July 21 Frequently Asked Questions
The ROAR Plan was shared with parents and our community on July 7. Since then, a number of questions have been asked about our Return to School Planning.
This is the first in a series of responses to the questions that we have received. Answers are scheduled to be sent to parents on July 21 and July 28. The answers may undoubtedly create more questions which we will continue to answer.
Additionally, these answers may change as we continue to review our back-to-school plan.
We are eager to have our students return to school, however we understand our responsibility to create a safe environment for both students and staff. We are committed to providing that safe environment and will work with our staff and parents to find solutions that work for all of us and provide a high quality educational experience for our students.
- General Health and Safety Concerns
- Return to School: In-Person or Virtual Choice
- Protocol for COVID Positive Cases
- General Questions
- In-Person Questions
- Virtual Questions
- Hybrid Classrooms
1. What health guidance has the district received to advise the district on return to school plans?
a. Oakland County Superintendents have worked with the Oakland County Health Department on return to school plans.
b. The Oakland County Health Department provided Return to School Guidance and Recommendations.
2. Will there be daily health screenings for staff and students?
a. Staff will be required to provide a health screen every day, including a temperature check.
b. At this time we are planning to have parents submit a daily health screening for their children, including a temperature check.
c. Parents and staff will have the option of using an online or a paper screen each day.
3. What specific chemical will be used to disinfect surfaces?
a. Oxivir TB made by Diversy. EPA# EPA 70627-56.
b. This is on the FDA approved list of disinfectants against COVID-19.
4. Does the district have hand sanitizer for every classroom, restroom, hallway, bus?
a. Yes. The district has purchased hand sanitizer that will be available throughout the building in strategic locations – classrooms, buses, hallways, restrooms.
5. How often will hard surfaces be cleaned?
a. Desks and tables that are used during class will be disinfected one time per class change per the Governor’s order.
6. What additional steps are being taken regarding ventilation?
a. We will increase the outside air brought into the building on a regular basis.
b. Outdoor air damper minimum intake will be increased from 15% to 25%.
c. We will ensure that filters are clean and up-to-date.
1. Can parents decide which option to choose for the fall?
b. How will this be done?
i. The district is starting with the position that everyone will be coming back to school in-person.
ii. If a family wants to go virtual there will be a form to complete that will be available on August 3. The link to the form will be sent via School Messenger and will be posted on the district website. Those who choose the virtual option will be asked to complete the form.
iii. For staffing purposes we need to know everyone’s choice by August 9.
- Staff or Student Exhibits COVID-19 Symptoms
- Staff or Student Tests Positive for COVID-19
- Staff/Student Has Close Contact with Individual Who Has Tested Positive for COVID-19
a. Staff or Student Exhibits COVID-19 Symptoms
i. If a staff or student exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, the staff or student must remain at home until he or she is symptom and fever (100.4 or higher) free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).
ii. NCSD will similarly require a student who reports to a building with symptoms be:
1. Isolated in a designated area, and wearing a face mask, away from all other students and staff members.
2. The parent/guardian will come immediately to pick up their student from school.
3. The student will not be allowed to return until he or she is symptom and fever (100.4 or higher) free for 24 hours.
iii. NCSD will similarly require any staff who reports to a building with symptoms to:
1. Return home until he or she is symptom and fever (100.4 or higher) free for 24 hours.
a. Staff or Student Tests Positive for COVID-19
i. A staff member or student who tests positive for COVID-19 will be directed to self-quarantine at home for 14 days and must be symptom/fever (100.4 or higher) for 24 hours before returning to school.
1. Any siblings of a student who tests positive will also be directed to self-quarantine at home.
2. If a sibling of a student tests positive for COVID-19 he/she will be directed to self-quarantine at home.
3. If the parent or any other person living in the household of a student tests positive for COVID-19, the student and any siblings will be directed to self-quarantine at home.
ii. When staff or student is symptom free, they may return to school after 14 days have passed since the date of his/her first positive test and he/she have not had subsequent illness. Staff members or students who test positive and are directed to seek care for themselves at home may return to school when:
1. 14 full days have passed; and
2. Symptom/fever (100.4 or higher) free for a full 24 hours; and
3. NCSD will require a staff member or student to provide documentation clearing his/her return to school.
iii. If NCSD learns that a staff member or student has tested positive, NCSD will report the case to the Oakland County Health Department who may conduct an investigation to determine who may have had close contact with the confirmed positive employee or student in the prior 10 days and direct those individuals who may have had close contact with the confirmed positive case to self-quarantine for 14 days from the last date of close contact with that staff member or student.
i. Staff Members or students who have come into close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be directed to self-quarantine at home for 14 days from the last date of close contact with that individual.
1. Direct close contact is defined as less than six (6) feet and face to face for a prolonged period of time (15 minutes or longer).
ii. If NCSD learns that a staff member or student has tested positive, NCSD will report the case to the Oakland County Health Department who may conduct an investigation to determine who may have had close contact with the confirmed positive employee or student in the prior 14 days and direct those individuals who may have had close contact with the confirmed positive case to self-quarantine for 14 days from the last date of close contact with that staff member or student.
iii. If applicable, NCSD will also notify any staff members, families of students, or visitors who may have had close contact with the confirmed positive staff member or student. If a staff member or student learns that he or she has come into close contact with a confirmed positive individual outside of school, he/she must alert their administrator of the close contact and quarantine for 14 days from the last date of close contact.
1. Except for circumstances in which NCSD is legally required to report classroom and building site occurrences of communicable disease, the confidentiality of all medical conditions will be maintained in accordance with applicable law and to the extent practical under the circumstances. When it is required, the number of persons who will be informed that an unnamed staff member or student has tested positive will be kept to the minimum needed to comply with reporting requirements and to limit the potential for transmission to others.
2. NCSD reserves the right to conduct contact tracing in order to inform the staff members, families of students, or visitors that an unnamed person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 if the staff members or students might have been exposed to the disease, so the staff member or student may take measures to protect their own health. NCSD also reserves the right to inform staff members, families of students, or visitors that an unnamed person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 if they might have been exposed to the disease, so those individuals may take measures to protect their own health.
1. With all of the possible restrictions/recommendations is it even worth it to have in-person or face-to-face instruction?
a. There are several groups that advocate for in-person, face-to-face instruction. Groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AASA – The School Superintendents Association all advocate for a return to school if it can be done safely. See this link. Learning occurs best in a classroom. Students learn social emotional skills at school. Students engage with other students and adults.
b. It is worth coming back to school, as long as we can do it safely.
2. Will there still be 3rd grade reading law requirements?
a. Currently that is the expectation unless the Michigan legislature changes that expectation.
3. Will there be standardized testing?
a. A waiver has been submitted to the federal Department of Education asking for a waiver from federal testing requirements. At this time there has been no response to the waiver request.
b. Internally we will continue to use universal screening tools to assess students’ current level of achievement and plan instruction.
c. We will also use formative and summative assessment to guide instruction.
4. Will student be changing classes or will they stay together as a class?
a. At this time here is what we are planning. If plans change we will communicate clearly the change
i. K-6: Students will not be changing classes. They will stay together in their classroom or cohort group.
1. Cohort means that the same group of students will be kept together during the day
2. This is done to ensure that students will not interact with large groups during the day
3. It is also done in order to be able to trace contact if there is a positive case detected
b. 7-12 students will have a traditional schedule with an attempt made to keep groups of students together as much as possible
5. If we start virtual and then change to in-person or vice-versa, how will that work in terms of teacher re-assignments?
a. Virtual teachers and in-person teachers are not the same.
i. When switching between in-person and virtual or virtual and in-person, students will not have the same teacher they had.
6. Can students change from in person to virtual at any time during the year if COVID-19 cases are increasing?
a. At this time we are asking students and parents to make a commitment for a semester/trimester at a time. We are doing this so we can schedule our staff appropriately. If the virus begins to increase significantly we will have to determine if we would or could allow switching before the end of a semester.
b. We will also follow state guidance and requirements.
7. Will sports and extracurricular activities be offered and if so, will they be available to online students?
a. Based on the guidance from the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) and other extracurricular groups we are currently planning on offering athletics and extracurricular activities.
1. In-person: This is traditional school. Students and teachers will meet in classrooms at school.
2. Hybrid: A blend of in-person and virtual.
a. Students come to school for in-person instruction.
i. Typically five times over a ten day period.
1. Three days one week and two days the second week.
b. On the days students are not in school they would learn virtually
c. This requires teachers to attend to both in-person and virtual students each day.
3. Virtual: All instruction is provided online.
a. Students do not meet in-person with teachers.
1. How many students per class?
a. The Governor’s Safe School Road Map strongly recommends that class size should be kept at a level that will allow the necessary spacing requirements.
i. The strongly recommended spacing is that desks will be kept six feet apart.
b. We have no classrooms in our district that could accommodate a traditional number of students and keep desks 6 feet apart.
i. In most classrooms we could create 3-4 feet of space between students if we used the entire classroom space.
c. As a result, we are still examining options for in-person instruction.
d. We will use the available space in the classroom to spread out and social distance as much as possible.
2. `What will in-person classrooms look like?
a. Desks will be moved as far apart as possible.
i. All desks will be facing one direction
b. Students will be assigned a desk.
i. K-6 students will sit in the same desk all day long
ii. 7-12 students will be assigned a desk in each class period
c. Student movement within the classroom will be limited
d. Small group interactions may take place but students will keep an appropriate distance
e. Students will not share supplies
f. Teachers will be able to move throughout the classroom and interact with students one-on-one or in small groups
g. Lunch at this time is planned for the classroom
i. Students will be able to order breakfast and lunch from our Food Service Department
1. Food ordered from the Food Service Department will be delivered to the classroom
ii. Students can also continue to bring their own food for lunch
3. How will recess, specials, arrivals, dismissals take place?
a. Recess: Teachers will be able to take their classroom outside as a class.
i. There will be no interaction with students from another class.
ii. Multiple classes could be on the playground at the same time but classes will have to stay together and not interact with other classes.
b. Arrival: Students will arrive at school and be able to enter through multiple doors.
i. Students who are driven to school by a parent/guardian/sibling will have one entrance.
ii. Students who take the bus will have one entrance.
iii. Upon entering the building students will proceed to their classroom.
c. Dismissal: Plans are still be developed for dismissal.
4. How can early childhood (K-2nd grade) as well as other grades, staff complete assessments with social distancing?
a. Staff will be able to interact with students one-on-one as long as safety protocols are in place.
i. Staff will need to be masked.
ii. Staff will wear face shields.
5. Will there be WIN time?
a. Yes there will be WIN time.
b. Students will not leave the classroom.
c. Interventionists and specialists will push into the classroom to work with students
6. Will the students have any type of interaction with each other during the day? Our plan needs to benefit student mental well-being, social/emotional development, as well as academic needs. How are they supposed to learn how to collaborate or use team work If students are never able to do so?
a. Students in grades K-6 will have a cohort to interact with during the day. A “cohort” model keeps groups of students together for the day.
b. Students within the cohort can work in small groups as long as they keep some social distance and wear masks
7. What will recess look like?
a. Our teachers in grades K-4 have been trained by PlayWorks in respectful and positive play techniques and games. These will be utilized during recess.
b. Students will also be allowed to interact with others in their group.
8. If students have to eat in classrooms, with the budget cuts, how will this be appropriately staffed?
a. Details are being finalized. We may use lunch help that typically we have in the lunch room. We may use other staff – bus drivers, aides, etc.
b. No final decision has been made.
9. What will specials look like? These are just as important as their core academic needs, are they not? Would gym in the classroom really be what’s best for kids? Art?
a. K-6: Specials will continue to be art, music, media/library, and physical education.
b. Specials teachers will go into classrooms.
i. The exception may be, at times, physical education, which will occur outside, in the gym, or in the classroom.
c. Electives will be offered in grades 7-12
10. What will traversing hallways / changing classes / lockers work?
i. K-6: Hallway traffic will be limited. Typically only one class at a time in the hallways.
ii. 7-12: We are examining how to limit hallway traffic.
b. Changing classes.
i. K-6: Most instruction, including specials, will occur in the classroom so there will be no “changing classes.”
ii. 7-12: We are looking at ways to limit changes.
i. No sharing of lockers.
ii. Potential no going to lockers except at the beginning of the day to drop off coats. All books will either be in classrooms or in backpacks and taken from class to class.
1. What will the virtual day look like?
a. The virtual day will be a school day. Teachers will be available for school hours.
b. Teachers will interact with students each hour.
2. How much live instruction will there be each day in the virtual classrooms?
a. There will be a minimum of 15 minutes of live instruction every hour. Teachers will then assign work, work with small groups of virtual students, conference individually with students.
b. Teachers could take the entire hour for instruction if needed.
c. Each hour there will be a minimum of 15 minutes of interaction with the teacher.
3. Can you offer any clarity on what time commitment is required of the students participating in the virtual learning model? What will the plan look like? Will there be virtual teaching sessions? How much of the teaching is live with teacher teaching versus self-directed viewing of videos?
a. The time commitment for virtual students will be very similar to the time commitment for in-person students.
b. Attendance will be taken each day, potentially each hour.
4. Will there be or how will academic testing be conducted?
a. Protocols on how to test are still being developed.
5. Will a student be able to participate in fine arts classes if they are a virtual student?
a. We want our virtual students to have a wide range of opportunities. At this time we are not sure that every opportunity available for in-person instruction will be available for virtual instruction.
6. Will virtual students interact with in-person classrooms?
a. No. In-person and virtual will be separate cohorts.
7. How can social/emotional development be taught with even a little effectiveness, virtually?
a. Our social workers, counselors, and teachers were able to connect with students and focus on social emotional development during the spring. We anticipate that they will be able to in the fall as well.
8. Will all electives be available to virtual students?
a. We are working on this question.
b. At this time we do not believe that all electives will be available for virtual instruction.
9. Will the virtual learning format be in Zoom?
a. Zoom is one potential format. The primary management system will be Schoology. Others support programs like Zoom, google classroom, Seesaw will be used as well.
10. Will grades be given?
a. Yes. Grades will be given in our virtual classrooms.
11. What will be the curriculum for the virtual classrooms?
a. The curriculum will be the Novi Community School District curriculum that aligns with the state standards.
b. This curriculum was developed by Novi teachers working collaboratively together over the past several years.
1. What is a hybrid approach?
a. A hybrid approach has half the students come one day for in-person instruction while the other half learn at home.
2. Will the Novi Community School district have hybrid classrooms?
a. A final decision has not been made at this time.
3. Why might Novi not have hybrid classrooms?
a. Hybrid classes require one teacher to teach both in-person and virtual students each day. One teacher is assumed to be able to do two different jobs. We do not believe that this is feasible.
b. A hybrid approach assumes that a student will have interaction with a teacher two or three days a week and then either no interaction as the teacher teaches another group the same material in subsequent days or that the teacher is teaching both virtual and in-person students each day. We do not believe that is a viable structure.
4. Why is Hybrid being considered?
a. Hybrid is being considered because of the ability to create social distance. If we do create a hybrid approach, we will work to create a viable and successful hybrid schedule for our students.
1. What are the requirements for masks?
a. Masks are mandatory in Phase 4 for all students in grades 5-12.
b. Even though the Governor’s Task Force strongly recommends masks in grades K-4, in Novi masks will be required in grades K-4.
c. The only exceptions will be health with a doctor’s note.
d. All staff will be required to wear masks. Staff will also have face shields to use.
1. Will masks be required on buses?
a. Yes. All students and staff who ride a bus must wear a mask.
2. Will there be hand sanitizers or disinfectants on the bus?
a. There will be hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes on each bus for students to use.
3. How will bus riding and dismissal work for in person students?
a. Buses will continue to pick up students each day. Masks will be required. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be on each bus.
b. At the end of the day we will develop a strategy to limit groups of students congregating together waiting for buses.