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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ's for the Return to School 2020

Parkland Online Overview

Elementary - Parkland Online
The elementary Parkland Online experience will consist of student access to all of Parkland’s digital content such as Schoology, Go Math, Moby Max, and Wonders through the Clever portal. In addition, students will be enrolled in rigorous online courses. These courses are highly structured, easy to navigate, and provide frequent checks for understanding and progress monitoring for students. The courses are designed using Understanding by Design (UDL) principles, with many ways to access course content and learning support tools such as text to speech built in for younger learners. Assessments are not only multiple-choice quizzes and tests, but include frequent writing and verbal fluency checks with feedback provided by a Parkland staff member to the extent possible.  In addition, more than 130 school districts are involved as part of a consortium that uses this content, so it has been vetted and has a high student success rate (more than 90%). Students will also have live, synchronous learning opportunities in Schoology, similar to their experience in the spring. The addition of full online courses will ensure students can work at their own pace, with additional pacing guides and scaffolded support.  There will be the opportunity to engage with other Parkland students using a variety of tools. 

Secondary - Parkland Online
At the secondary level, the primary Parkland Online platform for learning will be Schoology, using content our teachers have developed over the last several years supplemented by additional digital content.  This learning management system also provides multiple ways for students to engage with each other and their teacher. To provide additional rigor and structure, students will also have access to additional online course content if needed.  Having access to this digital content means that most of Parkland’s current course catalog will be available to students, except for those hands-on courses which are difficult to teach in a fully online environment.  Parkland guidance counselors will first attempt to match your child’s current course requests to the Parkland Online courses to the extent possible.  If a course is not available, a guidance counselor will contact you for alternate options.

Will students receive live instruction in the Parkland Online Program? Yes. With a Parkland teacher dedicated to a class of Parkland students, there will be live instruction with both whole groups and small groups.  The Parkland Online students will also be monitored and supported by Parkland staff who will prescribe interventions if deemed appropriate.

What if the courses my student was planning on taking this year are not offered in the Parkland Online option?  Parkland guidance counselors will first attempt to match your child’s current course requests to the Parkland Online courses to the extent possible.  If a course is not available, a guidance counselor will contact you for alternate options.

What regularly scheduled sessions for students will be offered to ask questions of teachers? Teachers will have office hours that will be communicated to students and families as well as live interactions with classmates and teachers.

How will you coordinate the curriculum for Parkland Online vs. face-to-face instruction so that students can transition back and forth depending on the situation? If a Parkland teacher is the teacher of record, pacing and  sequencing should mirror the curriculum in the classroom. 

What can Parkland do to help the elementary online students to have interactions with other elementary students and their elementary teachers?  We cannot guarantee students will be grouped with all students from their building but all students in the class will be Parkland students.  We will make every effort to build relationships and have students make connections in this online environment.

Will a student with an IEP who receives speech therapy continue with the same speech therapist from their home school, or will they be working with someone new? We are planning to have students with speech IEP’s work with their current speech teacher unless transitioning to another building (i.e. elementary to middle school or middle to high school). 

How smooth of a transition will it be if students switch from face-to-face to Parkland Online or vice versa?  How long would it take for a student to switch from one program to another?  As with any transition of a new student, building staff want students to feel welcomed and have various ways to integrate new students into their new setting.  They assign buddies and meet the principal and teacher ahead of time to name a few.  The transition from one program to another should take less than one week.

Will Parkland Online learners be using the same textbooks and resources as the face-to-face learners? Secondary students who choose Parkland Online will use the same textbooks and have access to the same digital resources, with a greater emphasis on digital content that aligns with our curriculum. At the elementary level, the Parkland Online courses will be taught primarily by Parkland teachers using digital content that aligns with Parkland’s curriculum.

Will a Gifted Curriculum be available to gifted students who choose Parkland Online?
A student’s GIEP will be followed virtually via the Teacher of the Gifted who is assigned to the child’s school building. The students will have weekly online meetings with that teacher.

General Questions

Was the return-to-school survey a final commitment from my family? No.  Schedule changes must be requested by calling your school’s main office.  

Can my student start in Parkland Online this fall and then change to face-to-face instruction (or vice versa)?  Yes.  Parents will need to contact their child’s school office to request a different option for their student.

Why is there not a hybrid in-person/online learning option for elementary students?
On average, Parkland has small class sizes at the elementary level which enhances social distancing.  We can also cohort classes of students and ensure limited movement throughout the building.  At the secondary level, due to larger enrollments, social distancing requirements, and necessary student transitions throughout the day, we needed  to reduce the density of our population on any given day to enhance social distancing.

What is the schedule for secondary students during the first two weeks of school since they are four-day weeks?  Students with last names A-L will attend the first two days that school is open (Mon and Tues during week 1 and Tues and Wed during week 2) and students with last names M-Z will attend the last two days of the week that school is open (Wed and Thurs during week 1 and Thurs and Fri during week 2).  The same adjustment to the in-person instructional calendar will hold true as we progress through the school year and announcements and reminders will be communicated to students and parents.

If I choose face-to-face learning at the secondary level, is my child going to receive 5 days of instruction? Yes. Students will receive assignments and instruction all days of the week that school is in session through a combination of face-to-face instruction at school and independent learning from home.

At the elementary level, will students stay in their classroom all day? Students will be in their classroom for most of the day, unless transitioning to other areas (i.e. lunch or encore subjects).

Will elementary “specials” or “encore subjects” be offered? (updated August 5) The schedule for face-to-face learners will be different (i.e. students will attend art for 11 days in a row instead of once per weekly cycle in each marking period).  In Parkland Online, Music, Art, Physical Education/Health and Media Center will be offered.

Will the cafeteria be open, or will they have to bring lunch from home? (updated August 5) All cafeterias will be open for business. Breakfast and lunch will consist of both hot and cold options.  Students may also bring their own lunch.

My child is on a free/reduced meal program.  Will meals be offered at the secondary level for my student on the days that he/she is not in school? Yes.  

What is the chemical use breakdown of ingredients that you are using to disinfect spaces across the District? All disinfectants used have at least a 60% alcohol base as per CDC guidelines. 

Can we have a meeting to talk about the upcoming school year, share suggestions and ask questions? (updated August 5) These occurred August 4th and are linked here.

Face Coverings/Health Concerns
How many people do you expect will not be wearing masks? We expect all persons to be wearing a mask and following the Governor’s order.

If a student or staff member will not be wearing a mask in a classroom or a location where one of my children are, what precautions will be taken to ensure that the individual without the mask is at least 6 feet from my children?  The administration has a defined process to address students not wearing a mask.  In order for anyone not to wear a mask, they must maintain 6 feet social distancing as per the Governor’s Order.

What if a student on my child’s bus or in my student’s classroom forgets a mask?  Emergency face coverings will be available on the bus and at school. 

If a student will not be wearing a mask in the classroom, will desks be arranged so that they are at least 6 feet from all other students? Yes.

Can my child wear a face shield as a face covering?  Yes.

If 6 feet cannot be maintained, what precautions are being taken as suggested by the CDC? Students and staff will wear face coverings. 

What steps will be taken to ensure responsible compliance from all members of the community? We all share in the responsibility to practice the right behaviors such as filling out the online wellness form each day, wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing.  In addition to monitoring students and staff for symptoms or history of exposure, teachers will observe students for any signs of illness and school nurses, who have been trained in contact tracing, will communicate with families/staff that respond “Yes” to any questions on the student and staff wellness forms with further instructions. We have compiled a list of resources to aid and educate the community on best health and safety practices at www.parklandsd.org/coronavirus.