WSSD Reopening Questions and Answers
Health and Safety Q&A
Q: What guidelines will the District follow to make decisions about student and staff safety?
A: The WSSD will follow guidelines and considerations established by the numerous agencies and organizations, including the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Chester County Department of Health, the CDC, the World Health Organization, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Education Laboratory (REL) “Considerations for Reopening Pennsylvania Schools,: and our service provider Environmental Control Systems.
Q: What social distancing standard will the WSSD use for classrooms?
A: On July 16, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released new guidance that is comprehensive and definitive regarding physical distancing of at least six feet among students and staff. Fortunately, the WSSD was already planning to use a minimum distance of six feet from one another in classrooms. This is the generally accepted “gold standard” for social distancing.
Classroom space will be reorganized to provide the utmost space for students; individual student desks will be spaced accordingly with social distancing of six feet. Classroom spaces will be organized with student desks facing the same direction and students being assigned to a specific seat in the classroom. Unnecessary furnishings from classrooms will be removed to provide maximum space for social distancing. In small group instruction rooms where six foot distancing is not possible, additional PPE will be utilized.
Outdoor spaces will be explored to implement social distancing strategies for all areas. Weather permitting, teachers can utilize outdoor spaces in and around the building for instructional purposes. Designated areas will be identified for specific classrooms so as not to intrude on social distancing.
Student transitions and groupings of students will be developed in order to find ways to limit the number of individuals that students and staff come in contact with on a daily basis. Classes will be staggered to limit numbers in hallways at any time. Procedures will be developed in large common areas to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed and allow for students and staff to maintain a high degree of safety.
Q: What protocols will be used for buses?
A: The District will provide transportation with two students to a seat maximum in accordance with CCHD guidelines. Students will be assigned seats on the bus. Families and those who reside in the same household will be assigned to sit together. Drivers and student passengers will be required to wear face masks while on the bus in accordance with the Secretary of Health’s Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings issued July 1, 2020.
Students exhibiting symptoms will not be allowed to board the bus or will be assigned to the first seat on the bus. Bus drivers will notify the WSSD Transportation Department to contact parents/guardians. Students who exhibit/express illness when en route will be moved to the first seat on the bus.
Frequently touched surfaces on buses will be disinfected between bus runs, and buses will be cleaned and disinfected daily. Hand sanitizer will be available on each bus. Windows will be open to allow for the circulation of air.
Students are required to wear a face mask while on the bus. Drivers are required to wear a face covering unless it impedes their vision, they have a medical condition, or it would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or task.
Bus drivers should wear gloves when assisting students on and off the bus.
Q: Will all students and teachers be required to wear face coverings?
A: All staff will be required to wear face masks while on school property in accordance with the Secretary of Health’s Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings issued July 1, 2020 unless they have a limited exception contained in Section 3 of the Order.
All students will be required to wear face masks while on school property in accordance with the Secretary of Health’s Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings issued July 1, 2020 unless they have a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school. Accommodations for such students will be made in partnership with the student’s health care provider, school nurse, and IEP/504 team.
Per DOH, staff and students with certain medical conditions are not expected to wear a mask but should social distance or use alternative PPE.
Q: Will the WSSD provide face coverings for students?
A: We know many of our children will come to school with their own mask, however, we will have supplies of masks in school and on the bus for anyone who may have forgotten or lost their own mask.
Q: Will there be temperature checks for students before they get on the bus and for students and staff each day?
A: All staff and families will be requested to screen at home and inform the District of any present COVID-19 symptoms. Staff members and students will be monitored as they enter the building to ensure they are healthy and not exhibiting signs of illness. Staff and students may have their temperature taken before entering the building and screened for signs or symptoms.
Q: How will lunch be served to maximize the safety of students and teachers?
A: Schools will avoid face-to-face seating while eating and allow for six feet social distancing. Lunch may be provided in any available space, including the cafeteria and classrooms, to achieve six foot distancing. Schools will use plated meals/box lunches and avoid buffet style meals.
Q: What protocols will be in place for recess and physical education classes?
A: The recess yard will be zoned with each class occupying a zone monitored by an adult. All students will distance from one another. A cohort rotating schedule for using the playground will be identified. Playground equipment will be separated by each cohort. In the event the playground equipment is used, all playground equipment and materials will be cleaned and disinfected daily by custodial staff or contracted cleaning company with disinfectant supplies that meet EPA’s criteria for use against Covid-19. Per CDC, masks are not required during recess if distancing of six feet can be met.
Sporting equipment may be used for recess but only when used by a single cohort. Balls, frisbees, etc., will be disinfected daily.
Physical Education class will participate outside when feasible. Masks will not be required to be worn during PE classes when students are outside and maintaining a six foot separation; they may be required during inside activities or if social distancing is not possible.
Q: What cleaning protocols will be in place for buildings?
A:The custodians will increase the frequency and intensity of cleaning in common areas, restrooms, high-touch areas and items such as door handles, throughout the day as staff and students enter and exit areas of use.
Daily disinfecting of all areas after students and staff exit the building will be completed. In addition, teachers, staff, and administrators will have access to face masks/shields, disinfectant sprays, and gloves in classrooms and office spaces to be able to additionally disinfect surfaces as used and in an ongoing effort to ensure student and staff safety.
Outside groups, visitors, and/or the public will not be permitted to utilize indoor facilities to allow staff sufficient time to clean and sanitize.
Custodial staff will be trained on the requirements for cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, and ventilation protocols either by facilities management or by specific product vendors. All training will be completed prior to students and staff re-entering the building before the start of the school year, and continued on a regular/monthly/annually/ or as requirement changes are made. Training will be completed as a group and individually by demonstration and using other visual training tools and best practices. Staff responsible for cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, and ventilation protocols will be monitored by facilities management and building administration ensuring guidelines are followed
Q: What other steps is the WSSD taking to minimize the transmission of COVID-19?
A: Non-essential visitors and volunteers are not allowed in school buildings. Activities that involve outside groups using District facilities are not allowed. Essential visitors will be limited and need an appointment. All essential visitors must complete and pass the Symptom Monitoring Checklist.
Virtual meetings by outside groups will be implemented (PTO, Home & School, Foundation, etc.).
The District will create hygiene routines throughout the school day that will include handwashing and the use of hand sanitizer. Classrooms will be equipped with hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, and disinfecting wipes, and paper towels. Signage will be displayed reminding students of hygiene measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus (hand washing, sneezing into elbow/away from others, social distancing, etc.).
Q: How will the WSSD notify families if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19? What guidelines will be followed to trigger notice?
A: The District is currently working with the Chester County Department of Health to develop the protocols and procedures that will be used.
Q: If a student is sick, or exhibiting signs of COVID-19, what will you do? What will happen if a parent sends their child to school sick?
A: The District will follow the CDC guidelines for quarantine and isolation if a staff member or a student is confirmed to be positive for COVID-19, has had an exposure with an individual who is positive for COVID-19, or is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. They will be sent to the isolation room for the safety of others and sent home as soon as possible under the District crisis protocols and CDC guidelines. The WSSD nursing department will monitor classrooms with staff or students who are high risk. This monitoring will occur at least one time per day.
If we have a confirmed case of COVID-19, CCDH health officials will be notified. These officials will help administrators determine a course of action for our School District. The Pandemic Crisis Response Team of administrators and school nurses will make decisions on a case by case basis. The team may consult with medical providers on best practices related to specific cases. Presumptive symptomatic / asymptomatic persons can return to the building according to the WSSD Staff and Student COVID-19 Response Protocols that were developed using CDC and DOH guidance. The student or staff member will need to be cleared by their physician if they have been confirmed positive for COVID-19, and be fever free for three days with improved symptoms, and ten days since symptoms first appeared. If a staff member is unable or uncomfortable to return to work, they will need to contact the Human Resources Department.
The nursing staff will provide additional monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms in classes with high risk staff and students. Staff and students identified with high risk may also utilize additional PPE.
Q: What will happen if the school learns that a staff or student has been in close contact to an individual confirmed positive for COVID-19?
A: The Chester County Health Department completes all contact tracing of individuals with a confirmed case of COVID-19. If the individual is in school, they will be isolated immediately and the parent/guardian will be contacted to pick them up. Staff will leave immediately or be isolated in the nurse’s office until someone can pick them up if need be. Decisions regarding isolation requirements of staff or students while in school will be made by the school nurse in the building, who will then notify the administrator and the Chester County Department of Health. The guidelines provided by the CCHD will be followed. Doctors' notes will be required for students/staff to return to school and will follow the Exclusion from and Return to School Requirements chart from the Chester County Health Department. The District has been assigned an investigator from the Chester County Department of Health and will follow their recommended process for reporting potential COVID-19 exposure/illness. The Chester County DOH will conduct all contact tracing with cooperation from the District for names, addresses, and phone numbers of potentially exposed students/staff. The days required for isolation and quarantine are included in the WSSD Staff & Student COVID Response Protocols and follow the Chester County Health Department requirements. (currently being developed)
Q: If there is a diagnosis of COVID-19 in a school building, what will happen?
A: The District will work closely with the Chester County Health Department to determine the appropriate next steps if there is a COVID-19 diagnosis in a school. The response to an individual case will depend largely on the circumstances surrounding the case and contact(s) the individual had within the school setting. The District has been assigned an investigator from the Chester County Department of Health and will follow their recommended process for reporting potential COVID-19 exposure/illness. The Chester County DOH will conduct all contact tracing with cooperation from the District for names, addresses, and phone numbers of potentially exposed students/staff.
Q: I am worried about the emotional state of my students. How will that be addressed?
A: Mental health resources continue to be updated and posted on the website. School counselors will serve as the single point of contact for reporting social/emotional concerns. They are positioned to assess student needs and provide supports or make a referral for a more specialized level of support. This could include a referral to a school social, behavioral health counselor, trauma coach consultation or community-based services.
Currently, there is a Student & Staff Wellness Committee working on the best ways to 1) identify a student in need, and 2) embed social emotional learning within instruction.
Q: If the conditions in our community or our schools worsen, how will things change?
A: Students may have to move from in-person learning to virtual learning at some point during the year if health data and/or recommendations from the Chester County Department of Health, PA Department of Health, Delaware County Emergency Management, or the Governor’s Office necessitate closing schools.
Q: If the conditions in our community improve, how will things change?
A: The PA Department of Health and the Chester County Department of Health will inform future changes that allow for changes in health and safety protocols in symptom screening, social distancing, and face coverings. Procedures such as frequent hand washing and staying home from school if you are sick are best practices that should remain across the School District. Other restrictions could possibly be eased depending upon relevant data and guidance at the time.
A/B Cohort Schedule Q&A
Q: Distance learning did not work well for my student last spring. What improvements have been made?
A: The Fall 2020 version of online learning has been improved by the addition of synchronous learning over four days each week, rather than the Spring model which was largely reliant on asynchronous learning. Students will be able to learn directly from teachers in Zoom classrooms as well as interact with fellow students for academic and social purposes. Teachers have been fully trained on Zoom, Screencastify for video recording, Seesaw and Google Classroom to be used as the Learning Management Systems for the WSSD. Office hours will continue for additional help, and Clubs, which had not been a part of the Spring online learning, will begin again for students to have social outlets around topics of interest.
Q: Will the District organize the A/B Cohorts so that siblings attend school in person on the same day?
A: Yes. The District is organizing the cohorts so that siblings can attend school in-person on the same days.
Q: Do students in the A/B cohorts attend school in-person for a full-day or half-day?
A: Varies by grade level
KINDERGARTEN: Students attend school in-person for their normal half-day. AM students will follow the standard AM Kindergarten schedule. PM students follow their normal PM schedule.
GRADES 1-5: Attend school in-person for full day on their assigned days.
MIDDLE SCHOOL: Students attend school in-person in the morning only and participate in remote learning in the afternoon.
HIGH SCHOOL: Students attend school in-person in the morning only on their assigned days and participate in remote learning in the afternoon.
Q: What are the start and end times for students?
A: Start and end times are as follows:
8:45 - 11:30 AM Kindergarten (In Person)
12:45 - 3:30 PM Kindergarten (In Person)
8:45 - 3:30 (In Person)
MIDDLE SCHOOL: (under the hybrid cohort model)
8:10 - 1:15 (In Person on Cohort attendance day)
8:10 - 1:15 (Online Academy on Cohort attendance day)
1:25 to 3:20 (Virtual/OA during non-attendance day)
HIGH SCHOOL: (under the hybrid cohort model)
7:35 - 10:50 (In Person)
11:30 - 2:29 (Virtual)
2:40 - 3:15 (Virtual 5th Block)
Q: Will clubs be offered at the Middle School and High School?
A: Yes. Clubs will meet virtually on Wednesday afternoons. High school band, orchestra and chorus will meet during 5th block. Middle school music will meet before school with details to follow.
Q: Will students who are in the A/B Cohort Model receive synchronous instruction while they are learning at home?
A: ELEMENTARY: Students who are learning at home will have the opportunity to participate in the daily morning meeting sessions.
Students who are home will have access to instructional videos with asynchronous work on their virtual days. Also available on two of their three virtual days per week will be live teachers via Zoom for an English/Language Arts and Math block to answer questions and support students. On Wednesday during the cohort model, elementary students will be able to join their entire class via Zoom for a class meeting and overview for the day with their teacher.
MIDDLE SCHOOL: At the middle school during the “at home days,” cohort and online academy students will receive synchronous instruction together during the 1:25 to 3:20 time, with Zoom meetings occurring with teachers of 4 periods of the 8 period day. During the “at home days,” Cohort B students will meet teachers from periods 1 through 4 on Monday, and teachers from periods 5 through 8 on Tuesday. Cohort A students will meet teachers from periods 1 through 4 on Thursday, and teachers from periods 5 through 8 on Friday.
HIGH SCHOOL: Students will receive synchronous instruction on the two days when their cohort does not report in person to school.
Q: Will students who select the A/B Cohort model be able to switch to the WSSD Online Academy later in the school year?
A: Yes. For the best learning experience for the student and to help us plan logistically, we request that parents will make a decision that they can commit to for at least a marking period or semester.
Q: Can students select to participate in some classes via the A/B Cohort model and participate in the remaining courses using the WSSD Online Academy?
A: No, students must select either the A/B Cohort model or the WSSD Online Academy.
Q: How will students in the A/B Cohort model receive instruction if they are sick or need to stay home for an extended period of time?
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Students who are sick or need to stay home for an extended period of time can attend their classes virtually through the use of Zoom. If they are unable to attend the classes virtually, students and families should reach out to their teachers for missed assignments, and for direction regarding the use of online resources, instructional videos, and teacher created content that supports the class and unit learning objectives.
MIDDLE SCHOOL: Students who are sick or need to stay home for an extended period of time can attend their classes virtually through the use of Zoom. If they are unable to attend the classes virtually, students and families should reach out to their teachers for missed assignments, and for direction regarding the use of online resources, instructional videos, and teacher created content that supports the class and unit learning objectives.
HIGH SCHOOL: Students who are sick or need to stay home for an extended period of time may attend the synchronous virtual session in the afternoon. If they are unable to attend the virtual sessions, it is expected that the student contacts the teacher for the missed assignment. Teachers will be able to provide extra assistance during fifth block and Wednesday office hours.
Online Academy Q&A
Q: Will students who participate in the WSSD Online Academy receive instruction from the WSSD teachers?
A: Yes. All courses will be taught by the WSSD teachers.
Q: Will students who participate in the WSSD Online Academy receive synchronous instruction?
ELEMENTARY: Yes, see schedule of synchronous instruction below.
At this time students would have:
- Morning Meeting 15 minutes
- English/Language Arts Whole Group - 30 minutes
- Math Whole Group - 30 minutes
- English/Language Arts /Math - Small group/support 30 minutes each as needed
- Specials - typically done asynchronous
- Intervention Block - support as needed 30 minutes
MIDDLE SCHOOL: Yes. Students participating in the WSSD - SHMS Online Academy will have the same amount of synchronous instruction as their “in class attending” peers, as the online academy students will be attending the same classes via Zoom. Online Academy students in Cohort A (A-K) will attend periods 1 through 8 on Monday and Tuesday via Zoom, from 8:10 to 1:15. Additionally, Cohort A will attend shorter mini-lessons on Thursday and Friday, from 1:25 to 3:20. Cohort B (L-Z) will attend periods 1 through 8 on Thursday and Friday via Zoom, from 8:10 to 1:15. Additionally, Cohort B will attend shorter mini-lessons on Monday and Tuesday, from 1:25 to 3:20.
HIGH SCHOOL: Yes, students participating in the WSSD Online Academy will receive synchronous instruction four days a week in the afternoon. There will be 45 minutes of synchronous instruction per course, per day (M,T,TH,F).
Q: Will students who select the WSSD Online Academy be able to switch to the A/B Cohort model at any time?
A: All WSSD parents have been asked to enroll in the WSSD Online Academy by midnight on August 3rd. Students who participate in the WSSD Online Academy will complete their education from home. We recommend that once enrolled, students remain in the WSSD Online Academy until the end of a marking period or semester, whenever possible, for the best learning experience for the student and for logistical planning.
Students With Special Needs Q&A
Q: What services will be in place to support students with special needs?
A: Students who have an Individualized Education Plan ( IEP) will continue to receive supports and services in accordance with the IEP. School teams may meet to make adjustments to the IEP that translate in-person services to those more suitable for a hybrid or fully virtual model, depending on the health conditions within the community. Additionally, specific student groups such as those with complex disabilities may be offered additional synchronous sessions, small group interventions, in-person instruction or adult support in the home if certain criterion is met.
Students who are placed in programs outside of the District, should follow the specific Health and Safety Plan that has been developed by that school. The Office of Student Services will be working with the various programs to determine if additional supports and services are needed.
Cleaning, Sanitization, Disinfection, and Ventilation Q&A
Q. How will the building be cleaned and disinfected when schools reopen?
A. The buildings will be cleaned and disinfected daily with a full disinfection between cohorts on Wednesday and after Friday. Throughout the day, custodians will be disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. During the evenings and the time between cohorts, cleaning staff will use electrostatic sprayers to apply the disinfectant. These sprayers allow the staff to fully disinfect an area in a relatively short time. Approved EPA disinfectants will be used in all areas.
All rooms will be equipped with disinfectant spray, wipes, and hand sanitizer.
Q. What is the WSSD doing to ensure proper air circulation in buildings?
A. The WSSD will be implementing a variety of strategies to improve air circulation, as guided by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). To begin with, we will increase the amount of fresh air by opening windows and by adjusting the fresh air intake of our ventilation systems from 10% to 25%. Next, redundant ventilation systems that have not been used fully in the past will be operated throughout the day, beginning well before the start and well after the end of each day. All ventilation systems will run longer each day. For our central ventilation systems, we are changing the filters so that more airborne particles are captured. Additionally, each area has been reviewed and any area in need of additional ventilation will receive a HEPA filter.
Q: Is the WSSD providing all students with a District-issued device to participate in online education?
A. Yes. The WSSD is issuing iPads to students in grades K-2 and Chromebooks to students in grades 3-12.
Q: What technology platforms will the WSSD use in the 2020-2021 school year?
A: Students in grades K-2 will use Seesaw. Students in grades 3-12 will use Google Classroom.
Q: I do not have internet access in my home. Will the WSSD provide assistance with internet access?
A: If you do not have internet access in your home, you can borrow an internet HOTSPOT from the WSSD during online learning.
Comcast is also offering internet essentials for 9.95 Per Month + Tax (25 Mbps, No Term Contract, No Credit Check, In-Home WiFi). This is not a WSSD affiliated program. For more details, go to https://www.internetessentials.com/
Q: How does the WSSD ensure that students are not able to access inappropriate content through their District-issued devices?
A: All District-issued devices are filtered the same whether they are in District or at home. The filter the District uses has flexible policies to ensure safety, CIPA compliance, and policy enforcement on networked and mobile devices—on and off-campus.
Q: My student is unable to locate his/her District-issued device/charger. What should I do?
A: Students/families should contact the WSSD Technology Department via email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as they notice that the device is missing. The email should include as much information as possible including the student’s name, grade, school, and the last time they had the device.
While in the school, if a student’s assigned device is lost or stolen, they should go to the library or other designated location. An incident report will be filled out and given to a building principal who will investigate the situation.
Students are responsible for the replacement of lost/damaged Chromebook charging plugs. Replacement chargers must be purchased from www.dell.com. Compatible or refurbished replacement charger cannot be accepted and may not be safe. Please reach out to the helpdesk (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) for a link to the appropriate charger.
Q: Our District-issued device is not working. Who should I contact for support?
A: You can always reach the WSSD Technology Department via email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not have access to email, you can leave a message at 610-892-3470 x5100. If you are a student using your WSSDGMAIL.org Gmail address, you can only email email@example.com.
Q: How can I access general technology support?
A: If your general question is related to the platform your child is using (Seesaw and/or Google classroom), you should reach out directly to your child’s teacher. For all other support, you can always reach the WSSD Technology Department via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. If you do not have access to email, you can leave a message at 610-892-3470 x5100. If you are a student using your WSSDGMAIL.org Gmail address, you can only email firstname.lastname@example.org.