the new processes and procedures more easily. This start will affect students who picked the traditional learning option only. All digital learners will attend based on guidance from their digital instructor.
- Just to restate for clarity, students who have a last name starting with A-K will attend on Thursday, July 30, and students who have a last name starting with L-Z will attend on Friday, July 31.
WHAT IS STAGGERED ATTENDANCE?
- For students who selected the traditional learning option, school attendance may take different forms throughout the year - based on the spread of COVID-19 in our community and other factors affecting the on-campus learning option.
- The staggered attendance schedule will be in effect for the first two full weeks of school, in grades 4-12. We will announce the attendance model in effect for the following two weeks, on or before August 12. Thereafter, we will consider the best attendance model every two weeks, unless we receive a mandate to take other action.
WILL SOCIAL DISTANCING BE PRACTICED IN THE ELEMENTARY CLASSROOMS?
Maryville City School’s decision to maintain regular, daily instruction in grades K-3 will follow the provided COVID-19 school and district plans. Daily health screenings and the wearing of masks by the adults in the building when social distancing cannot occur will be implemented on the first day of school. In addition, the elementary schools will be mindful to practice social distancing by avoiding large group assemblies, congested travel in the hallways, and crowded playgrounds. The self-contained organization structure of an elementary school basically houses the same 18-22 children and adults each day, and the schools will be intentional about not combining that number with large groups and actually protecting the organized cohorts of students. These cohorts will be a combination of classes not exceeding 2-3 classrooms in an effort to control social distancing and isolate variables. In the self-contained classrooms, the furniture will not be separated for social distancing among the 18 – 22 students and adults, but students will be encouraged to follow all of the safe practices and hygiene guidelines provided. Our rational for guidance for the K-3 students can be found here: https://www.maryville-schools.org/central-office/coordinated-school-health/covid-19-coronavirus.
ARE SOME STUDENTS GOING TO SCHOOL MORE OFTEN THAN OTHERS?
- No, MCS students will attend school 176 days, in accordance with state law.
- Traditional and digital learners will be counted present or absent DAILY, based on their schedule and the expectations of the instructor. Attendance will be taken and all attendance policies will be in force.
- In the staggered attendance model, students will go to school on campus some days, and online on other days. All five days will include instruction and student work. Attendance will be taken daily.
WILL MY BUS RUN THIS WEEK?
- Yes, bus service will be available both Thursday and Friday. Bus routes can be reviewed at THIS LINK and you can follow the bus via UniteGPS. Learn more about that HERE.
I WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE MEDICAL ADVISORY BOARD?
Four of the six medical professionals serving on the MCS COVID-19 Advisory Team are MDs. They are affiliated with Children's Hospital, Blount Memorial, and the Blount County Health Department.
DEVICE DEPLOYMENT FOR DIGITAL and TRADITIONAL LEARNERS?
- Deployment of laptops is well underway in our schools. As we have done over the past five years, all paperwork must be completed and iReach user charge paid before students are allowed to use their assigned device. This year the paperwork process associated with deployment is embedded in the returning student verification process. LINK HERE for more information on returning student verification. LINK HERE for more information on the iREACH user charge.
WHAT IF A STUDENT TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19?
- As COVID-19 spreads through our community we can expect positive cases in our schools. We will do everything in our power to keep positive individuals out of our schools. The most impactful preventative measure is for students and staff to stay home when sick or when they have been in close contact with someone with COVID 19. Even with our best efforts, it is very likely that we will have individuals in our schools who are carrying the virus. They often are asymptomatic and have no reason to think they are infected. The key is to limit the impact of a confirmed case, which was a big part of our reopening plan. The impact is minimized through social distancing, limiting cohort size, limiting the mixing of groups, mask-wearing, symptom checks, etc.
- Yes, all students who have been in close contact with a confirmed case will need to be quarantined at home for 14 days from the date of last exposure to the positive individual.
WE RECENTLY LOST OUR WIFI AT HOME. WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
- Families may apply for a hotspot by using their cell phone to access the application at, https://www.maryville-schools.org/central-office/technology/wi-fi-initiative. You can always speak to the technology coordinator at your school for assistance as well.
IF WE WANT TO SWITCH FROM DIGITAL TO TRADITIONAL AFTER A FEW WEEKS, WHEN IS THE NEXT OPPORTUNITY TO SWITCH?
- You must officially notify your school by noon on September 2, to begin the new instructional option on September 8.
WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH FALL SPORTS?
- As you might have seen in the news last night, new guidance was released yesterday from the state and TSSAA governed contact sports are now being played on a regular schedule. Our first varsity football game at MHS will be on August 21st at home against William Blount. Other fall sports include volleyball, soccer, cross country, and golf. We can expect a variety of protocols in place for fans, including temperature checks, limited seating, and masks for all ticketed events. The high school will release information about ticket sales in the days ahead.
HOW DO WE APPLY FOR FREE/REDUCED LUNCH THIS YEAR?
- Please use THIS LINK to complete your application.
- The deadline for application is September 10, 2020.
I STILL DO NOT HAVE THE "SNAPCODE" I NEED TO COMPLETE VERIFICATION. HELP?
- If you did not receive a snapcode on or around July 6, you should first check your SPAM or Junk mail. If that doesn't help, you should call or email your school. We can't express strongly enough the importance of having a valid email in our student information system to ensure you are receiving all the information you and your students need. Please use the contact information below:
- Maryville High School – 865-982-1132
- Maryville Junior High School – 865-983-2070
- Coulter Grove Intermediate School – 865-982-6345
- Montgomery Ridge Intermediate School – 865-980-0590
- Foothills Elementary School – 865-681-0364
- John Sevier Elementary School – 865-983-8551
- Sam Houston Elementary School – 865-983-3241