After a spring unlike any before, we are preparing to re-open school this fall. Part of our responsibility as educators, administrators, and parents is to do all that we can to help our children during this difficult time. It will take all of us working together to make this a successful school year. Hopefully the following re-entry questions and answers will be helpful. If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact the elementary, high school, or central office.
Barry DeHart Superintendent
Piggott School District 2020-2021 Re-Entry Plan
Piggott Public Schools 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 to answer many of the questions you may have about reopening schools.
Our goal is 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.
What is the first day for students? School will begin on August 24, 2020. This date will only change if ADH sends updated guidance with this requirement but this is not anticipated.
Who will be required to wear face coverings? Currently, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is recommending all individuals 10 years old and over wear a face covering when social distancing is not possible. Students in 4th grade - 12th grade and all Piggott School District staff will be required to wear a mask when mobile in the buildings. For example, when entering and exiting the building, transitioning between classrooms, visiting the restroom, in the cafeteria while collecting food, paying, returning their tray, and all other times when social distancing is not possible. Students will be required to wear a mask in class unless social distancing can be maintained.
Do we need to provide masks for our student or will one be provided? The district will provide one cloth mask for every student. If a student forgets their mask, they will be provided a disposable mask for the day.
Will bus transportation be provided? Yes, the district will provide bus transportation for all students. Since social distancing will not be possible, face coverings will be required on the bus for all students while riding the bus. We are planning no changes to bus schedules or bus stops at this time.
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. At this time, students will not remain in the same classroom all day but will be able to transition from one class to another. Given the fluid nature of circumstances, this may change.
Will students at the elementary still have special classes like PE, art, music, group guidance, and library? Yes, students will continue to participate in special 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. In other 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 with restrictions that limit the number of students they come in contact with. Additionally, playground equipment will be sanitized between groups of students.
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 can not be maintained such as class exchange time, etc., students will be expected to wear face coverings. We are currently redesigning classrooms and cafeteria spaces to increase the space between students but can not 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 a single direction. It might result in reading areas with bean bags, couches, or chairs being removed. It might include dividers between students who are seated at a table. 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 have some type of alternative schedule? We plan for students to attend school daily following a very similar schedule to the traditional school day.
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 school to provide time for additional cleaning and sanitation.
Will students and adults be screened daily? We ask that all students and staff self-screen by answering the following Arkansas Department of Health screening questions each day prior to reporting to school or bus:
Any person entering the building may be required to have their temperature checked by school personnel.
If I don’t want my student to return to a traditional classroom, what are my options? The district has developed our own POE (Piggott Online Education) program that will include students in grades K-12. Students enrolled in POE will be taught by the same grade level Piggott certified teacher and will receive the same content as the on-site students. They will also be permitted to participate in on-campus activities. There will be some requirements to meet on-site for testing and screenings, but most of the content and meetings will be delivered virtually via online platforms, such as Google Classroom. Parents will be asked to sign up for the POE program by July 31, 2020. Students may opt into the POE program at any time. However, they will not be permitted to opt out of the POE and back to the traditional classroom until the current 9 weeks has concluded.
Is there a cost associated with the POE program? No, there is no cost associated with the POE program. Piggott Public Schools will provide each student with online resources and a licensed Piggott teacher who will deliver instruction equal to students who are learning on-site. Families who opt to participate must have internet and wifi access available. The district will be able to provide a device to families that have internet and wifi access but no device is available in the home for students to use.
Will we have an open house? We are currently designing a modified version of our open houses and will be sending more information soon. We will provide an on-campus orientation day for new students entering the building.
Will students be able to participate in extracurricular activities and sports in the fall? Yes, our athletes have begun practicing for fall sports with modifications. We anticipate sports activities in the fall with possible modifications as required by ADH.
Will visitors be allowed in the building? Persons allowed to enter the building will be district staff, students, or professionals providing necessary services to students (mental health services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc.) Parents picking up students may go no further that the front foyer. No visitors will be allowed at lunch.
Will my student eat lunch in their classroom? Lunch schedules may need to be adjusted to accommodate social distancing in the cafeteria. At this time, we are planning for all students to eat in the cafeteria with modifications. 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.
Will students have access to the water fountains? Each building has access to at least one touchless water bottle filling station. We encourage students to bring a water bottle from home to have access to the filling station.
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 be adding additional staff to clean high touch surfaces (door knobs, light switches, etc.) and restrooms on a continuous basis throughout the day. 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 their temperature. If the temperature is over the ADH guidance, the student will be sent home and will need to 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.
How will you help fill any gaps my student has from the previous school year? Curriculum teams have worked to revise the curriculum so that missed essential standards will be addressed when students return. Additionally, 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. After school tutoring will also be provided.
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 students using Google Classroom with recorded lessons from their teacher. Students will learn how to use these Learning Management Systems by participating in lessons throughout the week while at school. Blended learning that includes 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? School arrival and dismissal times will be the same as last school year. High school students in grades 7-12 will report to their first hour class unless they are eating breakfast.
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 either receive instruction via a recorded video or live instruction via zoom.