3/5/21 Will all AACPS employees need to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus?
All AACPS employees will be given the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccination(s) beginning in the spring of 2021. The vaccination(s) will not be a requirement of employment.
Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccinations will be shipped to the county for use. The Anne Arundel County Fire Department personnel will be administering the vaccinations on behalf of the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. AACPS is providing the location and organizational support for the Fire Department to administer the vaccinations.
2/25/21 Can you tell me the rules about out of state travel for students and staff?
The governor issued an emergency order requiring Marylanders to limit all travel to essential purposes only. All Marylanders who do travel outside of Maryland or any individuals who do travel to Maryland must either obtain a negative COVID-19 test result or self-quarantine for 10 days.
This travel applies to all states, with the exception of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC.
2/16/21 When will families be notified of their hybrid students’ cohort (M&T or Th&F) that will begin on March 1st?
Principals and Transportation Specialists are working hard to cohort hybrid students on buses and in classrooms. They are also making adjustments based on student demand for in-person learning, siblings needing to go to school on the same day (if possible), teachers needing accommodations to teach virtually, and the desire of parents/guardians for their students to stay with their classroom teacher.
Our goal is to share the results of the elementary school student cohorts with families by Monday, February 22, 2021.
2/16/21 Will students be using paper and pencils in the hybrid learning setting in their classrooms? Will students share materials?
Teachers will be able to pass out papers for student use. Students can use paper and pencils, crayons, and markers within their in-person classroom learning setting. Teachers can distribute papers and collect papers using a collection bin or folder. It is expected that teachers will not have in-person students using their Chromebooks for all learning as they do in virtual learning. The use of paper, pencils, and paper instructional materials is an expectation. Families will see a mixed use of paper materials and tech-based learning materials during hybrid instruction.
Students will not, however, share papers or materials between one another. We will not be sharing textbooks or other materials that will be shared between students. Importantly, the teacher may offer books to in-person students from the library to read in class and take home with them to continue their reading. They will then collect books and allow them to sit for a period of time before they can be returned to the library to share with other students.
Virtual learning students may also use paper, pencils, crayons, and markers as well. While they cannot turn in their papers physically to their teacher, they could take photos of their work to submit electronically, hold up their work so that the Chromebook camera can capture their work, or simply discuss their work with their peers or teacher in the virtual world.
The Department of Health has approved all of these processes.
2/11/21 Will hybrid learners in elementary school be learning in school with their Chromebooks as they are when learning virtually from home? What will the differences be between hybrid and virtual learning?
The students in the classroom will see the teacher’s slide deck or ppt on the smart board in the classroom; they will not need their Chromebooks to see what is on your computer. The students at home may be entering their thinking in the chat while the students in the classroom may be turning to talk with their neighbor. Sometimes you may have students at home write on their Whiteboard sleeve while the students in the classroom are writing on paper. On some occasions, all students will be using paper and pencil as we may not need to collect what is being written, but rather just sharing ideas verbally or sharing by holding up whatever is written for other students to see.
Certainly, from time to time you will want the hybrid students to be using their Chromebooks so you are able to use the digital tools such as Jamboard, Kahoot, etc. After a week or so, little by little you will find a good balance between traditional and digital tool use with your hybrid and virtual students. There is no one right answer, but rather the best answer is one where we are balanced in our approach with the use of technology with our learners.
2/4/21 What is the timeline for different student groups and grade levels to return to in-person learning in our schools?
The timeline for reopening our schools begins in February 2021 with small groups returning and continues throughout March until all of our students who are electing to return to hybrid instruction will be back in our schools learning two days per week.
Here is the timeline for all hybrid students to return to our schools.
1/17/21 Why aren’t we looking to bring back the students who NEED the in-person learning most, instead of offering it to all students?
Unfortunately, this is very difficult to do for so many different reasons, the least of which is how to equitably measure who is in greatest need. Some students need seats because they need more personal attention from the teacher to learn difficult content. Others need seats to be a part of a community of learners. Some needs seats for their mental well-being while others need to be at school because home is a difficult place for them to learn. Finally, there are students who need the socialization that clubs and extended day activities offer. We have to rely on students and their families to do what is best for each student as an individual. We should have enough seats to allow for those who wish to attend school in person to do so.
1/17/21 How will the extended days in our PVA Magnet Programs be handled?
The PVA magnet program will continue to operate both virtually and in person. We are planning to offer the extended day in hybrid form, but this will depend on the health metrics, the type of extended day activity, and the availability of outside artists/musicians/dancers to offer the extended day activities and events in person.
1/17/21 Will middle and high school students be sitting in the school building but still learning via their Chromebooks (virtually)?
No, this is not correct. Students who attend school in person will be in their classroom with their teacher. Sometimes this teacher will be standing in front of them and sometimes, if an accommodation has been given to a teacher to remain teaching virtually, this teacher will facilitate the learning of this class for students virtually. In this second case, the in-person learner will receive the classroom instruction via their Chromebook.
1/17/21 What is your communication plan to educate families on the importance of keeping their kids home if they or someone in their close family circle is showing symptoms?
We will be communicating this type of information to parents/guardians who choose to send their student(s) to school for in-person learning. We have also put a Daily Screening Parent Checklist in place for families to use before sending their students to school each morning. We will be diligent in sending reminders and we will have each school health room staffed with a nurse who is also able to screen for symptoms of any students who may feel ill while at school.
1/17/21 Have all of the PPE supplies arrived for student and staff use?
PPE supplies and cleaning supplies are in place in schools ready for student and staff use when hybrid learning begins.
1/17/21 - What is the expectation we can have for the cleaning of bathrooms?
Our custodial crews have been trained to follow the protocols for hand washing, hand sanitizing, restroom and classroom cleaning.
1/16/21 What updates to the HVACs have been done while the buildings have been empty?
All of our AACPS schools and buildings are operating with appropriate HVAC equipment and filters.
1/16/21 What happens when someone in the hybrid class/school tests positive for COVID?
Upon going hybrid, when we learn of a person who tests positive for COVID in a classroom, we will alert the families of the other students. We will follow the guidance of our Health agencies per closure of classrooms and schools based on the number of cases in a single classroom, grade level, or school overall. We update all of our safety protocols and post them on the following website regularly: https://www.aacps.org/safetyprotocols
1/13/21 How will ALPS classes be handled? If we choose virtual-only for our son, will he be combined in a class with students from other schools, or will he keep his teacher from his own school?
ALPs will continue to be offered virtually with hybrid and virtual-only students taught simultaneously by their own teacher or a teacher from their school building, unless there are serious extenuating circumstances.
1/13/21 How will band and chorus work? If a student has band on a day they are learning in person, will they be able to play their instrument in school or will they continue to have band class virtually?
Currently the Department of Health is not supportive of students singing or playing wind instruments in our school buildings. Band and Chorus will remain virtual until such time that the Department of Health deems band and chorus as safe to participate in during in-person learning.
1/12/21 If my student receives psychological and speech services during Academic Flex now, how will they receive these services in the hybrid environment?
Some hybrid students will continue to receive their special services during Academic Flex time and some will have their services moved to another time within the day. In some cases the services will be in person and in some cases the students will continue to receive these services virtually from their service provider. Each school will schedule these services based on student needs as they did when the fall semester began in September of 2020.
1/12/21 My child’s school currently departmentalizes teaching in 3rd -5th grades. Will that still occur in the hybrid model or will every teacher have to teach every subject?
Schools are allowed to continue to departmentalize when hybrid learning begins. However, each school will make this decision uniquely based on the in-person staffing they have available.
1/12/21 how will lunch be handled during hybrid learning? Can students walk home or be picked up for the lunch break?
Lunch will be eaten in the classrooms. Hybrid learning students are expected to be in school for the full school day. No students will be allowed to leave during the midday lunch block. Hybrid students will eat lunch, enjoy recess, and engage in Literacy-Engage! Time during the midday block of time.
1/12/21 What happens if a student violates the 6 foot social distancing mandate during hybrid learning?
We have set up the room to support students to remain socially distant from one another. However, we realize that our students are children and from time to time they will be in closer proximity to one another. The teachers will gently remind them and move on with the learning activities of the day.
1/12/21 When will you reschedule students into hybrid and virtual-only cohorts? Will this occur at the semester change or when we bring back some students for hybrid learning?
We will reschedule students into hybrid and virtual-only cohorts when we bring back students for hybrid in-person learning.
1/11/21 What is the hybrid learning plan for middle and high school students?
The middle and high school students will follow, for the most part, the virtual schedule. Students will move about the school building attending their scheduled classes, much like they did prior to the school closures in March.
Mitigation strategies will be in place to protect the staff and students and limit, as much as possible, the spread of the virus.
- Students and staff will wear masks and practice proper physical distancing
- The seating in some rooms may be limited; Only 22-24 students per bus, with one student per seat
- There will be limited number of seats in each room; Students will be reminded to wash their hands frequently
- Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be available in each classroom and throughout the school building
- students may travel through the hallways in a single direction.
If a student’s teacher is teaching in person, students will attend that given class in person. If a given teacher for a course is teaching virtually, the hybrid learner will receive their instruction virtually while assigned to a given classroom in their middle or high school. Midday block and the Tu/Th study block-clubs-tutoring time at high school will be offered in person with the option of some choices offered virtually during this time block. Lunch will be offered in classrooms (approximately 10-16 students/classroom based on current health guidelines).
1/11/21 When hybrid learning begins, what happens for schools that do not have separate facilities for Before and After school care?
Large spaces such as cafeterias and gyms in schools will not be used for before/after childcare. Many families who choose hybrid learning and need before or after care for their students, may need to seek this care from an outside private vendor, friends, or family.
1/11/21 Knowing how important socialization time is for students, will staff attempt to minimize pulling students from Friends & Fun Time?
Principals and teachers realize that positive socialization with peers is key to overall student wellness. As such, there will be at least 1-2 days per week where every child will have the opportunity to participate in Friends & Fun time instead of receiving an invitation to small group Flourish time. Moreover, parents are encouraged to speak with their student’s teacher is this issue becomes a challenge.
1/11/21 When hybrid learning begins and schools have different start/stop times, how will this impact community-based virtual or face-to-face support centers who have students from many different schools?
Parents/Guardians are using community-based virtual or face-to-face support centers and who wish to have their students attend hybrid learning two days/week will have to adjust their learning support center use according to our school schedules.
1/11/21 What solutions are proposed to allow related service providers (speech/pt/ot) to see students given the second-semester schedules are different than first-semester schedules?
Special Educators and service providers will navigate the challenges of the new virtual schedule as they navigated the nuances of the Fall 2020 virtual schedule. They will attempt to minimize pulling students from mathematics and Literacy/Reading blocks as well as other core learning blocks, but in some cases may need to occasionally pull some students to provide services during core or cultural arts blocks. If this happens, the providers will attempt to rotate services, so students are not pulled from the same learning block routinely.
1/11/21 How will implementation of IEP and 504 accommodations be applied in a hybrid setting vs the virtual setting?
Special Education teachers and support providers will have the ability to work in-person with students in the hybrid environment as space availability and timing (scheduling of personnel) allow. Due to schedules, some service providers will continue to support some students with special needs virtually even while in the hybrid environment.
1/5/21 How much will kindergarteners and first graders have to sit at their desks?
Desks will be spaced approximately six feet apart for social distancing purposes. Similar to learning in our brick and mortar schools prior to COVID, a Kindergartner will be expected to engage in classwork from their desk, the collaborative learning station, and the areas surrounding their desk. They will also be able to engage in circle time away from their desk depending on the room arrangement. We will do our best to make the classrooms as engaging, warm, and friendly as is possible.
1/5/21 What testing of technology will be completed prior to students coming into building? Can buildings handle the tech load? What contingency plans for tech outages?
Wireless access points, signal strength, and bandwidth have been increased/upgraded at all elementary schools to handle the additional load. It is important to note, however, that students will not be on their Chromebooks constantly throughout the school day during in-person learning. There will be some routine use of technology, but it will not be the main learning format for in-person learners.
1/5/21 Will there be a monitor for different hybrid cohorts or is the same lunch time person floating to several classes and at significant risk of spreading COVID to multiple groups of children?
This depends on the number of monitors we are able to hire. Those who must interact with children – whether a single cohort or multiple cohorts –will wear a mask, wash their hands frequently, and maintain appropriate distancing. By design, we will attempt to minimize the cohorts of students the monitors supervise.
1/5/21 Will the monitors have access to students’ IEPs and 504s? If not how will they be capable of interacting with kids with certain disabilities/needs?
We plan to hire mid-day monitors, thus making them employees, so they will have access to the needed and appropriate student information. They will undergo the same onboarding process and receive the same training as our substitute teachers and will be briefed on the needs of the students with whom they interact as they would if they were a substitute teacher.
1/5/21 If you choose hybrid, can you switch to virtual? And vice versa?
No, unless the switch can be made without negatively impacting the hybrid classroom. That is, we cannot add more students to a classroom or onto a bus if the maximums have been reached. In the same fashion, we are offering hybrid for students who will benefit from in-person learning. If those who select hybrid learning subsequently were to choose to stay home and learn virtually, this would negatively affect the in-person learning community. It is quite possible that we would need to adjust such a situation from hybrid to virtual-only for all students in that particular classroom.
1/5/21 - Is the upcoming parent survey written to allow parents to clearly prioritize what is most important to them, so that school staff can better place students accordingly? (Staying virtual, being in the building, keeping the same teacher)
Parents can choose the hybrid format or have their child(ren) remain fully virtual. They will also be able to indicate if they want to prioritize their child staying with their teacher over receiving their ideal learning model choice. Further, they will indicate whether their child will require transportation to and from school.
12/28/20 Are you actually planning to bring back middle and high school students this school year?
We would like to bring back students at all levels before the end of this school year. We will begin by bringing back small groups of students hopefully as early as the later part of January.
12/14/20 Who and How are you planning to bring back to school first when the health data allow in-person learning?
We worked strategically last fall to bring back small numbers of students in our Developmental Centers, our CAT Centers, and small numbers of ESOL students. We were able to achieve in-person learning for many of these students, but had to return them to virtual learning early in November when the COVID case rates climbed to high levels in Anne Arundel County.
We will attempt to return these students and more to in-person learning early in 2021. We will make our decision to return these small groups of students to schools based on the health and safety data in the county at the time