2020-21 School Year FAQS

 Information was updated April 5 and is subject to change.

For the latest schedule and phase of education for grade levels, please visit the 2020-21 school year web page.

 

Frequently asked questions
 

Second Semester

The current schedule for students is available on the 2020-21 school year web page.

Questions about the decision and timing to move to Phase 4 in-person learning for middle and high school students beginning March 22

  • Why did PSD decide to shift middle and high school students to Phase 4 now? Since returning in January, PSD has had fewer cases of COVID-19 at all grade levels when compared to case levels while students were in Phase 3 hybrid learning this past fall. With cases continuing to trend downward in Larimer County, and based upon the timing of our Spring Break and start of the fourth-quarter grading period, we believe it is time make this shift. Our decision was made in consultation with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE). “Our goal has been to get students back to in-person learning as soon as it is safe to do so. We’ve worked closely with our school districts throughout this pandemic and have confidence that their COVID-19 protocols prioritize the health and safety of the students and staff,” said Tom Gonzales, LCDHE public health director, who supports this decision by PSD and the county’s two other school districts, which are also shifting all grade levels to full-time in-person learning. Vaccinations and testing are contributing factors to this decision. Learn more about this decision in this Feb. 25 news item.
  • Why return on March 22, after Spring Break when cases could increase from traveling? PSD is aware of the timing and will closely monitor the impact of shifting middle and high school students to Phase 4. PSD cannot restrict travel that students or staff do in their own time. As of February 2021, there is not currently a statewide or local requirement to quarantine for 14 days when traveling to or returning from travel to Larimer County, as posted on the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment website. Following LCDHE guidance, people should know that it is possible to have been exposed to COVID-19 on their travels. According to the LCDHE, you may feel well and not have any symptoms, but they can be contagious without symptoms and spread the virus to others. You and your travel companions (including children) pose a risk to your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus. Additionally, Larimer County did not see a significant uptick in cases following Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve. There are some international travel restrictions. More information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention >> 
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance in February about how schools should operate, as possible. Based on PSD’s data, it appears that neither middle nor high schools should be operating with all students at school full-time. Why is PSD doing this? Guidance from the CDC and White House has evolved greatly in the past couple of weeks, shifting from a goal to get all students across the U.S. in school at least one day a week to getting all K-8 students in school five days a week. Looking at current CDC benchmarks for when students in different grade levels are recommended to be learning in-person, it is our belief that the minimum number of COVID-19 cases is unattainably low in our current national and community conditions. Students and staff are at their best when they are in school, strengthening their connections while teaching and learning together. This in-person experience is critical to addressing some of the student learning losses that we have measured during the pandemic. We are also seeing some stability in PSD's COVID-19 data. More elementary students have been quarantined during the second semester, but that is by design; with enhanced contact tracing for primary grades, all students in a class are shifted to remote when there is a case. The inverse is that since Jan. 19, about 3% of elementary students have been in remote per day on average, meaning that 97% have been able to attend school five days per week. Comparing the weeks all students were in Phase 3 hybrid learning this fall to the time this semester they have been in Phases 3 or 4, case totals at all grade levels are lower now than before. Therefore, it appears that having more students in schools more often has not contributed to case increases. For those reasons, we believe it is time to take this next step. 
  • Will students or staff be required to isolate/quarantine after Spring Break travel? No. PSD cannot restrict travel that students or staff do in their own time. As of February 2021, there is not currently a statewide or local requirement to quarantine for 14 days when traveling to or returning from travel to Larimer County, as posted on the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment website. Following LCDHE guidance, people should know that it is possible to have been exposed to COVID-19 on their travels. According to the LCDHE, you may feel well and not have any symptoms, but they can be contagious without symptoms and spread the virus to others. You and your travel companions (including children) pose a risk to your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus. Regardless of where you traveled or what you did during your trip, take these actions to protect others from getting sick after you return: When around others, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people who are not from your household. It is important to do this everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are outside of your home. Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol). Watch your health and look for symptoms of COVID-19. Take your temperature if you feel sick. There are some international travel restrictions. More information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention >> 
  • What does this mean for fall 2021?PSD is focused on supporting students, staff and families in Phase 4 and is not ready to comment on fall 2021. 

General questions about Phase 4 in-person learning for middle and high school students beginning March 22

  • Do all secondary students have to participate in in-person learning? Can they also stay in a remote learning model? We know some families may not feel comfortable sending their students to school. They will continue to have the option to keep their middle and high school students at home and should contact their school’s principal for more information regarding specific options. 
  • How many students will be in each classroom? There is no districtwide maximum for the number of students permitted in each classroom; this number varies from school to school and classroom to classroom based upon school layout and square footage. Following district protocols, staff and students will maximize social distancing. With more students in school more of the time, 6 feet of social distancing will not always be possible. Recognizing this is a challenge for most schools in the State of Colorado, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Larimer County Department of Health and Environment guidance allows schools to seat students between 3-6 feet apart. Among many prevention measures, including required masks for students and staff, PSD may also utilize plastic partitions. 
  • What is the plan for lunches in middle and high schools? Many of the Phase 3 meal best practices and protocols will also be followed in Phase 4. Each school will plan to maximize distancing as much as possible (i.e. utilizing seating charts or cohorting students to the extent possible, etc.). Please visit the Phase 4 Schools Open with Safety Protocols web page for details.
  • If students have a free period during the school day will they be able to leave and return to campus? Preparations for the shift to Phase 4 are underway. More information will be shared as soon as possible. 
  • Maintaining six feet of social distancing will not be possible with all middle and high school students in school. What is PSD doing to address this? Maintaining 6 feet or more of distance is not always possible within some PSD schools due to space constraints that are difficult to reconcile with educating more students more of the time. Recognizing this is a challenge for most schools in the State of Colorado, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Larimer County Department of Health and Environment guidance allows schools to seat students between 3-6 feet apart. Among many prevention measures, including required masks for students and staff, PSD may also utilize plastic partitions.  

    Maintaining our shared health and safety culture is a must to Keep Schools Open. We will maximize social distancing and follow our safety protocols, but we also know that maintaining six feet of distancing will not always be possible. Utilizing additional layers of prevention will be important. Students and staff are still required to wear masks and the enhanced cleaning and disinfection of our schools and workplaces will continue. Ventilation will remain a focus and, as the weather improves throughout the spring, we will open doors and use our outdoor spaces more frequently. Our COVID-19 Response Teams will also continue following protocols rooted in medical best practices and public health guidance to promptly respond to cases. More information is on the Health and Safety and COVID-19 Protocols web pages. 

  • With middle and high school students shifting to Phase 4 in March, will PSD start doing daily student wellness and temperature checks at school? No. PSD will continue to follow established health and safety protocols. Parents/guardians and students are expected to evaluate themselves for symptoms and NOT go to school if they are experiencing illness symptoms, which include but aren’t limited to a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or more. More information on PSD COVID-19 protocols >> 
  • Is it true that there will be teacher workdays in March and April? PSD has added two new teacher workdays to the calendar this spring on Friday, March 12 and Monday, April 19. On these two days, elementary students will not go to school; middle and high schoolers will participate in asynchronous online learning days. Teachers can use this time to prepare classrooms, lessons and more.
     
    • Will there be childcare options for parents/guardians who have to work either or both days? PSD’s contracted childcare provider AlphaBEST is planning to offer services those days. For more information, please visit https://www.alphabest.org/poudreco/. 
       
    • How will teachers utilize the time on those workdays? Teachers may choose how they use their time these days. Many teachers have increased workloads due to COVID-19, and their work on these days may include but isn’t limited to cleaning, developing lesson plans, preparing individual student learning materials (the sharing of materials is discouraged) and more. 
       
    • Can’t PSD just utilize substitute teachers? PSD has designated site substitute teachers at each school this year, and the district is now opening its regular substitute call-out system to provide backup for teachers who may be out for a number of reasons, including if they are shifted to remote education for a COVID-19 case. At this point, the district is unsure how many substitutes will be available for support through the remainder of the school year and encourage community members to consider working as a PSD substitute to help Keep Schools Open. More information: PSD Careers web page
       
    • Other districts in Colorado have not added workdays. Why is PSD doing things differently? We understand the workdays may pose challenges for some of our families and students. As we shared in the district update, many of our teachers have needed additional time in their contracted schedules to manage significantly increased workloads due to COVID-19. Of all the options considered, the district and PSD Board of Education felt this change was the most optimal way to balance all needs. We are aware that some regional school districts have opted for students to be in school four days a week and learn asynchronously online one day a week during the second semester. In PSD, the district and school board decided that it was important to have students in school as much as possible and chose to add the two workdays, instead. 

 

When all students are in Phase 4, will my student still use a district-issued laptop or device at home? Will my student still be able to use a district-issued MiFi device?

    When all students are in Phase 4, will my student still use a district-issued laptop or device at home? Yes, any student could potentially be shifted to remote learning if there is a COVID-19 case, following district protocols. Therefore, students will continue to use their district-issued devices in-person and at home. 

    Will my student still be able to use a district-issued MiFi device? Yes, families, at all levels, that continue to need a MiFi device for internet connectivity may keep their MiFi throughout the remainder of the school year. Later this spring, families will be asked to return MiFi devices. MiFis will be provided to summer school students based on the same requirements that were followed during this school year. 

    What is the expectation for instruction when students are kept home (by choice or due to quarantine/shift to remote because of a COVID-19 case)? Please clarify the expectations for staff regarding livestreaming, work sent home, etc.

    PSD elementary schools will not simulcast/livestream at the elementary level. In situations when students are absent from school due to exposure or quarantine, we will provide work to complete at home, as we would have prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. One reason elementary schools will not offer classroom simulcasts is because many of our youngest learners would likely have difficulty accessing their online learning materials and the simulcast without a dedicated adult to support them, as compared with their older peers.    
        

    PSD secondary schools will offer simulcasts/broadcasts. These will serve as a one-way window into the classroom; teachers will be focused on their in-person students and are not expected to interact with students accessing the broadcast. The broadcasts serve as a complement to the learning materials secondary students access online through their Teacher Learning pages (teacher notes, presentation slides, reading materials, etc.).

    We encourage families who are not comfortable with their student returning to the classroom to submit a transfer request for PSD Virtual, for the 2020-21 school year, or submit a School of Choice application for Poudre School District Global Academy Virtual for the 2021-22 school year.     

    COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, cases, quarantine time

    • With middle and high schoolers moving to Phase 4, will the staff testing site hours and days of operation be expanded? Will PSD open a second testing site? As of now, PSD will continue to operate one symptomatic staff rapid COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot on the west side of Poudre High School. PSD does not currently plan to open a second site, based on the current number of appointments. The site is not open to symptomatic students or the general community. For information about testing for minors in Larimer County, please visit the Health and Safety FAQ web page. 

    • Many physicians or pediatricians' offices will test for their patients if they’re symptomatic or have been in contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19
    • Are vaccines required for staff? PSD is not requiring staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

    • Are vaccines available for students?  As of April 2, Colorado is currently vaccinating everyone eligible in previous phases of the vaccine distribution plan and the general public ages 16 and older.  Currently (as of April 2), those who are 16 or 17 years old can only receive the Pfizer vaccine, which has limited availability. Parents/guardians should check with a provider to see which vaccination is available prior to their child’s appointment. More information >> 

    • Will all PSD staff be vaccinated by March 22? Vaccinations and testing are contributing factors to this decision. PK-12 educators and staff became eligible to be vaccinated under the state’s tiered distribution plan on Feb. 8. Staff continue to book appointments with different providers, including UCHealth (UCH), Kaiser Permanente, Banner Health, and LCDHE – and the results are encouraging. As of Feb. 23, UCH data show that over 3,000 PSD employees have registered with UCH to receive their vaccination, with nearly 70% of those registered already receiving their first dose. Banner and Kaiser have not provided data to PSD, but we know that many staff have also booked vaccination appointments with these providers. Additionally, PSD will continue to operate its symptomatic staff rapid testing site through the end of the school year. 

    • Will volunteers be able to receive the vaccine early? No. Volunteers are not included in the 1B education tier of the State of Colorado’s vaccination plan. That said, a volunteer may qualify personally (not in connection with PSD) to receive the vaccination if they meet the requirements of another tier (e.g. If a volunteer is a first responder, they may have already received the vaccination. If they are 65 years or older, they may now qualify to be vaccinated, as of February).  

    Graduation, prom and clubs

    • What is the plan for graduation, given the shift to Phase 4? As of February 2021, the plan is to host in-person graduation ceremonies in May with COVID-19 protocols. Discussions and planning are underway, and we will share more information about this important topic as soon as possible. 
    • Will clubs/student organizations begin to meet in-person? Yes, if they are run by a PSD employee and meet safety protocols, including but not limited to wearing masks and social distancing as possible.

    Athletics, Activities, and Field Trips

    With a shift to Phase 4, will there be changes to athletics? Middle school athletics begin March 1. Current information is available on the Activities, Athletics and Events Status web page

     

    Technical support; Staying connected with teachers and getting resources during remote learning

    What technical support is available? A technical support website designed specifically for parents and students is available. The PSD website offers device troubleshooting information, application technical support and covers other common technical issues that parents and students sometime experience. 


    How do we stay connected to teachers and get the resources we need when remote learning is in place? Online teacher learning pages provide remote learning resources Every teacher and/or department has their own online learning pages where students can find their remote learning resources. For example, an elementary teacher's page may feature messages from the teacher, and links to Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, other learning applications. These pages serve as the entry point for students to access content when remote learning is in place. We also encourage parents/guardians to communicate with teachers, principals and other school staff when you have questions or want to discuss support for your student. 


    What does remote learning look like? Please see the Remote Learning: What to Expect web page.

    Will students be graded in this school year? Will grading be different when students are learning remotely or in-person? 

    Grades will be assigned. Grading practices and expectations will be communicated. 

    What does education for students with disabilities look like this year? How does PSD support at-risk students in Phase 1?

    • How does PSD support at-risk students in Phase 1? PSD staff have been working with many community partners throughout the pandemic to identify ways to support our most vulnerable students. In Phase 1 remote learning, the district will continue to operate remote learning support centers at many PSD schools for students identified with specific needs. 

      Students supported through this model are those who lack the resources at home to participate in remote learning; those who are English Language Learners; and those identified as needing significant intervention for English or mathematics. Remote learning support centers were initially opened in late August and early September as spaces where students had a safe place to access meals, internet services and mental health support, while engaging in the remote educations. To be clear, staff will be supervising students in-person while they engage in remote learning online with their grade-level or content area teachers. Supervisory staff do NOT provide in-person instruction. 

     

    Since the start of school was delayed, will the end of school in May 2021 also be pushed a week?

    PSD's last day of school is Wednesday, May 26. We will communicate if the last day changes.

    Summer learning: What are the plans for student opportunities this summer? What are the plans for staff learning opportunities this summer

    What are the plans for student opportunities this summer (e.g. summer school, Camp SOL, STEM-X)? PSD staff are working with community partners to plan summer programming. It may include but isn’t limited to summer school for credit recovery, as well as other potential in-person programs with health protocols. It is important to note that some options will be by invitation only, while others may be open to broader registration. More information will be available on this Summer Learning Opportunities web page. 

    What are the plans for staff learning opportunities this summer(e.g. Summer Institute, Launch Learning)? Once summer programming for students is finalized, the Professional Learning Team will collaboratively determine opportunities for staff. Classes will be available; however, they will likely be offered on a much smaller scale so as not to compete with the need to serve our students and due to limited resources. Staff received information via email beginning in March. 

     

    Educational Options:  PSD Virtual and Homeschool

    I am not comfortable with my student going to school full-time when PSD transitions to Phase 4. What are my options?

    The district’s 100 percent online option for the 2020-21 school year is PSD Virtual. PSDV transfers are being accepted by grade level, depending on space availability, following PSD’s School Transfer Request Process. You may begin the school transfer process by completing the School Transfer Request (also available in Spanish - School Transfer Request).    

    K-5 may submit transfer requests to Sonja Ballstadt at sballsta@psdschools.org.  

    6-12 may submit transfer requests to Kristen Besanceney at kbesance@psdschools.org. 

    PSD Virtual will conclude with the end of the 2020-21 school year. Those interested in a fully virtual model for the 2021-22 school year have the option to apply through School of Choice to Poudre Global Academy Virtual (PGAV), which is offering a new K-12 model in addition to its current hybrid model. Families may apply now, during the School of Choice second-consideration application period. For more PGAV information, visit PGAV's website >> 

    We know some families may not feel comfortable sending their students to school. Middle and high school students will be given opportunities to learn from home, and families should contact their school’s principal for more information regarding specific options. 

    How is the student experience different at PSD Virtual than when a student is enrolled in their home school and PSD is operating in a phase with remote education?  

    PSD Virtual was established as an option for the 2020-21 school year as an alternative for families who opted for the consistency of learning online all the time. PSD Virtual will not shift among the district’s educational phases, which are dependent on current public health conditions, guidance and orders.  

    PSDV teachers will use the standards-based curriculum from Colorado iLearn Collaborative, locally developed curriculum, and concurrent enrollment courses at Front Range Community College at the secondary level and curriculum from Colorado Digital Learning Solutions and locally developed curriculum at the elementary level. PSD Virtual teachers will also supplement with other district curriculum materials for teaching and learning. PSD teachers in the home schools will use district curriculum materials for their remote instruction.   

    Additionally, classes of PSD Virtual students will have students from schools across the district. For example, a first-grade class may have students whose home schools are Bennett, McGraw, Timnath and Zach elementary schools. Students who don’t enroll in PSD Virtual will remain in class with students who are all from the same home school.  

    Whether enrolled in PSD Virtual or attending their home school, PSD students will experience support from compassionate and professional teachers and staff as well as be connected to their peers, teachers and others within unique school communities. 

    How do I disenroll from PSD Virtual? 

    To unenroll in PSD Virtual:

    •  Email psdvinfo@psdschools.org with the subject line “Unenroll.”
    • In the body of the email, please provide your parent name, student name, and student ID number. 

    Enrolling your child at PSD Virtual is a year-long commitment. There may be a possibility of transitioning back to your student’s neighborhood school at the semester break, but that opportunity will be on a space-available basis and is not guaranteed. For more information, visit the PSD Virtual website.

     

    Can I transfer my student to PSD Virtual? Is there space?

    PSDV transfers are being accepted by grade level, depending on space availability, following PSD’s School Transfer Request Process. You may begin the school transfer process by completing the School Transfer Request (also available in Spanish - School Transfer Request).    

    Some grade levels at PSDV are full and cannot accept transfer students at this time because PSD has reached its capacity.   

    My student is currently enrolled in PSD Virtual, but we are ready for them to return to their neighborhood/choice school. Can we transfer back? 

    Virtual students who wish to return to their neighborhood or choice school (if they were approved for the 2020-21 school year) for the current school year should complete PSD’s School Transfer Request Process. You may begin the school transfer process by completing the School Transfer Request (also available in Spanish - School Transfer Request). Please be aware that not all PSD schools are accepting transfers at this time.   

    I've decided to homeschool my student this year. What do I do?

    You can find guidelines and information about what you need to do to homeschool on the PSD Homeschool web page. 

    Charter school questions: Why aren't they listed on the PSD COVID data dashboard? Why are some operating differently than other PSD schools?

    • Although PSD authorized the charters, the district does not manage PSD-authorized charter school operations or staff; charter school employees are NOT PSD employees.     
    • Therefore, PSD is not overseeing or managing COVID-19 response at any of the district's authorized charter schools.   
    • If people have questions about how PSD-authorized charter schools are operating during COVID-19 or anytime, they should contact those schools directly.      
    • Larimer County Department of Health and Environment reviews all school plans to operate.   
    • A significant reason PSD is different than charters or a single private school, say, is the school district’s size. The overall impact of communitywide spread and cases is much more significant on a system with approximately 3,000 staff and 27,000 students than a private or charter school with several hundred or even 1,000 or more people all together. 

     

    2020-21 Background Considerations and Decision Process

    What data or criteria are PSD considering when making decisions?

    PSD works closely with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) about the district plans, county data and overall community risk. LCDHE makes the county’s COVID-19 data publicly available on an online dashboard, which features current data for total cases, deaths, outbreaks, county comparisons, as well as the current community risk index. Please note that not one single data point determines whether Poudre School District is operating in an educational phase with remote education (Phase 1), mostly remote learning with small group in-person supports (Phase 2), a remote and in-person hybrid (Phase 3), or fully in-person education with health protocols (Phase 4).

     Although all data are taken into consideration, here are a few key data points that PSD leadership pay attention to when making decisions.

    •  14-day case rate per 100,000, also referred to as the “14-day average:”  High risk is defined by LCDHE as 100 or more per 100,000; medium risk is 50-100 cases per 100,000; and low risk is 50 or fewer per 100,000. 
    • 14-day test positivity percentage: The state’s target for test positivity percentage is for counties to be at 5 percent or lower.  
    • Percent hospital utilization: This is the total percent occupancy of hospitals within the two largest health systems in Larimer County: UCHealth and Banner. The hospitals report data to LCDHE three times a week. If cases rise in the community, the health department keeps a close eye to make sure hospitals have enough beds to treat COVID-19 patients, as well as those who are in car crashes, have heart attacks and more. If cases surge, there’s concern there may not be enough capacity to treat everyone who needs it.  
    • Response to PSD cases: In addition to monitoring COVID-19 data in the community, PSD staff respond to every COVID-19 case in the district. The response often includes temporarily closing classrooms and shifting to remote education for an initial assessment period, working with LCDHE to identify who was in close contact with a positive COVID-19 individual, and issuing quarantine orders for close contacts (those who were around a positive person for 15 minutes or more at 6 feet or less). This crucial work is time consuming and leads to disruptions in teaching and learning as students and staff shift to remote learning and then back to in-person instruction.

    It’s critical to note that these data change day by day, and sometimes hour by hour, and that they could either improve or decline, leading to concerns that the district will closely monitor and consider.  

    What do Board of Education meetings look like during the 2020-21 school year?

    The Board of Education has continued to meet during the 2020-21 school year. For the latest protocols, information about how to watch the meetings online and where to sign up for public comment, visit the Board Meetings and Agenda web page.

    Why are there four phases of education? How do you expect families to adapt to the different phases?

    We would absolutely prefer to see our students in-person, at school every day of the week. We are committed to sharing information in a timely manner with families to allow those working full-time to plan in case of the need to shift to remote learning. We want our PSD families to be prepared for the future as best as possible. 

    Having four phases of education in place, allows us to be prepared to adapt as successfully and efficiently as possible to new public health guidelines, restrictions and current community COVID-19 conditions continue to evolve.  

    There are disadvantages with each of the four phases of education, 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.  

    Some resources for families, including childcare assistance, are available in the community. Learn more on the Family Resources web page

     

    Health and Safety Protocols

    For complete information related to schools and sites, visit the Health and Safety in 2020-21 web page

    What happens if a positive COVID-19 case is identified in one of our schools? Will the school quarantine or close?

    What allows PSD to share my or my student’s information with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment for a contact tracing investigation. Doesn’t the district need my consent first?

    PSD works with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment to support the agency’s contact tracing investigations, a critical tool to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our schools and community. Part of that work involves identifying close contacts (individuals who were within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more). For investigations, our two organizations exchange information to support this important health safety work. Yes  

    The following is posted publicly on the district’s COVID-19 Protocols web page, under the section labeled “How PSD and LCDHE work together on contact tracing and investigations”: “PSD may need to share some student information requested by LCDHE staff completing contact tracing investigations that includes but isn't limited to parent/guardian name, parent/guardian phone number(s), student name, student grade, student school of attendance, and student date of birth. PSD will never share parent/guardian or student social security numbers. All disclosures will be made in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).”

     District Policy JRA/JRC - Student Records / Release of Information on Students states PSD may disclose student education records or personally identifiable information without written consent of the parent/guardian or eligible students under several circumstances, including if the disclosure is in connection with an emergency, if knowledge of the information disclosed is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons. 

    Additionally, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, “Schools are required to disclose names of people with COVID-19 to public health authorities. Schools should not disclose the name(s) of students, teachers or staff members with COVID-19 to other teachers, staff, students, parents, the media, or anyone outside public health. Public health staff are trained in how to manage health information in order to protect your privacy. They will never share your information without your permission, and they store records securely and keep them safe.” 

    The district has and will continue to train and build the capacity of our school and department COVID-19 Response Teams. We work collectively to provide only the necessary information to support a contact tracing investigation, which includes parent/guardian contact information and the student information listed above. The health department uses this information to issue quarantine orders to those individuals identified as close contacts, as a result of the investigation.  

    LCDHE quarantine orders are always issued in the name of either the confirmed case or identified close contacts. They are not issued in someone else’s name (even if they are a minor) because they apply only to the directly impacted individual. 

    Why is PSD is requiring all students and staff to wear face coverings in school? Can I get a mask exemption for my student?

    Why is PSD is requiring all students and staff to wear face coverings in school? 

    Cloth face coverings are required to minimize the spread of respiratory droplets carrying the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. We also believe this will help maintain consistency in learning by decreasing the spread of the virus and, therefore, the rate at which classrooms may be quarantined or schools closed, according to current state and county public health department guidance. By wearing a face covering, your child will protect others – including their classmates, teachers and staff. This follows the Colorado governor's order that requires face coverings to be worn indoors. 

     

    Staff and students will be required to wear cloth face coverings in school. 

    • Parents/guardians are responsible for providing cloth face coverings (which must follow county guidance and cover your nose and mouth).   
    • “Mask breaks” will take place periodically and outdoors for health department-approved time without face coverings.  
    • Students will be allowed to take their cloth face masks off for recess, following public health guidelines. 
    • There may be rare instances where students or employees with some medical conditions or students with disabilities may be exempt. PSD is finalizing what this process would look like and will communicate more as soon as possible.  

    School cleaning, social distancing, air circulation and other health, safety and prevention questions

    You can find all health and safety information for the 2020-21 school year, on the Health and Safety in 2020-21 web page.

    Will visitors, volunteers and parents be allowed at schools beginning March 22?

    Volunteers: As of Feb. 17, volunteers are permitted to be in schools following the district’s second semester volunteer protocols, which include a required symptom screening. As of Feb. 25, parents/guardians are not yet allowed to be in schools. 

    Community Partners: Starting March 22, PSD is allowing community partners at schools for educational student opportunities.

    • In order to ensure safety for community partners, students and staff, community partners must complete and submit this planning form for approval by PSD prior to scheduling their event. School COVID-19 Response Teams will review all submissions prior to approval.
    • Principals have the authority to make the final decision about which community partners are allowed in their school, following all established protocols. 
    • Those with questions should contact their respective assistant superintendent, who may consult with the Central Office COVID-19 Response Team.

     

    Learn more about volunteer COVID-19 protocols and symptom screening on the PSD Volunteers web page

    Spring Events Guidance

    PSD follows LCDHE’s guidance for indoor and outdoor events, including the county's maximum number of people allowed for each type. School COVID-19 Response Teams will complete a required form detailing event plans and submit it to their respective assistant superintendent for review prior to approval.

    Participants, attendees and organizers of events will be required to wear face masks and social distance, as well as follow appropriate health and safety protocols at events. 

    EventsLevel Green - Protect Neighbors (use caution)Level Blue - Use CautionLevel Yellow - Concern (advised to stay home)Level Orange - High Risk (strongly advised to stay home)Level Red - Severe Risk (stay at home)Level Purple - Extreme Risk (stay at home ordered)
    Group sports and camps50% capacity or 500 people *50-person capacity per activity25-person capacity per activityVirtual or outdoors in groups less than 10Virtual or outdoors in groups less than 10Virtual or outdoors in groups less than 10
    Indoor unseated events and entertainment50% capacity or 500 people *50% capacity or 175 people*50% capacity or 50 people no calculator (or up to 100 with calculator)25% capacity or 50 people (with calculator)*Closed, excluding museums, aquariums, and zoos**Closed
    Indoor seated events and entertainment50% capacity or 500 people *50% capacity or 225 people with 6ft spacing between groups50% capacity or 50 people (or 150 people with 6ft spacing between groups)25% capacity or 50 people*Closed, excluding museums, aquariums, and zoos**Closed
    Outdoor events and entertainments50% capacity or 500 people *50% capacity or 250 people*50% capacity or 175 people *25% capacity or 75 people25% capacity or 75 people (with calculator)* attended only with household members and 6ft spacing between groupsClosed
    Outdoor guided services50% capacity or 500 people *50% capacity or 25 people*50% capacity or 10 people *25% capacity or 10 people*25% capacity or 10 people*25% or up to 10 in your own household*

     

    Support Services

    Transportation and bussing when PSD moves to Phase 4 in-person learning March 22

    Since all students will be in school full-time starting March 22, will PSD return to full busing (approximately 13,000 students in a typical school year)? No. Due to current bus driver shortages and health guidelines, among other challenges, PSD is not adding routes and will still bus a limited number of students when all students are in Phase 4. Busing is guaranteed for students for whom transportation is legally required (i.e. those with Individualized Transportation Plans (ITP) and some foster students), as well as McKinney-Vento students experiencing homelessness. If circumstances in your family's life have changed and you feel your student meets these criteria, please contact your school to see if busing may be provided. The Transportation Department has continued to evaluate requests and add riders during the second semester. Transportation information >> 

     

    How is PSD addressing traffic congestion issues that are a result of the district’s restricted busing model? PSD has closely monitored and made continuous adjustments to school traffic plans in response to increased congestion during the second semester. The following are a few examples of what PSD staff have done to address this challenge:  

    • PSD contracted with outside company Lightfield Enterprises to provide traffic control services through the end of the 2020-21 school year (i.e. queuing of traffic, controlling traffic lights, etc.) at Timnath, Bethke, Bacon, Zach, Tavelli and Eyestone elementary schools, sites chosen based on need and intersection design, traffic flow and volume of traffic the district was seeing at each. Select schools have implemented staggered bell times to alleviate congestion during arrival and dismissal at select schools. Some schools have also asked additional staff to do traffic monitoring duties, such as control of ingress and egress, drop-off lane and crosswalk monitoring and more. 

    • PSD has also started assigning two riders (from different households) to the same bus seat in a limited capacity to try to alleviate some congestion.  

    • PSD is short about 35 bus drivers, an ongoing challenge in the district even prior to the pandemic. If members of the community are interested, we strongly encourage them to apply for an open position to support our students and Keep Schools Open

     

    For the most-current 2020-21 bussing plan, visit the Transportation web page. For bussing FAQs, please visit the Transportation FAQs for 2020-21 web page. 

    Will PSD provide meals during periods of Phase 1 remote education or Phase 3 hybrid learning education?  

    Yes, the district continues to provide food for students, many of whom depend upon schools for their only meals each day. Details about how and where meals are available are on the Meals during 2020-21 web page. 

    What mental health services and supports are available to students during the 2020-21 school year?

    PSD’s many Special Service Professionals (SSP) -- mental health specialists, counselors, social workers and psychologists -- are focused on re-establishing a sense of safety, belonging, and connection for students this year. Teams have been and will continue to support students who are experiencing feelings of isolation, depression, uncertainty, disappointment, anxiety, and grief and loss, among other challenges. Staff will continue serving and supporting students with disabilities. 

    SSPs work to connect with previously-served students (at all levels) and offer support to best meet their needs. This works involves re-engagement with those students, their families and community partners who have supported them during the summer. 

    Mental health staff will continue to support students who are unsafe to themselves or others through a collaborative response with school staff, the student, their family and community providers to ensure the student's safety and connection to resources. 

    SSPs are meeting students and parents where they are, connecting either at school (as of second semester) or by phone, email, chat or other digital means. 

    Parent support 

    • Supporting parents and guardians will continue to be a critical component of student success. 
    • Mental health professionals are available to help parents throughout the year in any phase of learning. 
    • If possible, educational opportunities for parents will be offered about the COVID impact on youth mental health issues, child and adolescent development, and trauma recovery. 

    Please visit the Mental Health Resources web page to see the latest "Mental Health Matters" update and for more information about support services. 

    Will childcare in school buildings be impacted by the return of students? 

    AlphaBEST is PSD’s contracted before- and after-school childcare provider and will continue to provide services. Please visit the AlphaBEST website for information.

    What about students who don’t have reliable access to internet? How will they engage in remote education?  

    PSD has distributed MiFi devices (portable internet hotspots that enable students to engage in remote education wherever they are) to families who have shared that they have insufficient internet connectivity in their home to complete their work. 

    For more information, visit the Internet Access web page.

     

    What supports are available to working parents when PSD is in remote education? 

    We would absolutely prefer to see our students in-person, at school every day of the week. We are committed to sharing information in a timely manner with families to allow those working full-time to plan in case of the need to shift to remote learning. We want our PSD families to be prepared for the future as best as possible. 

    Having four phases of education in place, allows us to be prepared to adapt as successfully and efficiently as possible to new public health guidelines, restrictions and current community COVID-19 conditions continue to evolve.  

    There are disadvantages with each of the four phases of education, 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.  

    Some resources for families, including childcare assistance, are available in the community. Learn more on the Family Resources web page

    Are “Parent Pods," or small groups of families that share the responsibility to supervise all children in a “pod” during the students’ academic studies, affiliated with PSD?

    There are no such groups affiliated with or endorsed by PSD. If parents wish to use the learning-pod model described above, they need to organize the groups on their own, as they are not part of PSD. PSD will not assign teachers to work with these specific groups. 

     

    Additional questions? Please email info@psdschools.org.


    Staff questions: Please visit the PSD Staff website (log in using your PSD credentials) or contact the PSD Human Resources Department

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