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COVID-19 - Q&A FOR FAMILIES

COVID-19 is still spreading in Iowa communities-which means it is still a threat to your health and the health of your family. The virus is still new, and there is always new information coming out about it. We are going to give you the best information we have at this time.

Symptoms Requiring Absence

  • COVID-19 symptoms with no other confirmed diagnosis, cause, or explanation for the symptom(s) warrants reason to not attend school.
    1. ANY one “High Risk” COVID-19 Symptom
      1. New Cough
      2. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      3. New loss of taste or smell

AND/OR

    1. Any two or more “Low Risk” COVID-19 symptom or symptoms are not within the person’s “norm”
      1. Fever of > °100 or chills- do not come to school if you have a temp > °100 regardless if you don’t have other symptoms
      2. Headache, Muscle / body aches (myalgia), Fatigue, Sore throat, Runny nose, Congestion, Sinus pain, Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea

Based on IDPH Guidance “Evaluating Sick Students and Staff”- In Spanish

  • If you have given your child ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or other fever reducing medication within 24 hours of school starting, closely evaluate the reason the medicine was given; if it was given for possible symptoms of COVID-19, the student should stay home.

As we learn more about the symptoms of COVID-19 we will continue to update the list. For the most up to date list visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/symptoms.html

SCHOOLS:

1.  Plans for:

  1. ELC: On site learning for preschool, preK and kindergarten students every day with a tentative modified schedule of 7:45am - 2:00pm
  2. Elementary: 1st-5th graders will be divided into 2 groups A group and B group. The district will divide the groups by households so students in the same house will attend on the same weeks for 1-12th grade.
    1. Week 1: Group A on site, Group B virtual learning
    2. Week 2: Group B on site, Group A virtual learning
  3. Middle School:
    1. 6th-8th graders will be divided into 2 groups A group and B group. The district will divide the groups by households so students in the same house will attend on the same weeks for 1-12th grade.
    2. Week 1: Group A on site, Group B virtual learning
    3. Week 2: Group B on site, Group A virtual learning
  4. High School
    1. 9th-12th graders will be divided into 2 groups A group and B group. The district will divide the groups by households so students in the same house will attend on the same weeks for 1-12th grade.
    2. 4 block schedule to limit the transitions between classes each day.
    3. Week 1: Group A on site, Group B virtual learning
    4. Week 2: Group B on site, Group A virtual learning

2.  How will contact tracing be done? How long will it take for me to get notified of an exposure to myself or my child?

    1. Contact tracing will be done in conjunction with Muscatine County Public Health, Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Department of Human Services.
    2. Once the school gets notification from a parent or public health of a positive case, families will be notified of a possible exposure. HIPAA confidentiality will be followed.
    3. When a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 the school will dismiss the students and classroom(s) that have been in contact with that student. Across all settings, students and staff will be quarantined by classroom(s). Meaning, if one student tests positive, the entire class(es) that student was in (students and staff) will be notified and instructed to quarantine for 14 days.  Please see this link for Staff Leave Scenarios.

    4. In collaboration with Muscatine County Public Health, we cannot guarantee that students have or have not been in contact with classmates within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes. For the health and safety of all of our students, staff and community we will err on the side of caution in determining recommendations for quarantine. We understand the frustrations and uncertainty of these times and are doing what we believe, with the guidance from CDC, to be the best way to not spread the virus more. 

3.  Will the temperatures of all students and staff be taken prior to entering the building?

    1. Per Head Start regulations the ELC students participate in a health screening prior to entry, including having their temperatures taken.
    2. For 1-12 students, it is expected that families will take the temperature and screen their children for symptoms prior to school each day. If a teacher is concerned about a student they can be sent to the nurse for evaluation.  Please review this Parent/Guardian Acknowledgement
    3. Staff will also be expected to self monitor their temperature and any symptoms related to COVID prior to school each day.

Symptoms to screen for:

Symptoms of COVID-19 - use for self screener:

COVID-19 symptoms with no other confirmed diagnosis, cause, or explanation for the symptom(s) warrants reason to not attend school.

    1. ANY one “High Risk” COVID-19 Symptom
      1. New Cough
      2. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      3. New loss of taste or smell

AND/OR

    1. Any two or more “Low Risk” COVID-19 symptom or symptoms are not within the person’s “norm”
      1. Fever of > °100 or chills- do not come to school if you have a temp > °100 regardless if you don’t have other symptoms
      2. Headache, Muscle / body aches (myalgia), Fatigue, Sore throat, Runny nose, Congestion, Sinus pain, Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea

Based on IDPH Guidance “Evaluating Sick Students and Staff” - In Spanish

  • If you have given your child ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or other fever-reducing medication within 24 hours of school starting, closely evaluate the reason the medicine was given; if it was given for possible symptoms of COVID-19, the student should stay home.

4. Are face coverings (mask OR shield) required?

    1. Yes, for all staff and students a face covering is required in the buildings. One face covering will be provided for grades PS-12. 

5.  What are the numbers or indicators for closing school and moving to all virtual learning?

    1. Please see the guidance from the state (State of Iowa, IDOE, IDPH) linked here:
      1. Return to Learn - Reopening Iowa’s Schools Safely and Responsibly
      2. Evaluating Sick Students and Staff - Reopening Iowa’s Schools Safely and Responsibly - In Spanish

6.  What steps can I take to prevent my student from getting COVID-19?

    1. You can talk with your student about taking steps everyday to prevent getting sick.

●Help them wash their hands often or demonstrate the proper way to wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and warm water.

●Help them avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your own home.

●Remind them to stay 6 feet apart from other people

●Cover mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when they are around others

●Teach your student to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily (especially phones and remote controls)

●Help your student monitor their health-look for symptoms and take temperature

●Making sure face masks are washed frequently and you may view additional information on face mask care here.

●Choosing virtual learning is an option for all families PS-12 and may help prevent exposure to COVID-19 at school.

7.  How long does it take for symptoms to start?

    1. Please refer to CDC guidance as updates come frequently.

8. What does isolation and quarantine mean?

Quarantine: Stay home until 14 days after your last exposure to a confirmed positive test result. Check and record your temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are waiting for test results, or have cough, fever or shortness of breath or other COVID-19 symptoms ISOLATE yourself from others.

Isolation: This is indicated with a positive COVID-19 test result. Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are sick with COVID-19 and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected. . People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom if available.

To discontinue isolation you must have:

●10 days since symptoms started

AND

●Symptoms are improving

AND

●24 hours fever free without the use of fever reducing medications (example: Tylenol or Ibuprofen)

If you recently traveled from somewhere outside the United States or on a cruise ship or river boat stay home for 14 days from the time you returned home.

During this 14-day period take these steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing:

●Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever, log your temperatures

●Watch for a cough or trouble breathing.

●Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school.

●Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares.

●Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet)

9. What is a “Close Contact”?

  1. Close contact- is defined as being within 6 feet of someone for 10-15 minutes. Being in close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19 puts you at a higher risk of getting COVID-19 (Other examples of close contact are-sharing the same drinking glass or straw, sharing the same eating utensil, touching the person or things that may have that person’s germs on them, like a dirty tissue, or the person coughing or sneezing on you).
  2. Casual contact-is defined as passing by someone briefly. A casual contact puts you at a lower risk of getting COVID-19

10. What if my student came in “close contact” with someone who tested positive for COVID-19?

  1. Your student should stay home for the time period recommended by the CDC. If they do get symptoms, then:
    1. Call your child’s doctor
    2. Follow the doctor’s instructions, including any quarantine recommendations.

11. If there are other children in our home who do not have symptoms should they stay home too, or continue going to school?

    1.  Per CDC guidelines, if you have been exposed to those with symptoms, you should keep all children home and follow the recommendations of your child’s doctor.

12. What if we live with someone who tests positive for COVID-19?

    1. Per CDC guidelines, if you or someone in your family has been exposed to those with symptoms or who have tested positive, you should keep all children home and follow the recommendations of your child’s doctor.

13. What if my student that had “close contact” with someone with COVID-19 gets sick but isn’t tested for COVID-19?

    1. Per CDC guidelines, if you or someone in your family has been exposed to those with symptoms or who have tested positive, you should keep all children home and follow the recommendations of your child’s doctor.

14. How long does my student need to stay home if they test positive OR a doctor says they likely have COVID-19?

    1. Per CDC guidelines, if you or someone in your family has been exposed to those with symptoms or who have tested positive, you should keep all children home and follow the recommendations of your child’s doctor.

15. What if my student becomes sick but is not tested for COVID-19?

    1. Per CDC guidelines, if you or someone in your family has been exposed to those with symptoms or who have tested positive, you should keep all children home and follow the recommendations of your child’s doctor.

16. What if my student becomes sick but tests negative for COVID-19?

    1. They should stay home until they are feeling better and they have not had any fever for at least 24 hours without the use of any medications to lower the fever.
    2. If they visit a doctor and they tell you your student has something other than COVID-19 (such as influenza or strep throat) then you should:
      1. Follow your Doctor’s guidelines and:
      2. When your student does return to school, bring a doctor’s note with them.
      3. If your student has received any fever reducing medicine (examples are Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Advil, or Aleve) for ANY reason, they may not come to school for 24 hours after the medication is given.

17. How do I talk to my student about staying home from school and COVID-19?

    1. Remain calm while talking
    2. Turn off your phones
    3. Let them know they are safe
    4. Let them know it’s ok to feel upset
    5. Make yourself available to listen and talk
    6. Avoid language that might blame or stigmatize others
    7. Pay attention to what children might be hearing on TV or in the media
    8. Provide truthful and developmental appropriate information
    9. Talk about new actions that may be taken at school to help protect your students and staff.
    1. For more information visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/talking-with-children.html

18. What learning opportunities are there for my student while they are staying home?

    1. The West Liberty School district has worked very hard to ensure every child has the opportunity to learn in the building or at home.The expectations of participation in alternative learning for students who are sick compared to asymptomatic students who have been sent home due to potential exposure will be clarified. 

19. What if I don’t have Wi-Fi or technology?

  1. The district will be providing a Chromebook to every student and presently looking for Wi-Fi options for families

20. What do I do if I can not take 14 days off to stay home with my student?

  1. You can call 211 for support services.

21. If all of my children need to stay home, how will all of them have access to learning opportunities while home?

  1. The school will work with you to offer virtual learning materials appropriate for your children.

22. What if I am a health care provider and work with COVID-19 positive patients-what should my student do?

  1. Your student may continue to attend school unless they develop symptoms. If they develop symptoms, keep them home and call their doctor.

23. If my student stays home, and I am working from home and I can't help with schoolwork because I am busy working-what should I do?

  1. West Liberty schools will release a return to learn plan that includes flexible learning options for students.

24. If you have any questions about COVID-19 or any other concerns you can call 211. They can answer questions concerning mental health, food, diseases and many, many other topics.

  1. Muscatine County Public Health: Website phone: 563-263-0122

25. It will be a nightmare for families if every school in the district splits up students differently. Could you please split groups up by name so siblings across the district have the same days at home? I don't understand why the middle school and high school cannot have the same split day schedule as elementary. Going two weeks without in-person learning at the secondary levels isn't ideal and doesn't make sense considering the elementary is only splitting in half. Additionally, splitting up by grade levels will not achieve social distancing in the classrooms.

At this time, options available are:

    1. Students will be divided by household to be accommodating for families.
    2. The ELC is going M-F On-Site schedule with all students attending daily from 7:45am - 2:00pm (tentative).
    3. 1st-12th grade will alternate A/B rotations by week. Week 1 group A will be on site and group B will be online. Week 2 group A will be online and group B will be on site.
    4. Families have the option to choose virtual learning by trimester

26. My child has ADHD. I am concerned about their time at home and their ability to focus if a parent is not there. Are there more options for onsite learning for school?

At this time, options available are:

  1. Students will be divided by household to be accommodating for families.
  2. The ELC is going M-F On-Site schedule with all students attending daily from 7:45am - 2:00pm (tentative).
  3. Families have the option to choose virtual learning by trimester
  4. 1st-12th grade will alternate A/B rotations by week. Week 1 group A will be on site and group B will be online. Week 2 group A will be online and group B will be on site.

27. I am not a person who can learn well on a computer, I learn in a classroom face to face with my teachers. I know for a fact that my GPA will drop dramatically if I'm only allowed to have 4 in school learning days for every 3 weeks. If there are other schools in the area that offer more in school learning days I will gladly transfer schools and I know for a fact that my parents will fight with me to get me transfered. I also don't understand how 4 and 5 year olds are going to be allowed to have a full time on campus option but 14-18 year olds are only allowed 4 days every 3 weeks. I don't care if I have to wear a mask 24/7 and have to bring my own lunch. If I have to have a 4 day week every week is what it takes to let us go back to school fine, but you can't expect everyone to be able to learn this way, I taught myself my math class so I wouldn't have to take it next year and I barely passed. I have big dreams and I don't want to lose everything because I'm not even given an option to learn on campus.

At this time, options available are:

    1. Students will be divided by household to be accommodating for families.
    2. The ELC is going M-F On-Site schedule with all students attending daily from 7:45am - 2:00pm (tentative).
    3. 1st-12th grade will alternate A/B rotations by week. Week 1 group A will be on site and group B will be online. Week 2 group A will be online and group B will be on site.
    4. Families have the option to choose virtual learning by trimester
      .

28. Can you post the parent/teacher survey data broken down by building? So we can see "Most elementary parents/teachers preferred __" while "Most high school parents/teachers preferred __"

    1. We intend to make decisions that are effective as a district. We have the information by family not by building. 

29. Can my student take remote learning?

At this time, options available are:

  1. Students will be divided by household to be accommodating for families.
  2. The ELC is going M-F On-Site schedule with all students attending daily from 7:45am - 2:00pm (tentative).
  3. 1st-12th grade will alternate A/B rotations by week. Week 1 group A will be on site and group B will be online. Week 2 group A will be online and group B will be on site.
  4. Families have the option to choose virtual learning by trimester

30. What is the educational impact to the students moving forward with only being in class 1/2 of the time?

  1. Since the proclamation from Governor Reynolds on Friday, July 17th they will now be attending 50% of the time. We are not sure what the impact will be as this is the first year that we will be using this method. We will minimize the impact as best we can to student’s educational learning. Teachers are already training for this.

31. Will teachers be required to be at the school during distance learning weeks?

  1. Yes, teachers will be required to be at the school during online learning times. If teachers have questions or concerns regarding this please contact your building administrator.

32. Will distance learning be what was incorporated at the end of last year? Will it be required classroom instruction every day?

  1. This will not be the same as last year. This will be required learning with attendance and grading, with grades PS-2 utilizing SeeSaw, and grades 3-12 utilizing Google classroom. 

33. What does Virtual Learning look like? Will kids (4th grade & 6th grade) be attending scheduled online classes (like through Zoom) or will they have self-paced assignments during those days?

  1. This will not be the same as last year. This will be required learning with attendance and grading, with grades PS-2 utilizing SeeSaw, and grades 3-12 utilizing Google classroom. For families choosing full virtual learning, forthcoming information will be provided that may look differently from the hybrid plan.

34. I have two children in Elementary school, will they both be attending the same two on-site days even though they are in different classes? It would be necessary for me so I can work the two days they do attend

At this time, options available are:

  1. Students will be divided by household to be accommodating for families.
  2. The ELC is going M-F On-Site schedule with all students attending daily from 7:45am - 2:00pm (tentative).
  3. 1st-12th grade will alternate A/B rotations by week. Week 1 group A will be on site and group B will be online. Week 2 group A will be online and group B will be on site.
  4. Families have the option to choose virtual learning by trimester

35. Will chrome books be provided for elementary students?

  1. Every student will be provided with a device as we receive them. Devices have been ordered and will be provided to students as they become available.

36. How will safety rules be enforced? Who has the authority to enforce safety measures? Will there be any communication about the success/failure of adhering to safety measures?

  1. Every school staff member is responsible for enforcing safety measures. This will be handled the same as all other behavioral expectations in the building. If we have a case of COVID-19 parents will be notified through a variety of platforms. As parents, you are partners in supporting and reinforcing rules and expectations for health and safety.

37. In the presentation, social distancing was referred to as 'if feasible'. Similarly, I noticed that while there was a question about requiring masks for students, there was only a mention of 'strongly suggest' wearing a mask for staff. Are we to understand that even during the survey phase you are already thinking of concessions to the two most effective means of stopping the spread of this virus (you're welcome to look that up)? Can you please clearly state if all staff will be required to wear mask at all times? Can you please state under which circumstances you expect your social distancing will not be feasible?

  1. Finalizing language guidance regarding wearing in buildings.

38. Is participation in the dual language program affected in either potential learning model you presented? Do extended absences factor into eligibility for the program in the next year? Are there any other changes to eligibility for entering or remaining in the dual language program, particularly for students who will be electing to be entirely remote?

  1. We will be working with our teachers to offer the best educational program in these uncertain times. Every educational program will be modified to a degree with virtual learning. 
39. Can you please clarify whether the kids will be able to continue in the dual-language program if we choose to do the online schooling only.
    1. Dual language will be available through both in-person and virtual learning.

40. Will all students be in the building at the same time?

At this time, options available are:

    1. Students will be divided by household to be accommodating for families.
    2. The ELC is going M-F On-Site schedule with all students attending daily from 7:45am - 2:00pm (tentative).
    3. 1st-12th grade will alternate A/B rotations by week. Week 1 group A will be on site and group B will be online. Week 2 group A will be online and group B will be on site.
    4. Families have the option to choose virtual learning by trimester

41. Is there no other option for the ELC building?

    1. ELC students may choose virtual learning if they do not wish to attend face to face. All preschool families have the opportunity to choose part-time preschool.

42. If parents decide to homeschool their child entering the ELC building, will there be resources available from the district/school to help families find a homeschooling curriculum/plan?

1.  Homeschooling is different than at home virtual learning. Please contact the Central Office to be provided with state options for homeschooling. If you choose to utilize the district’s virtual option, with courses designed by our certified staff, you may do so from the safety of your own home.

43. If parents decide to homeschool their child entering the ELC Building and later decide to enroll their child into school, will this be readily available? What about families that had help through the Head Start Program? Will this program still accept the student if they decide to enroll their child later in the school year?

  1. Yes, you can add full day by trimester as long as we have room available. Headstart will accept students until our allotted headstart spaces are full. Headstart is working with us on any modified daily schedule.

44. How will childcare be provided for my child when I must be working and my child is participating in their virtual schooling time as identified by the district?

  1. We understand that the modified schedule may bring child care difficulties, however, the district is not offering childcare. The district worked to ensure that students at the ELC, our youngest learners, would be attending daily, practicing social-distancing. An afterschool program for the ELC is currently being explored for the ELC, given that students from the ELC will not be able to attend the privately offered before and after school program held at the Elementary this year due to COVID-19.

45. How will you be dealing with staff quarantine?

  1. We have state guidance on leave and these cases will be handled on a case by case basis.

46. How are you limiting class sizes?

  1. Class size is determined by the size of the classroom. The 10 person limit is no longer included in CDC recommendations.

47. Will a virtual (100% at-home) option be available for those who wish to keep their kids at home until the virus is under control?

  1. Virtual learning is available to all of our parents and families by selecting virtual learning during registration. We are allowing families to reevaluate their virtual learning option each trimester.

48. What does the school district need to achieve in order to resume full-time in-person learning? For example, do the schools need to have 0% infection rate for a certain amount of time? Or is there a predetermined date to discuss if WL schools will reopen fully? Will you determine this as a whole district or by individual school? Or will the plan that is determined before school starts, be the plan that will be enforced the entire school year?

  1. We have learned from the Department of Education that they will be sharing guidance for school districts in regard to metrics for school districts when to close a school, classroom, open a school or classroom, go remote learning/virtual.
49. Will there be a food program offered for all families that can be delivered on the days that school is virtual?
    1. Yes, meals will be provided. They might not be delivered to your home but there will be options with pick up locations.

50. What happens if both parents are not allowed to work from home and their children are too young to stay home by themselves? Will this be up to the parents to suffer through and figure out, or will the district be offering guidance?

    1. We understand that this is very challenging. We are making sure all of our families are informed on time so they can plan accordingly.

51. I have a student that will be attending the elementary school. Can I choose which group they are in?

    1. No – groups will be determined within the district. We will do our best to coordinate families to be in the same group as this will also help us with other areas such as transportation and instruction across buildings.

52. Will the buses be following social distancing with the children riding?

    1. In order to get our students on time we will not be able to social distance but we will be requiring a mask or shield on the bus. We will try to seat children living in the same household together.

53. How will students with IEPs receive their support in conjunction with the hybrid models or if we choose to go with solely remote learning?

    1. Students that qualify for special education services will continue to receive appropriate IEP services across all learning models that may be used, including virtual if parents make that selection for their child or if virtual learning is put in place due to COVID-19 circumstances. An individualized plan will be developed and added to each qualifying student’s IEP that outlines how services will occur during periods of modified instructional models. Parents of medically fragile children with IEPs are encouraged to consider the model that best fits your child’s/family’s needs and reach out to your building Principal with additional questions. In addition, if you are choosing virtual learning for your child, please let your building principal know as soon as possible and indicate that during the registration process so that we can best plan for your child’s needs.