Frequently Asked Questions

Updated 09-30-20
Hybrid vs. Virtual

Will my child keep their same teacher, no matter which model I choose? 

This is our goal; to the best of our ability, we hope to keep students with their current teacher(s).

Are teachers going to be teaching students in-person and virtually at the same time?

Yes, this is the district’s hybrid model for in-person learning. We are working diligently to prepare for this model and teachers will be provided with strategies and tools to assist with this model. 

What is the in-person schedule in this hybrid model?
The week will be structured as:
Mondays: Group A instructed in-person (while Group B instructed virtually)
Tuesdays: Group B instructed in-person (while Group A instructed virtually)
Wednesdays: ALL students instructed virtually
Thursdays: Group A instructed in-person (while Group B instructed virtually)
Fridays: Group B instructed in-person (while Group A instructed virtually)

What happens if there is a day off school – will the structure change for that week?
No. The structure will remain the same for the days of the week.

How will students be assigned to their groups for the alternating in-person schedule?
Students will be assigned based on the last name of the student. Last names starting with letters A-L will be assigned to Group A. Last names starting with letters M-Z will be assigned to Group B.

For families who have multiple siblings with different last names listed in Skyward, all siblings will be grouped together on the same day according to the last name of the youngest sibling listed in Skyward.

Can I request for my child to be with my neighbor’s child, so we can continue with our established “learning pod?” 
Parent requests for reassigning students to an alternate group will not be accepted.

If I choose the PASD Virtual Academy or in-person instruction for my child, am I able to change my mind at some point?
If you chose virtual learning, you commit to your choice until January 15, 2021, the end of the second marking period.  If you chose in-person learning, you may switch to virtual but then must stay virtual until January 15th. You may not return to in-person.

Will students that choose hybrid & when 'feeling under the weather' have the option to attend their classes virtually, if capable of doing so (ex. low grade fever, mild cold or stomach virus symptoms)?
Yes they will be able to attend virtually

For students that choose hybrid, will they have the option to or will the district return to virtual instruction with their district teachers if there are covid cases in the school or will they be compelled to remain hybrid despite the presence of covid infection in the school?
Students who are hybrid will have the ability to move to virtual if they have COVID, if they have symptoms of COVID, if they have cold/flu, if the class or bus they ride has been exposed to COVID.  

If hybrid, a student can take their class virtually when sick or exposed.  

If a student signed up for virtual, we are requesting that they remain virtual for the semester so that we can appropriately plan for social distancing.

Updated 10-9-20

CLEANING/SANITIZING/DISINFECTING 

What steps are being taken to ensure the building is safe for my child?
We are implementing multiple safety procedures, including: 

• Increased ventilation in all buildings, including installation of MERV-13 air filters
• Daily sanitization spraying of all spaces 
• Addition of hand sanitizer stations throughout building 
• Disinfecting high touch areas throughout the day 
• Bottle filling stations replace water fountains 
• All classrooms stocked with COVID approved disinfectant and paper towels 

For a full list, please visit our Health and Safety Plan

SOCIAL DISTANCING AND OTHER SAFETY PROTOCOLS

How is the District determining the appropriate social distance and other safety measures? 
We are following the guidance of the Chester County Health Department in designing all aspects of our plan.  Their current recommendation for schools is to provide a distance of at least 6 feet at all times.  We are moving forward with plans within those guidelines.  If the guidelines change, we will adapt our plans. 


Will masks be required?
Yes.  All staff and students will be required to wear masks.  Masks may be taken off to eat or for a scheduled mask break while outside and at a distance of 6 feet or more.  

What if a student refuses to wear a mask?

Masks or protective facial coverings are a requirement for in-person education.  If a student refuses, he/she will be counseled, and parents will be contacted, and the student may be moved to the PASD Virtual Academy for their instruction.  If a child has a doctor verified medical condition which precludes wearing a mask, our nurses and administrators will work with the family and staff to keep everyone safe and healthy. 

What other safety measures are being recommended?
Frequent handwashing (including before and after snacks and meals), reinforcement of safe cough/sneeze procedure, limiting movement throughout the building when feasible. 


Will staff and students receive safety training?
Yes, we have multiple training sessions and videos in the works! 


Why are we NOT following the strictest guidelines? 
PASD will incorporate guidelines as they evolve. All of the safety measures implemented will support the primary goal of educating the student population of the Phoenixville Area School District. We are a school district, funded by tax dollars, and operating as a medical-grade facility is not feasible at this time. Facial coverings, frequent hand washing, sanitizing and disinfecting, as well as social distancing, is the standard by which our decisions have been made. We understand your concerns about the spread of COVID19! If you feel that the standards by which we have reopened the 2020-21 school year will not work for your family, please consider our virtual option. 



TECHNOLOGY

Will every child have a laptop?   
It is PASD’s intent that every child have a device to use in both school and virtual environment. In June, the PASD Board of School Directors authorized the purchase/lease of additional devices to ensure every student has access to a laptop or tablet.  We are also expanding the Bring Your Own Technology program to all grade levels, to allow those students who would prefer to use their own personal laptop that opportunity. 

Will my child need to bring a laptop back and forth between school and home each day?
For students in Grades 2-12, yes, we do anticipate the need for laptops to travel with students.  We do not anticipate this will be needed for our K-1 students.

What are the specifications for purchasing a laptop if I want my student to bring his/her own? 
We do have guidelines in place for you to follow if you wish to purchase a laptop for your student.  These are the minimum specifications needed for both elementary and secondary.  If you have additional questions, please contact Monica Kressirer, our IT Manager.

DELIVERY OF INSTRUCTION

What are the options the District is considering? 
We will offer an in-person/brick and mortar option as well as a fully virtual option—the NEW PASD Virtual Academy.  Students in both options will be assigned to a classroom, and will either attend in-person or online through zoom.     

How will the virtual option function?   
Yes!  We have the NEW PASD Virtual Academy, which is a robust, engaging learning platform available for students K-12.  This option will allow students to remain in the Phoenixville Area School District, attending class with their friends and classmates.  Every student will be assigned to a classroom and able to participate through zoom.  Instruction will be synchronous (LIVE) with some pre-recorded lessons which can be accessed at any time, many opportunities for independent work and to “step away” from the computer. 

Is there a difference between the instruction students in the PASD Virtual Academy (all online) and students in the A/B (alternate day) schedule will receive when they are online?
Since all students are assigned to a classroom, the virtual instruction will be identical for all. Any student learning virtually for that day will be included in the zoom meetings/presentations, and will be able to participate by asking and answering questions.  

Would it be possible to create class lists based on neighborhoods or even just pair specific students together in one class? It will streamline the number of teachers that parent cooperatives or "learning pods" will be expected to navigate when multiple children are being supervised.
As PASD continues its commitment to deliver high-quality instruction to all students in an equitable way, this request cannot be accommodated. Class lists are constructed with deliberation over ability, exceptionality, race, gender, and behavior. Additionally, class lists are formed with both the virtual and in-person environments in mind. Teachers in the same grade level will be working collaboratively on their instructional content so, while instruction will not be precisely mirrored, the content of instruction and Canvas activities should be relatively similar as we move through virtual learning.

ATHLETICS/EXTRA-CURRICULARS

Will students resume athletic activities?  
The PASD Board of Directors to allow all high school fall sports to return to competition. The guidelines include physical distancing measures for athletes, staff and spectators, the wearing of face coverings, regular health monitoring and safety, in addition to cleaning and sanitizing. Since the number of spectators is limited, we will be broadcasting as many of the games as possible LIVE on Phantom TV and livestreamed through our website. 

Will students resume extra-curriculars/clubs? 
PASD clubs will be available and encouraged, but will operate in a different way and dependent upon the context of the club.  Some club meetings may be held through zoom.  It is also likely that traveling for academic competitions will be minimal.  Please check with your individual building administration for specific information.

TRANSPORTATION

What are the parameters for buses? 
During the 2020-21 school year, students will be seated two to a seat with masks REQUIRED.  Family members will be seated together.  Students will be directed to fill the bus from the back to the front. Windows will be open approximately 2 inches at all times.  To increase the flow of air, the roof ventilation system will be operating the entire time the bus is in service.  Between bus runs, the bus will be sprayed/sanitized prior to the pick-up of the next group of students.   

What if I choose to find other means of transportation for my child?  
That’s a great option.  We have reexamined our drop-off/pick-up areas at all buildings to make this process run as smoothly as possible.  Each individual building principal will communicate the drop-off procedures for that building

HEALTH & SAFETY

What protocols/procedures are in place to protect students and staff?
The District has a dedicated Chester County Health Department (CCHD)liaison working with our school nurses and administrators.
The sympton checker flow chart on the CCHD website is being used by our nurses.
Isolation protocols have been established and implemented safely by our school nurses.
Signage is posted throughout the buildings reminding all to follow safety guidelines--practice social distancing, proper mask wearing, and frequent hand-washing.


How are you monitoring staff and student wellness? 

All staff must complete a health assessment and self-monitor on a daily basis. 
Everyone entering any of our buildings will be required to complete a self-disclosure health form.  
Parents are asked to monitor student health EVERY day, and keep a child home if they do not feel well. 

Will there be COVID testing on-site at the schools?  
We currently do not have the capability to test anyone on-site.  If that changes in the future, we will make that information available to parent.s

What will happen if a student or staff member becomes symptomatic during the school day? 
If a student or staff member appears sick, or reports not feeling well, they will put on a mask and be escorted to the nurse’s office.  The nurse will assess the student.  The nurse will follow the CCHD school response to COVID 19 process. N-95 masks, gowns, and an isolation room are additional safety measures which will be implemented. 
All contract tracing will be completed by the CCHD with full District cooperation.
Communication protocols have been developed by the CCHD and are being implemented.


If there is a confirmed positive case of COVID 19 will the classroom or school be closed for a period of time? 
It is our intention to keep classrooms and schools open.  Multiple cases may involve modifications to social distancing measures and will definitely include close communication and direction from the Chester County Health Department.  

If a student or staff member is confirmed positive, what steps should be taken? 
The Chester County Health Department should be notified if tested positive.  The district and the Health Department will work together, while using as little identifying information as possible.  

How will parents know if there has been a positive case in their child(ren)'s building? 
A weekly update will be posted on the District website to provide the Phoenixville Area School District community an overview of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 reported to the District within our schools for the concluding week. 

As a District, we are generally not able to provide specific information regarding cases, thus this communication along with the weekly update will serve to provide students, families and staff an overview of the number of positive cases within the PASD school community.  Positive cases will be identified as a staff member or student.

For background, when the District is informed of a positive case, administration contacts the Chester County Health Department (CCHD) and follows their directions as to whom should be informed that they might have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive case.  IF you have not received the correspondence stating you have potentially been exposed, then you are not considered a close contact to the COVID-19 case and PASD will not be able to provide you with additional information.  As a District, we will continue to follow the guidance of CCHD in our response to positive cases.

In order for a positive case to be placed on this report:

  • A student needs to have attended school in-person at least one day within the last 10 calendar days
  • Students who are fully virtual will not be included unless they are participants in athletics or extra-curricular activities that place them physically at a school activity
  • PASD or contracted staff who are assigned to work on district grounds or in district buildings.

Criteria for counting:

  • A COVID-19 case is known to us because it has been reported to the District by the individual or the Chester County Health Department (CCHD)
  • A COVID-19 case listed in this report is a case that has been confirmed through a lab test
  • Individuals who are quarantining or isolating and have not been tested are not counted in the number of positive cases
  • Cases reported to the District after 5 pm will be recorded on the next school day
  • Cases reported to the District during a weekend, holiday or a day school is not in session will be recorded on the next school day.



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