HUUSD Fall 2020
Return to Learn FAQ
HUUSD is committed to cultivating learning environments throughout the COVID19 pandemic and beyond that safeguard the physical and social emotional health of students and staff while providing educational opportunities for students to expand their learning.
The HUUSD Fall 2020 Reopening model plans for two options for families: a hybrid of on-site and off-site learning and a fully off-site instruction option. We will begin with all students in off-site learning on Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Students participating in the on-site model will be on campus one day a week, either on Tuesday or Thursday. Bringing half of our students into the building at a time allows us to meet physical distancing and other safety requirements. We have learned much from the emergency measures implemented for remote instruction in the spring of 2020. Off-site instruction for 2020-2021 will build from this learning and include consistent expectations for live instruction (whole class, small group and office hours) as well as independent work that moves students towards the HUUSD learning expectations.
Knowing that the pandemic response will continue to evolve, we will continue to update and expand upon our Return to Learn communications and this FAQ. The information presented in the FAQ below is taken from our Return to Learn planning, as well as guidance provided by the VT Agency of Education and other state departments.
Click on the headings below to take you to the corresponding set of questions and answers, or scroll through the entire FAQ.
How will schools split their student population for in-person learning days?
For K-6 on-site instruction, the school's population will be split alphabetically (and/or by grade). Adjustments will be made to allow families to have the same schedule for their children's in-school attendance whenever possible. Grade 7-12 plans for splitting classes are still being finalized. Parents may request a change in schedule due to extenuating family circumstances by contacting the building principal.
Added 9/1/20 What are the attendance/ participation expectations during off-site learning days?
K-6 and CBMS: Each student is expected to engage, each day of off-site learning, in the “daily attendance prompt” provided through the child’s Google Classroom or Seesaw account. This task should be completed before the end of the school day and will be the method through which daily attendance is recorded.
In addition to completing this daily attendance prompt, students are asked to:
Engage in and be present and participate in synchronous (live) learning experiences. The number of these experiences offered weekly will vary depending upon the model of instruction (4:1, 2:3, 100% remote) and grade band for a student.
Complete assigned learning opportunities across all content areas. (Learning opportunities will be shared through Google classroom or Seesaw)
Additionally, students may be asked to participate in a scheduled related service or supplemental support, as well as extended learning opportunities or individual conferences with a teacher.
Students are required to attend all synchronous learning time - this includes TA every day.
Students are required to attend every ELO block they or their teacher has signed them up for during a Wednesday block.
Teachers will be taking attendance each morning in TA.
Attendance will also be taken during the first 10 minutes of each class.
On Asynchronous days - days when students are online and the other cohort is onsite - students will be expected to complete a daily question to confirm their attendance to learning.
Not participating in the learning opportunities outlined above prohibits a child from accessing the learning program planned to support children in meeting their learning expectations. Partial participation is likely to lead to partial learning.
What physical distancing standards and measures will be used?
Students and staff will maintain six feet distance indoors and outdoors as much as possible. To support this, we will clearly mark off six-foot spaces in classrooms and common areas (entrances). Furniture has been rearranged and/or removed to support physical distancing. A reduced number of students in each classroom additionally supports physical distancing while still allowing students to move in a classroom. Hallway passing is significantly reduced (classes mostly stay in their homebase), staggered for different groups and monitored.
What is the role of parents/caregivers in these models?
Professional educators will play the lead role in delivering in-person and off-site instruction. Parents/caregivers will provide support (time, space, routines) to allow students to participate, and they will communicate with teachers as needed. This may include (for younger students) supporting turning in work and attending meetings and (for all students) connecting to discuss any concerns. We know that the level of structure and support required to make off-site learning work will vary by age and other factors. In all phases, as in “normal” times, the parent/caregiver is not expected to be the primary instructor, but rather a key partner on the student-teacher-parent team.
What is the difference between home-schooling and off-site (remote) learning?
In off-site learning, school staff will be leading the learning, including instruction and assessment, for students through both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (completed at any time) activities. Homeschooling is overseen by the VT Agency of Education through an application process and is not connected to school staff. Families may apply at any time but need to remain enrolled in a program (unless under the age of 6) until an application has been approved.
Will school lunches be available to students on days when they are not physically in the building?
Yes, we are committed to providing meals (breakfast and lunch) to our families on all days of school. We are still working on the plans for distribution to those engaged in off-site instruction.
Where will students be eating meals?
Due to the large group setting, cafeterias will not be used for eating. Meals will be eaten in classrooms or outside. If students are off-site, there will also be an option for off-site food service distribution.
Will students be going outside more? What about tents? What about outdoor education?
We will be increasing our use of the outdoors for instruction, meals and recreation. If students are outdoors and more than 6 feet apart, they can take off their masks; therefore, the outdoors can additionally be used for mask breaks. While outdoor education (explicitly engaging in learning about or from the environment) has been part of our schools for some time, we are not directing an increase in outdoor education. As we prioritize learning goals, each teacher will continue to use a range of strategies and approaches to support student growth. Each school campus varies in the outdoor spaces available. Where tents are a good option (as determined by grounds and zoning for each building) they may be utilized.
Will the expectations for preschool be the same as the rest of the school?
The state has told us to expect further guidance on preschool, which is overseen by both the Agency of Education and the Department of Children and Families, Child Development Division (CDD). Preschool programming will continue to be offered, comprised of 5-7 hours of on-site instruction on the same day(s) that onsite instruction occurs for other students The same screening and health protocols will be in place as in the rest of the school, although CDD guidance indicates different (reduced) expectations around physical distancing.
Added 8/23/20 If we don't have technology or access to internet at home, what do we do?
If you do not have access to the internet at home, please inform your child's principal and we will help as much as we can with this. You can access wi-fi at many public spaces, including the local libraries and in the parking lots of our schools.
What are the cleaning/disinfecting protocols?
We are using ES-64 for disinfection and have for many years. This is a product on the EPA List N (products effective against Covid-19). We are issuing packages of Germisept alcohol wipes, which contains 75% plant based alcohol, to all the classrooms for wiping the frequently touched surfaces. The CDC recommends alcohol wipes or sanitizer should contain at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol. We are using 2 different hand sanitizers, Econo San EA (60% ethanol) and Germs Be Gone (65% ethanol). All our custodial teams are familiar with the product and have been trained on cleaning high-touch surfaces. Our maintenance directors will continue training and monitoring of all custodians in using the required cleaning protocols
What is the status of the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) in each building?
Added 8/12/20 Can afterschool care (childcare) use the school buildings? Can other groups use the school buildings?
Afterschool care (childcare), serving the students attending the school that day, is permitted on any days when school is in session for students. Please check with the providers in each school for confirmation of aftercare programming plans. Per state guidance, the public may use school grounds, but may not use school buildings, including restrooms (exception made for local elections, for which separate guidance has been issued).
Added 8/12/20 Will playgrounds be open? Will recess happen?
Students will continue to have scheduled recess times (where recess was traditionally part of the school schedule) as well as other opportunities to be outside. Playgrounds will be open and equipped with hand sanitizing stations. Masks are to be worn unless 6 foot distancing is maintained.
What will happen during fire and other safety drills?
The state has issued revised expectations for drills during the COVID19 pandemic. These revisions change the number of drills slightly and allow for a mixture of both actual practice as well as instructional (talking about/demonstrating) practice.
What criteria needs to be met to change from the current model?
While epidemiology is clearly important, other factors such as our real-life experiences will impact decision making. Data points that will be collected and evaluated include on-site student attendance (including disaggregation of reasons for absence), staff attendance (including disaggregation of reasons for absence), student attendance in off-site learning, and ongoing surveying of all parties. The list of data points can be found on the HUUSD Return to Learn Plan.
Updated 8/26 How do parents notify their child's school about if they want 100% remote (off-site) or the hybrid model?
Families were sent an enrollment confirmation letter on 8/24. It is assumed children will be enrolled in the hybrid (combination of on-site and off-site) option outlined at the start of that letter unless a parent/guardian contacts the child's building principal no later than the end of the day on 8/28. If a parent/guardian wishes for their child(ren) to participate in the hybrid model, they don’t need to take any action.
Updated 8/26 What will 100% off-site learning look like? Who will be my child's teacher(s)?
We also offering an HUUSD Remote Learning Academy for families wanting their child(ren) to engage in fully off-site learning. The Kindergarten-8 Remote Academy will be staffed by HUUSD staff, and will run independently from our hybrid classrooms. Each of these classes will be assigned a dedicated, 100% off-site teacher. Pre-school remote learning will be supported by our current preschool teachers. Our 9-12 Remote Academy is still under construction, but will include the following elements: Vermont Virtual Learning Collaborative (VTVLC), independent study, coursework through other institutions (i.e. CCV) and after school/night classes offered by HUUSD staff.
Updated 8/26/20 If we choose 100% remote or the hybrid for our child will we be allowed to change our choice during the year?
To meet staffing and planning needs, we are asking families to commit to one of the models- Hybrid or the Remote Learning Academy- for the 20/21 school year or until the day we are able to return to “regular school” with all students and staff being on-site every school day. Once you have chosen a model, should your family situation significantly change after September 8th (eg. a family member in the same house as the student becomes immunocompromised), there will be an option to request a change. Any changes in model will be subject to criteria of capacity, and would only be granted as a result of extenuating circumstances by the approval of the Superintendent.
Why use a hybrid schedule?
Our hybrid schedule, while having drawbacks, has several positive attributes. It allows us to pivot quickly to all off-site learning, should that be required of a school, classroom or the district. It allows for deep cleaning in our buildings every other day. It is likely the most sustainable for staffing upon opening, and will allow us to build upon real-time successes and growth in our adaptability and capacity. It supports reducing group sizes and contact time, lessening risk. It is a starting point from which we can reassess and build.
What does a hybrid schedule look like?
The hybrid schedule that will start the school year includes one day of in-person instruction (Tuesday or Thursday). On Monday, Wednesday and Friday all students will participate in off-site learning, which will include live (sychronous) and teacher guided independent (asynchronous) activities. Teacher guided independent activities will also be planned for Tuesdays/Thursdays for students not on-site.
Can I change the day that my child comes to school?
Parents may request a change in schedule due to extenuating family needs. Requests should be made to the building administrator.
When is the first day of school for students?
On 7/28/20, Governor Scott announced that that the first day for students across the state will be moved to September 8, 2020. Additional preservice planning with staff will be used prepare for the new protocols, expectations for remote learning instruction, changes in learning cohorts and this new model for instruction, to name just a few.
How will drop-off pick up at school look different?
Students will use multiple, assigned entrances at each building to decrease contact between cohorts and allow for health screening of all students. A parent/guardian dropping off a child shouldn't leave the drop-off area until their child(ren) has been approved to enter the building. Staggered drop-off and pick up times may be implemented; we are still finalizing schedules. Per health guidance, no family members or volunteers are allowed into the building. Details specific to each school will be shared at the building level.
How will remote learning be different in 2020-2021 compared to what was offered in the spring of 2020?
We learned a great deal about the best approaches to off-site learning in our experiences in the spring. Our district Return to Learn teams are defining expectations for on-site and off-site learning for the start of school for all age groups.. For off-site, we are focusing on areas such topics as: how much asynchronous versus synchronous time there should be, how work should be assessed, how often parent contact should be made, how special education and intervention services coordinates with regular education, and how social-emotional learning should occur. Simply put, our approach to off-site learning will be stronger this Fall than it was in the Spring.
Screenings & Healthy Practices
What happens if student/staff exhibit symptoms during the screening or during the school day?
Students or staff who exhibit symptoms during the day will be screened by the school nursing staff and, if they do not pass the uniform health screening, isolated and sent home. School nurses have been working with local providers and the state health department for algorithms to determine if testing is necessary. Nurses will make an assessment and provide direction and will collaborate with providers as necessary should testing be warranted.
Will Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) be provided for students? What about for staff?
HUUSD has purchased cloth masks for both students and staff. Students and staff may also wear their own masks, provided they meet state safety requirements. PPE such as face shields, googles, gloves, gowns and booties have been purchased for staff and will be distributed according to work requirements. In addition, non-contact infrared thermometers, hand sanitizer, hand lotion and disinfecting products have been purchased to help maintain a safe and healthy environment.
Updated 9/26 What happens if a student or staff member tests positive?
The HUUSD response to a response to a positve COVID19 Protocol can be found here. If a student or staff member has a positive COVID19 test, they should contact the district COVID coordinator at 802-583-8027. Responses will include contact tracing and quarantining, in addition to other measures deemed appropriate by school and Dept of Health, based on risk assessment.
Updated 8/26 Are masks required for all students and all staff?
Yes, all students (PK-12) and all staff are required to wear masks. People accompanying students to bus stops and on school grounds are required to wear masks as well. Face masks will be worn on buses and throughout the school building. Masks will be worn outside when physical distancing of 6 feet is not feasible.Wearing a mask is a requirement for attending on-site/in-person learning. Masks are also required for participation in sports (see 8/11/20 Vermont Agency of Education Fall Sports Program Guidance) With the exception of children who cannot wear a mask because of a medical condition or special need, students who refuse to wear a mask will be enrolled in the HUUSD Remote Academy.
Further information on mask wearing expectations and recommendations can be found here.
Updated 9/12 Do kids PreK-Grade 5 who are outside need to be masked if they are between 3 and 6 feet apart? Is it ok for them to not wear masks at a 3-foot distance?
Students of all ages need to wear masks if they can’t maintain a 6-foot distance, including students in PreK-Grade 5 and including when students are outside. The 3-to-6-foot distancing for the younger grades is only allowable if the students are wearing masks.
What will the daily symptom screening process look like?
Health checks will be performed prior to boarding the bus or upon entry into a building for all staff and students. We will be hiring bus monitors. Screening will be conducted by HUUSD staff. This screening, following the state guidelines, includes taking a temperature and answering a few health and exposure questions daily.
How many students will be in a classroom?
In our hybrid models where only half of the student body is attending at a time, class sizes are 14 students or smaller. An average classroom can accommodate 12 - 15 students with 6 foot physical distancing in place, but classroom sizes vary. Some classes will have fewer students.
Updated 9/26/20 What kinds of masks are acceptable?
Masks should be made of cotton blend. Masks with valves or vents are not permissible. Gaiters, Buffs, bandanas are also NOT allowed; they do not provide a sufficient barrier.Masks made from fleece material have shown to be ineffective in preventing droplets from traveling through the mask and should not be worn. Further information on mask wearing expectations and recommendations can be found here.
Updated 8/23/20 Where, when, and how often will hand washing need to happen?
All students, staff and contracted service providers should engage in hand hygiene at the following times:
Arrival to the facility, After staff breaks, Before and after preparing food or drinks, Before and after eating,handling food or feeding students, Before and after administering medication or medical ointment, After using the toilet or helping a child use the bathroom, After coming in contact with bodily fluid, Before and after handling facial coverings/face shields, After playing outdoors, Before and after playing with sand and sensory play, After handling garbage, Before and after cleaning, Prior to switching rooms or locations
Updated 8/23/20 How will students be allowed to eat and drink during the school day?
Staying hydrated and nourished is an important part of being healthy. Water fountains are closed, but refillable water bottle stations remain open and students should bring a water bottle to school. As masks must be removed to eat or drink, this should occur only when students are 6 feet apart (generally at desks/sit spaces). Breakfast/snack/lunch schedules are made at each school. Meals will occur outside when practical.
What is the plan for fall sports in grades 7-12?
Sports, including cross-country running, soccer, field hockey, football, cheerleading, volleyball, bass fishing and golf will begin when the school year starts on 9/8. State guidance outlining COVID-19 safety precautions to be followed can be found here. Games, competitions and meets are on hold until schools are moved, by the VT Dept of Health, to Step III in operations; schools are beginning at Step II.
How will busing look different?
You can view a video about the morning bus rides, and protocols to be used, here.
- Cluster stops will be used to ensure health screenings can be conducted safely. Revised routes can be found here.
- Monitors will be staffing each bus and conducting screenings.
- A parent/guardian is required to stay with their child at their bus stop. In the event a child isn't allowed on the bus/ a parent /guardian is responsible to bring them home. High school (9th grade and older) students will be allowed to wait by themselves.
- Passengers will be screened by a bus monitor before entering the bus.
- Face coverings are required for all on the bus. If a child does not have a face covering, one will be be provided.
- Students will be given assigned seats on the bus to support distancing and contact tracing.
How will the buses be cleaned?
Between each bus run, all surfaces will be cleaned to ensure each child has a clean seat each ride.
Policies & Staffing
Will there be increased nurse staffing?
Nursing staffing has been increased to ensure a full time nurse in every HUUSD building. Additional nursing staffing has also been added at TBPS, with TBPS nurse Allison Conyers serving as the COVID nurse coordinator. HUUSD nurses are working additional hours throughout the summer to support preparation for the return to the 2020-2021 school year.
What kinds of leave are available to staff? What are our work expectations?
On August 4, 2020, Chief Financial Officer Michelle Baker shared a memo outlining return to work and leave expectations. Staff unable to return to work to start the 2020-21 school year need to complete this online form by August 7, 2020.