Q: What metrics will be used to determine movement between phases? How/who will make that decision?
A: We are continuing to work with our medical advisors and the Waukesha County Health Department to determine the best metrics and ranges/levels to guide decision making. We are hopeful that state or county agencies will be providing clearer gate keeping criteria to support decisions like these. Short of more specific criteria from public health, data that will be evaluated when deciding to move up or down phases include but are not limited to the following: rates, trends and numbers of infections in the county and community; trends and numbers of infections for school aged groups (0-9, 10-19) in the county; percent/number of absences of students and staff with flu and/or COVID-19 like symptoms; number of students and staff in quarantine due to infection and/or exposure; substitute fill rates for staff absences; “Disease Burden” - cases in county or community (if available) by 100,000 population; numbers of positive COVID-19 cases confirmed of students & staff. The data will be monitored daily.
The PSD Pandemic Response Team, led by the Superintendent, in consultation with the County Health Department, will review all data and make those decisions. Families will be given as much notice as is practical. Movement to less restrictive phases (phase two or three) would include a week or greater notice. Every effort will be made to provide multiple day notice when moving to more restrictive phases if possible. It is important to note that outbreaks can happen quickly, with little notice that may prompt an immediate response.
Q: Can students move from in-person/hybrid to the fully virtual setting if they are uncomfortable with a decision to change to a less restrictive phase?
A: Fully virtual sections will be created for each 9-week quarter. These need to be staffed and there are limits to the number of students who will be assigned to any teachers class load. If there is room available at the time of the request, a student may be moved to the fully virtual option. If the sections are full, the student would have to wait until the end of the 9-week quarter to change options.
Q: If the schools are enforcing social distancing, why does my student need to quarantine? How do the phases impact quarantine?
A: Students exposed to a postive case need to be quarantined regardless of the phase though the below diagram shows how in Phase One we reduce the number of people exposed vs Phase Two, helping us stay safe to stay open.
Q: Can my child participate in Virtual Learning from home at any time?
A: Students can participate in Virtual Learning for the following reasons:
- A student is enrolled in Fully Virtual Learning
- A student is taking part in Emergency Remote Learning due to quarantine or isolation
Students cannot participate in Virtual Learning for non-COVID-19 related absences. (i.e. Vacations, etc.)
Q: Having students in virtual settings places a burden on parents who rely on the schools for childcare when they are at work. Why is there not a full time option provided to parents?
A: The school district empathizes with working parents and fully recognizes that any model less than full time, face-to-face models creates real challenges for childcare. While recognizing this issue, the district must prioritize health and safety for our students and staff above those considerations. It is important to understand that students and staff have not been together in a school setting since early March and will be returning to our schools in the midst of a pandemic virus. Our students and staff have many new safety protocols and procedures to learn, apply and refine to maximize the safety of the school environment. Our approach to starting with 50% attendance, two-days a week for each student provides an environment that is much more manageable and prone to key practices like social distancing as we acclimate to these new conditions and approaches. We believe that learning to implement these strategies well will be critical in our ability to scale up attendance and improve our chances of limiting the spread of the virus so we can remain open. It is our hope that through the efforts of the school, our community, and families that we are able to keep rates of infection low so we can move to fuller attendance in a short
Q: When will the school board vote to approve or reject this plan?
A: The PSD Board of Education reviewed the plan that has been released at their meeting on July 27th and supported the plan as presented. The Board indicated consensus support for the plan without taking formal action through a vote. This approach was taken because it allows the greatest flexibility with modifying the plan as conditions change. The Board has been very engaged in the process by receiving regular updates and engaging administration with any questions or concerns individual members may have.
Q: Will students enrolled in the virtual option be allowed to participate in extra-curricular activities?
A: Yes, if those activities run students in the virtual option will be afforded the same opportunity to participate as student in the in-person/hybrid option.
Q: Can the district require students to wear masks? How will a rule for wearing masks be enforced?
A: Yes, the school district has the authority to create and enforce school rules. This is particularly true related to rules that apply to health and safety. A rule for wearing a face covering can be enforced using regular disciplinary procedures for students. Students refusing to comply with expectations to wear a face covering may be placed into the virtual learning option. Adult visitors refusing to comply with wearing a face covering will not be allowed into campus buildings.
Q: How will the hybrid option work if someone comes into contact with a positive covid person at school - does each class quarantine?
A: The school district will work in partnership with the Waukesha County Health Department when notified of a positive test. The county will take the lead on contact tracing and determine the need for quarantine. The process will examine contacts of less than 6 feet for greater than 15 minutes as contacts for up to two days prior to the positive test, as individuals to place in quarantine. The school will provide emergency remote learning services for students in quarantine.
Q: When and how long will kids have to wear masks?
A: Staff and students will wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible. This expectation will be applied differently when considering the developmental level of our students. The approach with our youngest students will likely be a little different than our oldest. Each school will develop expectations and strategies to identify opportunities for "mask breaks" so students have opportunities to remove masks when appropriate during the school day. Every student will need to have a mask with them at all times and will use it daily. Detailed expectations will be communicated to families prior to the return to school.
Q: How will reporting of covid cases to families be handled when exposure has happened?
A: Families will be notified whenever the district becomes aware that your student(s) have had a potential exposure to someone with COVID-19. The district will support the contact tracing efforts of the Waukesha County Health Department who will communicate with individuals/parents who are considered to have been exposed. A major component of our school mitigation plan is to limit the number of people students and staff interact with to reduce potential exposures using cohorting, modified scheduling, and social distancing strategies.
Q: What happens when an in-person teacher is positive? Will they continue to teach the course from home or will students be assigned a new teacher?
A: Teachers who may be placed in quarantine due to exposure or infection will continue to support instruction remotely for in-person and/or virtual students if they are able. Substitute staff will partner with the regularly assigned classroom teacher to support learning.
Q: Will there be any efforts to hold more classes/instruction outside when feasible?
A: Yes, our schools / teachers will seek to maximize the use of outdoor spaces to increase our ability to space students and provide mask breaks. Classes like physical education will emphasize outdoor activities to the greatest extent possible. The district has installed additional wireless capacity in some outdoor areas to provide better connectivity outdoors to support use of these spaces.
Q: How will the district handle the hybrid days for families with multiple children? Will they be attending school on the same days?
A: The in-person/hybrid model has been designed to align K-12 so that students in the same families would have the same days assigned for attendance. If there are children with different last names in a family our schools will work with those families to ensure they are able to attend on the same days. There may be occassional differences between the elementary/middle high school for attendance but typically, attendance would be aligned.
Q: Can families who want to carpool request to attend on the same days in the in-person hybrid model?
A: Unfortunately no. The division of by alphabet was used to try and balance student numbers to the best or our ability. Consistency and manageability of this process will be important.
Q: I have heard conflicting information on the use of masks. Why is the district requiring the use of masks for students?
A: The district is incorporating guidance from the most credible sources we can find. The Centers for Disease Control, Children's Hospital, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Department of Health Services, and the Waukesha County Health Department and County Executive have all recommended that mask wearing be required in schools, especially in situations when social distancing is not practical. We have been advised that mask wearing has been shown to reduce virus transmission by 80%.
Q: My child needs to ride the bus. What is the district doing to reduce the spread of the virus when kids are riding buses?
A: The district will be using multiple strategies to reduce to the potential transmission of virus on buses. This includes a requirement that all students riding a bus are masked and sit in assigned seats. Buses will load back to front and release front to back to reduce physical interaction. The district is planning a separate PLE and Horizon bus run to reduce numbers of students riding at any time. The district has also contracted for additional cleaning services with Riteway for cleaning between routes and nightly sanitation of buses.
Q: How will it be handled if my child gets sick at school?
A: We are fortunate to have every building with health rooms staffed by certified RN's. We have developed enhanced health room procedures to manage symptomatic students and staff in the school environment. Any student or staff member with COVID or Flu-like symptoms will be immediately masked and placed in isolation until they are able to leave or be picked up by a family member. All schools have identified isolation rooms to be utilzed for this purpose. It is absolulely essential that students and staff exhibiting symptoms do not come to school. Students would receive emergency remote learning support while out of school.