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Reopening Information

What We Know About School Reopening
Posted on 07/08/2020

If you haven’t seen the HCS reopening plan, you can find it here.  

Below, are the most common questions we've received in the past few days with the best answers that we have now. Newest questions are on at the top.

FAQs

If we want Option 1 (in-person, on-campus learning), do we need to do anything in addition to regular registration?

Option 1 is the default for all registered children. It would help us greatly if you will also indicate this on your child's PowerSchool account. (See below.)

Will we seriously have an in-person registration on Aug. 7? Are you telling me that I will have to come to Thrasher and provide two proofs of residency along with the families of 600 other kids?

We are working on this now. As of July 10, in-person registration is supported by HCDE. While we are following CDC and HCDE guidance, we are also considering how these decisions will affect our community, and we will determine which tech tools allow us to keep every family safest. We will have more information for you before August 1st.

If we enter the Phase where kids go to school two days per week, will the kids have online learning the other three days?

Yes.

I forgot to register my child last spring, and now the registration is closed. What do I do?

Online registration will open again August 3. The only thing to do now is enjoy your summertime with family.

I have registered my oldest child and indicated Option 1. He can't wait to be back at school. My youngest will be starting Kindergarten. Do you know when Kindergarteners will show up on PowerSchool to choose your option?

Kindergartners won’t show up in PowerSchool for a few weeks. If you are considering Options 2 or 3 for Kindergarten, email me at  paulson_jeff@hcde.org and let me know so we can take care of you. We will send you a direct link to the intent form.

How do I indicate that I want Option 1, 2 or 3 for my child(ren)?

  1. Visit https://powerschool.hcde.org/public/home.html to log in as a parent.

 Instructions for creating a Parent Portal account for the first time can be downloaded here.    

  1. If more than one student, the parent chooses the appropriate student in the top left hand corner of the screen.  
  1. Parent clicks on “Forms” on the left hand side of the screen.  

  1. Parent clicks on “2020-2021 Family Learning Options” For
  2. Parent fills out the form and submits by clicking on the blue submit button in the bottom right corner. 
  3. Email paulson_jeff@hcde.org if you get stuck.

How will HCS @ Home/Thrasher @ Home look?       

Will my first grader and my fourth grader be on the computer the duration of the school day?

No. While there will be a robust online component, we know, love, and understand people enough to know that no child should be in front of a screen for 6.5 hours each day. Students @ home may have more interaction with technology than students on campus, but all students will have the opportunity to work with materials in the real world as well.

Will it even be possible for me (one person and not an educator) to guide them both through their school day online? I have the utmost confidence in you and your staff to make this online program the best it can be; I just don't know if I have that much confidence in myself!

We will be working to be the creators and providers of instruction. You’ll be responsible for the “classroom management” piece – you’ll be the one setting parameters for working, for taking breaks, recess, lunch, etc. Any side-by-side teaching you provide additionally to your child can only benefit your child. This will be new for all of us, and if we support each other and work with each other, we will be able to provide a top-drawer education this year. We got this!

My next question is about Option 2:  I am curious how the day will look for our daughter staying at home, yet enrolled in a class and teacher there at Thrasher.  Will there be certain teachers that are only for online students and some that are for those in the classroom?  Or will teachers have both in person and virtual students? 

We will only be able to determine this after the registration is complete. Once we know how many students will be on campus and how many will be at home, then we can best plan the logistics.

How will the day take the same amount of time (8:50-3:50) without all the extra curriculars and things like that that are being taken out right now? 

We look at a "commensurate" education being measured more by quality of teaching and learning, not counting of minutes.

You will still have access to classes such as library, music, etc., which make up part of a 7.5 hour school day. Without lunch and recess, the school day is 6.5 hours long. (State requirement for Kindergarten is a minimum of 4 hours.) Our goal will be to provide the same quality of instruction and opportunities for learning practice as the kids at school have. Also, each kid learns or works faster or more deliberately than others, and the learning environment can clearly affect the rate of work. Work with us, and we’ll work with you.

Will kids be Zooming in on the active classroom? My work schedule doesn’t allow for this.

While there may be opportunities for moments of “live streaming”, the main instruction will probably not be delivered through a live stream. For the kind of instruction and equipment we have, live stream instruction would not necessarily be a best practice.

What is the date of the second semester start?

January 6, 2021

When you say “teachers you are familiar with”, is that their teacher from last year?

No. Students who have progressed to the next grade level will have teachers of that grade level. We hope through assemblies and school interactions that children are at least somewhat familiar with other teachers at Thrasher.

We received their school kits in the mail. If we decide to do online classes, do I just hang on to them until they join their class (hopefully in January)?

Yes. You’ll have opportunities to use many of the supplies during at-home instruction.

Will there be standardized testing still? 

The Great State of Tennessee has not removed this accountability at this time.

If we opened today, what Phase would we be in?

The best way to answer this is to compare the chart on page 14 of the reopening plan with the daily-updated data presented here: http://health.hamiltontn.org/AllServices/Coronavirus(COVID-19).aspx .

If school opened July 6, Hamilton County Schools would be in Phase 3, and Thrasher would probably be fully open. However, cases in 37377 jumped from 17 last week to 30 this week. It changes rapidly.

Will each school determine what phase it is in based on the active COVID cases in each community?

The “gating criteria” on page 14 shows how decisions about phases will be made. Phase 3 is the only phase that has school-specific decisions. Phases 1, 2, and 4 will be county-wide phases.

What does “reduced hours” mean?

Phase 2 will have reduced hours for on-campus instruction. In Phase 2, students will be sorted into two cohorts – a Group A and Group B. Each cohort will come to the campus two days per week and have three days of at-home learning directed by the classroom teacher. Arrival and dismissal may also be staggered to manage the social distancing details, and this may also reduce the hours a student has on campus in Phase 2.

Will masks be required of students?

Students will be required to have a mask. More details about how masks will be used are on pages 17, 18, and 33. In some phases, students will not be allowed on a bus without a mask.

Social distancing, in some situations, will not be a logistic possibility. Masks will be needed throughout some portions of each day. Face coverings may be relaxed if distance can be accomplished.

Is there a way parents can have access to the Hamilton Co Virtual School site so that we can see what we would be signing up for if we decide on Option 3?

I don’t have an answer for this yet. Hamilton County Virtual School does use a different curriculum than the schools do, but they address the same state standards. (The 3 Options are shown on p. 22).

Has there been any guidelines set for how they will handle exposures? Deep clean and move on, isolate the class, or does the whole school shut down?

Appendix C (p. 46) in the reopening plan gives details about this. Also, in Phases 2 and 3, schools and classrooms will be “fogged” weekly (pp. 19-20).

What curriculum will be used for HCS at Home?

HCS at Home is really Thrasher at Home for our community. Parents that select Option 2 (HCS at Home) will have children that are enrolled at Thrasher, assigned a classroom and teacher, and will engage in the same learning and assignments as their class – albeit completely online.

Will on-line learning look similar to what we saw last spring?

No, not really.

For the last quarter of 2019-2020, schools were directed by the state and the district to provide assignments that focused on review, that could be completed in a smaller portion of the day, and would not be graded. Also, with school closing so quickly, teachers used what they knew or what students were already familiar with as much as possible. Some used Edmodo, some used Google Classroom, some were paper-based only, etc.

Any online learning that happens this year will be designed as our regularly scheduled program! Our directive now is that online learning is to be “commensurate” with a full school day. Also – even for online instruction – attendance will be taken (details to come), assignments will be graded, etc. Also, we are working to prepare some unified platforms for families. Due to the differences in children, we may have one platform for K-2 and one for 3-5, or we may have one platform for K-5.

We are working with our district to review the options of resources for this.

When/how do I register for online options?

Starting today, you can register for online options until July 22. Registration will be through the parent portal of PowerSchool. If you’ve already completed registration, you can go back in and update your intent.

If you get stuck with the parent portal, email me and I will help you. Paulson_jeff@hcde.org. It may take me longer than usual to respond to you because of the high amount of support needed right now, but if you don’t hear from me within 48 hours, call 423.886.0882 and select the option to talk to me. It will ring my cell phone.

What happens if I start school through online learning and change my mind in the middle of the semester?

Hamilton County Schools will not allow families that selected Option 2 re-entry to Thrasher until the 2nd semester.

Do you happen to know when bus routes / pick-up times will be announced?

Not yet. During July, bus drivers try out the new routes, time them, make notes, make changes, try out the changes, etc. Traditionally, I don’t have access to bus route info until the first week of August.

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