FAQ's Fall 2020 Reopening
A COVID-19 vaccine hasn’t been developed. Why open schools now?
The decision to reopen schools on August 20 with extensive safety steps in place recognizes that families face multiple risks in addition to the virus. Students who are not in school face the potential for a significant decrease in learning and many children are at risk for social-emotional problems without the support of the public school system. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the return of students to the classroom with appropriate safety measures in place. Read the statement here.
For families who prefer an online option, WPS has created the Westminster K-12 Virtual Academy.
How is the Westminster K-12 Virtual Academy different from remote learning that the district provided in the spring of 2020?
Our remote learning program was an “all hands-on” effort by teachers to bring classroom instruction to students at home. The Virtual Academy is built around a rigorous curriculum designed specifically for online learning and delivered by teachers with expertise in online education. Some students thrive in this environment.
I’m not comfortable with my child being in a building with other students, how do I know they will be safe?
As you know from your own experience, it is not possible to completely isolate anyone and provide a 100% guarantee they will not get sick. As a group, children are the least likely to suffer severe effects of COVID-19 illness and WPS has a clearly defined plan to try and limit the exposure and transmission of the coronavirus. WPS is in continual contact with the Tri-County Health Department and will adjust plans based on the latest information available. Highlights of the plan include:
- In-person temperature checks - students or staff with temperatures of 100.4 degrees will not be allowed in buildings.
- Wearing of masks or other facial coverings will be mandatory.
- Parents will not be allowed inside schools.
- Students will stay in small groups whenever possible.
- Social distancing will be observed and practiced to the fullest level possible.
- Regular hand washing will be required and encouraged.
- The number of shared items will be reduced.
- Schools will be regularly cleaned and decontaminated
- Bell schedules will be staggered and traffic patterns redirected to limit the number of students in the hallways
It seems like children are always the first to get sick and share germs. What does the research say about this?
There is still a lot we don’t know about COVID-19, but new research has found that children do not spread the disease nearly as often as the public feared and children who become infected usually have a much milder reaction. You can read the study here.
My children spend a lot of time with their grandparents. Is it safe for them to come to school?
The elderly population and people with compromised immune systems should be kept away from school-age children whenever possible. It is possible for people to feel perfectly fine but still be contagious.
Is it safe to ride a school bus?
WPS is asking parents to provide their own transportation when possible or work out a carpool arrangement with close friends and family. Social distancing will be practiced and all students and drivers will be required to wear masks. All busses will be thoroughly cleaned after each run.
Westminster High School is not providing bus service, though RTD student passes are being made available. Find more information regarding the RTD passes here.
What will recess look like?
Students will be kept in small assigned groups and assigned to designated are of the playground or fields. There will be limited use of playground equipment and students will be encouraged to participate in touch-free activities like running, jump rope, hula hoops, hopscotch and kicking, but not handling soccer balls.
How will meals be served?
School meals (breakfast and lunch) will be “grab-and-go” with students eating in their assigned classrooms or in supervised groups outdoor when the weather permits.
What about sports?
WPS will follow all guidelines provided by The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA). The organization has created a Resocialization Task Force to examine when, and how, to resume sports and activities.
Will students go on field trips?
Unfortunately, all field trips and activities away from school are canceled for the time being. Staff will continually be looking for interesting and inventive ways to bring new experiences to students.
What happens if COVID-19 becomes widespread?
Westminster Public Schools or individual schools or classrooms are prepared to go back to remote learning if it becomes necessary. Teachers and students learned a lot about virtual learning during the spring shutdown and that information will help everyone if remote learning is required.
WPS has created a flow chart that describes the steps that will be taken if a student becomes ill. You can see it here.
Every school is different. How do I know the plan for my school is the best one?
School principals revised their summer schedules so they could come back to their buildings early to begin working on plans that are specific to their school. Our operations team ‘walked” every building with the principal to make sure the best possible plan is in place. Plans for individual schools are available on all school websites.
Where can I find more information?
The internet and social media are flooded with information and opinions, but not all of it is accurate. Here is an example of a trusted resource.