WS/FCS COVID-19 FAQ FOR PARENTS

  • Friday, April 24, 2020, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued an Executive Order for the closure of all schools in North Carolina to continue through the end of the school year.

     

  • As Superintendent, why are these decisions being made?

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    "First, let me say we continue to appreciate the patience of our parents and families. But the most important thing we can do right now is focus on the health and safety of our students, parents, staff, and community.”

    While this is certainly not the way anyone wanted this school year to end, we knew this announcement was highly likely.  Our teams have been putting together plans for the multiple things this announcement will impact. Now that we have some definitive guidance from the state, we can begin to implement those plans and finalize the year for our students, parents, and staff.

     

    As WS/FCS Superintendent, my priority is the safety and well-being of our students. Our students must have a safe, healthy environment in which to learn. With that in mind, I must also consider the safety of our staff, our parents, and the entire community that our student population touches. While we are not considering a closure based on the recommendation of our trusted local health authorities at this time, we are making plans and preparations just in case. Currently, our focus is on prevention. Parents play a massive role in helping students understand and follow best prevention practices at both school and home. We want to minimize the spread of the virus in our community and any decision about what happens at school is made with those elements in mind.”

    -- Dr. Angela Hairston, WS/FCS Superintendent -

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  • This is a rapidly changing situation

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    Updated April 24, 2020

    • eLearning will continue throughout the closure.  The Instructional team will continue to offer plans and support to schools and teachers. WS/FCS will continue to help employees navigate how the extended closure will impact their roles and duties while classes are not in session.   
    • WS/FCS will continue to ensure students have access to healthy, free meals.  The current WS/FCS meal schedule and distribution locations will continue offering food through the remainder of the academic calendar.
    • A Graduation Task Force that includes students, parents, counselors, high school leaders, and district leaders has been formed.  The task force began meetings today to discuss possibilities for district graduation ceremonies.   
    • A Summer Learning committee has been formed to begin looking at virtual learning and make-up opportunities for the summer.
    • A task force of district leaders has also been formed to begin looking at how to reopen the school in the fall.
    • Instructional Services is finalizing information related to fourth quarter grading and will share it next week.

    You can always access the most updated information from the CDC here: 

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html

    In accordance with Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools will remain closed until at least May 15, 2020.  Pick-up meal service continues at sites around the district.  Always check our special webpage for any changes in scheduled meal service. It has been updated with new information as of today.  https://www.wsfcs.k12.nc.us/Page/115289

    We will continue to monitor this situation and have regular updates on a special webpage dedicated to the Coronavirus and our proactive response.

    https://www.wsfcs.k12.nc.us/Page/115299

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  • Third-Quarter Grading & Graduation Information

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    On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the WS/FCS Board of Education waived any additional local graduation requirements by voting to follow guidance issued by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). NCDPI calls for high school seniors to meet only the minimum State Board of Education requirements of 22 credits on or before the originally scheduled graduation date.  That means, if seniors have passed classes and met all requirements by the time third-quarter grades are posted, their year will be marked complete by the end of April.

    WS/FCS Superintendent Dr. Angela Hairston said, “We have made our best efforts to align all of our requirements with the recommendations made by the State Board of Education and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. We want to do what is best for students during these unusual times.”

    For seniors the guidelines are as follows:

    Fall Courses: Seniors will receive grades for fall courses as already recorded, yearlong, and semester. Fall grades will count toward GPA. For year-long courses, the fall term grade will be counted into the GPA. For semester-long courses, the final course grade will be counted into the GPA.

    Yearlong courses: Grades from the first three quarters to determine a passing and failing status toward graduation requirements.

    Spring Courses: Based on their learning and grades prior to March 13, Seniors will be given a “Pass” or “Fail” for spring courses, or they can opt to “withdraw.”

    If the senior has a failing grade as of March 13 for graduation requirement courses, schools will provide eLearning opportunities for the student to work toward a passing grade.

    Graduation Requirement Guidance for Seniors: NCDPI’s goals for the Senior Class of 2020 are to graduate high school seniors by meeting the minimum State Board of Education graduation requirements, which is 22 credits by the originally scheduled graduation date.

    Remote learning for graduating seniors will be prioritized to focus on meeting graduation requirements with a particular emphasis on students who were not meeting expectations as of March 13. Teachers and counselors will provide targeted support to each senior who is in danger of not meeting graduation requirements.

    Seniors who completed and/or were passing their required courses as of March 13 will be notified of their graduation status on April 27.  April 27 would be the end of the academic year for those meeting the requirements.

    Students taking Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses can continue eLearning through any required exams in order to meet the requirements of those specialized learning programs.

    Students who have not met the requirements by April 27 will continue to be supported by teachers as they work to help them complete instruction and learning virtually.  They will have until June 11 to complete coursework and requirements.

    At this time there are no plans to change or cancel traditional high school graduation ceremonies.  If those changes become necessary or mandated by state leaders, we will notify students and parents as soon as possible. 

    For students in lower grades, WS/FCS teachers will enter grades for work assigned through March 13.  March 13 will serve as the end of the third quarter; however, eLearning work will also be considered for grades and evidence of third-quarter content mastery.  Students will have until April 11 to submit missing assignments for third-quarter work.  Third-quarter grades for grades 3-11 will be posted on April 24. 

    K-2 teachers will provide grades and comments only for those standards that were thoroughly taught by March 13 and assessment data is available.

    Fourth-quarter eLearning will continue based on the essential learning necessary for students to be prepared for the next grade level. Teachers will continue to support learning and provide ongoing feedback and record grades for their students.  All students will be supported through this time and will not be penalized due to the current eLearning environment.

    If we are not able to return to school on May 15, the state will provide further guidance to inform our grading guidelines for the fourth quarter.

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  • My family depends on the Free & Reduced Lunch Program. What can we do?

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    WS/FCS is offering free breakfast and lunch for anyone 18 and under in all communities from select school locations.  Children can pick up meals at any location, adults can purchase a meal at the cost of $1 for breakfast and $2 for lunch.  Look at our website via this link to find the closest school location to drop in and pick up the meals.   Please follow access signage at each school carefully as the front entry may not be the meal access location.

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  • Will online learning continue?

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    Online learning began Thursday, March 19, and will continue throughout the closure.  Schools are sharing information specific to their schools.  Parents with questions about the lessons should contact their school principal. 

    We'd like to share some important notes from our instructional services teams as parents get started:

    • It’s helpful to keep your children on a schedule and in basic routine.
    • Understand that the work we are providing now will be assessed and/or graded and reviewed. It does matter and students should expect feedback from their teachers.
    • When it comes to grading, we are currently awaiting guidance from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction on how actual grades will be calculated and credits will be awarded in the future.  As soon as we have that information it will be shared with you.
    • If you haven’t received a device just yet, no worries you can begin the eLearning as soon as you do.

    There are options for distance learning. Students will use their existing PowerSchool accounts to sign in for assignments. Activity and literacy materials for kindergarten through second-grade students can be found under the eLearning Resources page or will be available for pick up during device distribution time. Our Instructional Services Team and classroom teachers have provided online learning resources for students through various platforms (K-2 printable resources, PowerSchool Learning, iReady, iStation, and/or Edgenuity, etc.). These sites will continue to provide students with high quality, grade level resources ensuring that learning continues even when our buildings are closed.

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  • What if my student doesn't have a computing device or internet connection?

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    Update April 23, 2020 - WiFi hotspot distribution is complete for families who requested a device.

    Chromebook device deployment is also complete.  If you have a device that is broken and needs replacement, devices can be brought to the WS/FCS Education Building at 4801 Bethania Station Road, in Winston-Salem to swap them out for a new loaner device.  

     

     

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  • What if my child left personal items or medication at school and we need to get it?

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    Families needing items from the school should call the school and request an appointment for pick up of the needed materials. 

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  • My student is worried about their grades, college entrance, AP/IB exams. How can the district help?

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    A very important new AP update has just posted to CollegeBoard AP Central website with information regarding testing.  The following link provides all of the details

    https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update

     

    The health and safety of students and educators is our top priority.  We’re closely monitoring the updates and guidance about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other leading health organizations. We’ve launched an AP Central web page to provide information about flexible testing options for schools experiencing substantial disruption or closure and guidance for schools that plan to maintain AP instruction while students are at home.  On Monday, we’ll send an email to AP teachers, AP coordinators, principals, and district staff that directs them to this new page on AP Central.

    On the website, there is a one-page overview of how AP teachers can use the free, daily online practice in AP Classroom to check student understanding of each topic and skill in the AP course and ensure that students are well prepared for exam day.

    The following links are ACT/SAT updates, the Common App, and the National Associations of College Admission Counselors regarding COVID-19 updates and changes.

    The College Board
    https://pages.collegeboard.org/natural-disasters

    AP Testing

    https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update?SFMC_cid=EM285330-&rid=15167318

    ACT
    https://www.act.org/content/act/en/covid-19.html

    The Common App
    https://appsupport.commonapp.org/applicantsupport/s/article/Message-from-Common-App-regarding-the-coronavirus

    National Association of College Admission Counselors
    https://www.nacacnet.org/news--publications/newsroom/press-releases/nacac-update-coronavirus/

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  • What about my child who requires special education services?

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    Our Exceptional Children’s staff, who provide services to our students with disabilities, will make every effort to deliver the special education service time indicated in each student’s IEP via the online platform, when possible.  When the district’s schools reopen, your child’s teachers and special education service providers will work with you to determine if additional services are required.

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  • What about families who need childcare if schools are closed?

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    We are continuing to check with our community partners about their plans for childcare now that schools are closed. We will add any information we obtain to this site as soon as we get it. It is advised that parents consider alternative arrangements for childcare such as talking with other family members, neighbors, churches, etc. in case traditional methods are not open or available.

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  • Education is more than a place

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    WS/FCS is committed to providing standards-aligned and relevant learning experiences for our students in a safe and nurturing environment. While we recognize that the optimal learning environment is with dedicated and certified teachers in every classroom, our district’s digital resources allow uninterrupted learning extensions for students during school closures caused by weather or health issues. Our digital resources provide an innovative way to extend learning beyond our school buildings.

    WS/FCS students are 21st Century Learners and have been encouraged to use both print resources and technology tools each school day allowing flexible and personalized learning opportunities.

    In the event of a school closure related to COVID-19, our Instructional Services Team and classroom teachers have provided online learning resources for students through various platforms (K-2 printable resources, PowerSchool Learning, iReady, iStation, and/or Edgenuity, etc.). These sites will continue to provide students with high quality, grade level resources ensuring that learning continues if our buildings are closed. The consistency of learning is important for our students during times of change and uncertainty. The academic development, as well as the health and well-being of our students and staff, is of utmost importance. Please encourage your child to utilize their teacher-provided digital learning resources.

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  • PRE-CLOSURE QUESTIONS

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  • What about volunteers and school visitation?

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    On Thursday, March 12, 2020, WS/FCS suspended the volunteer program and limited visitors on all campuses to reduce potential exposure to students and staff.

    Parents can still visit children but will be asked to spend time with them in a private area on campus.  While children are in the district’s care, we must take every precaution possible to limit exposure to outside individuals with whom the district may not be familiar. All actions are guided with safety coming first.

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  • Will school activities or field trips be cancelled? Yes

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    On Thursday, March 12, 2020, WS/FCS suspended all school-sponsored field trips and staff out-of-district professional development programs. All school-sponsored trips will remain on hold until further notice.

    Also, on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in accordance with the announcement from North Carolina Governor, Roy Cooper, WS/FCS suspended all school-sponsored group events and gatherings.  This includes but is not limited to school plays, concerts, schoolwide meetings, proms, and other school-sponsored activities that bring in large groups of attendees at one time.

    It is important to note, as a part of the school schedule, before and after school childcare programs will continue as scheduled unless otherwise noted by the provider.

    In accordance with Thursday’s announcement from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, all official WS/FCS interscholastic athletics are also suspended until further notice.  This includes all workouts, skill development sessions, practices, and contests. This suspension will remain in effect until April 6, 2020, or as otherwise directed by the NCHSAA.

    It is also important to note that our schools will continue to exercise caution in daily school activities and limit, to the best of our ability, large gatherings of students during the school day. 

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  • What can I do now?

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    WS/FCS is encouraging parents to have plans in place, especially for those with younger children. Actions to take include:

    • Finding alternative childcare arrangements for your children due to school closure
    • Talking to your neighbors and other parents in your child’s school about sharing childcare duties if your children are well, but the school is closed
    • Talking to your employer about policies for working from home or shifting work schedules or responsibilities if schools are dismissed or you become
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  • How do I Learn about COVID-19 Coronavirus and how to reduce the risks for my family?

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    The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is monitoring the situation daily and offering real-time, common-sense best advice for individuals and families. The NCDHHS informational page can be found via this link.

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  • Are music and athletic departments taking precautions to ensure sanitization of equipment?

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    Our music and athletic departments are working with professionals in their respective fields to address those concerns. Band and music instructors have been given directions and training on instrument cleaning both before and after use. Our athletic departments are reminding athletes of good hygiene practices and taking steps to reduce the use of shared water sources. They are also reminding athletes not to share personal items or items that may touch their faces and work to clean equipment before and after use.

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  • Will Spring Break be impacted by the closure?

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    There is no change to the Spring Break schedule at this time.

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  • What is a State of Emergency?

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    A state of emergency empowers state government to request Federal funds and/or perform actions and/or impose policies it would not normally be permitted to take. The declaration should serve as a reminder that everyone should be thinking about preventative measures our health officials have been sharing in order to protect themselves from the illness.

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