QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

With so much going on, we know the ESCS community has more questions than answers. Submit your questions to us, and we'll collect and share as many answers as we can.

ANSWERS WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GATHER: Please note that this information was accurate at the time of posting but is subject to change at any time.

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QUESTION: When students return to school, will it still be a hybrid model? 

 

ANSWER: Yes, when school buildings re-open, students who enroll in the phased hybrid learning model will return to school in a hybrid model. Families will also have the choice of remaining in the all remote learning model.
 
In-person hybrid consists of 2 days (in-person) with live instruction and 3 days (online) with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction.  
 
Special Education and ELL programs will consist of  4 days (in-person) with live instruction and 1 day (online) with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction.

Due to recent actions taken by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Somerville will be compelled to quickly transition from hybrid to full in-person learning for grades K-8. More information is available on the Return to In-Person Learning page of the SPS website.

SOURCE: The Hybrid FAQ document on the SPS Reopening Plan - Instructional - Models - Hybrid website; the Return to In-Person Learning page of the SPS website.

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QUESTION: If we return to school in a hybrid mode, are teachers going to be expected to be teaching to the students in the classroom as well as the cohort at home at the same time? (both synchronous at once) 

 

ANSWER: Teachers will not be asked to teach regularly both remote and hybrid students. However, there will be some standard interaction such as morning meetings and end of day meetings to help students at home and students in school feel connected as a class. Students will also continue to have specialist classes together as a full class (half will join from home, and half will join from the classroom). Teachers may choose to include students at home using zoom and other conferencing features for larger portions of the day. 

Due to recent actions taken by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Somerville will be compelled to quickly transition from hybrid to full in-person learning for grades K-8. More information is available on the Return to In-Person Learning page of the SPS website.

SOURCE: The Hybrid FAQ document on the SPS Reopening Plan - Instructional - Models - Hybrid website; the Return to In-Person Learning page of the SPS website.

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QUESTION: What will be the protocol if a student or teacher does test positive for COVID? Or if someone has a known exposure outside of school (eg in their family)?

ANSWER: 

  • Student’s parent or guardian informs their child’s school that the student has tested positive for COVID-19. Similarly, staff will inform their school that they have tested positive.

  • The student or staff must remain at home (except to get medical care). 

  • The student or staff should self-isolate for 10 days from the date of their positive test and until at least 24 hours have passed with no fever (without the use of fever reducing medication) and improvement in other symptoms. 

  • The Somerville Health Department and the school nurse will identify the student or staff’s possible close contacts based on information obtained from the positive individual, assigned seating charts and proximity related to class activities. 

  • A “close contact” is defined as only those who have been within 6 feet of distance of the individual for at least fifteen minutes cumulative over 24 hours, while the person was infectious. 

  • The infectious period begins two days before symptom onset (or two days prior to the date of the positive test if the individual has no symptoms) and includes up until the time the student/staff was isolated. 

  • The nurses will begin an investigation for close contacts in classes, other school spaces, or at extracurricular activities. 

  • If needed, all areas in the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual will be promptly closed off until such areas can be cleaned and disinfected. The areas can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred 

  • The school bus(es) that the student was on will be promptly cleaned and disinfected before further use.

  • A communication will be sent to staff and families informing them of the positive test maintaining the confidentiality of all involved. 

  • A positive student or staff  may return to school when the following criteria is met: 

    • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. If asymptomatic, at least 10 days have passed from the positive test collection date AND 

    • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever reducing medications. A fever is considered 100.0 degrees F or higher. AND

    • Significant improvement of other symptoms especially respiratory. 

The infectious period (the time when COVID-19 can spread to another person) can begin 2 days prior to symptom onset (when a person has symptoms). If someone is asymptomatic (having no symptoms), but still tests positive for COVID-19, the infectious period is considered to begin 2 days prior to the collection of their positive test. Testing positive for COVID-19 requires a person to be self isolated. Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick by staying in a room by themselves minimizing contact with others within the household.
 
Resource:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html 
http://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/faq/returning-to-school-faq.html

Due to recent actions taken by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Somerville will be compelled to quickly transition from hybrid to full in-person learning for grades K-8. More information is available on the Return to In-Person Learning page of the SPS website.

SOURCE: The Hybrid FAQ document on the SPS Reopening Plan - Instructional - Models - Hybrid website; the Return to In-Person Learning page of the SPS website.

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QUESTION: Is SPS planning to supply masks and other protective gear for students when they return to the classroom?

 

ANSWER: Each school has a 6 month supply of PPE for staff and students. All adults and students (Pre-K to 12th Grade) are required to wear masks while in school buildings or involved in outdoor activities on school campus, except during mask breaks, during meals, and for medical exemptions. Special accommodations will be made for students with sensory impairments and students or staff with medical conditions that might preclude them from safely wearing a face covering. We are supporting this practice in multiple ways:

  • All SPS staff will be required to wear face masks. The district will provide face masks to any staff who does not prefer to wear their own washable, fabric masks. Masks should be worn as soon as staff enter school property.

  • Adults and students are expected to wear and provide their own face masks. In the event that someone does not have a mask or proper face covering, one will be provided. SPS has acquired a supply of disposable masks to aid in this process. Masks will not be required when students are eating and drinking or napping or sleeping. 

  • Signs instructing that masks are mandatory in school buildings will be displayed at all entrances. Signs reminding all to wear a mask will also be placed throughout the school buildings. 

  • Signs guiding how to properly wear and remove masks will be displayed throughout the school buildings. For younger students, the use of mirrors and guided instruction to learn proper techniques will be available.  

  • Time for mask breaks will be scheduled throughout the school day. Designated spaces for mask breaks where students and staff can safely social distance a minimum of 6’, will be established for each school building and district site. Outdoors spaces will also be utilized for mask breaks.

Due to recent actions taken by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Somerville will be compelled to quickly transition from hybrid to full in-person learning for grades K-8. More information is available on the Return to In-Person Learning page of the SPS website.

SOURCE: The Hybrid FAQ document on the SPS Reopening Plan - Instructional - Models - Hybrid website; the Return to In-Person Learning page of the SPS website.

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QUESTION: Is there ONE comprehensive list of the apps and resources teachers are recommending to their students by grade? 

ANSWER: No. These recommendations vary amongst grades and teachers. The ESCS REMOTE LEARNING AND RESOURCES: 2020-2021 web page lists several recommended resources, and schedules and contact information for each teacher for further clarification.

SOURCE: The ESCS REMOTE LEARNING AND RESOURCES: 2020-2021 web page

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QUESTION: Why are the changes to Unidos being proposed? What are the metrics on which this proposal based? 

ANSWER: Please see details in this presentation made by Maureen Hughes, Unidos Specialist, to the Somerville Public Schools School Committee Educational Programs and Instruction Subcommittee. The School Committee has since approved this proposal.

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