• SCHOOL REOPENING FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)

    Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions related to the reopening of Sarasota County Schools for the 2020-21 school year. Responses to questions are subject to change in accordance with evolving public health guidance and/or directives issued by the Florida Department of Education.  The safety of students and staff is the top priority of the Sarasota County School District.

    Questions are reordered and renumbered based on how many times they were received. 

INSTRUCTIONAL OPTIONS

  • 1. What are my enrollment options for the 2020-2021 school year?

  • 2. If I want to change my Parent Survey response, how can I do that?

  • 3. What is Concurrent Learning?

  • 4. If I’ve selected remote learning (option 2) for my child, can they learn at home for their core classes but still participate in a co-curricular class like art, music, band, or theater in-person at their school?

  • 5. Will each learning option offer the same classes?

  • 6. Will the remote learning option be identical to the distance learning we experienced during the final months of last school year?

  • 7. What if I want to change my learning option after school starts? How often can a student go from one mode of instruction to another?

  • 8. Has the SCS Reopening Plan been approved by the state?

  • 9. If my child needs to self-isolate due to COVID-19, will remote learning be offered if I have chosen Option 1 (Traditional, Face-to-Face)?

  • 10. Can my child still have dual enrollment with Option 1 and Option 2?

  • 11. Will my child need a webcam to participate in remote learning?

  • 12. What is the approximate number of hours my child will be looking at a computer screen per day with remote learning?

  • 13. If I choose the remote learning option, will my middle or high school student be able to participate in programs or academies ( i.e. IB, AICE, AP, CTE) courses?

  • 14. Will class schedules look different than previous years?

  • 15. What will electives look like?

  • 16. What about students enrolled in STC?

  • 17. Is there an estimated date when schools will start communicating their specific plans?

  • 18. Will paper packets be made available to remote learners?

  • 19. Why would the District choose to fully reopen schools when COVID-19 cases are rising in our community and state?

  • 20. Will my child be able to participate in recess?

  • 21. If I choose the remote learning option, will I need to provide my own computer, tablet or laptop for my child?

  • 22. If I want to purchase a laptop for my child, what does the District recommend?

  • 23. If I choose the traditional option, what will happen if my child’s school or all schools close again like last Spring?

  • 24. If I choose the remote learning option for my middle or high school student, will they be able to participate in athletics?

  • 25. Will teachers be expected to teach both in person and online simultaneously? How will the District address any logistical challenges that may arise as teachers are trying to accommodate the learning and questions from in person and remote learners at the same time?

  • 26. How does live streaming work? If my child is participating in learning at school and other students are streaming lessons live from home, how will you protect my child’s privacy if I do not want them to be photographed?

  • 27. How will my child take District assessments and tests created by teachers remotely?

  • 28. Will a student be permitted to take some courses in person at the school building and their remaining classes at home?

  • 29. By when do I need to confirm my child's enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year?

  • 30. Do teachers have the option to teach remotely?

  • 31. Are teachers being trained for remote teaching?

  • 32. If a teacher tests positive and takes time off, will their lesson plans already be created so a substitute can pick up where they left off?

  • 33. If a teacher tests positive do they have the option to teach from home?

  • 34. Does the district have a plan to get more substitute teachers and staff?

  • 35. My child was approved for school choice. For Option 2, it says "remote from your Districted School" – does that mean the school choice will be defunct/no longer valid? Or will my child still be enrolled in their choice school?

  • 36. In Option 2, are you including magnet schools?

  • 37. Will the school year be extended?

  • 38. What is the difference between Sarasota Virtual School and Florida Virtual School?

HEALTH AND SAFETY

  • 1. Will students, staff and visitors be required to wear masks? If so, will they wear them at all times?

  • 2. Will teachers or other school personnel have the authority to determine if students are able to remove their masks if students are socially distanced in a classroom setting?

  • 3. How will the District enforce the rule that students must wear face coverings? I do not want my child exposed to illness because other student(s) refuse(s) to follow the rules.

  • 4. What should I do if I would like my child to return to in-person school, but they have a health condition that I believe would preclude them from wearing a mask?

  • 5. If my child participates in traditional, in-person school, what will social distancing look like? Will desks be placed 6 feet apart? Will students have to wear masks in their classrooms if their desks are placed 6 feet apart?

  • 6. Will students undergo temperature screenings?

  • 7. Will staff undergo temperature screenings?

  • 8. Will visitors undergo temperature screenings?

  • 9. What will happen if a student or staff member becomes ill while at school?

  • 10. What is the protocol for school closure in the event a school receives notice that a student or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19?

  • 11. What if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?

  • 12. Will students be expected to practice social distancing?

  • 13. What steps will be taken to ensure surfaces are clean? How often will classrooms, communal areas and school buses be cleaned?

  • 14. What other steps are being taken to ensure a healthy environment?

  • 15. Will parents and volunteers be allowed on campus?

  • 16. Will the new procedures and policies change the way students participate in safety drills?

  • 17. Will students and staff have access to water fountains?

  • 18. Many things in this draft say "consider" doing the following – this seems too open-ended. How can you assure safety for all students & families?

  • 19. What is being done to ensure the air conditioning systems are not spreading the virus?

  • 20. Are we encouraging students and staff to self-isolate if they have traveled in the last 14 days?

  • 21. Are teachers, staff and students required to get tested before school starts?

  • 22. If a teacher tests positive for COVID-19 is their sick leave covered/paid by the district?

  • 23. At any point, will COVID testing be offered for free during the school day on campus?

  • 24. If someone tests positive, are they required to have a negative test before returning?

  • 25. What is the COVID-19 Information/Affirmation letter mentioned in the Reopening Plan?

  • 26. Will students with a face-covering exception be taught in a sperate area?

EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT EDUCATION

  • 1. What have you done to address parents with special-needs kids?

  • 2. How will the District complete evaluations once school reopens?

  • 3. How will Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings take place?

  • 4. Will students with IEPs or 504 Plans receive accommodations when participating in remote learning?

  • 5. How will the District ensure students are provided with the least restrictive learning environment possible while complying with all health and safety requirements?

MENTAL WELLNESS

  • 1. If my child is anxious or concerned about returning to school, what can I do to help?

  • 2. Where can I find resources regarding emotional and mental wellness for my child?

  • 3. Will staff receive any extra training regarding trauma-informed care and mental health first aid?

  • 4. If I choose to have my child participate in remote learning, how will they have access to counseling and other support resources?

FOOD & NUTRITION SERVICES

  • 1. If we elect to have our child(ren) participate in remote learning, will they still be permitted to receive their free or reduced price meals?

  • 2. What steps will be taken to limit exposure in school cafeterias?

  • 3. Will students be required to wear masks while eating in the cafeteria? Will social distancing be practiced in the cafeteria?

TRANSPORTATION

  • 1. If I elect to have my child participate in the traditional, in-person school option, will they be able to ride the bus to and from school?

  • 2. Will students be required to wear masks on school buses?

  • 3. Will social distancing be practiced on school buses? How will buses be loaded? Will you allow my child to be seated with his/her sibling(s)?

  • 4. What steps will be taken to limit exposure on school buses?

TECHNOLOGY

  • 1. If I don’t currently have a device for my child(ren), can I obtain one from the District?

  • 2. Will the District support my child’s device if we choose to use one from home?

  • 3. If I want to purchase a laptop for my child, what does the District recommend?

  • 4. Will a Mac work for remote learning?

  • 5. Will an iPad work for remote learning?

  • 6. Will my child need a webcam to participate in remote learning?

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

  • 1. What instructional options are available for children enrolled in PreK?

  • 2. Will my preschooler have to wear a mask while at school?

  • 3. What health guidelines will be followed for preschool children?

  • 4. How will meals be served to preschool children?

  • 5. Will preschool children have nap time?

  • 6. How many preschoolers will be in each classroom?

  • 7. Who should I contact if I have additional questions about my child returning to school to participate in PreK?

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES/ATHLETICS

  • 1. If I’ve selected remote learning (option 2) for my child, can they learn at home for their core classes but still participate in extracurricular activities like sports in-person at their school?

  • 2. What does my student athlete need to know?

  • 3. If my child chooses the remote learning option will they still be able to try out for sports?

  • 4. How will students participate in PE? Will they be required to wear masks? How will social distancing and shared contact of equipment be handled?

  • 5. Will field trips and other large gatherings be permitted?

  • 6. Why were summer band camps and practices canceled, but athletic conditioning was allowed to resume?

  • 7. Will parents/guardians and other spectators be allowed to attend athletic events?

  • 8. Will my child’s school host sporting events, pep rallies, dances, meet the teacher/curriculum nights?

REOPENING SCHOOLS PARENT SURVEY

  • 1. By filling out this survey, am I "locking in" a selection for my child for the 2020-2021 school year?

  • 2. Why did the district ask for my child's N number? What is the information being used for?

  • 3. What do you mean by "remote" when it's used in the survey?

  • 4. If my child goes to a Charter school, should I still fill out this survey from the school district?

  • 5. Have you surveyed teachers and staff about, at all levels, about reopening schools?

BEFORE & AFTER SCHOOL CARE

  • 1. Will the District have before and aftercare?

  • 2. Will students practice social distancing while participating in before and after school care? How will shared toys, equipment, etc. be disinfected on a consistent basis?

SCS DRAFT REOPENING GUIDANCE

  • 1. Why is there a "hold harmless" letter being considered? What will happen to my child if I refuse to sign this letter?