Posted on July 13th, 2020 in Coronavirus, Featured, News

Perry Township Schools will reopen in-person on Wednesday, August 5, 2020. Please review these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), which will be updated regularly,  to provide more in-depth information. 

Note: Each school will communicate more information regarding individual building plans.

Instructional Questions

Q: Will there be an online option available? 

A: Yes, we recognize that not all families will be ready to send their children back to school so we plan to have a more limited curriculum available online.

Q: Will the online experience be similar to what we did from March to May 2020? 

A: Our remote learning will provide instruction to our students daily as compared to the spring which was three times per week. 

Q: What will the K-5 online experience be? 

A: Depending on the number of students who choose this option, we anticipate assigning one teacher/grade level to provide the online curriculum. The curriculum in grades K-5 will be limited to mathematics, reading and language arts. There will be resources available for the areas of Science and Social Studies available. Our teachers will provide video or real time teaching of the new learning daily. On line assignments and assessments will be graded as they would be in the physical environment. Daily attendance will also be taken.

Q: What about grades 6-8? 

A: Since these students have one-to-one devices, they will be participating in classes from home via Zoom or a similar application. Eighth grade students taking high school courses will participate in these courses through their 8th grade remote classrooms. Once the demand is known, a specific schedule will be developed with the times of the school day that a student needs to be online.

Q: What about the high school remote experience? 

A: High school students will be provided remote learning assignments daily. High schools will provide additional information about specific curriculum expectations.

Q: If someone commits to e-Learning or in-person to start the year, will they be allowed to move later to the alternate option?

A: We will be flexible as the school year begins to allow families to determine which option works best for their children. We certainly acknowledge that there will be differences between the remote learning curriculum and the more robust in-person curriculum, but we will assist students to adjust.

If you choose the remote learning option, it will be important to not bounce back and forth between the two formats. Please contact your child’s principal if you want or need to change formats.

Q: What about sharing of supplies? 

A: Obviously, we cannot completely eliminate sharing of supplies (ex: art class). We will sanitize supplies before each class but it will be imperative for students to wash or sanitize their hands before and after using shared supplies.

Q: How will classrooms be set up differently to reduce possible spread? 

A: Excess furniture and equipment is being removed from all classrooms to provide the maximum opportunity to spread out. Social distance will not be possible in every classroom activity. When possible, student desks will be placed in rows, facing the same directions, and provided as much space as possible. The Marion County Health Department has indicated when classrooms are set this way, teachers may allow students who are working quietly to remove their masks for short periods of time.

Q: What about the rooms with tables instead of desks or times when the teacher works with small groups?

A: If rooms are equipped with tables, we will make every attempt to socially distance students within the room. When working in small groups, masks will be required. The Marion County Health Department has indicated students will need a break from masks and it is our goal to provide opportunities for a break from wearing masks throughout each day.

Q: What about passing periods? 

A: The best advice we have been given is to have students wear masks during passing periods and to keep them moving. We are considering staggering movement and modifying schedules to the extent that we can.

Q: What about band, choir, orchestra? 

A: We will spread students out to the maximum extent possible, attempt to have them facing in one direction and use other spaces (auditorium, large group instruction, outside) to spread out when possible.

Q: Will our substitute teachers follow the same guidelines? 

A: Yes, substitute teachers will be held to the same expectations.

Q: Will paper packets be offered to students? 

A: For our preschool through 5th grade, if we do not have computers available at this time, paper packets will be available to support learning until those devices are distributed. For all elementary, classroom books will be distributed for use for in person or remote learning support.

Q: If a teacher is out with symptoms, will a sub be used for 14 days? 

A: It is possible that a sub may be used to manage the classroom but the teacher may be able to teach remotely. This will be dependent upon the individual situation.

Q: What about students who receive special education services? 

A: Students who participate in online learning and receive special education services will continue receiving their services virtually. A special education teacher will be assigned to collaborate with general education teachers to ensure that all accommodations and services are delivered. This may be a different special education teacher than who typically supports your child. A conference will be held to determine all services with input from both school personnel and parents.

Students receiving 504 accommodations will continue to have their accommodations if they apply to virtual learning. Some 504 plans may need adjusted for online learning.


Health & Safety Questions

Q: Do students/staff have to wear masks? 

A: Yes. All employees and students will be required to bring a mask and wear it in designated areas and in certain circumstances when social distancing may not be possible. (i.e. hallways, bus, cafeteria serving lines).  Students that cannot manually put a mask on themselves or take them off will not be required to wear a mask, as would any students or staff with health conditions that would be compromised by wearing a mask.

The few situations when masks are not required will be at the direction of the classroom teacher for instructional purposes. These will be limited to times when students are spread out in the classroom and facing the same direction. Some examples of classroom situations are:

  • Students are at their desks working independently while facing the same direction – teachers may allow students to remove masks.
  • Teacher is at the front of the room instructing and students are listening while facing the same direction – the teacher may allow students to remove masks.
  • Teacher is teaching a lesson and students are at their desks, but may be asking/answering questions and collaborating with others while participating in a discussion – masks should be worn.
  • Students are working on an activity with a partner or in a small group – masks should be worn.

The Department of Health has acknowledged that students will need a break from wearing masks throughout the day and the best time for that to happen is when in classrooms facing the same direction. 

We will use signs to reinforce the expectation that masks are required in most locations of the school where social distance is not possible (busses, hallways, small group areas in classrooms, etc.).

Parents play an important role in preparing their students to wear masks at school. Begin having your child wear a mask now to get them used to it and model wearing a mask appropriately for your child when out in public. The Indiana Department of Education recently released Back-to-School Face Covering Guidance for Families. Click here to view.

Q: What if my child has sensory issues, medical issues, or is claustrophobic? 

A: We will work with our families and employees to find ways to comply with this important protective measure while being sensitive to individual issues. Medical documentation must be provided when a student or staff cannot wear a mask for medical reasons

Q: Is there a certain type of mask required? 

A: Any cloth face covering will be acceptable.

Q: What can we do to keep schools open and keep children/staff safe? 

A: The number 1 way to keep schools open is to keep children home if they are sick. Please screen your children daily and do not send them to school if they are ill. Wearing a mask and washing your hands are important ways to stop the spread and keep everyone safe.

Q: What are typical COVID-19 related symptoms?

A:  Please report the following symptoms to you primary health care provider:

  • Fever of 100° or greater
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Runny nose or congestion

Emphasize handwashing at home and at school. Students will wash hands anytime they are transitioning but especially before and after lunch/recess. Additional hand sanitizing stations are being added in key locations throughout all schools.

Q: If a student arrives at school and is ill, what will happen? 

A: The student will be immediately referred to the school nurse and likely sent home.

Q: When can an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 return to school? 

A: Students or staff who have not had symptoms but test positive for COVID-19 may return when they have gone 10 calendar days past their test without symptoms and have been preferably released by a healthcare provider. Students may also return if they are approved to do so in writing by the student’s health care provider.

Persons who experienced symptoms and have been tested for COVID-19 may return to school if the following conditions are met:

  • The individual no longer has a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers); and
  • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have
  • improved); and
  • At least 10 calendar days have passed since symptoms first appeared; or
  • The individual has received two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Q: How will clinics be handled? 

A: At the recommendation of health care professionals, we will separate space in our clinics. There will be a separate space (or in some cases a separate room) for routine medicine distribution, sprains, etc. The school nurse will see anyone displaying respiratory symptoms or fever in a separate area.

If your child is suspected of having COVID-19, they will be required to be picked up in one hour. Please identify a plan for alternate pick up and ensure your emergency contacts are updated with your child’s school in the event you may not be able to be at school within one hour.

In accordance with recommendations from the CDC and Department of Health, we will only be using nebulizers in emergent situations. Please provide a metered dose inhaler for use during normal daily activities if your student has asthma.

We encourage students to bring unscented hand lotion and chapstick at the beginning of the school year to place with their belongings. Dependent on activity in the clinic, students may not be able to enter to get these items.

State mandated vaccinations will continue to be required with a student exclusion date of 9/8/20.

If your child has a chronic condition which may mimic symptoms of COVID-19 (allergies, cough variant asthma, etc.) consider contacting your primary care provider now for documentation regarding the illness and clearance to return to school.

If your child takes daily medications, we encourage you to administer them at home whenever possible.

If the medication is required during the school day, we encourage you to send it with your child’s school supplies if it is not a controlled substance (cough drops, over the counter medications, inhalers, etc). If your student’s medication is a controlled substance (most ADHD medications, diazepam, narcotic medications, etc) and must be given during the school day, you will be required to bring the medication to the school. All medications require the proper form to be filled out (available on the school website) and signed by a legal guardian.

Q: What additional cleaning protocols will be in place? 

A: High touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected regularly throughout the day. More intense cleaning will occur each evening. All classrooms will be supplied with cleaning products. Teachers will be able to spray and wipe desks between class periods or as needed.

Q: What about the cafeteria? 

A: Our students will utilize the cafeteria for lunch as social distancing will allow and we will also utilize classrooms for lunch time as well.

Cafeteria staff will be masked and adjustments will be made to the serving line so students are not touching common surfaces.

Q: How about recess? 

A: Again, individual classes will be assigned a play area (on a rotating basis so all get opportunities) so that we can keep classes together. 

Q: Will volunteers/visitors/guests be allowed at school? 

We will not be able to welcome families to join their children for lunch, nor will we be inviting outside guests. Essential Volunteers that support students academically will be allowed in the building. All will wear a mask when working with children.

Q: What about common water fountains? 

A: Water fountains will be cleaned several times throughout the day. Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles to refill as needed. 

Q: Will my child or staff be temperature screened? 

A: Students and staff are responsible for self-screening for symptoms of COVID each day. The building nurse will be available to screen students and staff who become ill while at school. 

Q: How will Perry Township Schools approach students who refuse to wear masks? 

A: A mask education/training will be provided to all students at the start of the school year. We understand that younger students in particular will need more support and education about wearing masks.We believe educating students and their families about the “why” of wearing masks is critically important. We will approach these situations as learning opportunities to help our students understand why masks are important for the safety of those around them. If students refuse to wear masks, the following steps may be taken:

  • Verbal reminders
  • Education provided by school staff about the importance of wearing masks to promote health/safety (school nurse, classroom teacher, administrator, etc.)
  • Parent notification


Transportation Questions

Q: What about social distance on the bus? 

A: It may not be feasible to social distance on the bus. As a result, the Marion County Health Department recommends and we will require that students, drivers, and aides wear masks while on the bus. Seating charts will be assigned and siblings will be seated together or in as close proximity as possible. Some families may prefer to transport their children instead of using school transportation.

Q: What is transportation doing to keep buses and kids safe?

A: We will require students, drivers, and aides wear masks while on the bus. Seating charts will be assigned and siblings will be seated together or near each other. Also, buses will be disinfected after routes.

Q: Why aren’t you social distancing on buses when schools are doing it in the buildings?

A: It may not be feasible to socially distance on the bus. As a result, the Marion County Health Department requires students, drivers, and aides wear masks while on the bus. Seating charts will be assigned and siblings will be seated together or in as close proximity as possible. We recognize some students may need to take a brief “mask break” during the route. Some families may prefer to transport their children instead of using school transportation.

Q: What precautions are your drivers taking?

A: Seating charts will be used on the bus. In the event of a positive COVID case, we need to be able to identify who was seated near the affected student. Siblings will sit together on the bus. Buses will be disinfected after routes. Masks will also be required.

Q: Other districts are out why isn’t ours?

A: We are following the guidance of the Marion County Health Department, which says it’s safe at this time for us to move forward with in-person classes. If their data changes, and they feel it has become unsafe, we will follow their instructions. 

Q: What if someone tests positive?  What if a kid on a bus?  What if it’s a driver?

A: We will work closely with the Marion County Health Department, so those who have been exposed can be contacted. At that time, those who might’ve been in contact with the positive person will be directed on what to do next in terms of testing or quarantining. That’s why our seating charts are so important. It lets us know who was in the immediate area of the positive person.

Q: What other precautions will be taken on the bus? 

A: Seating charts will be used on the bus (and in the cafeteria and in class). Should there be a positive case, we need to be able to identify who was seated near the affected student. Siblings will sit together on the bus. Busses will be cleaned between routes and at the end of the day.

Questions About Positive Cases

Q: What happens if there is a positive case in my child’s school? 

A: If a student/staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in your child’s school, we will immediately notify the Marion County Health Department. In some cases, the Health Department will notify us first. All families in that school will be notified of a positive case. If your child was in close proximity to the individual who tested positive, the Marion County Health Department will notify you recommending you check your child’s temperature daily and watch for symptoms over the next two to five days. The individual who tests positive will be quarantined for 14 days before returning to school.

The school will close off and deep clean affected areas.

Q: What happens if there is a positive case in my child’s classroom? 

A: If a student/staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in your child’s classroom, we will immediately notify the Marion County Health Department.

In some cases, the Health Department will notify us first. All families from that classroom will be notified of a positive case. If your child was in close proximity to the individual who tested positive (highly likely if in the same classroom), the Marion County Health Department will contact you if they believe you should quarantine your child for 14 days and watch for symptoms. The school will contact you about how learning will continue during the 14-day quarantine. The individual who tests positive will be quarantined for 14 days before returning to school.

The school will close off and deep clean affected areas.

Q: What happens if there are multiple confirmed cases in a school? 

A: The Marion County Health Department will provide guidance on next steps in regards to positive cases within a school. The Marion County Health Department will notify families of any children who were in close proximity to the affected individual.

Q: What if a family member of student/staff has COVID-19? 

A: We know that a family member is more likely to get COVID-19 if another family member has it. If an individual in one’s home has COVID-19 or is isolated because of COVID-19, those in the household should also stay home for a minimum of two weeks.

This could be longer if the student becomes symptomatic. The Marion County Health Department will provide guidance.


Other Questions

Q: When can I drop my child off in the morning? 

A: Each school will put out a time schedule of when your student may be dropped off. This schedule may vary from previous school years as we need to limit gatherings of students in entryways.

Q: My child is transitioning to a new school, how can we help him/her adjust?

A: Our schools will provide virtual open houses and there may be in person opportunities for our families as well. If you or your child is anxious about coming to school, please contact the building principal and he/she would be happy to talk with you on how we might make any adjustment more positive.

Q: When will athletics be allowed to start? 

A: Separate guidance will be sent out regarding athletics.

Q: Can my child participate in athletics/extra-curricular activities while doing remote learning? 

A: Athletics and extracurricular activities are now open to students who are receiving remote learning.

Q: Where can I get more information about COVID-19 and schools? 

A: The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) has published IN-CLASS (Indiana’s Considerations for Learning and Safe Schools). It is constantly being updated and can be accessed here.  (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1T1nQj3BrQRtT5QXVcVLGel14bOd5dSClWRggPuPE5dg/edit)

Q: Are there going to be any special policies in place if you travel outside the state for a vacation? 

A: It is not possible to answer this question accurately until we see where hotspots continue to be but at this time we do not plan to monitor the travel of our families.

Q: What if a student is signing up for Central Nine? Will they still be able to do this if they select remote learning? 

A: C9 is only offering in-person classes. More communication to come.

Q: Will the YMCA continue to offer Before and After School Care at the K-6 level? 

A: Yes – however, there will be fewer spots available to start the school year as the YMCA implements new procedures. We have worked closely with the YMCA to ensure their protocols are consistent with what is occurring during the school day. More information about the YMCA program, steps to register your child, and the YMCA’s new protocols can be found here  (https://indymca.org/youth-development-center/before-afterschool/)