COVID-19 Guidance for Self Home Quarantine
COVID-19 Guidance for Self Home Isolation
Bismarck School District COVID-19 Guidelines for 2020 – 2021
Bismarck Public Schools will follow the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) guidelines and the Arkansas Ready for Learning report issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in planning for re-opening. We hope the following information helps answer many of the questions you may have about reopening schools. These guidelines may be revised based on updates to the ADH guidelines before the start of school.
Our goal will be to provide a safe environment that includes a high quality educational experience with opportunities for social interaction and extracurricular activities while adhering to guidelines provided by the Arkansas Department of Health.
What is the first day for students? School will begin on August 24, 2020. This date will only change if ADH sends updated guidance with this requirement but this is not anticipated.
Who will be required to wear face coverings? Currently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH)\ is recommending all individuals 10 years old and over wear a face covering, and the Governor of Arkansas has put a Directive in place requiring this. All adults and students age 10 and up must wear face coverings/masks when physical distancing cannot be achieved. Students under 10 years of age are required to wear a mask during transition times and any other time deemed necessary for safety by school personnel. Those with health issues and special needs must complete a medical waiver and submit documentation in order to be exempt. All students K-12 are required to wear a face covering/mask while on the school bus.
Do we need to provide masks for our student or will one be provided? The district will provide a washable face mask for every student that can be washed and re-worn up to 3 weeks. Students will be provided 3 masks over a 9 week period.
Will bus transportation be provided? Yes, the district will provide bus transportation for all students. Based on District policy, all students and drivers will be required to wear face coverings when riding the bus.
How normal will the day be for a student? Our goal is for your student(s) to have as normal of a day as possible while we also provide as much safety as possible. Students will not remain in the same classroom all day but will be able to transition from one class to another. Of course, sanitation will take place before a new group of students enter a space.
Will students at the elementary still have extra classes like PE, art, music, guidance and library? Yes, students will continue to participate in activity classes, check out library books, and receive guidance and gifted instruction. In some cases, the teacher may present their lesson in the student’s classroom to reduce the amount of cleaning possible. In others situations, such as PE, students may have an assigned area in the gym with specific materials assigned to their classroom. Contact your child’s campus for detailed information.
Will my elementary student have recess? Yes. Elementary students will have outdoor play time with restrictions that limit the number of students they come in contact with.
Will social distancing guidelines be observed? Social distancing will be observed as much as feasibly possible but at times students will be closer than the recommended 6 ft. apart. When social distancing requirements cannot be maintained such as class exchange time, etc., students will be expected to wear face coverings. We will redesign classrooms and cafeteria spaces to increase the space between students but cannot always guarantee it will be 6 ft. Please help your child to understand the importance of wearing their mask not only for their safety, but for the safety of others.
Will classrooms be arranged differently to protect students? Yes, classrooms will be arranged to provide more space between students. That might mean all desks are arranged in rows facing in a single direction. It might result in reading areas with bean bags, couches or comfy chairs being removed. It might include dividers between students who are seated at a table. We will make every effort to provide distance but not limit student’s ability to interact and communicate with others in their classroom. Additionally, supplies and materials will not be shared by students.
Will students attend school every day or will we have some type of alternative schedule? We plan for students to attend school daily following a very similar schedule to the traditional school day. A virtual option will be made available as a transition back to onsite instruction once the pandemic has subsided in our county. Please contact your child’s campus for individual questions regarding student instruction.
If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, what will happen? In the event an individual tests positive, we will follow the latest guidance from the ADH. We will be in direct contact with ADH. The District has assigned a Point of Contact to work directly with the ADH and to serve as a liaison between the District, parents, and ADH. If you receive a call from 501-617- 3464, please answer the call. It is the District POC (Point of Contact) attempting to contact you with information.
Will students and adults be screened daily? Both students and adults will be asked to complete a daily screening tool from home each day before coming to school. Individuals will be asked to answer the following questions before arrival: 1.) Have you had a fever of 100.4°F or greater in the last 2 days? 2.) Have you had a cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell? 3.) Have you been in contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19 within the previous 14 days?
If I don’t want my student to return to a traditional classroom, what are my options? The District has provided a virtual option for students. This would provide a total online educational program for students who do not feel comfortable returning to onsite instruction for a transitional period of time based on pandemic status. Parents are asked to sign up for the virtual program and commit to a minimum of nine weeks.
If students choose to do the Bismarck Virtual Academy, will they be able to participate in extracurricular activities? Yes, however, parents will be responsible for providing transportation and students will be subject to all ADH and BSD health and safety guidelines in addition to all student handbook requirements while participating. However, virtual students will not be able to participate in ASUTR Career Tech courses.
Will we have an open house? We are currently designing a modified version of our open houses and will be sending more information later this week and next. Please see www.bismarcklions.net and our various Facebook pages for more information.
● Tuesday, August 18th - Bismarck Pre-K & Kindergarten Open House
● Thursday, August 20th – 1 st – 12th Open House
*Face to Face open house will be for new students and new grades to a building (Pre-K, Kindergarten, 5th grade, and 9th grade). All other open houses will be conducted virtually by campus and grade level.
Will students be able to participate in extracurricular activities and sports in the fall? We are still awaiting guidance from the Governor and AAA.
Will my student eat lunch in their classroom? Based on current guidance, the ADH is recommending cafeterias limit the capacity of students in the cafeteria. We anticipate this may either mean we will be required to adjust lunch schedules or use alternative areas, such as large gathering spaces or potentially have lunch in their classroom on a very limited basis. Proper sanitation of all areas will be completed after each meal. Procedures will not allow students to pick up utensils, self-serve, or share food. Parents are strongly encouraged to open an online payment account for the purchase of ala carte items at the secondary level so no cash is exchanged. Students will be provided with a key card to slide with their lunch number in order to keep them from having to physically key in their numbers. Parents are encouraged to send a water bottle with their students (Please put your child’s name on it.) since water fountains could pose a safety hazard. Water bottle filling stations are being installed at each campus.
What special precautions will be implemented in regard to cleaning and sanitizing? Sanitation and cleanliness will be a high priority for our district as we return. We have ordered disinfectant sprays to quickly sanitize rooms between usage. We will also provide time for hand washing and hand sanitizer throughout our campuses. Students will be asked to sanitize their hands each time they leave and enter a new space. We are also asking that parents assist by sending one bottle of hand sanitizer, one spray can of disinfecting spray, and one container of disinfecting wipes, if possible, in order to maximize usage. We have also purchased a number of electrostatic sanitizing sprayers that will be utilized for deep sanitizing of the campuses and buses.
If a student comes to school sick, what will happen? If a student comes to school sick, the school nurse will screen the student and check their temperature. If temperature is over the ADH guidance, the student will be sent home and will need to be fever free for 48 hours without medication before returning to school. When the child returns to school they will check in with the school nurse.
How will you help fill any gaps my student has from the previous year? Curriculum teams have worked to revise the curriculum so that any missed essential standards will be addressed when students return. Additionally, students will be assessed to determine individual strengths and deficits. These assessments will determine if students need additional support. At the secondary level, any missed skills from a previous course will be embedded in the next course in the sequence.
What happens if we have school closures again? If schools close again, a plan for at-home Blended Learning is being developed. This plan includes using SeeSaw, Google Classroom & Lincoln Learning to submit assignments. Teachers will utilize Google Meet or SeeSaw to deliver live lessons. Students will learn how to use these Learning Management Systems by participating in lessons throughout the week while at school.
Will our students have the same arrival and dismissal times? Depending on guidance from ADH, arrival and dismissal times may be varied, in order to increase social distancing and to decrease the number of students in the cafeteria and on the playground before school starts. Refer to your individual campuses for more information.
What advice do you have for students with special needs (autism, asthma, panic attacks, anxiety, etc.) or students with weakened immune systems and pre-existing conditions? The district will be prepared to accommodate students through both onsite and offsite instruction with special needs. Our Special Education instructors will be taking extra precautions when working with students. If parents have concerns about their students who may be at high-risk because of COVID-19, they may explore the virtual learning option which allows the student to continue their education from the safety of their own home.
In the event of a temporary school closure, how will the district serve students who have special needs (Special Education, 504, Dyslexia, etc). In the event of a school closure, students will participate in live instruction with scheduled Google Meet and SeeSaw sessions.
We look forward to a great year! It may look a little different than what we are used to, but we are working diligently to provide a safe, welcoming environment for our students and staff. We ask that you work with us this year to ensure positive communication and a supportive environment. It’s more important than ever that we work together in order to ensure our students feel safe and secure. Please let us know how we can help!
As part of a coordinated response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in partnership with the Office for Education Policy (OEP) at the University of Arkansas has developed this Parent/Guardian Survey for soliciting family input on what is working now and what may be considered for the future. Thank you for your help.
No Cost Meals to Students!
The (USDA) has announced the extension of meals served at no cost to students through December 31, 2020. The purpose of the extension is to assure that children have access to nutritious meals while the nation recovers from COVID-19. During the pandemic, USDA has continued to provide flexibilities for the purpose of assisting families and assuring that children are fed whether they attend school in a classroom environment or as virtual students.
It is the intent of USDA, and the ADE, DESE, Child Nutrition Unit (CNU) to assure that Arkansas children have access to the meals they need while maintaining the integrity of the Child Nutrition Programs.
Although students will receive meals at no charge through December 31, 2020, it is imperative that parents continue to work with our school district in completing and submitting free and reduced meal applications. State and federal funds received by each district are determined by the free and reduced percentages collectively from meal applications. Families who have not completed a meal applications are strongly encouraged to do so.
Thank you and we continue to look forward to a great year!