FAQ: Back to School 2020

Kindergarten In-Person Learning

Questions and answers from the Sept. 29 webinar for kindergarten families:

Health, Safety & Cleaning

  • Where do I find the student health check?
    You can find the student health check at spokaneschools.org/healthcheck, or on the free SPS app.

  • How will the district support families that do not have a thermometer at home to complete the student health check?
    Any student who arrives without having completed the health check (for any reason) will be asked to visit the office. The school office will take the student’s temperature and reach out to the family if needed.

  • What is the notification process for potential coronavirus exposures?
    Contact Tracing teams will determine who has had close contact with the individual who tested positive. Those individuals will be notified that they need to be tested and quarantined. We will share with the entire school community that there has been a case. Find out more about our notification process here.

  • Will there be a staff member in the room with the student showing COVID symptoms while they wait to be picked up?
    There will be a staff member monitoring the student from a safe distance using PPE.

  • What should families do if their child shows flu-like symptoms? Should the student stay home as a precaution?
    You know when your child is not feeling well. In an effort to not spread their illness to others, please keep them home. Reach out to nursing staff if you have questions.

  • What is the plan to keep classrooms clean and sanitized?
    There will be robust cleaning on a daily basis. A cleaning cart will be in each room where the teacher can spray down high touch areas and desks on a regular basis. You can learn more about our cleaning protocols in our 2020-21 Reopening Plan.

Face Coverings

  • Will schools provide face coverings if a student forgets theirs?
    Yes, schools will be supplied with disposable face coverings.

  • Do the students have to wear their masks while sitting at their desk?
    Yes, we are asking all students to wear their facemasks while sitting at their desks during class.

  • Are students expected to wear masks when they’re outside?
    Per SRHD guidance, masks are to be worn by students at recess, with structured mask breaks incorporated into the outside time. Options include standing in line or in a large circle, at least 6 feet apart, and dropping masks while standing still. Whil

  • Can my kindergartener wear a face shield instead of a mask, and do they need a doctor’s note to wear a face shield?
    Students have the choice to wear either a face shield or a mask. A doctor’s note is required to show your student cannot wear a mask.

Kindergarten In-Person Schedule

  • Why isn’t the district choosing to keep students in an alternating A/B schedule indefinitely?
    Having all kindergarteners attend school every day will limit the number of individuals those students have contact with. For example, if a student goes to class every day with the same cohort of 20 students, we know that student mainly interacts with 20 people regularly. If students were to alternate school days, and with the number of working families who would rely on child care, that student will not only interact with their cohort, but also those at child care. The number of contacts within that one class would grow exponentially.

  • When will I know which group (A or B) my kindergartener is in?
    Teachers will communicate to families which group their student is in starting this week.

  • Why did the district decide to start phasing students back into the classroom now? And why is the district just starting with kindergarteners?
    Throughout the pandemic, we have remained in close communication and followed the guidance of the public health officials at the Spokane Regional Health District. In September, Dr. Lutz with SRHD sent us updated guidance for the phasing-in of students in grades K-2. We are starting the phase-in process with kindergarteners because they have a more difficult time with distance learning than older grades, and the COVID case count among young children is lower than among older children. We will continue to work with the officials at SRHD to learn about the current conditions and when to consider phasing other grades back to school slowly and methodically.

  • Is there a chance students will return to distance learning if current COVID case conditions change?
    We will continue to work with the public health officials at the Spokane Regional Health District, and if at any point we receive guidance to send students back to distance learning, we will do that.

  • What is the kindergarten back-to-school timeline?
    Beginning Wednesday, Oct. 7, students will attend school on an alternating A/B schedule for the initial days of phasing. The alternating schedule will continue for eight school days. The students in each group will receive four days of in-person instruction. After the initial alternating schedule, all kindergarteners will attend every day starting Monday, Oct. 19.

  • What options are available for families who do not feel comfortable sending their student back to school?
    SPS will do everything it can to accommodate families’ choices. Families have the option to switch their student’s enrollment to Spokane Virtual Academy, which is providing year-long distance learning. We will do our best to get students enrolled in SV Academy if they are interested in continuing distance learning.

Kindergarten School Day

  • When my kindergartener returns to school, will they be with the teacher they’ve had during distance learning?
    Yes, your kindergartener will be with the same class they have had during distance learning.

  • How many students are in a kindergarten cohort?
    Most kindergarten cohorts will have no more than 21 students.

  • Will special needs students receive extra assistance during the pandemic?
    Yes, we have limited in-person services available now for those who need it. Our students in special education will continue to receive services when we transition to in-building learning.

  • Will meals (breakfast and lunch) be served when kindergarteners return to school?
    Yes, our Nutrition Services staff will serve breakfast and lunch directly to classrooms to support safe social distancing, with teachers providing supervision. 5-day meal kits will continue to be available for pickup for other students. Students can also choose to bring food from home.

  • Will transportation be available to take kindergarteners to school?
    Yes, busing will be available for eligible students. Learn about busing here.

  • Will students need to bring their laptops to school?
    Yes - teachers will coordinate when laptops need to come back to school for in-person instruction.

  • Does returning to in-person instruction mean my kindergartener has to return their district laptop?
    Your kindergartener will keep their district laptop for the year so it is available if we need to return to distance learning.

Childcare

  • Will students be able to access Day Camps when their group is not in class?
    We will continue to provide Day Camp to families for those on alternating days. When a student is at Day Camp, the district will offer facilitated learning activities for students who are not in the classroom. Find more information at our Day Camp webpage.

  • Will Express be available before and after school when students start phasing back into the classroom?
    Yes, we look to switch to before- and after-school Express when more students go back to school. For questions, email expressbilling@spokaneschools.org or call 354-7312.

Other Questions

  • What should parents do if they have to drive their kindergartner to school, and also have a student at home who needs to log on to distance learning at the same time?
    Parents should reach out to their older student’s teacher or principal and let them know they are dropping off their kindergarten student each day and that their older student will log in as soon as they return home.

  • At what grade do students begin learning the Pledge of Allegiance?
    All students K-12 participate in the pledge of allegiance.

Reopening Schools

  • Do I still need to call my student’s school if they are sick and can’t attend distance learning?

    Yes - attendance will work in a similar manner. Parents can contact the teacher or school office. Teachers will be taking attendance daily.


  • Which groups are being prioritized for personal or small-group instruction happening at schools?

    We are currently prioritizing special education and English-language learners whose needs can be best supported by personalized in-person instruction. Email BeckyR@spokaneschools.org for more information.

  • What are the criteria used to determine whether school buildings can open?

    Current recommendations from public health officials use criteria based on infection rates that are categorized into three levels of risk.

  • How has the district prepared teachers to give students the best learning experience possible?

    After getting feedback from teachers and working with the Spokane Education Association, we developed a detailed training plan that was implemented in August. Our teachers already do a lot of professional development, and this built on that. Training topics included: understanding our back-to-school models, the latest guidelines for safety and PPE, social emotional learning in the time of a pandemic, and integrating technology and digital tools into their curriculum.

  • How will English Language Development (ELD) students be supported during real-time distance learning?

    SPS will provide ELD services to all identified students. For elementary students, the ELD teacher will provide services online in real time while working in conjunction with the general education teacher, similar to when they are in person. The ELD teacher will also develop a schedule of break-out sessions outside of their general education teacher's real-time instruction. Secondary students will receive ELD services during their Sheltered English, Social Studies or elective class. More information is located on page 13 of the SPS Reopening Plan.

  • When school buildings are closed will breakfast and lunch still be provided?

    Yes! Check our meals page for information.

  • When schools are closed will there be options for childcare?

    SPS is working to support families in a variety of ways, including several options for childcare assistance.

    • SPS Day Camp: open Monday - Friday, 7:45 a.m. - 3:45 p.m., for district-enrolled students and children of SPS staff 
    • Express Program: open Monday - Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., for SPS students, grades K-6, who are registered in school
    • Community childcare resources
    • Learning Centers (coming soon!): to be located throughout the district and community, open for 2-3 hour periods for scheduled drop-ins 


  • If school buildings are open, and I still do not feel comfortable sending my students, what options do I have?

    Spokane Public Schools will be offering year-long full distance learning options for all students K-12 for those families who would prefer to wait until the virus spread has decreased or a vaccine has been developed.


  • If I choose to enroll my student in the distance learning-only option and I want to switch back to in-person learning, will my student still have a spot at their neighborhood or option school?

    Yes, we will work to accommodate enrollment requests to the greatest extent possible. You may re-enroll in your neighborhood school at any time. At the elementary level, the timing of your student’s return may be dependent on availability of space in your child’s grade level. If your child’s grade level is full you may access a spot at the nearest elementary school with space or wait until a spot becomes available through additional students transitioning back from the distance learning option. At the secondary level, students may need to wait until the semester break as the classes may not match up to ones offered at the building level allowing for a smooth transition outside of the semester break.

  • If school buildings are open what will lunch look like?

    Elementary: Students will eat in their classrooms supervised by school staff. This will allow for social distancing requirements to continue during lunch time.

    Secondary: Students will be required to maintain social distancing requirements and schools will determine supervised lunch areas based on each school individual layout. These areas may include, commons, hallways, libraries, outside common areas, and classrooms.

  • If schools are open will I be able to still volunteer in my child’s classroom?

    For the safety of students and staff, we will be limiting the number of visitors allowed at schools. Please contact your school to schedule a day and time of when you can visit. All visitors must wear masks while on school property.

Distance Learning

  • Will there be 20-30 students (or however many in the class) all on the screen at the same time?

    In the morning, between 8:30-11:50 a.m., there will likely be 16-21 students together in the class meeting. The afternoon instructional block from 1:50-2:30 p.m. will be used for both small group virtual meetings with their teacher along with enrichment opportunities with their fitness and health, music, science, and art specialists.

  • Are students required to have their computer camera turned on during remote classes?

    There will definitely be encouragement for students to have their cameras on to promote connections with their classmates as much as possible, but we also understand screen fatigue and challenges that might not allow for cameras always to be on.

  • Will there still be snow days this year?

    Since students and teachers now have the technology and capabilities to do remote learning, there is no need for snow/extreme weather make-up days in the school calendar. The only weather make-up day that still exists on the school calendar is the semester break day, Feb. 1.

  • Are there early release Fridays during distance learning?

    Since students need as much instruction time as possible, there will be no early release days as long as we are in distance learning.

  • How will teachers track attendance during distance learning?

    Thanks to OSPI’s guidelines on attendance, teachers can use several methods to track student attendance and engagement in addition to taking role at the start of the day, including but not limited to: tracking students’ active minutes on Microsoft Teams, completed coursework, whether students answer emails from their Office 365 account.

  • How and when can I pick up my student’s school supplies, textbooks and materials for distance learning?

    Schools will reach out to families with the dates and protocols for picking up school supplies like laptops, as well as other materials like textbooks and workbooks.

  • What will the distance learning experience look like at NEWTech Skill Center?
  • Students at NEWTech Skill Center will primary use the distance learning model for its courses. However, students will be able to access hands-on process at the Skill Center once a week, Monday through Friday.

  • What upgrades has Microsoft Teams made to better the distance learning experience?

    Upgrades to Microsoft Teams that will improve the distance learning experience include giving students the ability to see all their classmates on the same screen, as well as teachers being able to set up breakout rooms where students can meet in small groups.

  • What will hands-on science classes like biology and chemistry look like in distance learning?

    We have invested in many online resources so students and teachers have the right tools and curriculum to continue to make science classes – and other classes – as engaging as possible, including using different online resources to provide the hands-on processes students normally experience in class. Depending on the class, there may be some materials students will be able to work with remotely. Contact your teacher for more information.

  • How can students do small-group activities during distance learning?

    Microsoft Teams has a functionality that creates small breakout rooms for groups of students that can still be monitor by the teacher.

  • What can I do if my schedule does not allow for me to take advantage of the Student and Parent Access Time?

    Email your student’s teacher and they will help set up a better time that works for you.

  • Will my student be graded during distance learning?

    Students will be graded during distance learning, as teachers are incorporating new, critical content that will give students the knowledge and skills to make growth. Teachers will also use programs like Dreambox, Lexia and MobyMax to track students’ progress and growth during distance learning.

  • My student is a kinesthetic learning – they learn better when they get to move their body. What kind of distance learning can they expect?

    SPS teachers are being creative and finding different activities for students to do besides sitting in front of a computer screen. If you are concerned with the amount of time your student is spending on the computer during class, reach out to your student’s teacher.

  • Will there still be substitute teachers during distance learning?

    We will continue to have and use our substitute pool, but the demand for substitutes will likely look different due to the nature of distance learning and teachers being able to work from their home.

  • How can I keep from student from becoming distracted while learning from home?

    A way to limit distractions while students are distance learning at home is by setting up a dedicated learning space for your student. Sticking to routines – like getting up, eating breakfast, and getting dressed as if it were a regular school day – will also limit distractions and will also help them when it comes time to transition back to in-person school.

  • How much should families assist their student with distance learning vs. leaving them to figure things out on their own?

    Our young students are very technologically savvy, so while you’ll likely need to help them get started, be sure to give your student room to explore, try new things, and even fail sometimes – that is how they learn and grow. The more you push them toward independence, they will feel more comfortable in themselves and you’ll feel more comfortable in their abilities and progress.

  • How can students do small-group activities during distance learning?

    Microsoft Teams has a functionality that creates small breakout rooms for groups of students that can still be monitor by the teacher.

  • How is my student expected to turn in their school work?

    Teachers will provide students with lots of different methods to turn in their school work, including but not limited to: Microsoft Teams, video and picture submissions. Teachers will talk with parents before the start of school about the best and approved methods for their student to turn in their work.

  • What is the student-to-teacher ratio in Spokane Virtual Academy classes?

    The student-to-teacher ratio in Spokane Virtual Academy is similar to that of a traditional school.

  • Will specialty classes like music, art, PE & health be offered for Spokane Virtual Academy elementary students?

    Yes, those specialty classes will be available for SVA elementary students.

  • What will distance learning look like for kindergartners? Will they spend hours in front of a screen?

    Teachers are working hard to provide novelty and variety in the kindergartners’ school day that gets them moving, thinking, and away from computer screens. They’re finding fun, age-appropriate activities that get kindergartners to move their bodies and give them the brain breaks they need throughout the day. Watch our family webinar about kinndergarten for more specifics.

  • If we opt into regular classroom, but decide we are uncomfortable sending our kids to school when they open, can we switch to SVA at that time?

    We will do the best we can to accomodate your request. After the registration process it will be based on space available, but we will work to move your student as soon as possible.

  • If we do SVA, can we stay connected to our home school (i.e. parent directory, school communications, etc.?)

    You will still be enrolled in your home school and information should be communicated with you.

  • If I enroll my student in Spokane Virtual Academy, how often will we need to check in with teachers?

    If your student is enrolled in Spokane Virtual Academy, your teacher(s) will work with you to schedule regular check-ins – either weekly or bi-weekly – and build a plan based on the needs of your student.

  • Will teachers send supplies/materials/consumables home to aid with real-time distance learning?

    Take-home supplies and materials are a very important part of diversifying the distance learning experience. Teachers will connect with families to discuss what materials and consumables will be sent home and how they will be used.

  • What is the attendance policy for real-time distance learning? Will students be held accountable for missing instruction due to technical difficulties?

    Schools and teachers will be flexible with students who miss part of or an entire class due to technical issues. Teachers and staff will also follow up with those students to offer assistance and make sure the right interventions are in place.

  • What does a school day look like during real-time distance learning?

    You can look at a sample real-time distance learning schedule for elementary and secondary students here.

  • Will schools provide meals for students during real-time distance learning?

    Any student 18 or younger can get a free 5-day meal kit each week through Dec. 31. Find more information at spokaneschools.org/mealkits.

  • I’m worried about my K-2 student having to do distance learning.

    While there is no substitute for in-person learning for our youngest students, we’re hoping the routines and structures of real-time distance learning, along with our teachers and staff at the ready to help, can make this the best experience given the circumstances.

  • If school buildings are closed, will my student receive live virtual instruction from their teacher(s)?

    Yes, teachers will provide instruction in real-time as well as provide screen breaks where students step away from their computer to complete work and then return at a designated time for more live instruction.

  • If we begin the school year online, how will the district support my student who struggled with distance learning last spring?

    Our school counselors and MTSS specialists will be available to meet with you to go over ways we can support your and your student. Our real-time distance learning model will allow for more teacher contact time and increased student engagement.

  • How will SPS create more equality in access for all families?

    All students K-12 will be able to check out a laptop to use either in the classroom or for distance learning.

Technology

  • I was recently told that there would not be support for personal laptops. Is this true?

    Our IT department will not be able to provide tech support if your personal laptop has a technical problem. Families may choose to use personal devices for accessing our tools for learning or they may check out a laptop for their student. We cannot provide technical support for personal devices, but you can get help with the programs we use!

  • We picked up a laptop today and tried to log in. We received a password error message. Is that because the system is not active yet or should we follow-up to get help with the password?

    Please follow up with your school. We want to be sure the username and password you have are correct.  The computer may need to be logged on at your school first. 

  • Will students need to sign on to these tools once for the day or between each activity? 

    Usually students will only need to log in once a day. 
  • Are there hot spots available for checkout?

    We do not have access to them yet, but we are working to have options available to families that need them. Stay tuned!

  • Do I need a webcam to accompany my district laptop?

    All district laptops are equipped with built-in cameras.

  • Can my home’s internet bandwidth handle distance learning?

    Following tests, we found most internet bandwidth can support four simultaneous Microsoft Teams video meetings. Our internet hot spots (available for checkout on limited basis) can support five simultaneous video meetings. We’re continuing to talk with Comcast about ways to provide more quality internet access to more SPS families.

  • What does the optional $30 device insurance plan cover?

    The optional $30 insurance plan covers all damage to district laptop devices and covers the full replacement of the device.

  • How can I make sure my laptop software is up-to-date?

    Go to your school, log on to your laptop and connect it to the district’s network to make sure your device has all its updates.

  • What tech support is available for students and parents/guardians?

    We are working to have supports at your school building through office staff being able to answers and then also provide families with dedicated phone numbers and emails to our ITSC Department depending on how specific the tech question are.

  • My student doesn’t remember their laptop login username and password from last year.

    To log on to a district laptop, your student’s username is their SPS email (last name + the last four digits of their school ID + @sps81.org) and their password is their date of birth (DDMMYY)

  • I checked out a laptop in the spring? Can I hang onto it or do I need to return it?

    Please complete the laptop checkout form and then you can just continue with the laptop you have.

  • My family has a Mac computer? Will Microsoft Teams work on a Mac?

    Yes, Microsoft Teams does work on a Mac. Go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/products/office and sign in with your school email address to download the desktop version of Teams and the Microsoft Office suite of products. If you continue to have issues, email scottke@spokaneschools.org.

  • What do I do if something happens to my district laptop (software issue, broken device, etc.)?

    SPS is offering an optional insurance program ($30) that fully covers damage to district laptops. If there are software issues you can contact ITSC (509) 354-7636 or Techrequest@spokaneschools.org.

  • I’m worried our internet will disconnect during distance learning. Will my student be penalized for this?

    We understand that having access to high-quality internet is a challenge for some families, which is why our staff will be flexible if a student misses class due to internet issues. Please go to spokaneschools.org/laptopcheckout to learn about the options available at local internet service providers. We will also have learning centers at several school sites where students can drop in if they need to distance learn with reliable internet.

  • What kind of device is SPS providing for my young student?

    The devices being provided by SPS are laptops that can convert into touchscreen tablets, which will help accommodate the technological needs of our younger students.

  • My student is new to SPS and doesn’t have a student ID yet? How can I get a laptop?

    New student packets will be sent out to families in the coming weeks, which will include the information you need to checkout a laptop.

  • Is it required that my student check out a laptop if we already have access to one?

    While we are not requiring students to check out laptops, we do recommend laptop checkout for those with any issues to technology access. When it is safe to transition back to in-person instruction, to eliminate the sharing of devices, all students will be checked out a laptop, even if they choose to keep it at school.

  • Why is SPS choosing to use Microsoft Teams as the platform for real-time distance learning rather than Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate?

    One item of feedback we heard from many families was the inconvenience of using multiple platforms. Because of this, SPS chose Microsoft Teams as the district-wide digital platform because it would provide the most support to teaching and learning.

  • Who do I contact if my devices (laptop, hot spot) are not working properly?

    Please contact SPS Tech Support at 354-7636 or techrequest@spokaneschools.org.

  • Will teachers and students be using a common platform for online learning?

    This school year our teachers will be using Microsoft Teams, with some high school teachers continuing to use Blackboard.

  • Will families be trained on Microsoft Teams?

    One of the advantages of having a plan that uses a consistent digital tool is it is easier to provide training for families. In the coming weeks, SPS will share training videos, and provide live and self-paced trainings for families to learn about Microsoft Teams and help support their student.

Secondary Education (Grades 7-12)

  • Do I have to be on camera when I’m in class?

    Everyone will face different barriers and challenges during distance learning. We want to work with students to find out what’s challenging them and find solutions. We’ll be flexible and accommodating, have individual conversations with families, and find a plan that works for everyone.

  • My student is going into middle school and needs a PowerSchool username. How do they get one?

    Contact your student’s school and the office staff will help set up their PowerSchool username and password, as well as provide you with login instructions.

  • Are students who are taking AP classes going to receive enough live instruction to enable them to pass AP tests?

    We are paying very close attention to updates from the College Board as they come out. We believe they will continue to adapt their curriculum requirements in preparing students to be successful on the tests. We are hopeful that the College Board continues to prioritize depth of knowledge over rote memorization of wide ranging content.

  • Will there be SAT testing this year?

  • While the College Board (the entity that oversees SAT testing) is scheduling SAT test dates for the upcoming year, local testing may be difficult due to current social distance constraints. We tentatively still plan to hold an SAT testing day for juniors – typically in the spring. Many colleges and universities are going “test-optional” on their applications this school year. Go to fairtest.org for the complete list of test-optional institutions.

  • What is Real-Time Advisory and does my student need to be there?

    Real-Time Advisory is a unique time where teachers can engage with and get to know their students, as well as give students a chance to learn skills that aren’t normally taught in a core curriculum setting, like social-emotional learning, financial literacy and college and career readiness. Yes, your student will need to attend.

  • If school buildings are closed what will secondary education look like?

    Students will participate in a real-time school day with a regular start and end time, as well as specific schedule for each period. Students will receive instruction from their teacher via Microsoft Teams in an AM learning block and a PM learning block. This will include a combination of live direct instruction, group work, and independent work.

  • If everyone is online to begin the school year, will the curriculum still prepare my high school student for college?

    Yes, our high school courses will continue to provide high quality academic programming including honors and AP classes. Many universities used a blended learning model pre-COVID, giving our students a head start on what college may look like.

  • If my senior chooses the SVA option, will they still be able to graduate with their home high school?

    Yes, seniors who opt for the full distance learning option will be able to graduate with their home high school.

  • If school buildings are open, what is the plan for secondary grades?

    Secondary students will attend all six period on a rotating A/B schedule rotating between in-building instruction and virtual instruction at home. Students will receive assignments to be completed on the virtual day at home. These assignments may be a continuation of the work they started on their in-building day or new assignments that they will go over the next day with their teacher.

  • Can siblings be on the same schedule?

    For students attending on a rotating schedule, schools will work to the greatest extent possible to keep siblings on the same schedule.

  • If I choose to enroll my student in the distance learning-only option and I want to switch back to in-person learning, will my student still have a spot at their neighborhood or option school?

    Yes, we will work to accommodate enrollment request to the greatest extent possible. You may re-enroll in your neighborhood school at any time. Students may need to wait until the semester break as the classes may not match up to ones offered at the building level allowing for a smooth transition outside of the semester break.

  • Will secondary students have the opportunity to take tests like the SAT, Advanced Placement and Smarter Balanced Assessment this school year?

    We are still awaiting information on SAT and AP testing for the upcoming school year, and OSPI is currently petitioning for additional flexibility for the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Elementary Education (Grades K-6)

  • How will the kids be set up to ask questions? Do we have to teach them to use Teams?

    Teams has a hand-raising tool. The classroom teacher will guide students through the use of Teams and will explain how to log in, etc. during your launch conference.

  • Is it OK for the parents to sit with their student for the entire day or will that be a distraction for the class?

    It is OK, especially in the beginning. It is important for your child to do the talking and interacting and the work, but you can support them and cheerlead. Gradually, spend less time right next to them so they build confidence to do the virtual class meetings on their own.

  • Will students be given any books?

    Yes! Teachers have been given guidance on sending home several readers for students as needed throughout the year. It is very important for our students, especially kindergartners, to have physical books to read regularly.

  • Is it ok if a student's young siblings want to be involved in the lessons too? 

    We ask that families do the best they can to help with outside distractions. Though it can be fun for younger siblings, it is often very distracting to the other students and the teacher.

  • Will there be any additional homework required in the after-school hours?

    We have lots of time built into the school day for learning. There should not be a need for any homework after school hours.

  • Do you have any specific pointers for a parent trying to manage two young children in different classes at the same time?

    If you have the ability to get them, ear buds are a great way to eliminate distractions when students are accessing learning in the same room.

  • Do you have any advice for parents with younger children trying to also help a kindergartener in class?

    Trust your child's teacher to manage the learning time well so you can give your attention to your younger children.

  • What happens during an elementary student’s afternoon instructional block?

    Find a Sample Elementary Student Day Schedule here. Elementary students’ afternoon instruction block is broken up into three components: Independent Work Time/Play, Real Time Personalized Learning/Support and Enrichment, and Student and Parent Access Time. Independent Work Time is the time where students can address the learning that happened in the morning block, or work ahead on something for the following day. Teachers will also encourage young students to play during that block as well. The Real Time Personal Learning Block is a time for students who need a little extra support from their teachers and will provide opportunities for one-on-one interventions or small-group activities. Students may also spend time with subject specialists (like art, music and science teachers) during the Support and Enrichment block. Student and Parent Access Time is a time where students and parents can connect their their teacher with any questions or concerns.

  • What will an elementary school day look like when buildings are closed?

    Students will participate in a real-time school day with a regular start and end time, as well as a specific schedule for each content area. Students will receive instruction from their teacher via Microsoft Teams in an AM learning block and a PM learning block. This will include a combination of live direct instruction, group work, and independent work.

  • When school buildings are closed what will preschool look like?

    Preschool teachers will provide instruction via Microsoft Teams with students assigned to either an AM block or PM block. Parents will also be provided a weekly activity bag that will include the learning activities for the week.

  • If school buildings are open, what is the plan for elementary grades?

    Grades K-4 will attend school every day with 5/6th grades on a rotating A/B model. 5/6th graders will receive assignments from their teacher to complete during their school days spent at home. These assignments will include digital programs such as Dreambox and Lexia as well as traditional assignments from their Bridges and Journeys workbooks.

  • Can siblings be on the same schedule?

    Schools will work to the greatest extent possible to keep siblings on the same schedule.

  • If I choose to enroll my student in the distance learning-only option and I want to switch back to in-person learning, will my student still have a spot at their neighborhood or option school?

    Yes, we will work to accommodate enrollment requests to the greatest extent possible. You may re-enroll in your neighborhood school at any time. The timing of your student’s return may be dependent on availability of space in your child’s grade level. If your child’s grade level is full you may access a spot at the nearest elementary school with space or wait until a spot becomes available through additional students transitioning back from the distance learning option.

Special Education

  • My son is autistic, so some days are different --  not wanting to comply or having meltdowns. Is there any way to work around this?

    There is flexibility for sure. For students who may have meltdowns or need some additional behavior support, we have behavior specialists who can support and develop success plans with families and teachers.

  • What kind of support can I expect if my IEP student is not making progress during distance learning?

    If you believe your student is not making progress during distance learning, contact your student’s case manager to set up an IEP meeting. If the issues are not resolved at that level, contact your building administrator, followed by the special education coordinator at the district’s admin office, followed by Associate Director Brandon Bouge and Director Becky Ramsey.

  • What kind of support will the SPS Day Camps provide for students with IEPs?

    There will be staff available at the Day Camps who can support students with disabilities.

  • My student has an IEP and usually has one-on-one paraeducator support in the classroom? How will support be provided during distance learning?

    Paraeducators will be available to support via Microsoft Teams throughout the day and can support during independent instructional time or small group time.

  • What kind of supports will be available for my Special Ed student who struggles in a virtual environment?

    Teachers and paraeducators will be available to provide more support and interventions virtually than in the spring. If the student continues to struggle, special education staff will work with the family to determine if participating in in-person, small group instruction is the best option for them.

  • How can I check the progress of my student’s 504 or Individualized Education Plans (IEP)?

    Contact your child’s school to check the progress of your student’s 504 or IEP, or email BeckyR@spokaneschools.org. 

  • How do I find out if my special ed student can participate in in-person, small group instruction?

    Teachers and case managers will work with each family to determine the best option for the student. If you’d like more information, or to ask a question, email BeckyR@spokaneschools.org.

  • Will special education services, like speech, vision, etc., take place during Real-Time Personalized Learning Blocks?

    In order to minimize the amount of time missed for core instruction during Learning Blocks, special ed services will be prioritized to take place outside the blocks.

  • How will IEP services be delivered?

    If school buildings are closed, your child’s case manager will be meeting with you to discuss how to best provide services recognizing that many students require more contact time with a teacher than they had in the spring. We can provide remote academic, behavioral, OT, PT, and SLP services.

    If school buildings are open, IEPs will be delivered very similarly to the way they were pre-COVID. If a change needs to be made based on the in-person model, we are providing all students an IEP meeting that will be held to discuss those changes as an IEP team and with input from parents.

  • Will specialized transportation still be provided?

    Yes, if your student receives specialized transportation, they will continue to ride the bus. You may elect to drive them yourself -- just let transportation know ahead of time.

  • If my special ed student is normally in a self-contained classroom, how will they access learning during real-time remote learning?

    Self-contained classroom teachers will operate on a secondary school schedule, and provide real-time instruction as if they were in a classroom. We still recognize many students will need face-to-face interactions with their teachers, and we will work to provide opportunities for students to come into their school buildings.

Option Programs

 

  • If my student decides to do full distance learning, will they still be assigned to their option school?

    Students who opt for the full distance-learning option would still be assigned to their option school and will remain in distance learning until restrictions on public gatherings are lifted.

Health & Safety

  • What will be the health screening procedures for students and staff entering the school?

    Students and staff will need to perform a temperature check and/or answer a series of screening questions before entering a school building. To help streamline this process and prevent bottlenecks from happening at school entrances, we ask that families check their students’ temperatures before leaving home. Learn about the Health Check process here

  • What happens if someone at school tests positive for COVID-19?

    We will notify and work closely with Spokane Regional Health District and follow their guidelines on next steps and communication.

  • When can parents send their student back to school if they have been sick?

    Students need to be fever-free without the need of medication for 72 hours before they can return to school.

  • Will the school perform contact tracing?

    SRHD will be responsiblefor performing contact tracing with support from SPS staff.

  • Are students required to wear a mask when they are in the building?

    Per the governor and OSPI, all students and staff are required to wear a face mask. If your child is unable to wear a face mask due to a medical reason or a disability, we will work with you to find a safe alternative. Learn more about wearing face coverings in school here.

  • What about students who need to see their teacher's face -- such as young children or students who are hearing impaired?

    Teachers will have a clear face shield that they can wear while more than 6 feet away from students. We are also exploring clear face masks for our staff who work with students who are hearing impaired.

  • Will students have to wear a mask or social distance at recess and PE?

    Per updated SRHD guidance, masks are to be worn by students at recess, with structured mask breaks incorporated into the outside time. Options include standing in line or in a large circle, at least 6 feet apart, and dropping masks while standing still. Whil

  • What happens if my student refuses to wear a mask at school?

    If a student chooses to not follow the mask requirement, the school will work with the student and family to problem-solve the situation treating the situation as we do other safety violations. Schools will focus on positive reinforcement and use Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to teach and encourage the importance of wearing their mask.

Cleaning & Sanitation

  • How is SPS ensuring cleanliness between classes?

    Every classroom will be equipped with a cleaning caddy containing cleaning and sanitation supplies. Classroom desks will be cleaned after each use. At least six hand sanitizing stations will be situated throughout each school building.

  • What types of products are being used to clean the schools?

    SPS is committed to using safe and environmentally friendly products to clean our schools. Our cleaning supplies are either peroxide or alcohol-based – they are extremely effective while also less likely to irritate those with sensory issues.

  • Can students bring their own sanitation supplies?

    We are still discussing whether families can bring in their own cleaning products. We need to ensure products meet the requirements of the CDC and Health Department related to protection against COVID-19.

  • Is SPS increasing air circulation in the buildings? How will they know if the air is safe?

    Per SRHD recommendations, our Facilities department changed the control settings on our buildings’ ventilation systems to increase air flow to classrooms. We plan to continuously test the schools’ ventilation systems throughout the year to ensure classrooms are getting enough fresh air.

Transportation

  • How are buses being cleaned?

    School buses will be sanitized before and after each route. Our Transportation director is currently working with our school bus contractor, Durham School Services, to make sure their cleaning supplies and protocols meet the state’s requirements.

  • How many students are allowed on the bus?

    According to OSPI guidelines, one student will be allowed per seat. To help with air circulation, bus windows will be kept open when possible. Younger students will be encouraged to sit near the front of the bus.

  • Are masks required on buses?

    Students will be required to wear masks on the bus. Bus drivers will be equipped with extra disposable masks for students who do not have masks.

Athletics & Afterschool Activities

  • If my student is enrolled in year-long full distance learning with Spokane Virtual Academy, will they still be able to participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities at their home school when they are offered?

    Yes, students enrolled in Spokane Virtual Academy can still participate in sports and activities at their home school once it is safe enough to offer them.

  • Will elementary and middle schools be able to have before/afterschool sports and or activities such as music and robotics?

    A proposal was recently submitted to the WIAA for middle school sports to mirror the high school sports calendar. Options for elementary school activities are still being discussed. Plans for before and after school enrichment activities are currently still in process awaiting more guidance for state and local health officials.

  • How will COVID-19 effect high school sports?

    Extracurricular sports and activities are governed in Washington by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA). To ensure safety for students, the WIAA has modified the 2020-21 calendar to create four WIAA-sanctioned seasons as follows:
    • Season 1: (Sept. 7-Oct. 31 – Designated as an alternate season for low-risk sports) District 8/Greater Spokane League (GSL) has opted not to use an alternate schedule and will only participate in Seasons 2, 3, and 4.
    • Season 2: (Dec. 28-Feb. 27) Basketball (Boys and Girls), Gymnastics, Wrestling
    • Season 3: (March 1-May 1) Volleyball, Competitive Cheerleading, Cross Country (Boys and Girls), Slowpitch Softball,
      Girls Soccer, Football (Feb. 17-May 8)
    • Season 4: (April 26-June 26) Golf (Boys and Girls), Tennis (Boys and Girls), Fastpitch Softball, Track & Field (Boys and Girls), Baseball, Competitive Dance/Drill, Boys Soccer

    The WIAA is working with Drama and Debate organizations to develop a season schedule. Debate is working on creating a virual season.

back to school 2020

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