ReOpening Pasco: Frequently Asked Questions

 

This page was last updated at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, 2020.

Table of Contents

If you have read the summaries and reviewed the Frequently Asked Questions, and you still have a question, please scroll to the bottom of this page and use the "Submit Questions" button.


General

Now that we know what the options are, what comes next?

Take time to familiarize yourself with the options, and then choose the option that works best for your student. After reading the descriptions of the options, you can review the Frequently Asked Questions. If you still have questions, you can submit a question at the green Submit Questions button on the Reopening web page. When you are ready to make your choice, go to the blue Select an Option button. If you have more than one student, please select an option for each student. The deadline for making your choice is July 8.

Will parents and volunteers be allowed on campus?

For Semester 1 parents, volunteers, and visitors will not be present on campus. That will be revisited for Semester 2.

Learning Model Options

Once I choose an option, can I change my mind later?

A continuous and consistent learning environment is best for student success. However, we understand that parents and students might have compelling reasons to seek a transition from one option to another, so we will provide opportunities to do so when available. For the sake of continuity, transfers from one learning option to another should occur after the completion of a semester. 

Will each option offer the same classes?

Core classes will be available under all three options. The mySchool Online and Virtual options will have a selection of electives. These may differ from courses available in the Traditional model.

Is the mySchool Online option identical to the distance learning we experienced during the final months of the school year?

Based on feedback from students and parents, we have a clearer idea of which factors contribute to greater student success. Those factors include more frequent real-time interaction between students and teachers. Also, the mySchool Online model will incorporate standard school schedules and bell times, leading to a learning experience more connected to teachers.

Under the Traditional model, will elementary students be able to have recess?

Yes. Recess will be organized to emphasize social distancing. Playground equipment will be cleaned between use.

What options are available to children in the Head Start program?

The Traditional model is the only option available to children in the Head Start program.

If I choose the Virtual or mySchool Online option will I need to have my own computer or laptop?

A device and an internet connection will be necessary. When you select your option you can indicate whether you have a device and whether you have access to the internet. As we did during Distance Learning for the last months of school, the district will provide devices and arrange internet hotspots and hubs when necessary.

If I choose the myStudent Online or Virtual option will my student be able to participate in athletics?

Yes, students will have the same opportunities to participate in athletics.

Under the Virtual option and the mySchool Online option, will students be interacting with their teachers and classmates via Zoom? Is Zoom safe and secure?

Our school district relies on both Zoom and Microsoft TEAMS. Teachers and students will be expected to be familiar with all safety and security features, and to use them.

Will teachers be expected to teach both in-person and online simultaneously?

No. Teachers who are teaching student in-person on campus in the Traditional learning model will not be expected to teach online in the mySchool Online model.

Will IB and/or Cambridge be offered through one of the online learning models?

Yes. Both IB and Cambridge will be available through the mySchool Online learning model, as well as the Traditional model.

Has the start date for the 2020-2021 school year changed?

No. We fully expect to start the school year on August 10.

Will AP courses be offered in the traditional and mySchool Online model?

Yes, AP courses will be offered though mySchool Online. The exact course offerings by school will be finalized in the coming weeks. The vast majority of AP courses will be available.

If my child attends a school with AVID will they still be able to engage in AVID courses and strategies in mySchoolOnline?

AVID elective courses will be available through mySchool Online. AVID strategies will continue to be infused throughout AVID schools in the traditional setting and mySchool Online. We will offer the same sports as before with some restrictions on social distancing, cleaning procedures, and masks (optional for athletes). Students will be required to wear masks on any bus trips to games. We also will limit crowds at games based on the capacity of the venue.

How will Dual Enrollment Courses work?

Pasco County will follow guidance from Pasco Hernando State College related to Dual Enrollment courses. The Canvas platform is required by PHSC for all Dual Enrollment, and PHSC teachers and will teach courses offered in the Traditional and mySchool Online settings as well as courses offered on the PHSC campus.

What will elementary specials scheduling look like?

Elementary students will engage in special area learning in Traditional, mySchool Online and Pasco eSchool in Art, Music and PE. School sites will determine the manner in which the instruction is delivered by the special area teacher based on the school’s unique circumstances and variables such as size, numbers of teachers, layout of rooms, etc. All elementary specials arrangements in the Traditional setting will have procedures in place to support the health, safety and wellness of students and staff.

Health and Wellness

Will students wear masks in classrooms?
The wearing of a masks and/or face shields may be declared mandatory for all staff and students if COVID-19 infections remain high. The District, at this time, will require all students to wear a mask to and from their classroom at both arrival and dismissal, including on the bus. Secondary students and staff will be strongly encouraged to wear masks at all times, unless social distancing is possible. Elementary students and staff will be required to wear masks to their class, and may remove them once they get to class.

Will students be expected to socially distance?
In many school settings students will be socially distanced to the extent possible. At the elementary school level, where social distancing will be extremely difficult, students will spend most of the school day interacting only with students in their class. By limiting their exposure to a small number of students, we reduce the chance of infection. And if a student becomes ill, the immediate class is affected, not the entire school.

What steps will be taken to ensure that surfaces are clean in classrooms?
Maintenance workers and school custodians will clean frequently touched surfaces throughout the day and conduct overall cleanings at the conclusion of every day. Other non-custodial staff members will be expected to do their part keeping surfaces clean, and will be provided spray bottles and microfiber cloths for additional cleaning.  Teachers will have access to cleaning supplies for their classroom.

What other steps are being taken to ensure a healthy environment?
Pasco Schools will partner with parents in educating students on the importance of hand washing, hygiene, and social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be made available in classrooms and workplaces. The schedule for changing air conditioning filters has been accelerated.

What will my student’s school do if a classmate or staff member is exhibits symptoms of COVID-19?
We will send a clear message to parents and staff that if they are exhibiting any symptoms, they should not come to school or report to work. If a student exhibits symptoms at school, they will be taken to a location at the school clinic set aside for possible COVID-19 cases and their parent or guardian will be notified to take them home or to visit a medical professional.

What if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?
The Pasco County Health Department will notify the district if a student or staff member tests positive. We will notify parents, while not specifically identifying the student or staff member. We will cooperate with the Health Department as they conduct the appropriate notifications of individuals who have been in contact with the person infected.

Mental Health

If my child is anxious or concerned about returning to school, what can I do to help?
Talk to your child and find out the reason for their concern. Provide them reassurance and answer their questions, share information pertaining to their concern and seek answers if you are unaware. If you still need support, reach out to your child’s school for additional assistance. If you’re not sure how to do this, each school has a Let’s Talk link that you can email your question or concern for a response.

Where can I find resources regarding emotional and mental health for my child?
Pasco County Schools has a Mental Health Awareness website that provides many great resources designed to provide a parent/guardian/student with a variety of educational and community resources to help support positive change within their student: http://www.pasco.k12.fl.us/mental_health

Food and Nutrition

If my child selects a virtual option will they still be permitted to receive their free or reduced meals?
School Nutrition Programs operate under the regulations of the United States Department of Agriculture. Waivers were just released by USDA to allow flexibility in this area. We will be receiving additional guidance from the state on the details of how we can provide meals to students that select a virtual option.

Will Classroom Celebrations with food still be permitted?
Yes, you can order individually wrapped food items from your child’s school cafeteria. A Food and Nutrition Staff member will ensure the order gets delivered to your child’s classroom at the date/ time that you have agreed upon with your child’s teacher. Please visit https://connectplus.pasco.k12.fl.us/do/fns/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Celebration-Flyer-2020-2021.pdf for offerings and pricing.

If I select a virtual option for my child for the 2020-2021 school year what happens to the money remaining on their meal account?
All funds roll to the next school year and are available to use. However, families can request a refund through the Food & Nutrition website by clicking on the green circle piggy bank icon.

The refund request form offers families 3 options:

  • Request a refund via check be mailed to them.
  • Request remaining funds to be donated to the Hardship Fund to be used for disadvantaged students.
  • Request remaining funds to be transferred to another student account.

What steps will be taken to limit exposure in the school cafeteria?

Outdoor dining will be encouraged. Indoor dining will be limited in an effort to promote social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be available in all dining areas.

Transportation

Will students be forced to wear masks?
It is the expectation that students choosing to participate in school transportation wear a face covering while being transported.

My student has health issues that make wearing a mask impossible. Will they have to still wear a mask?
Accommodation will be considered relative to this expectation. Please communicate concerns with school staff for further direction.

How will social distancing be enforced on school buses?
Students are expected to wear a face covering as social distancing will not always be possible on school buses. Siblings will be directed to sit together and students will utilize space available to distance when possible.

Technology

If we choose the online options and we don’t have a device, can we get one like we did in the spring?
For the mySchool Online option, you can sign out a device from your child's school to the extent the District has devices available.

For the Virtual School option, students may be eligible for assistance with technology or internet service if the family satisfies the technology hardship provisions outlined by Florida Statute 1002.45.

If we have several children, do we need devices for each child, and can we sign out a device for each child?
Yes, if you choose the mySchool Online option, you will need a device for each child. You can sign them out from your children’s school(s) to the extent that the District has devices available.

Will the District support my child’s device if I send one from home?
No, the District will not support devices brought from home.

Early Childhood Programs

What are the options for children enrolled in the Head Start and Early Head Start and Teen Parenting (CYESIS) classroom models for educational services for the 2020-21 school year?
The only option provided for Head Start, Voluntary Prek (VPK), Early Head Start and CYESIS classrooms will be the Traditional Model in the classroom. The children will follow the arrival and dismissal procedures, transportation, car rider and walker procedures as determined by the district and with the guidance of the site-based school administrator.

Children enrolled in the PreK Exceptional Student Education (ESE) programs will be able to participate in the Traditional Model or mySchool Online Model.

The only option for a child participating in the VPK program with Prek ESE classroom will be the Traditional Model.

  • Early Head Start Home-based will be providing further guidance to families enrolled in this model.
  • More guidance will be provided for children being served in the Early Childhood High School Academy.

What health guidelines will be followed for preschool children?
The preschool programs will be following the district re-opening guidelines which will be shared with staff and parents that are still in the process of being finalized. 

For the Head Start and Early Head Start Programs how will meals be served?
Children enrolled in Head Start and Early Head Start will daily still be provided meals in bulk from Food and Nutrition Services. The staff will be receiving training for the adults to individually serve each child.

For Early Head Start, toddlers will still be eating with dishes and utensils that can be washed/sanitized after each meal. Staff will continue to individually serve each child.

What will the number of Prek children be in the Head Start/VPK/Pre-K classroom?
The enrollment for children in each Head Start/VPK classroom will be 15-20 children with two adults.

The number of children in Early Head Start classrooms will be a maximum of 8 children with two adults.

The number of children in the PreK Exceptional Student Education classrooms will vary based on district recommendations.

The number of children enrolled in Teen Parenting PreK classrooms will be based on licensing ratios and district recommendations.

Will children have naptime?
Children will have a rest time included in the daily schedule. Daily sanitation procedures will be required. Parents will be asked to follow the district guidance at the beginning of the year regarding any rest time items they would like to send to school with the child (ie blanket/towel, item with which to cuddle, etc).

Children will be spread out as much as possible, using “learning centers” as barriers. Children will rest “head to toe” fashion.

Cots will be sanitized daily and laundry will increase daily.

Will children brush teeth during the day?
Children will not be brushing teeth at the beginning of the year. The program will provide additional family education regarding oral health and dental care.

What will the number of Prek children be in the Head Start/VPK/Pre-K classroom?
The enrollment for children in each Head Start/VPK classroom will be 15-20 children with two adults.

The number of children in Early Head Start classrooms will be a maximum of 8 children with two adults.

The number of children in the PreK Exceptional Student Education classrooms will vary based on district recommendations.

The number of children enrolled in Teen Parenting PreK classrooms will be based on licensing ratios and district recommendations.

Will Early Head Start Programs have Socialization opportunities?
Yes, the Early Head Start program will be offering Socializations, following the district re-opening guidelines which will be shared with staff and parents that are still in the process of being finalized.

Extra-Curricular/Athletics

Are we allowing sporting events, pep rallies, dances, and back to school nights?
These events have a smaller, more select crowd, and therefore offer less exposure. Virtual options will also be considered when appropriate.

Will athletes be required to wear masks? 
No, but they will need to wear them while riding the bus to and from the game.  

Will parents still be allowed to attend games? 
Yes, however, we will be limiting crowds based on facility capacity.  

Will sports still be offered next school year?
Presently, we are planning for sports to resume. We will offer the same sports as usual with some restrictions related to social distancing and enhanced cleaning procedures. Students will be required to wear a mask on any bus trips to games. We will also be limiting crowds at games based on the capacity of the venue. 

If a student chooses the mySchool Online or full virtual school option are they able to try out for school sports?  
Yes, if you decide to choose the full virtual or mySchool online option, you will be able to participate in sports at your zoned school only.

After School Enrichment Programs

When does the program operate?
Elementary school programs operate year-round before/after school and include many full days when school is not in session such as planning days, Thanksgiving break, Winter break, Spring break and Summer. Middle school programs operate after school when school is in session.

Who is the contact for the program at my school if I have any questions or concerns?
Each program is assigned an Enrichment Specialist who is responsible for assuring quality, problem solving issues with parents, students, staff and school administration. Most administrators have already met or know their Enrichments Specialist however, they will make contact prior to the start of school and provide their contact information. For issues that must be elevated contact Dorcia Bartenope, Program Manager, Sandra Jay Manager, or Mary Grey, Director at x42298.

Special Education

Will the district be completing Child Find and evaluation when school reopens?

Pasco County Schools will continue to identify, locate, and evaluate students suspected of having a disability and needing special education and related services. At the same time, we will be mindful that students have been displaced from their typical learning environment when initiating the referral process. Some evaluation procedures can be completed in remote learning situations. Some evaluations require in-person contact with students or observations of students in school settings. Pasco County Schools is conducting evaluations remotely and in-person while adhering to public health guidelines for the safety of students and staff.

How will Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings take place in the Fall?

Pasco County Schools is committed to providing families an opportunity to have meaningful participation in the special education process. Whether in-person or an alternative format, such as videoconferencing or by phone, IEP teams will partner with families to determine the most practical format to conduct IEP meetings.

Will students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 Plans receive accommodations in mySchool Online?

All students attending mySchool Online will have access to many accommodations that naturally occur in the virtual setting. In addition, mySchool Online may be able to provide additional accommodations per a student’s IEP or Section 504 Plan if the accommodation(s) is/are applicable to the online educational environment. Please note that some accommodations may not be possible to implement in the online educational setting.

Will my student receive their gifted services in traditional and mySchool Online?

Gifted services will be offered through the Traditional, mySchool Online, and Virtual settings. The service model offered in the Traditional setting at the school your student attends will be mirrored in mySchool Online.

Submit a Question

If you have read the summaries and reviewed the Frequently Asked Questions, and you still have a question, submit your question here. That will send an email to the people who can provide a prompt response.