Dear Staff, Parents, Students, and other Stakeholders of the CCSD: We are aware of the Governor's announcement of the new school start date of August 24, 2020. My administrative team and our Ready For Learning Teams will begin meeting and discussing the CCSD's next steps and how our plans will be modified from today's announcement. I have no other information to share with you today, other than to let you know that we are as surprised as you are about what has been announced. All of the guidance pushed out to us, as a district, reflected the school start date as planned on August 13th. I don't know how this will affect athletics, band, cheer, or any of the extracurricular offerings here in the CCSD. We will continue to follow the current guidance that we have been given by the ADH, DESE, and the Arkansas Activities Association until such time that we would be notified of any changes. Practices will go on as scheduled with your respective teams. They will give you more information through the respective coaches when they know more! We will update each of you just as soon as we can get a clearer picture of what and how to go from here. Thank you for being patient and understanding! We want the best and safest return to school for your child, as possible regardless of when we are allowed to start school!
Cleveland County School District Guidelines for 2020-2021 School Year
Cleveland County School District will follow the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) guidelines and the Arkansas Ready for Learning report issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in planning for re-opening in the fall. We hope the following information helps answer many of the questions you may have about reopening schools.
Our goal will be to provide as safe an experience as possible that includes a rich educational experience, with opportunities for social interaction and extracurricular activities, while adhering to guidelines provided by the Arkansas Department of Health.
Please contact Rison Elementary at 325-6894 or Rison High School at 325-6241 for other questions you may have. This is a living document that is flexible to change, as the COVID-19 virus trends upward or downward in cases across the county, region and state. We will try to provide update as we get them, in order to give you the best information to do what you feel is best for your student(s).
This document reflects the State of Arkansas and the current provisions set forth by Governor Hutchinson and the ADH in Phase 2 of re-opening guidance.
What is the first day for students?
School will begin on August 13, 2020 as originally planned. This date will only change if ADH sends updated guidance to this requirement but this is not anticipated.
Who will be required to wear face coverings?
Currently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is recommending all individuals 10 years old and over wear a face covering. We are strongly recommending that adults and students age 10 and up wear face coverings when physical distancing cannot be achieved particularly on school buses. The ADH has not issued a directive to require face covering; however, this does not downplay the importance of this additional safety measure. Students under 10 years of age and those with health issues and special needs will not be asked to wear face coverings. Students will be highly encouraged to wear face coverings in areas with a high concentration of students where social distancing cannot be maintained. Students that are scheduled into our on campus digital learning labs will be required to wear a mask, due to the inability to social distance in those computer room settings.
Will social distancing guidelines be observed?
Social distancing will be observed as much as feasibly possible but at times students will be closer than the recommended 6 ft. apart. When social distancing requirements cannot be maintained such as class exchange time, etc., students will be expected to wear face coverings. We will redesign classrooms and cafeteria spaces to increase the space between students but cannot always guarantee it will be 6 ft.
Will classrooms be arranged differently to protect students?
Yes, classrooms will be arranged to provide more space between students. That might mean all desks are arranged in rows facing in a single direction. It might result in reading areas with bean bags, couches or comfy chairs being removed. It might include dividers between students who are seated at a table. Teachers may also be utilizing plexiglass to shield students from the respiratory droplets that will come out as the teacher will be addressing/talking to the class. We will make every effort to provide distance, but not limit students ability to interact and communicate with others in their classroom. Additionally, supplies and materials will not be shared by students.
Will students attend school every day or will we have some type of alternative schedule?
We plan for students to attend school daily following a very similar schedule to the traditional school day. Phase 2 restrictions that could still be in effect on August 13th may call for the district to utilize an A/B schedule. This would mean that your student may only come to school on pre-determined days, such as a Monday and Wednesday or a Tuesday and Thursday. This is due to the fact that our building capacity can only be at 66% during the Phase 2 restrictions. The district will make every effort to group siblings and step-siblings, who reside in the same home as the sibling to attend school on the same days. The district will notify parents of the A/B schedule later into July, as it becomes more apparent that Phase 2 will remain in place as we approach the first day of school on August 13th. Should Phase 2 restrictions be lifted, we will proceed with onsite instruction at full capacity, until such time that it become necessary to close.
If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, what will happen?
In the event an individual tests positive, we will follow the latest guidance from the ADH. We will be in direct contact with ADH. This could result in a brief closure of a single school or the entire district to provide time for additional cleaning and sanitation. If the entire district should close, we will pivot to digital instruction immediately.
Do we need to provide masks for our student or will one be provided?
The district will provide a washable face mask for every student. Each student will be given three washable cloth masks to use during the year. Only school mascot/logo in school colors (black/gold) will be allowed on face coverings for those mask bought by individuals.
Will bus transportation be provided?
Yes, the district will provide bus transportation for all students. Parents will need to take student temperatures before sending kids to the bus stop. Please do not send a student who has a fever of 100.4 or other COVID symptoms. Based on current ADH guidance, ALL students 10 and over will be REQUIRED to wear face coverings when riding the bus. Students who disregard or refuse to wear the mask on the bus will not be allowed to ride the bus. Seating charts will be enforced to help with contact tracing in the event a student with a positive case of COVID should make it on the bus. We are planning no changes to bus schedules or bus stops. It is important to understand that social distancing on a bus is NOT POSSIBLE, therefore a MASK is REQUIRED for students age 10 and over, including the driver. Hand sanitization gel/spray will be provided and used by students and administered by the driver. If parents are able to bring students each day, the district would welcome the extra help and that would help alleviate crowding on the bus.
How normal will the day be for a student?
Our goal is for your student(s) to have as normal of a day as possible, while we also provide as much safety as possible. Students will not remain in the same classroom all day and will be able to transition from one class to another. Sanitation will take place before a new group of students enters a space. Lockers may have to be used in a limited setting and will be up to the principal’s discretion and scheduling. Water fountains will not be used, BUT the district is looking into touchless bottle filling stations that will not require any touching to operate.
Will students at the elementary still have extra classes like PE, art, music, guidance and library?
Yes, students will continue to participate in activity classes, check out library books, and receive guidance and gifted instruction. In some cases, the teacher may present their lesson in the student’s classroom to reduce the amount of cleaning possible. In others situations, such as PE, students may have an assigned area in the gym with specific materials assigned to their classroom.
Will my elementary student have recess?
Yes. Elementary students will have outdoor play time with restrictions that limit the number of students they come in contact with. Daily sanitizing of playground equipment will occur, and some playground equipment may not be in use each day.
Will my student eat lunch in their classroom?
Based on current guidance, the ADH is recommending cafeterias limit the capacity of students in the cafeteria. We anticipate this may either mean we will be required to adjust lunch schedules or use alternative areas, such as large gathering spaces or potentially have lunch in their classroom on a very limited basis. Proper sanitation of all areas will be completed after each meal. Procedures will not allow students to pick up utensils, self-serve, or share food. Parents are strongly encouraged to open an online payment account for the purchase of ala carte items at the secondary level, so no cash is exchanged. Parents are encouraged to send a water bottle with their students since water fountains will not be available. The Food Service aspect is an ever changing environment, as restrictions are either lifted or tightened down, we may have to modify at a moment’s notice.
What special precautions will be implemented in regard to cleaning and sanitizing?
Sanitation and cleanliness will be a high priority for our district as we return in the fall. We will train staff to clean high touch surfaces (door knobs, light switches, etc.) and restrooms on a continuous basis throughout the day. We have also purchased disinfectant sprays to quickly sanitize rooms between usages. We will also provide time for hand washing and hand sanitizer throughout our campuses. Students will be asked to sanitize their hands each time they leave and enter a new space.
If a student comes to school sick, what will happen?
If a student comes to school sick, the school nurse will screen the student and check theirtemperature. If a student’s temperature is over the ADH guidance (100.4 F) and/or has COVID symptoms, the student will be sent home and MUST be fever free for 48 hours WITHOUT medication before returning to school. When the child returns to school they will check in with the school nurse, Stefanie Wilson.
How will you help fill any gaps my student has from the previous year?
Curriculum teams have worked to revise the curriculum so that missed essential standards will be addressed when students return. Additionally, elementary and secondary students will be assessed to determine individual strengths and deficits. These assessments will determine if students need additional support. At the secondary level, missed skills from a previous course will be embedded in the next course in the sequence. For example, a student enrolled in geometry would have geometry skills embedded in their Algebra II course.
Will students and adults be screened daily?
Random students and adults will complete a daily screening tool. Parents will be asked to use the “honor system” and take temperatures at home before students board a bus or get out of the car line each day. Please do not risk sending your child to school, if they answer yes to any of these questions. Random individuals may be asked the following questions or screened at any time during the day:
1) Have you had a fever of 100.4°F or greater in the last 2 days
2) Have you had a cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell
3) Have you been in contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19 within the previous 14 days.
If I don’t want my student to return to a traditional classroom, what are my options?
Blended Digital Learning will provide a total online educational program for students who do not feel comfortable returning to onsite instruction. Parents will be asked to sign up for the virtual education program and commit to a minimum of 9 weeks. Parents and students will be required to commit to the Virtual Education option no later than July 27 by returning paperwork to the elementary or high school office, in which their students attend school. Virtual learning students MUST have constant INTERNET CONNECTIVITY and students will be required to log into our Learning Management System called Canvas at the appropriate class time each day they are scheduled into, as is their traditional counterparts who will be engaged in face to face instruction onsite. Attendance will be taken through the learning management system and categorized by the Commissioner’s Memo for the three ways in which a student will be counted as present.
If students choose to do full-time virtual, will they be able to participate in extracurricular activities?
No, students concerned about returning to campus will not be able to be involved in any on campus, or extracurricular activities at this time.
Will we have an open house?
Under current Phase 2 requirements, the CCSD will not host an Open House until it is safe to do so. A later date may be used to host an Open House, stay tuned.
Will students be able to participate in extracurricular activities and sports in the fall?
We anticipate sports activities in the fall with possible modifications as required by the ADH. At this time, we are still awaiting guidance on both band and choir.
What happens if we have school closures again?
If schools close again, a plan for at-home digital learning has been developed. This plan includes using Canvas to submit assignments. Teachers will utilize Canvas to deliver live lessons. Students will learn how to use these Learning Management Systems by participating in lessons throughout the first weeks while at school. Blended learning that included both on-site traditional instruction and digital instruction will become the norm. This approach will allow students who might be ill or quarantined for a limited amount of time to continue their education even if they are not physically present in the classroom.
Will our students have the same arrival and dismissal times?
Depending on guidance from ADH, arrival and dismissal times may be varied, in order to increase social distancing and to decrease the number of students in the cafeteria and gym before school starts. The CCSD may have to utilize an A/B schedule, as stated earlier in this document. More information will come parents, if we move to this in August.
What advice do you have for students with special needs (autism, asthma, panic attacks, anxiety, etc.) or students with weakened immune systems and pre-existing conditions?
The district will be prepared to accommodate students through both onsite and offsite instruction with special needs. Our Special Education instructors will be taking extra precautions when working with students. If parents have concerns about their students who may be at high-risk because of COVID-19, they may explore the virtual learning option which allows the student to continue their education from the safety of their own home.
In the event of a temporary school closure, how will the district serve students who have special needs (Special Education, 504, Dyslexia, etc)?
In the event of a school closure, students will participate in live instruction with scheduled Canvas and Zoom sessions.