FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: UPDATED 7.30.20
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Where may I locate the District’s approved Health and Safety Plan?
The CRSD Health and Safety Plan, which was approved by the CR Board of School Directors on July 23, 2020, is currently posted to the CR website and can be easily accessed by clicking HERE.
What type of cleaning will occur on Wednesdays when buildings are empty?
All facilities will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with Virex II-256 in the absence of staff and students on Wednesdays.
How will desks be sanitized and cleaned at the middle and high school levels in between classes?
The teachers will spray the desks with a Viking Pure disinfectant product (safe for students) and provide each student with a multifold paper towel to wipe their respective desks.
How will the District clean buildings, rooms, and surfaces to ensure a safe learning environment?
The District will implement enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols to help keep students, staff, and families safe while COVID-19 remains with us. Our custodial staff will significantly increase the wiping down and disinfecting of public spaces and high-touch surfaces throughout the school day. We will also provide greater access to cleaning materials for our teachers and staff so that they may clean and disinfect spaces, as needed.
How will classrooms without windows be ventilated?
All classrooms are mechanically ventilated. Classrooms without windows do not have the added advantage of opening windows for additional outside air when weather conditions are appropriate. Efforts will be made to increase the outside air intake in all spaces via the automated building system controls on days that weather conditions permit (humidity and outside air temperatures must be taken into consideration).
What is the maximum/minimum number of students in a given classroom? This will largely depend on our enrollment registration process, keeping in mind that social distancing measures will apply as outlined in the CRSD Health and Safety Plan.
How will the District enforce social distancing for students and staff?
Staff will be distanced from students by six feet where feasible. Students will likewise be distanced six feet where feasible.
- Students will be assigned seating in the classrooms, cafeteria, and on busses
- All desks will face the instructor
- Classroom furniture will primarily consist of student desks and a teacher desk.
- Alternate instructional spaces may be utilized when the class size exceeds the maximum number of desks.
How will the District limit crowding in school buildings and ensure social distancing in common spaces?
At both the elementary and secondary levels, one-way traffic patterns will be enforced within the hallways and stairwells to limit contact. Additionally, schools will be outfitted with floor decals that promote social distancing standards. Students will be encouraged not to congregate in clustered groups. Also, schools will use additional entry and exit points for school arrival and dismissal to reduce doorway crowding.
What is the policy/procedure regarding face coverings for staff and students?
All staff and students will be required to wear a face-covering throughout the school day and on school vehicles per the Governor’s July 1, 2020 order. Individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition will be excluded from this requirement. A doctor’s exemption is required. The form for requesting an exemption may be obtained from the principal’s office or on the CR website. More detailed information can be found in the CRSD Health and Safety Plan.
Will students be able to wear face shields instead of a mask?
Yes. The state order on face coverings allows for masks or face shields, and accordingly, the District will permit either or both.
Will students be required to wear a face-covering once they are seated in the classroom?
Students will be required to wear a face-covering while seated when there is any type of physical movement occurring in the classroom. Students will be permitted to take mask breaks at the direction of the teacher when the entire class is completing in-place independent work. Regularly-scheduled mask breaks will occur throughout the day at the direction of the teacher.
Will playground equipment be open for use?
Playground equipment at elementary schools will remain open during the green phase. If the County enters the yellow phase, playgrounds will once again be closed and posted. All playground equipment will be disinfected daily with Virex II-256.
How will buses be cleaned and disinfected?
School buses will be cleaned and disinfected when the buses return to the bus depot after all morning runs are completed and again after all afternoon runs are completed, in accordance with the District’s Health & Safety Plan.
How will school lunches and snacks be handled?
- Regular lunch/snack schedules will be followed.
- During lunch and snack, students will be at a minimum of 6’ apart, allowing for removal of face coverings.
- Elementary students will eat lunch in their classroom and cafeteria (determined by 6’ distancing).
- Secondary students will eat lunch in the cafeteria and designated areas across the building to allow for the 6’ of social distancing (e.g. auditorium, auxiliary gymnasium).
- Chartwells will be providing pre-packaged meals only in lieu of traditional lunch service.
Will student materials be brought home from school?
The District will encourage teachers to reduce the number of materials transitioning between home and school. Students will bring their District-issued devices home nightly.
Will students be able to bring backpacks and utilize lockers or cubbies at their respective levels?
The physical layout of school lockers and cubbies do not allow for social distancing. As such, lockers, including gym lockers and cubbies, will not be used. Students are encouraged to bring backpacks to school in order to carry books and personal belongings.
Will students have access to water fountains?
Water fountains will not be in use for students and staff. Students will have access to water bottle filling stations, where available. We recommend students bring a water bottle to school daily.
Has a decision been made about the playing of sports?
Not as of July 30, 2020. The District is staying in contact with league and state athletic officials, watching the decisions being made at the collegiate and professional levels, and noting the impact of the virus on professional sports teams now that their seasons have begun or are about to begin.
Will the District allow indoor use of facilities?
The District will prohibit the use of indoor facilities by outside groups until further notice.
Will the District restrict visitors from entering the school?
Yes. Only essential visitors will be allowed in the school building. All essential visitors will be required to follow the same safety guidelines as all other school personnel. Parents may access the Main Office to drop off an item but will not be permitted to move beyond that area.
How will student and staff health be monitored?
Staff and parents will be given guidelines about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. It is expected that staff and parents will self-monitor prior to arrival at school based on the best practices provided by the Bucks County Department of Health, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the CDC. The self-screening protocol will be provided as we get closer to the return of students so as to reflect the most current information available.
What procedure will be in place for students or staff who exhibit COVID-19 signs or symptoms?
Students or staff who exhibit signs or symptoms during the school day will report to the health office to be assessed by the school nurse. If the situation warrants, the nurse will isolate the patient and contact a parent/guardian to arrange for transportation off-site. The nurse will clean and sanitize the area between each student/staff member.
What conditions will staff or student confirmed to have COVID-19 need to meet to return safely to school?
Clearance from the Bucks County Department of Health will be required for returning to school after a confirmed case of COVID-19, a required quarantine, or direct exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual. The student will need to report directly to the health office upon returning to school to be evaluated by the school nurse. Staff and students may return after 10 days out of school/work and being fever-free for 24 hours if they have COVID-19 like symptoms but no positive test or history of direct exposure.
How will the district ensure students are washing/sanitizing their hands regularly?
Students will be provided with opportunities to wash or sanitize hands before/after lunch, before/after recess, and before/after other transitional times. Signage promoting proper hygiene will be visible in locations such as classrooms, restrooms, and hallways. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed in all classrooms. The district will ensure hand sanitizer and soap dispensers are full daily and disinfected multiple times daily.
How will social distancing be managed on buses?
Standard buses will allow for two students per seat, with students required to wear a mask or face shield. Family members will be requested to sit in the same seat. Seats will be assigned for contact tracing purposes, and buses will be loaded from back to front to avoid students passing each other while seating. Drivers and bus monitors will also be required to wear a face-covering when on the vehicle. Whenever possible, windows will be opened to increase ventilation. Social distancing on buses and vans providing transportation for special education students will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Once schools reopen, what will the decision-making process look like for school closure or other significant change?
The decision-making process will be based on guidelines and recommendations set forth from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Bucks County Department of Health, and the CDC.
Will the district close schools if a certain number of students or staff report illnesses?
The district is preparing for situations in which a school or schools need to close due to a significant number of students or staff testing positive for COVID-19 or reporting other illnesses. We are also planning for the need to close buildings if there is a considerable increase in COVID-19 cases in our state or region.
If a child tests positive, will the siblings be required to quarantine, or will they be allowed to come back to school?
Staff or students who have been exposed to any individual who is COVID-19 positive or been ordered to quarantine for COVID-19 symptoms must seek medical advice from their doctor for direction. Documentation of clearance to return to school must be provided by the doctor.
Will students and staff who vacation or travel to states listed on the commonwealth’s quarantine list be required to quarantine when they return to Pennsylvania? Such individuals must notify the school. Additional cleaning will occur in the individual’s area, and the individual will be required to eat away from others. Other restrictions can be found in the Health and Safety Plan.
What are the district’s plans for transitioning back to remote learning if schools need to be closed again in the future?
If extended school closures become necessary during the school year, the District will be ready to quickly transition to remote learning. While we recognize that the transition last spring was not perfect, we learned a great deal about how to improve the process in the future. Our administrators, teachers, and staff continue to make great progress in planning for this scenario.
What are the learning options for the 2020-2021 school year?
Families will have two learning options: Hybrid and at-home learning.
In the hybrid option, students will attend school in person two days a week and online the remaining three days of the week. In general students with last names beginning A to Ld will attend school on Mondays and Tuesdays, and students with last names beginning Le to Z will attend school on Thursdays and Fridays. When students join some of their classmates from home, they will do so through interactive livestreaming. They will use a secure link to join each of their classes following the daily schedule. On Wednesdays, all students will attend school virtually and will not be using interactive livestreaming.
In the at-home option, students will use interactive livestreaming to join their classmates on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. They will follow the same schedule as their peers in the classroom and join each class through a secure link. On Wednesdays, they will attend school virtually and will not be using interactive livestreaming.
In both options, students will join their peers via interactive livestreaming. Interactive livestreaming allows us to bring the classroom directly to each student’s home and use Council Rock teachers to teach our Council Rock curriculum. It brings the students at home together with their teacher and classmates attending school in person. While this experience cannot completely replicate the classroom experience, it gets us closest to replicating classroom learning for all students.
Why is Council Rock delaying the start of the school year?
The decision to delay the start of the school year was made with many factors in mind. Primarily, a delayed start allows us to:
- Avoid wearing face coverings during what are traditionally the hottest days of the school year
- Know if a Governor enforced school closure is forthcoming
- Lessen the chances of unnecessarily purchasing PPE and mitigation supplies
- Gain experience with our new virtual learning expectations
- Begin to understand COVID-19 impact on our area by observing other areas of the state and country who have reopened
What will an in-person school day schedule look like?
Our goal is to resume a mostly normal school day schedule with enhanced cleaning protocols, physical distancing among students, adjustments to how students enter and exit buildings, and changes to transitions between classrooms throughout the day.
Will those opting for the 100% at-home program be educated by staff from their home school
Yes, students who partake in the at-home learning program will be taught by teachers from their home school.
Will the 100% at-home curriculum follow the hybrid classroom curriculum?
Yes, the curriculum will mirror that of hybrid learning.
How will the hybrid model operate?
Students will attend school in two groups. One group will attend Monday and Tuesday, and the second group will attend Thursday and Friday. All in-class direct instruction will be livestreamed so students who are home can watch and participate in the lesson. All students will be online on Wednesday, receiving virtual instruction.
Will interactive livestreaming be a continuous feed, or will there be times when the camera is turned off?
There will be times during a class where independent practice and the like are occurring, and so those times will present an opportunity for the streaming to be stopped. Streaming obviously will also not occur during lunch and recess.
Will virtual classes be recorded so that students can complete them at alternate times then when their corresponding in-person class meets?
Interactive livestreaming and other synchronous class sessions will not be recorded for students to attend at a later time. However, teachers may record lessons for students to view asynchronously as part of instruction.
Will parents be able to choose between Mon/Tues or Thurs/Fri for their child’s hybrid learning schedule?
District administrators are still working out the details of which students will attend on which days in the hybrid model. As soon as a decision is made as to how students are grouped for hybrid scheduling purposes, it will be communicated with families.
Will families who select the hybrid model and have multiple children be able to have their children attend school on the same days?
Yes. Siblings will be kept together on the same schedule when attending the hybrid program.
Is it possible for students to be organized by friend groups?
Unfortunately, the District cannot make any guarantees regarding friend groups as our ability to ensure this would be nearly impossible. Moreover, our first priority will be to ensure maximum social distancing from one classroom to the next, with a second priority to keep family members intact.
Will online instruction look the same as last spring?
No. When our school environment abruptly changed in March 2020, we provided continuity of education for students. The virtual instruction for students this year will be more rigorous and meet the high standards of education we value and expect in Council Rock. The virtual program includes more structure and consistency for students and families, as well as more accountability for students.
Learning Management System
Google Classroom K-6
Daily Synchronous Instruction
Variable amount of time
Elementary 2-3 hours daily synchronous
Middle and high school 2.5-3 hours daily synchronous
Once each day
Attendance taken in each class
Grading/Reporting of Progress
No progress reporting in 3rd and 4th quarter in K-8
Pass/Fail in 9-12
Follow regular quarterly grading and reporting of progress
Posting of Assignments
Weekly overview and daily posting located in different places
Consistent location in Google Classroom and Canva
In the 100% virtual environment, students will follow a daily schedule very similar to the regular school day schedule. They will see each of their teachers daily for synchronous instruction.
Within the hybrid program, is there any time in which children will have one-on-one time with a teacher or a paraeducator when learning virtually?
Yes, students will have an opportunity to work individually with their teacher(s) or instructional support staff. This support may occur during the regular class period as the rest of the class completes practice activities or during Clinic/Intervention time scheduled as part of the school day.
Overall, on virtual days, how many hours will elementary and secondary students be on screens with live instruction?
On average, elementary students will receive synchronous or live instruction between 2 and 3 hours daily. On average, secondary students will receive synchronous instruction between 2.5 to 3 hours daily. This live instruction will be interspersed with independent practice, screen breaks, and movement breaks.
What will the instructional day be like when students are home on Wednesdays?
In the hybrid model, Wednesdays will consist of a full day of virtual learning. No interactive livestreaming will take place on this day; rather, students will participate in each of their classes via Google Classroom (K-6) or Canvas (7-12) as part of our virtual learning model. This will include both synchronous and asynchronous time.
What will the Kindergarten schedule look like this year?
While in the hybrid model, the District will continue to operate a half-day (AM/PM) Kindergarten, model. This means that Kindergarten students whose parents opt for the hybrid model will attend two half days per week, engage in at-home learning two other half days, and on Wednesdays will participate in a half-day of virtual learning.
When can a program choice be changed?
Once families make a choice, they will be expected to stay in that program until the end of the first marking period. Deadlines to change registration decisions are as follows:
- For 2nd MP: October 28, 2020 (MP 2 Begins November 11, 2020)
- For 3rd MP: January 11, 2021 (MP 3 Begins February 1, 2021)
- For 4th MP: March 16, 2021 (MP 4 Begins April 6, 2021)
How will exams and tests be handled virtually?
All exams will be given through the district’s learning management systems, Google Classroom, and Canvas. In some cases based on student grade level, need, or the type of test, students may meet individually with a teacher or specialist to complete an assessment or submit a video or audio performance as an assessment.
Are all students with IEPs eligible for the 4-day in-person learning option?
Students whose programs warrant 4 days of in-person learning based on significant learning needs and programming that cannot typically be offered virtually in a meaningful way will receive an email from the Special Services Department by July 31st. Parents will have the option of opting out of the four days if they so choose.
How will GIEPs be handled?
GIEPs will still be implemented in the hybrid model both in school and in at-home learning. GIEPs will also be implemented virtually for students opting for 100% virtual instruction.
Will elementary students still receive specials?
Yes. Specials will be held as part of the typical daily/weekly schedule. Students will travel from their homeroom to the location of the special while adhering to the one way flow of hallway traffic. Special area classrooms will be disinfected between classes.
Will art, gym, and instrumental music courses be available for students in the hybrid model?
Yes. We anticipate offering our full array of classes, including art, gym, and instrumental music. Classes will look and feel a bit different because of not sharing supplies, and social distancing, but we will still provide our students with these experiences to the maximum extent possible.
Will students be able to attend MBIT in person or virtually in the fall?
Since MBIT receives students from four different districts, there are significant logistics that still need to be worked out at this point. Council Rock is working directly with the Director of MBIT to develop a viable plan for those students who will attend MBIT in the fall.
If a student decides to participate in virtual learning, are they still eligible to play sports?
Yes. We anticipate that students in the virtual program will be able to participate in sports as regular.
Does the District have enough substitutes for the expected absences we may experience?
Staff availability is one of our foremost concerns with any in-person reopening scenario. Lack of staff availability can occur for a number of reasons related to this virus. We know that we’re going to see more absences for students and adults and that our substitute teacher pool will also be diluted. This is a concern that the District is continuing to navigate.
Will there be physical education classes?
Yes, physical education classes will be offered at the start of the 2020-21 school year. All efforts will be made to ensure physical distancing takes place during these classes. Physical education instructors will engage students in no-contact sports and activities while avoiding activities in which students need to be close together.
Will every child receive a device this school year?
Yes. Council Rock is implementing a 1-to-1 initiative that will see 9-12 grade students receiving a Chromebook with touch screen capabilities and K-8 students receiving a traditional Chromebook. Devices will be issued to each student and will be theirs to use for the entire year - whether in-person or at-home. Chromebooks will be returned at the end of the school year. The timing for the initial handout for the 2020-2021 school year will be dependent on the availability of the devices. They have been ordered and are expected to be in sometime mid-October. Students who have a need and request a device for the start of the school year will be issued one as long as one is available to be issued. Chromebooks will be issued at collected at the student's individual school.
If a family plans to drive their children to school in the beginning of the school year, can they change their minds later in the school year and have them ride the bus?
Yes. Parents/guardians will have the opportunity to opt into transportation at the start of a new marking period as long as they indicate as much prior to the deadlines for changing their academic selection.
Will mid-day transportation be available to and from approved daycares in the District?
Yes. Transportation will be provided to the approved daycares (see list of approved daycares by the school at this link) on the days that students are in school. Transportation will not be provided to daycares on days where your student is not scheduled to attend school.
Can residents expect a school tax refund since the schools are not opening until September 29 and not operating at full capacity?
No. The Department of Education requires that school districts educate its students for a minimum of 180 days in a school year, and there is no exception to the mandate at this time. Although the model will look significantly different than the traditional schooling, the financial picture of the District does not materially change. Professional staff will still be teaching five days per week in the virtual environment and will receive their contractual salary and benefits. The same is true for the majority of our support staff members who provide critical services supporting the classroom; support that, we will argue, is imperative during virtual instruction. Salaries and benefits account for 76 percent, or almost $188 million, of the total District expenditures. It is true that there will be some operational savings because of the virtual start, but these savings are more than likely going to be offset by the costs associated with personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional equipment to facilitate this year’s virtual instruction. At last estimate, those costs will be approximately $3.6 million. For context, the District budgeted to spend $1.7 million for utilities for all buildings for the entire year. So, even if the buildings were completely shut down for the entire year (which is not practical), the District will still need to come up with an additional $1.9 million to cover the additional PPE. State and federal funding for reopening costs has also been insufficient to date, totaling only $1.1 million. Furthermore, the above cost estimate does not include additional expenses incurred by the District if families elect to enroll their students in charter schools. The District must pay either $14,886 per regular education student or $43,037 per special education student to attend the charter school, and the costs of this mandate could become very significant if families choose this option. (And because there is no state reimbursement for this mandate, the costs are borne by the local community). More information on the District’s financial outlook and how the coronavirus has impacted the District’s finances can be found by viewing the April 16 and May 7 Finance Committee meetings, and the June 3 Budget Forum.