PSD COVID-19 Coronavirus FAQ

Blue wide banner representing PSD COVID-19 information.

In response to COVID-19, the PSD superintendent has announced schools and buildings are closed for the remainder of 2019-20 year - watch her announcement here.  PSD students and teachers are engaging in remote learning at this time.

PSD has developed COVID-19 Infectious Illness Preparedness and Response Plan. For more details about the plan, visit the PSD COVID-19 Coronavirus Response web page and see frequently asked questions below. 
 

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and the number of confirmed cases in Colorado and in the U.S., visit the:

Frequently asked questions

PSD is working closely with local, state and national health officials to monitor the coronavirus health issue and will provide more information as it becomes available. If you have additional questions or would like more information related to PSD schools, please email info@psdschools.org.

 

School closures

How long will schools be closed?

In response to COVID-19, the PSD superintendent has announced schools and buildings are closed for the remainder of 2019-20 year - watch her announcement here.  PSD students and teachers are engaging in remote learning at this time.

Remote Learning for Students

PSD has developed an infectious illness preparedness and response plan that aligns with recommendations from public health agencies. 

 

What do "remote learning opportunities" look like during a closure? What if my student needs technology help to engage in remote learning?

Please visit the PSD Remote Learning web page for the latest information.

What happens with state assessments and SAT testing?

On March 17, the Colorado Department of Education announced that the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, or CMAS, assessments are canceled for the 2019-2020 school year. CDE is working with The College Board to generate possible solutions for the administration of the PSAT and SAT tests, which offer unique roles in Colorado’s system in terms of scholarships and college entrance. Additional information will come from CDE as it becomes available. Read more in this CDE's March 17 news release. 

 Will the school year be extended into June?

We are not sure yet. The district is collaborating with the Colorado Department of Education regarding any necessary waivers to state requirements for in-person instructional hours, school days, or seat time. 

Colorado Department of Education web information: Typically, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) requests that districts make a good faith effort to make up lost time before granting a waiver for the required teacher-pupil instructional hours/contact time.  This is most often done through adjustments to the bell schedule, including reducing the lunch hour by a few minutes per day or adjusting the start or end times or by adding instructional days to the calendar. If after making reasonable changes, a district is still short of instructional hours, a district can apply for a waiver of the instructional hours. In the event of long school closures due to COVID-19, the typical bell schedule and calendar adjustments may not be practical or may not make a meaningful impact compared to the amount of lost time. As of mid-March, CDE plans to consider each individual circumstance and provide flexibility on a case-by-case basis.

My student left something at school. Can they get it while schools are closed?

No. Students who left items behind will NOT be able to go into their schools.

Will schools be cleaned during a closure?

All PSD buildings (schools, offices, etc.) will be disinfected during the closure. Buses will also be disinfected during the closure.

Will BASE Camp be open during PSD's regularly scheduled spring break (March 16-20) or the closure week (March 23-27)?

Will Safe2Tell still work during a closure?

Yes. Safe2Tell is available for students, parents and staff. For more information and to make reports: https://safe2tell.org or 1-877-542-7233.  

How will students and families who need it get food during the closure?

Ensuring kids have access to nutritious meals while PSD schools are closed is a priority. Students can get meals during the closure from six PSD schools and the Wellington Boys and Girls Club. See details on the PSD Free Meals during School Closures web page. 

Can I still rent a PSD facility during a closure?

No. PSD’s buildings and facilities will NOT be available to the public for rent during the closure. 

Will PSD employees still be paid if schools close?

Yes. The district has articulated a plan to ensure that payroll will be processed.

What if my child is feeling anxious about what's happening? What's the best way to talk with them?

The following are some resources for parents/guardians to guide conversations: the Child Mind Institute’s “Talking to Kids about Coronavirus” and the “Guide to Help Families Cope with Coronavirus.”  

What's happening with athletics, activities and events?

The Colorado High School Activities Association has canceled spring sports and activities through April 18. PSD is refunding fees paid for spring sports. See more information on the Activities, Athletics and Events Status web page.

What is happening with graduation?  

No decisions have been made yet about high school commencement ceremonies, following Gov. Jared Polis’ order to close schools. We know many families are anxiously awaiting information about this important milestone in their students’ lives, and we will share more information as it is available. 

My child has an IEP. What services will they be getting? 

PSD is providing special education and related services (occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech/language, etc.), in a remote learning environment, including the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Integrated Services staff members are using technology, with privacy measures in place, to implement specialized instruction and related services, conduct Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team meetings and determine whether students qualify for an IEP and conduct IEP re-evaluations. This is in alignment with current federal and state guidance. For questions about a specific child’s program, parents should contact their school’s special education teacher.  

What is happening with AP tests?

The CollegeBoard released information about how Advanced Placement (AP) tests will be administered this spring. The following are highlights; read the full announcement from CollegeBoard here. 

  • Traditional face-to-face exam administrations will NOT take place. Students will take a 45-minute online, free-response exam at home.  
  • Some students may want to take the exam sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh. Other students may want more time to practice. For each AP subject, CollegeBoard will determine two different testing dates. 
  • The full exam schedule, specific free-response question types that will be on each AP Exam, and additional testing details will be available by April 3, according to CollegeBoard. 
  • To be fair to all students, some of whom have lost more instructional time than others, the exams will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March. 
  • Colleges support this solution and are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they have worked this year to earn. For decades, colleges have accepted a shortened AP Exam for college credit when groups of students have experienced emergencies. 
  • Students will be able to take these streamlined exams on any device they have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone. Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option. 
  • We know that the digital divide could make this more difficult to access for some of our students. We are currently gathering information about which students might need help getting mobile tools or connectivity. 

Can we still use the school playgrounds?

The playgrounds at PSD schools and in the City of Fort Collins are currently closed. Oftentimes, children are seen playing close together, even though people worldwide have been asked to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from others to prevent spread of COVID-19. 

Please, for the sake of your child’s health and others, let’s work together to change this. Talk with your child about how they can do their part to make sure that grandma, grandpa or other immunocompromised or elderly people in their lives don’t get sick. The health department is even seeing cases where children in Larimer County are becoming significantly ill. 

Is PSD still offering meal service now that the governor has issued a Stay at Home order? 

Yes. Education is considered an essential service, so PSD remote learning for students and food distribution efforts will continue while schools are closed (through April 17). These services will not stop due to the stay-at-home order.  

Please note: Because school playgrounds are closed at this time, the district is not sanitizing the equipment. If families choose to use playgrounds during the closure, they should abide by county health guidelines and maintain six feet of physical distance (do not congregate in groups) and wash hands. While data shows the virus can live on surfaces, the main transmission is through person-to-person contact.  

What about students who don’t have internet at home? 

Many broadband, satellite and mobile service providers are offering free or reduced-cost connectivity in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. For a list of offers that PSD is aware of, please visit the Internet Access page. 

What can I do to help students who rely on school lunches?

Please see this "donations for meals now being accepted" news item for information on how you can help.

 

Prevention and resources

How is PSD preparing for the coronavirus? Does the district have a plan?

PSD has developed an infectious illness preparedness and response plan that aligns with recommendations from public health agencies. The district is following this plan during the closure, March 16-27. 

This work has been done collaboratively with district staff representing health, facilities, safety/security, and more. PSD has a robust crisis management team that would be activated in case of any emergency situation, including in response to an outbreak of COVID-19 in our community.  

For more details, visit the PSD COVID-19 Coronavirus Response web page.

Where is the best place to find information about COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus?

What can families do to protect themselves from becoming ill?

Parents and guardians can help by continuing to implement the same critical illness prevention practices: Stop the spread of germs flier. Information listed in the text body.
•    Clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
•    Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
•    Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
•    Getting a flu shot if you haven’t gotten one this year.
•    Keep your student (s) home if they are sick. Please notify your school if your child needs to stay home sick and, if possible, share their symptoms. If they have a positive influenza or COVID-19 diagnosis, please also share that information.

 

 

Are schools and/or health staff planning to hand out masks to students?

No. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

PSD will, throughout its response to COVID-19, follow CDC’s guidance. A parent/guardian has the right to decide if they want their student to wear a mask. In some cases, a physician may recommend that a student wear a mask. 

Will PSD nurses or health technicians test students for COVID-19?

No. If they suspect a student may have COVID-19, they will contact the student’s parent/guardian so they can seek outside professional care. COVID-19 testing is only done at special clinics. Additional information about testing is available on the CDC website.

How does PSD disinfect its schools and facilities? What about buses?

All PSD buildings (schools, offices, etc.) will be disinfected during the closure. Buses will also be disinfected during the closure.  

A copy of the custodial cleaning procedures is included with PSD’s response plan as Appendix C. The custodial team follows cleaning protocols for norovirus and influenza at all sites and has been following this protocol since late fall, when illness rates began to rise. This protocol includes disinfecting high-touch surfaces like light switches, doorknobs, door frames, handicap push buttons, tabletops, backs of chairs, pencil sharpeners, keyboards/mice/monitors, and portions of walls where students often drag their hands. The cleaning protocol also requires custodians to switch from sanitizer to disinfectant during periods of increased illness. The custodial team works closely with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment on cleaning and disinfecting protocol during times of illness.  

PSD personnel disinfect buses and child-restraint devices on buses daily. The same district-approved disinfectants are being used on buses as in PSD buildings. 

My child seems anxious about COVID-19. How should I talk to them about it?

What about parents, volunteers and outside organizations who go into PSD buildings?

PSD’s buildings and facilities will NOT be open to the public during the closure. 

Can people of any race or ethnicity get COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity. People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get COVID-19 than any other American. Help stop fear by letting people know that being of Asian descent does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19. Read more CDC “Share the Facts.”  

 

Will the district tell families when a student or staff member is tested for COVID-19?

The district cannot confirm that information because providers conducting testing are not releasing private patient information protected under HIPPA. It is our understanding that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is notifying providers and the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment of test results. The public health agencies would then notify PSD if there was a PSD connection with a presumptive/positive test result.  

As a parent/guardian, may I keep my child home if there isn’t a school closure? If I elect to do so, what accommodations will be made so my child doesn’t fall behind in their education?

It is always a parent/guardian’s right to keep their child home from school. If you do so, please call the school to report the absence. Keeping with current procedures, parents/guardians should coordinate with the school to discuss the work their student would need to complete due to their absence(s).

 

Travel within and out of the U.S.

What is PSD's stance on field trips, both in-state and out-of-state?

Translations:

Poudre School District, in partnership with local and state public health agencies, is closely monitoring the global outbreak of COVID-19, otherwise known as novel coronavirus. 

Out of an abundance of caution and to limit potential spreading of the COVID-19 virus, PSD has canceled all district- and school-sponsored out-of-state trips for students and staff through the month of April. That includes all domestic and international travel for professional development. 

PSD staff will work with public health officials to re-evaluate the situation and share an update about May travel in early to mid-April. 

School districts across Colorado, as well as other large organizations and businesses, have implemented similar travel restrictions. 

At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has activated several travel warnings for international destinations experiencing community spread of COVID-19. Please visit the CDC website for all global travel advisories.  

Please note: The district cannot issue refunds for field trips in the event they are canceled for safety concerns. Often times, these trips are coordinated with outside businesses or organizations (ex. flights might be booked with an airline and conference registrations with a competition host), and PSD does not control their refund policies and procedures. Those who purchased trip insurance should review under what conditions refunds might be provided. 

For additional information about field trips, refer to PSD policies IJOA and IJOA-R. 

What happens with the heavy travel associated with spring break, which is March 16-20 for PSD? Should we cancel travel plans?

PSD cannot control where students and staff personally travel. PSD cannot test or quarantine students or staff for symptoms that appear to be related to COVID-19. Only public health agencies have that authority.

The district also cannot control any travel restrictions that other countries or states implement in response to this global outbreak. At this time, CDC has activated several travel warnings for international destinations that are experiencing community spread of COVID-19. Please visit the CDC website for all global travel advisories. 

PSD asks parents and guardians, including those of students who haven’t traveled, to watch their students closely and seek medical care for any symptoms that appear connected to any respiratory illnesses.  

What is PSD doing about students who have or will soon travel out of the state? What if their travel takes them through an airport that’s in an area where there are confirmed cases of COVID-19? 

As noted above, PSD cannot test or quarantine students or staff for symptoms that appear to be related to COVID-19. Only public health agencies have that authority. 

Since the end of January, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment has been monitoring travelers and other individuals who might have been exposed to COVID-19. As of March 5, none of these tests have come back positive. LCDHE says it will notify the community through its communication channels if a person in Larimer County tests positive for COVID-19; however, LCDHE will not provide names of any of individuals who have been tested or who may have a test pending.Visit the LCDHE web page for more information about COVID-19. 

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