Kindergarten Back-to-School Q&A

  • 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.