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District Departments » Return to Learn 2020 » Frequently Asked Questions RTL

Frequently Asked Questions RTL

We hope to capture some of the most common questions and answers to help you in your child's return to school. We have placed these in different categories. Just click on the category to reveal that section. If you have additional questions, please email us at ops@otsegops.org. Thank you!
Can I switch my child from VAAC to Hybrid (or vice versa) now that school has started?
The VAAC enrollment and change window closed on September 10th. However, we want all children to be successful in their learning environment. If you are considering a switch, please first contact Otsego's Director of Instruction, Heather Kortlandt, at hkortlandt@otsegops.org, or 269-694-7900.
 
Will my child be graded this time for remote learning?
Yes. Grading (numbers for K-2 and grades for 3-12) will resume as they do in a traditional school year. 
 
Will my child learn new concepts to stay on track / at grade level?
Yes. Our teachers will be presenting new material to students to keep them moving forward at grade level while also filling gaps from the closure in the spring if needed.
 
If we do not have internet access at home, how will my child participate on the remote learning days?
Chromebooks can be set to "Work Offline" so that students can still use them at home. When in school, they will download materials needed directly onto their device (or put materials on a Flash Drive) so they can still access those materials offline -- without internet access.
 
How do the classes/courses in VAAC align with those at OPS?

The Virtual Academy of Allegan County will use an online learning platform, Edmentum, that will be aligned to learning targets and educational expectations of a student’s grade level.  For those in grades 6-12, we will work to align their VAAC schedule with what they had at OPS; if there is not a VAAC class that lines up to an OPS class, someone will reach out to you to make a selection. At the elementary, all students will have their four core classes, ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies. Kindergarten & 1st grade students will have PE and Health and 2nd-5th grade students will have PE and art/picture study.

 

Am I allowed to volunteer in my child’s classroom?

At this time, we are limiting the number of visitors into our buildings, so we will not be allowing classroom volunteers while we are in Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan.

 

What happens if we move back into Phase 3 of the MI Safe Start Plan after schools reopen? In Phase 3, schools are required to close so Otsego Public Schools will transition to its Remote Learning Plan where students will receive instruction and assignments either online, on a flash drive or on paper packets. Our team is simultaneously working on both plans so there will not be a gap in switching between plans. In this situation, those enrolled in VAAC will stay in the VAAC program. Students enrolled in the OPS Hybrid Learning Plan will go to the OPS Remote Learning Plan.

 

What happens if we move to Phase 5 after school reopens? If our region is upgraded to Phase 5, we will bring back all students, K-12, for in-person instruction Monday-Friday and resume the original school year calendar with Wednesday Delayed Starts. However, we will do so after consulting with our local health officials. (Preschool will already be in person at full capacity as they have smaller class sizes.) The same cleaning procedures will remain in Phase 5. We will also follow the Strongly Recommended safety guidelines in the state's Return to School Roadmap.
 
How does the Hybrid Learning Plan impact Learn 'n Grow preschool? Learn 'n Grow will operate as usual. Students already alternative days and have smaller class sizes. There will be additional safety measures and procedures in place. Please see our website for more information: lng.otsegops.org.
 

Will students with IEPs still be able to meet with speech, OT, etc?

Yes, special education services are still available on the Hybrid Learning Plan. More details are listed in the Special Education information on that page, located in the menu on the right of this page. Contact our Director of Special Education for more information: ahoekstra@otsegops.org.

 

Why are they going M/Th and T/F instead of M/T and Th/F?

This was a student-centered decision to have in-person instruction at two different points throughout the week to better align the in-person days with direction for the at-home remote learning days. We made this decision after consulting with our Director of Operations to be sure that a thorough classroom cleaning could be done

 
How did you decide which family is blue or gold?
We looked at class rosters at all levels to see how to best separate households to even out the Blue & Gold days. We started with an alphabetical split, then adjusted as needed to balance out class sizes.

 


How will VoTech classes be integrated into this Return to Learn program? VoTech will be operating in person five days a week. Please see this Tech Center informational letter from Mr. Dardis.

 

Are in-person days half days or full days? In-person days are full days.

 

Will the at-home learning days be review or will it be new material? At-home learning days will work in conjunction with in-person instructional days so students will either build upon instruction given, or continue activities on the new learning at home. Students will be learning new material in all learning plans for the fall and graded as they were in the traditional school setting.

 

Will the teacher be available to answer questions on the days the students are at home? Our teachers will connect with students and plan intervention once delayed start Wednesdays begin. They are available by email and students can also submit questions and comments through their online work in Google Classroom. Exact details will be planned by the teachers to best fit the content lessons.

 

Will there be a video of the teacher giving the instructions with the lesson? There will not be a live video stream from the classroom to the kids at home. They’ll be set up with instructions, if the lessons require, through Google Classroom, a video on a flash drive, or downloaded material students can obtain while in school to prepare for at-home learning.

 

Will Wednesdays still be delayed starts?

Yes. When we get back to a 5-day week, Wednesday will return to delayed start days. Here is a link to our updated school year calendar with that information. 

What are you doing to sanitize classrooms / desks on a daily basis?

Our custodial staff is developing a daily cleaning schedule to make sure that all classrooms, common areas, and bathrooms are cleaned at least daily. Frequently touched areas will be cleaned every four hours. To see our full cleaning protocol, go to the Health & Safety Protocols page on the right-hand menu.

 
Will students be using lockers?
Elementary students will be using lockers. They will be alternated between blue and gold students to spread students out. Middle and high school students will not be using lockers in our Hybrid Learning Plan.

Will there be enough cleaning products for the school?
Yes. We have already received a shipment of cleaning products and plan to stay ahead of the need as we move through the school year.

Will BASE be open for before and after school?

Yes. BASE will be offered daily as a before and after-school child care program. Hours for BASE are 6:15am - 6:00pm.

 

Will BASE be available on the days that my child is learning remotely?

We are launching a new child care program called CARES - Childcare Assistance Response & Enrichment Services - which will be offered to families in need of child care during their student’s remote learning days. Knowing this is still a “school day”, this program aims to provide the supervision parents need, but the setting that students will need to perform their schoolwork and connect with their classroom. Space is limited to 50 students per building but classrooms will not have any more than 15 students in each of them. Registration is now open and we have been able to reduce the cost. Please click on the CARES link to the right to get started. Hours for CARES are 6:30am - 6:00pm.

 

Is there any program available for middle school students regarding child care?
We are currently placing 6th graders in need of supervision at the elementary schools where they attended. If you have any questions, please contact Lacey Walbrook at lwalbrook@otsegops.org.
 
How will students be grouped in CARES as not to be exposed to 50 additional students? Students will be assigned to a classroom with no more than 15 students and stay with those same students on each of their child care days. BASE will be run separately as not to combine Blue & Gold groups.

Will my child be required to wear a face covering in school?

Under Phase 4 of the Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap (pages 21-36) face coverings are required for the following: 

  • All students, preschool-12th grade, are required to wear a mask on school transportation and in common areas and passing times. 
  • Students in grades PK-5th will not be required to wear them in the classroom; we will be keeping them with their own class throughout the day. However, when physical distancing cannot be maintained, students may be asked to wear their masks.
  • Students in grades 6-12 are required to wear them all except for meals. 
  • All staff are required to wear a face covering at all times except for meals.

What if my child doesn’t have a mask/face covering?

We encourage all families to provide their own face covering, but the school will have masks available for those students who do not have one.


What if my child has a condition that will not allow them to wear a face covering?

If your child is medically unable to wear a face covering, we will need a doctor’s note to have on file. 


How will the face covering requirement be enforced?

Face covering requirements will be added to our dress code per our student handbooks and approved by the Board of Education.


Will my child’s teacher be required to wear a face covering in school?
Yes. While our Region is in Phase 4, all staff are required to wear a face covering except during meals. If a staff member is medically unable to wear a face covering, they will not be required to wear one.
 
What phase do we need to be in that would not require our children to be forced to wear masks in school?
Our region will need to be in Phase 5 before masks are no longer listed as Required. Under Phase 5, they are Strongly Recommended.
 
Will students be able to take a break from wearing their masks? Students will not have to wear a mask during meals and many teachers are taking advantage of our fall weather to get kids outside and take mask breaks.

Will my child get their temperature checked before getting on the bus or entering the school building?

No. Per a document provided by the Allegan County Health Department, each family must agree to check their child for symptoms each day. (See the COVID Screenings page on the right-hand menu.) **If your child is feeling ill prior to the school day, please keep them home for observation and call your doctor.


What happens if a child or staff member gets sick at school?

When any child feels ill, he/she will go to the office to be screened for symptoms. If symptoms align with COVID-19, their parent/guardian or emergency contact will be called to pick them up from school. They cannot be sent home on school transportation. Each building will have a room separate from the office where students will wait.


What happens if a child or staff member tests positive for COVID-19? Will we be notified?

In the case of a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, we will coordinate with the Allegan or Kalamazoo County Health Departments who will guide us in next steps and notifying affected persons. Under law, we will not be able to give personal identification information of any person with COVID-19.


Will desks be 6 feet apart?

Classrooms will place students as close to 6 feet apart as possible to adhere to social distancing guidelines. The 6-foot distance is listed as “Strongly Recommended” under Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap and we will do our best to place students as close to that as possible.


How will students be taught about COVID-19 and safety practices in place?
Our staff is working on hygiene lessons that will be taught in person.
What will busing look like?
Our bus drivers are focused on providing your child a safe ride to school and back home.
  • We will be installing new hand sanitizing stations on every bus for students to use as they enter and exit the bus.
  • Students will have assigned seating to limit exposure to others.
  • All of our buses will be cleaned after each route. 
  • All drivers and riders must wear a face covering/mask throughout the transport to and from school.

How will you ensure healthy practices for food service?

Our food service team is making several adjustments to its service to create a healthy environment in which to serve meals to our students. Meals are pre-packaged, all utensils and trays are disposable, and the serving methods will be modified to limit frequently-touched areas. Students will also be spaced out in the cafeteria and outside spaces will be utilized at the MS and HS when possible.

 

Will students eat in the classroom or cafeteria?

Students will eat in the cafeteria. Please go to our Food Service page for additional details and meal request forms.

 

Can I still get school lunch for my kids on their at-home learning days? Yes, we have a meal request form for parents to fill out to request meals for kids (both breakfast and lunch) for the days they'll be at home. All meals are free through December 31, 2020. More information and the request form can be found on the Food Service page.

 

If my child is enrolled in VAAC, can I still get school meals?

Yes. There is a pick-up once a week, on Wednesdays, for you to get up to 7 meals per student, both breakfast and lunch. Go to the Food Service page for additional information and the request form.

For the latest information for athletics, plesae go to the HS athletics page. 
 

If my child attends VAAC, can they participate in sports?

Yes. Students who choose the Virtual Academy of Allegan County and want to participate in athletics or extra-curricular activities will be able to do so.

Will there be any after-school or extracurricular activities?

At this time, we will not be holding extracurricular activities. We are currently looking at what programs are possible, or other alternatives, that we can offer while adhering to social distancing guidelines. As programs are added, families will be notified.


If I enroll in the virtual school, can my child participate in athletics or extracurricular activities?
Yes. Due to unprecedented times, we will be allowing students in the VAAC to participate in athletics and/or extracurricular activities.
 
How will recess work? Will they have to wear masks outside? Students will stay with their classrooms for recess and will not have to wear masks.

How will I receive communication from the district as changes take place?

District communications will be sent to your email address that is in Infinite Campus. Please make sure your information is updated so you receive this information. You can also find the latest information in our OPS Return to Learn Plan pages on our website. Click on Return To Learn 2020 under the District menu at otsegops.org.

If my student travels, will they have to quarantine when they get back? 
Students who travel via plane do not necessarily have to quarantine unless they or a member of their household are experiencing COVID symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19.
 
The Allegan County Health Department recommends considering these factors for travel:
  • Was travel to a high-risk area (you can refer folks to this map https://www.mistartmap.info/)?
  • Did travel occur via mass transit such as by plane, train or bus, where close contact with others (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) was experienced?
  • Is there known close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 or under quarantine for COVID-19?
If "Yes" to any of the above, the child should remain home. To return to school, they should contact their healthcare provider and possibly receive COVID testing. 
 
If the student has no COVID symptoms and no close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19, they can return to school.
 
Here is a school handout from ACHD with more information if you have questions (see pages 8-9