2020-21 School Year FAQS

 

 

Frequently asked questions

If you have additional questions, please email info@psdschools.org.

 

Planning and Phases

Have PSD already decided what will happen this fall? When will we know?

No. We will not make a final, district-wide decision about which phase we will open in until at least early August because we do not know how public health conditions and guidance may change in a couple months. Please know a decision around this time will be a starting point; public health conditions and orders will likely be in constant motion and we are prepared to be nimble in our response. 

Although our sincere hope is to start the year with students back in school, it would be irresponsible and naïve of us to plan only for a return to school as it looked before March 2020 and not also prepare plans for alternate ways of educating our students. We must be prepared to adapt as successfully and efficiently as possible to new public health guidelines and restrictions that currently exist and may still arise. 

We know many of you are anxious to know what the future holds so you can make plans for your family. We hear your frustrations and empathize with the many stressors of our COVID-19 reality. The hard truth is that, as of June 2020, it’s just too soon to say what the start of school in August will look like.  

 

How do you expect families to adapt to Phase 3 education, with students in school two days a week and learning remotely three days a week? I have to work full-time.

As we have said, there are disadvantages with each of the four phases, and families, students and staff will face challenges with each. Our commitment to you is that we will maintain PSD’s high standards for teaching and learning, regardless of the educational phase in the 2020-21 school year. 

As we’ve shared with families over the past couple of months and reiterated at last night’s board meeting, we would absolutely prefer to see our students in-person, at school every day of the week. Families and staff shared that preference in the spring staff and family surveys. We hear you, and we agree. That’s why we got into education. Although our sincere hope is to start the year with students back in school, it would be irresponsible and naïve of us to plan only for a return to school as it looked before March 2020 and not also prepare plans for alternate ways of educating our students. We must be prepared to adapt as successfully and efficiently as possible to new public health guidelines and restrictions that currently exist and may still arise. 

We also want to thank the significant number of family and staff members who responded to our spring surveys. Their input helped guide our planning. 
 

If PSD opens in Phase 3 with hybrid learning, can I request or  "RSVP" for the A or B group schedule?

As of now, no. PSD staff are actively engaged in planning, specifically, how education will look in Phases 1-4. Please know we are considering how students may be assigned to these groups, knowing many families have multiple students in elementary and secondary schools. As plans are finalized, we will share more information with families.  
 

What will education for students with disabilities look like in the four phases of education in the 2020-21 school year?

During remote education in spring 2020, PSD provided special education and related services (occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech/language, etc.) in a remote learning environment for students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Integrated Services staff members used technology to implement specialized instruction and related services to address IEP goals and objectives, conduct Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team meetings and determine whether students qualify for an IEP and conduct IEP re-evaluations. 

Integrated Services staff are actively planning for the delivery of instruction of education and services in a remote or in-person environment for students with a disability and the information will be shared in alignment with general education plans. They are planning specifics of what teaching and learning will look like in PSD’s four phases of education for the 2020-21 school year. Integrated Services leaders continue to monitor state and federal guidelines as well as fiscal and educational resources to support students with disabilities. 
 
 

We should expect and receive nothing less than every child being in school every day. Why isn't the district planning for that?

We would like nothing more than for all staff and students to be back in PSD schools and buildings exactly as they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and staff shared that preference in the spring staff and family surveys. Although our sincere hope is also to start the year with students back in school, it would be irresponsible and naïve of us to plan only for a return to school as it looked before March 2020 and not also prepare plans for alternate ways of educating our students. We must be prepared to adapt as successfully and efficiently as possible to new public health guidelines and restrictions that currently exist and may still arise. 

A team of PSD staff and educators are evaluating the most-recent period of remote education to identify areas of improvement and establish best practices for remote teaching and learning in the future. They are studying what worked well in PSD and other school districts, as well as results from a PSD staff survey. We know these past couple of months were hard, for students, parents/guardians and staff alike. This time, we have the benefit of learning from our past to plan for the future. 

We will continue to monitor conditions and talk with public health and education officials leading up to the start of the new school year, to ensure we are starting a phase that aligns with current health recommendations and requirements. We are working to be as creative as possible in our planning while also adhering to guidance from public health officials. This is not an easy balance to strike, given many factors outside of PSD’s control.  
 

Updates on the next school year say students will receive a high-quality education whether learning in-person or remotely. I wasn’t satisfied with the education my student received last spring. How will remote learning be different if we do it again?

PSD, and school districts across the nation, were thrust into remote education with a moment’s notice. Although we believe staff members – especially teachers – did a tremendous job, given the circumstances, we have to do better if public health requirements force us into Phases 1 or 2 (100 percent remote education and mostly online education with small-group learning, respectively). A team of PSD staff and educators are evaluating the most-recent period of remote education to identify areas of improvement and establish best practices for remote teaching and learning in the future. They are studying what worked well in PSD and other school districts, as well as results from a PSD staff survey. We know these past couple of months were hard, for students, parents/guardians and staff alike. This time, we have more time to learn from our past and plan for the future. We hold ourselves to a high standard for teaching and learning in PSD and are committed to making sure every student has a successful year, no matter what education looks like next school year. 

Over the summer, staff have and will continue to set districtwide expectations for how certain things (recess, meals, computers, how instruction is delivered, etc.) will look in elementary and secondary schools in each phase. From there, principals will work with their teams to plan for what each phase looks like at their school, specifically (i.e. This is how teacher A will communicate with their students and families, etc.). PSD’s Professional Learning team and other departments are also collaborating to offer professional development over the summer and ahead of the start of school, so staff are prepared to teach and support the social-emotional needs of students in a remote or hybrid learning environment. 

We absolutely agree the best thing for students is to be back in school, with their peers and teachers five days a week. Although our sincere hope is also to start the year with students back in school, it would be irresponsible and naïve of us to plan only for a return to school as it looked before March 2020 and not also prepare plans for alternate ways of educating our students. We must be prepared to adapt as successfully and efficiently as possible to new public health guidelines and restrictions that currently exist and may still arise. 

PSD sent out staff and parent/guardian surveys. How did those results inform your planning?  

We appreciate every person who took the time to complete the staff and parent/guardian surveys. In total, 11,544 people (representing all schools) responded to the parent/guardian survey; 1,442 people responded to the staff survey.  

We carefully analyzed survey responses and used input to guide our planning. As an example: If PSD starts the school year in Phase 3, students will learn in-person at school two full days a week and independently at home the other part of the week. Sixty-three percent of parent/guardian respondents and 61 percent of staff respondents indicated in the survey that they would prefer students be in school for a full day (as opposed to half days) if in-person education is possible. Additionally, 7 percent indicated they are not comfortable with students returning and 23 percent indicated they might be comfortable returning to fall. In response to their input, PSD will offer online learning only, by parent choice. In a 100 percent remote education environment, students can take classes online and be connected to their original school communities. This option will be available to students in preschool through 12th grade. A district team is working together to leverage their collective experience (we are proud of award-winning Poudre Global Academy, which has offered a hybrid in-person/online learning model for K-12 education for more than 10 years in PSD) and what we've learned to-date about educating kids virtually to develop this option. 
 

I will not send my child back to school until there is a vaccine for COVID-19. Is 100% remote learning in 2020-21 an option for families? 

We understand there will be families who are not ready or able to go back to school, even if health conditions allow for in-person education in some form. That’s why PSD will offer online learning only, by parent choice. In a 100 percent remote education environment, students can take classes online and be connected to their original school communities. This option will be available to students in preschool through 12th grade. A district team is working together to leverage their collective experience (we are proud of award-winning Poudre Global Academy, which has offered a hybrid in-person/online learning model for K-12 education for more than 10 years in PSD) and what we've learned to-date about educating kids virtually to develop this option. We will share more information, including how parents can opt in for this choice, as plans are finalized. 
 

 

The amount of screen time students experienced during remote education in spring 2020 was significant. Are you considering this as you plan for 2020-21?

Teams of staff have been discussing how things went in spring 2020 and identifying success and areas of improvement, as PSD plans for the next school year. This work centers around myriad considerations, including where, how and when children learn.  
 

 

 

Health and Safety

If we have in-person learning, what happens if a positive COVID-19 case is identified in one of our schools? Will students’ and staff temperatures be taken before they enter buildings? 

Although there is some guidance for K-12 schools from the Colorado Department of Education and Colorado Department of Health and Environment regarding this topic, PSD staff anticipate that schools will receive additional guidance and/or requirements for case tracking and contact notification ahead of the 2020-21 school year. This information will guide our planning work over the summer.

PSD will work with Larimer County Department of Health and Environment staff, and other public health and education officials, to develop and communicate clear protocols that align with guidance and requirements, so families and staff know what to expect if someone tests positive for or is exposed to COVID-19 during each of the educational phases. Additional health protocols, such as taking temperatures, will be discussed as part of this work. We will share more information as plans are finalized in partnership with public health officials.  
 

Will students be exposed to COVID-19 more if PSD opens the school year in any phase that permits in-person education in some form? 

If PSD opens in a phase that allows in-person education to happen in some form, it’s possible some students may be exposed to more people than they have been at home. That said, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) is closely tracking data that show, as of June 2020, that health practices such as wearing face coverings, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others, washing hands properly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, and more, have flattened the curve in Larimer County. Because of the efforts of our community members to remain vigilant, the LCDHE submitted a waiver and gained state approval for Larimer County to re-open certain things in our community (restaurants, businesses, etc.) ahead of the state as a whole. Visit the LCDHE website for more information about COVID-19 case data, the variance and more.
    
PSD continues to follow the guidance and orders of public health agencies and will determine our decision for the state of the 2020-21 school year – and beyond – based on the recommendations and requirements in place at the time. PSD is prepared to shift among Phases 1-4, as public health conditions, recommendations and orders change during the 2020-21 school year. 
 

Can I get a waiver for my student to not wear a mask, if PSD opens in Phases 3 or 4? 

PSD will follow guidance, requirements and orders set by local and state public health and education officials, including with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, the Colorado Department of Education, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and others. If face coverings are required by these agencies when we start the school year and in-person education can happen in some form in PSD, staff and students will be required to wear them when in PSD schools and facilities. According to preliminary CDPHE guidance for K-12 schools, as of June 11, 2020, face coverings should be considered for students age 3 or older. Those with trouble breathing, or those unable to remove a mask without assistance should not wear a mask. As of June 24, 2020, CDPHE has yet to issue final guidance on face coverings for K-12 schools. 
 

Are you planning for how PSD schools and buildings will be cleaned in the 2020-21 school year?

If in-person education is possible in some form in 2020-21:

Yes. Staff are developing plans for cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing, in-person education is possible in some form next school year. For example, rooms with high-touch surfaces will sanitized and disinfected throughout the day. There will likely be a priority cleaning schedule of disinfecting and sanitizing in effect. Ventilation will be increased through opening windows and doors as needed. Other protocols will be followed, in accordance with public health guidance.

PSD is working with health officials to determine if student temperature checks will be required upon arrival at school. If they become required, check-in procedures will be established. Why haven't you made a decision about this yet?

We're still working to further develop PSD's 2020-21 educational and healthy safety plans. We've yet to receive final state guidance on K-12 education. That, coupled with guidance from the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment and other public health and education officials, will guide our work in this area

 

Support Services

Transportation and bussing students in 2020-21

For the 2020-21 bussing plan, as of June 2020, visit the Transportation web page. For bussing FAQs, please visit the Transportation FAQs for 2020-21 web page. 

Is PSD planning on providing childcare during the day for the children of staff? What about for families? 

Yes. PSD believes strongly that childcare must be provided for all PSD staff so they are able to successfully connect with and educate our community’s children. This is not an employee perk; it is a way for the school district to do business in a new environment.

The current plan is for PSD to work with contracted vendor AlphaBEST to provide childcare for the school-aged children of all full-time PSD staff if PSD is in Phases 2 or 3 (remote-only education or mostly remote education with in-person education for small groups, respectively). Staff will pay a daily rate for childcare. Children of staff will go to their parent/guardian’s school on days they would not normally be at their school for in-person education. AlphaBEST staff will provide care. For example, a teacher may have to go to Johnson Elementary to teach on in-person learning days; their child would go with them and be in a separate location at school (they will need to bring their own devices for learning). Staff children who live out-of-district will be permitted to receive care. Childcare will NOT be available on collaboration Fridays, in Phase 3. It will also NOT be available in Phases 1 or 4 (100 percent remote-only instruction or students return to school for in-person learning, respectively).  

In addition to safety, childcare was among the chief concerns of staff, as shared in PSD’s spring 2020-21 planning staff survey. The Colorado Department of Education is also recommending that school districts consider childcare when planning for how to deliver education in the 2020-21 school year. 

Although we don’t know what phase we will start the school year in, we anticipate that before- and after-school childcare services may be available to families in Phases 3 or 4. More planning is required to answer this question, and we will share more information as plans are solidified. 

Kids and adults have stressors they may never have experienced before. What mental health services will PSD offer next school year?

Our students’ social and emotional well-being is a priority. We know many of our students and families will still be experiencing significant challenges, even if we are able to start the school year in Phases 3 or 4 (hybrid or 100 percent in-person learning, respectively). PSD special-service professionals (i.e. counselors, mental health specialists, social workers and psychologists) will continue to provide individual, group and family supports at all school levels, including ongoing collaboration with community partners; services for students with disabilities; referrals for students experiencing suicidal ideation; and education and support for all staff to enhance understanding of students‘ and families’ mental health needs and additional challenges during remote learning.

The district’s mental health professionals are also considering new and additional services in the 2020-21 school year, including but not limited to continued outreach for students who face challenges with accessing potentially changing education models (I.e. Phases 1-4).

 

Staff

What if a staff member isn't comfortable working in schools or on site in Phases 2-4?  

Employees concerned about returning to in-person work should contact Human Resources for additional information and resources.

They may also visit the PSD Staff website (log in using your PSD credentials) for additional information. 

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