Town Hall Questions and Answers

Last Updated: 8/5/2020 5:00 PM

Thank you to everyone who submitted questions for our Town Hall. Please know that similar questions were grouped together. To view the Town Hall video, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qgm4T_iLiY  

With the planned rotational model, what can teachers and parents do about child care?
We understand that child care is a tremendous issue for our community. We believe that the models we selected best meet the needs of our community while also following our guidance document. This district is working on possible options for our staff and community for child care assistance. There will be more information coming on that soon. Please know we understand the child care issue that many will have with the A/B rotational model. Hopefully, in the near future we will be able to bring back all of our students for in-person learning, but until then, because of state and local health guidance, we will be forced to do an A/B rotational model.

Will the district be changing the amount of allowed sick days?
The district will not be providing additional sick days. However, the Kenton County School Board approved additional emergency days to be used by employees who are quarantined by state agencies. Please contact our Human Resources department if you find yourself in that situation.

Do teachers have a say or another option if they are uncomfortable being recorded?
The synchronous model allows for the delivery of instruction to be on a continual basis with flexibility for those at home. We know there will need to be training for teachers, and we are already in the process of beginning that training, which will be ongoing throughout the school year. The synchronous model is outlined on pages 4 and 11 of the KCSD Guidance Document. The synchronous model provides daily check ins with teachers and students, tasks for students to help with the instructional flow as well as providing connection between peers and teachers. Every day will look different based on the lesson for the day. There will be a portion where direct instruction is recorded, and there will be times where there will not be recorded instruction.    

How will the mental health needs of teachers be supported as they work to follow COVID guidelines?
We know our teachers work very hard for our students. The District has an Employee Assistance Program that can be utilized by all employees. For more information on the EAP, contact Human Resources.

How will you meet the needs of special education with the synchronous/rotational model?
The services of an IEP will be implemented with the synchronous model. Schools are having ARCs right now to determine the individual needs that best meet a student. If a child is participating in synchronous instruction from home, the will receive a schedule from the school so the student and parents will know when specially designed instruction is taking place  

If we do end up going completely virtual at some point, can we please be allowed in our classrooms to present virtual lessons from there?
Yes, it would be our goal to allow staff to access their classrooms or workspace as long as we are able to do that.

What is the communication plan/expectation from administrators/district moving forward?  The lack of communication has been appalling.  KCSD needs to be more transparent with its teachers moving forward.
We regret that any member of our team feels like our communication has not been effective. We have sent consistent emails, produced videos and provided updates on social media. We have a page devoted on our website to Covid-19, and have made our guidance document available to the public. We have also had weekly meetings with leadership teams in our district to include KCEA members. We understand the importance of effective communication and we will continually try to improve.

Will allowed socialization and mask breaks be built into the day for middle/high school students who no longer get recess?
We will be including physical breaks throughout the day, especially for those students who do not get recess.

Please explain to me why it wasn't safe for my child to go to school in March when there were 80-100 cases a day of the covid virus, but it is now safe for my child to go to school when there are 400-500 new cases reported a day.
We continue to monitor the guidance of state and local health officials. Our goal is to mitigate the risk for our students and staff. We believe the guidance we’ve received from state and local health officials allows us to do that. As long as we are all committed to following our guidance, we will be able to mitigate the risk.

Will there be plexiglass partitions at all desks in all classrooms?  I know Indiana schools are doing this. 
No, we do not have a plan for that at this time. We are pursuing the guidance of keeping students in the classroom 6 feet apart.

What happens if a student/staff member tests positive for COVID?
The Decision Tree is linked in the Guidance Document and linked on the KCSD website. We will use this when there are suspected or positive cases in the district.

How will contact covid tracing be handled in school? Lots of asymptomatic cases especially in youth. Are we tracking who enters classrooms?
The Northern Kentucky Health department is handling contact tracing. They will be alerted to any positive cases. We will have seat assignments for classrooms, buses, cafeteria and any areas students gather.  We will provide seating charts to the Health Department upon request. There will be very limited entry into rooms by people/visitors who are not assigned to the classroom. They will adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Numerous studies indicate it is essentially dangerous to a child's health to wear a mask an entire day. What research is the school system following for kids to wear one all day (aside from the CDC)??
We are following guidance from state and local health officials. When students and staff are exercising social distancing (6 feet apart), masks can be lowered.

What type of masks are kids allowed to wear? I’ve heard they can’t wear the gaiters or tie masks.
KDE has provided guidance on masks and on PAGE 8 of KCSD Guidance Document we have included this information. Masks can be secured with ties or ear loops. We have had a lot of questions regarding “gaiters,” and they will be permitted. Ideally all face coverings should have two or more layers of fabric.

Will all sick students and teachers need a doctor’s note to return?
This information can be found in our Decision Tree.  Returning will be based on the type of symptom and on the criteria for recovery. 

What will the protocol be if a family within the district travels to a travel advisory state?
The Governor recommends that if your family travels to a travel advisory state that you self-quarantine for 14 days. We are following that recommendation and ask that any staff, students and families not travel to those states before the first day of school on August 24. If you have to, we recommend that you self-quarantine.

Curious how you’ll spin the death of a teacher? Will they be a “hero” lauded for their commitment to the students? I’m just looking for a little guidance as to what I should tell my son if his mom dies.
We are following all the guidance of state and local health officials. Nothing matters more to us than our staff, students, families and community. We believe we are mitigating risks as outlined in the guidance documents. Therefore, we will return to in-person instruction unless that guidance changes. 

What are the nightly/daily cleaning protocols?
Please reference the ‘Facilities’ section of the KCSD Guidance Document for more information on our enhanced cleaning protocols. We intend to follow all of these protocols. Oxivir, a hospital-grade cleaning product, will be used during the day, and our evening staff will use Virex. Both of these were selected because of the kill rate of the virus upon contact.

Why is it still being presented that masks are only required during “transitions”? The Governor’s mandate clearly states that when inside of ANY building masks are required to be worn by all individuals aged 6 and up?
The guidance we received from state and local health officials indicates that requirement does not apply to school buildings, and that when staff and students are 6 feet apart, masks can be lowered.

Will classrooms be completely sanitized between class periods by custodial staff?
It is recommended that all staff members receive training on proper cleaning procedures. We understand the size of our district and it’s important to work as a team to make sure that we clean classrooms adequately. All staff will receive training and be asked to participate in cleaning throughout the district.

Is there a threshold for symptomatic students/staff or confirmed Covid cases which would result in closures?  Will this occur by classroom or school?  How may this affect busing?
We will frequently monitor the situation and make the decision based on guidance of local health officials. It is possible that a class, school or the entire district may have to close. We will work closely with state and local health officials and make decisions based on their guidance. 

The WHO recommends that recirculating air be avoided in buildings. Fresh air should be brought in whenever possible. What is the district doing to update the HVAC and air filtration systems in our school buildings?
Please reference the ‘Indoor Air Quality’ section on page 27 of the Guidance Document to review what we are doing about air circulation. We will be increasing the frequency of filter changes and ventilation when weather permits. We will maintain recommended temperature and humidity ranges, and all HVAC systems will operate 2 hours before and after occupancy at the peak outside air rate.

Explain why the A/B rotational model was chosen.
This model was selected based on a few criteria. The state of Kentucky sent calculators to all school districts to determine how many students could be in the building while still maintaining social distancing. All of our schools used this calculator to determine the percentage of students they could hold using not only classrooms, but other rooms (gym, cafeteria, etc.) as well. (Thank you to our principals and support operations staff for their hard work in this project.) Our survey indicated that about 70 percent of parents/guardians wanted their students in the classroom, and we wish we could accommodate every one. Unfortunately, the majority of our schools could not accommodate 70 percent of their students. About 60 percent of survey respondents selected the short-term rotational model. We met and decided to use a Monday-Wednesday and Tuesday-Thursday model with alternating Fridays. The decision was based on a lot of data and a lot of conversations. While we know it is not perfect, we can get the most students possible in our schools via the guidance document while also getting all of our P-3 students in school (for those families who said they wanted their students to have in-person instruction). 

In the synchronous model, will a student have the same teacher for a particular subject for both in-person classes and virtual?
That is a decision being made at the school level. It is possible that schools could group students together and one teacher would have students in-person and another would have students online. It will be based on the needs and the numbers at the school level.

Will families be on the same rotational schedule even if they are in different schools?
Yes, schools are working now to determine which students will be “Team A” and “Team B” based on the alphabet as well as households. Our team is completing that process and will have it to schools so they can begin planning and determining groups and then communicating that to parents. Team A will be Mondays, Wednesdays and every other Friday, and Team B will be Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other Friday. A calendar will be published for all stakeholders.

Explain how the synchronous model will work in regards to screen time, attendance, etc.
We are asking all students participating synchronously to log in every day, and this can be done in a variety of ways. Participation will be taken daily through Infinite Campus. The synchronous model will look different every day, just as in-person instruction looks different every day. There will be times when instruction will be delivered to a whole group. There will be times when students are doing different tasks. There will be procedures for students and teachers to know when students need to be on the screen. If a teacher has an hourlong lesson, it doesn’t necessarily mean students will be on the screen the whole time. We know there will be extenuating circumstances, such as if a student is sick or is having technology issues. We will consider those factors and work with families and teachers.

Some Kentucky school districts are offering children with an IEP/504 who have learning disabilities to attend on both the A and B schedule (essentially attending every day). Is this being offered or thought about?
ARCs are being scheduled and this is being addressed through the ARC process.

Are you more concerned with safety or education of our children? Why was there no option to delay the school year? Why do we have to start in August and end in June?
While education is important, safety is our number one priority and will continue to be. We continue to follow the guidance of state and local health official guidance and see no indication we can’t start school at the end of August. That is our current plan, and if that guidance changes, we will adjust accordingly.

Has anyone considered going back to the block scheduling model from the mid to late 90s? Keeping kids together for the entire day, with only 4 daily classes.
In the Guidance Document, you will see that we are trying to keep the same kids together as much as possible and minimizing class changes. You can review your school’s Guidance Document to find out how that is being done at the school level.

Can I change the model I chose?
While we have asked for a commitment for you to stick to the model you decided on, it is absolutely possible to change your mind. We are asking schools to be as flexible as possible. Please contact your school if you would like to change the model you chose. 

Given the 2 options on the most recent survey....for parents who work, is the district going to provide a place for the students to go on the days they have online learning?  
We know and empathize that one of the major issues with the rotational model is child care. While we don’t have any definitive answers at this time, we are currently review options to provide a limited amount of assistance for our employees and our community. Much more information will be forthcoming.

Is there any chance that K-3 will be moved into a rotational model to allow parents and children some type of "normal" schedule. This is going to be more of a hassle for working parents than having both children at home/in school the same days.
We truly believe that having our P-3 students in school is important. While education at all levels is important, we have a commitment to get the P-3 students in school. If a time comes when we are asked to reduce capacity in our buildings, this is an area we would look at.

How will kids on the synchronous plan participate in band/chorus and any classes that require hands-on activities (such as science labs)?
We know that in-person allows for these types of activities to be better utilized. However, via the use of technology, we are striving for daily check ins and tasks for students, whether it be for band or chorus or math and science.  

What are the plans for orientations? Will students who are using the synchronous model still be able to come meet their teacher in person?
Absolutely. Schools are in the process of planning orientations and back to school nights keeping in mind guidelines as we plan those events. More information should be coming from your school. We absolutely want all of our students, whether they chose in-person or synchronous, to have an opportunity to come meet their teachers.

What platform will be used for the k-5 virtual learning?  I’ve heard it’s between 3 platforms. When will the choice be made?  Is it possible to pick between the 3 platforms which one we feel will be best for our kids?
We do have platforms based on levels:

Preschool ABC Mouse https://www.abcmouse.com/abt/homepage

K-5 Acellus https://www.acellus.com/

6-12 Edgenuity https://www.edgenuity.com/

It is  no longer necessary to have an application to the Virtual Learning Center. Information will be coming to parents/guardians very soon about next steps for the Virtual Learning Center.

How much deliberation was there REALLY on this decision? If the survey only closed last night and the letter came out this morning, seems like a quick decision.
We had nearly 14,000 responses to our survey, and a lot of them came in early in the week. (Thank you to everyone who responded.) We were monitoring data daily and having conversations daily about different options. We have had numerous, ongoing conversations about different options. We had a lengthy discussion on Friday morning, and the data did not change, so we made the decision.   

If I don’t have any/poor Internet connectivity, what can I do?
The district will assist staff and students with Internet connectivity to the maximum extent possible. Please contact your school administration.

Will I be provided with a device?
Please contact your local school if you need a device. Every school is working on a systemic approach to get all students a device.

Explain the 1- to-1 program and the fee.
Our Board of Education recently approved a 1-to-1 program. All teachers and students in grades 1, 6 and 9 will be provided with a device. There is a $50 fee per year for students in those grades in the 1-to-1 program to help pay for their device. The device will stay with the student as they move up to different grades. Over time, our entire district will be 1-to-1. If you have any issues with the fee, please contact your school because assistance is available.

Will Kenton County Schools be using classified substitutes this year?
Yes.

How is it possible that all the elementary schools have the space for P-3 to go full time but the middles and high schools don’t have enough space for some students to go full time?
We determined how many students we could get in each school. While we could not get all P-5 students in the building, we could get P-3 in all of our elementary schools. None of our schools could get all grade levels. The only way we could get P-3 to fit in the school is to put grades 4-5 on the rotational model. The rest of our schools did not have the capacity to fit all students. 

Will the actual survey results be released? Specifically how many people chose the 2/3/2 model over 3 weeks in/1 week out? 3 weeks in/1 week out would provide more consistency for the kids.
60 percent chose the 2-3 model in the survey, 40 percent chose the 3 weeks on, 1 week off 

Online teaching & in person teaching are 2 separate jobs, especially knowing there will be more mental health needs. Why is Kenton County asking teachers to do both & not promoting the virtual academy for those students who are opting for synchronous learning?
We know this will be a different educational experience for our students, teachers and families. Our staff and families told us in the spring that we needed to improve our NTI model. Synchronous instruction is one way we are doing this, making sure we are providing high-quality instruction. We know this will be difficult, but we have amazing teachers and families in our district and we will work together for our kids.

How are larger families supposed to manage synchronous learning at home?  I will have 4 kids watching live streams all day while I am working online too. Why aren’t the days they are not in school spent learning on their own?
If you have specific needs for resources or technology, please contact your school. We chose the A/B rotational model. Students have the options for virtual, synchronous or in-person at this time.

How will privacy concerns be addressed with synchronous learning?  I don’t want my kids to be shown on the live stream when they are in the classroom. 
There should be no video of students in the classroom, only the staff.

If schools decide to begin with online learning for any reason how much notice will we get?
If at any point we need to go to long term NTI, we will work to ensure you get that information as soon as possible.  

What about school supplies for this school year?
School supply lists will be coming from each school, regardless if students are on the A/B or synchronous model. 

If we are VLC will MAP testing be done? Will there be KPREP testing?
We have always administered the state tests to our Virtual Learning Center students. As far as the diagnostic tests, schools can collaborate with families to determine if those tests should be taken. 

Have all those that picked VLC (Full virtual, not synchronized) been informed that they have to fill out an application. How long will it take to hear back on the application status and to be told what our student's curriculum will be? 
There is no application for the Virtual Learning Center. Schools will be reaching out to anyone who selected the Virtual Learning Center as we move forward.

Why were parents that chose VCL and synchronous learning required to pick a hybrid model during the survey?  Clearly, they should not have been included in this decision. 
Ideally, the parents who chose in-person would be the one to choose the hybrid models. We regret any confusion in the surveys.

When your child logs in for lessons with rotational, is the teacher able to see the child? My child wouldn't do Google meets due to her anxiety.
There will be times when the teacher will be able to see the students, and times when that will not occur. Parents and guardians who have a student with anxiety or other issues with online activities are encouraged to contact their school to discuss modifications.

Will Google Classroom be able to handle so many students logged in at once? We're concerned about connection problems due to too much traffic on the site.
Members of our district admin team had the same concern. We shared our plan with the Kentucky Department of Education and our use of technology. They assured us we had the capacity to do what we are attempting to do.

What resources (food and similar resources) will be provided to the children and families who are participating in the at home learning models?
The KCSD Student Nutrition Department is working with school administration on a meal pick-up plan.
If you are in need of other resources, please share that with your school.

How early will students be able to be dropped off before school starts? If allowed at all? Will they go to the gym/cafeteria or their classroom? (Elementary Age)
We have not changed our policy for early drop off. Students will still be allowed to be dropped off early. Please refer to your school’s Guidance Document to see what the plans are for students who arrive early.

What happens when we do not have enough substitutes in a building and cannot combine classes to teach the students?
We are happy to report that we have a strong pool of substitutes in Kenton County right now, and one of the advantages of the A/B model is that classes will be small..

How will the "6 feet social distance" be maintained on the school bus?
Current guidance from state health officials state that as long as temperatures are checked by parents before getting on the bus, and students are wearing masks at all times, that social distancing is not required on the school bus.

Was student capacity determined by the total school square footage or by the square footage that can ACTUALLY be used for student classrooms? Students won’t take class in the cafeteria kitchen so why is that area counted in the total.
The only capacity utilized was the classroom and any place that might be utilized, such as a gymnasium. School leaders literally measured how many students could fit in a room.

I may have missed but can you give us a run down of what a typical day will look like for an elementary student?  Will they still have specials?  Gym, library, recess?
The school specific schedules will be outlined in the school guidance documents. Many schools have a plan for the specials teacher to come to the classroom to provide the lesson. As far as recess, masks will not be required when students are six feet apart. More information on recess is in the District Guidance Document.  

With P-3 going Monday - Friday will parents be given an estimated number of students physically in the classroom prior to the start of?
All schools have determined capacity in their building. The district is not planning to release that information, but you can ask your school if you have concerns.

Whether through an instructional video or in-person, will there be an opportunity for Kindergarten students and their parents to see how a typical day will unfold?
Yes, we are working on a video that will show how school will look different. 

With Indiana already back in school, will you be using their data to make an informed decision about in person learning or will follow our Governor’s recommendation no matter what?
We will follow the guidance of our state and local health officials. 

Will there still be extracurricular activities other than sports such as drama club, mock trial, art club, etc?  If so, how will that work?
This is outlined in our Guidance Document (page 31). Schools will be making decisions on what extracurriculars they will offer. Each club will have to develop a plan that covers health guidance. Our district has a commitment to have students involved and engaged in extracurricular activities.

Is before care school going to be available, example Alphabest?
Yes. Contact your school to see what is available.

What will Ignite’s schedule look like?
We try to have a congruent schedule with Boone County, but Ignite is a regional school with students from at least three different districts attending. Students at Ignite will be on a different rotational schedule.

Will schools be provided the necessary materials for a live feed? For example, microphones for clear sound, webcams, etc.
We think this question is asking if staff members will be equipped for synchronous learning, and the answer is yes. We surveyed our schools a few weeks ago about access to equipment for synchronous learning, and we will make that available. 

Will all electives be available to high schoolers?  If not, have they started working on revised graduation requirements?
Yes, electives will still be available and will be coming from the school schedule. Graduation requirements come from the state level.

Will the success of these models be measured by school or across the district?  When and how will this be evaluated, given the various models?
Everything we do, we try to monitor to be successful and efficient. If we find something is not working at the beginning of the year, we will adjust. Everything is fluid and we all have to remain flexible.

If at any point the district is forced to go entirely remote again, have any district-wide standards been set concerning the amount of time within which teachers must respond to email?
If we were asked to go to all online learning, we would switch to NTI with synchronous learning across the district.

What were the demographics of the Re-Entry committee?  Ie, how many teachers (including representative grade levels), administrators, parents?
Three principals (one elementary, one middle, one high), three students, three teachers, two KCEA reps, one board member, three local health officials and one parent from each feeder pattern (three parents total)

My children typically strive for perfect attendance, how will possibly having to miss school bc of COVID affect that? We all know that attendance is huge.
As long as students are participating either in home or school they will not be counted absent.  

If it's not safe to have an in person town hall, how is it safe for kids to go back to school?
We had over 600 people logged in for the town hall.  We had no idea of knowing how many people would participate therefore we did not know how many resources we may need or the facility we would need. Since everyone has grown accustomed to using online or virtual platforms we decided for the current environment and also for the ease of technology and not knowing who would show up and where we might have to have an event like this.  We decided to have it online.