Back to school this year looks a bit different as we continue to navigate through the pandemic. Below are some FAQs related to COVID and school. If you have questions that are not addressed below, please email us.
Updated August 20, 2021
1) What data do we have about vaccination rates for the JH population?
We are not able to share the percentage as vaccination is not mandated. The choice to be vaccinated is a personal, medical decision. Wearing a mask is required for all students and staff in ACPS facilities and on buses, regardless of vaccination status.
2) Will there be regular surveillance testing for everyone in the building including teachers, staff, and students?
On August 20th, ACPS announced that ACPS employees will be required to submit vaccine documentation to their respective agencies. All employees who are unvaccinated or choose not to disclose their vaccination status will be required to be tested weekly for COVID-19 to limit the potential spread in the workforce and in the community. Testing will be available at no direct cost to employees. Details will be shared with City and ACPS staff in the coming week.
3) What is the status of ventilation at JH?
ACPS Department of Facilities toured our building over the summer and several times this month. There are air purifiers in classrooms and common areas in use throughout the building. There is continued use of MERV-13 filters. ACPS also continues to provide preventative maintenance and necessary repairs of HVAC systems.
4) Will children be provided with high-quality, properly-fitting masks if they do not have their own?
If students do not have a mask, an adjustable mask will be provided that has at least two washable layers, completely covers the nose and mouth and fits snugly against the sides of the face. Remember, wearing a mask is required for all students and staff in ACPS facilities and on buses. *Please note: gator-style masks are not acceptable masks.
5) How is JH handling large groups during lunch, recess, PE, and music classes?
During lunch we will utilize cafeteria space to the greatest extent to avoid eating in the classroom. Students will be required to wear their masks when not eating. While in the cafeteria, we will distance when possible (6 feet between students while unmasked and eating preferred). In addition we will utilize seating charts, podding, and/or sign in sheets. We ask that families allow students to remain in school during the lunch period.
During recess we will stagger grade levels and maximize available playground and field areas. No masks are required outside for recess.
The JH Music Department is implementing safe social distancing and PPE protocols for the 2021-2022 school year.
Students will be wearing traditional PPE when performing on string instruments. Shared instruments will be wiped down after use. Elementary orchestra will have a delayed start after the first few weeks.
Students will have three different approaches to performing.
1) Students are wearing masks and "humming" the music.
2) Students will go outside and spread out to sing.
3) If singing inside, students will be wearing specialized "singing" masks to lower the projection of aerosols.
Students will be supplied with band instrument specific PPE that includes a playing mask and bell cover. This will be provided by the school district at no extra cost.
Students will be spaced out and facing one direction at all times in class. Students are to not play if PPE has been compromised or is missing. Elementary band will have a delayed start after the first few weeks.
If you have any questions, please contact
Band Director Charles Roth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Orchestra Director Howard Van der Sluis at email@example.com; or
Music Director Bianca Hancock-Siggers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6) What are current policies about having lunch outside and keeping windows open on the bus?
As a district and school we must establish protocols that are sustainable regardless of changes in weather, temperature, field conditions, and other factors that are outside of our control.
Supervision of students during lunch must be managed via a sustainable approach. Also, the additional lunch coverage required to have lunches outdoors could present significant challenges to providing the duty-free time that all staff members must have throughout the day. Depending on the grade-level and number of teachers, PE teachers must often be added into the equation so that they have enough space between instructors to use BOTH the gym and the fields to provide various instructional experiences. We have three PE teachers this year. Additionally, we must factor in recess for our students. Removing field space during lunch times can add additional stream of issues.
As for the bus, All ACPS buses that we are using for transporting students are air conditioned. However, all of the drivers have been instructed to have a minimum of 2 windows open on each side of the bus. This procedure was included in the drivers In-Service training again last week.
7) What are the procedures when a student becomes sick or needs to quarantine?
Students who are sick or quarantined may receive assignments through the teacher’s Canvas page. ACPS will be issuing further instructional guidance for students who are quarantined. We ask that families complete the Daily Symptom Checklist to minimize risks. We ask that students and staff not report to school if they do not feel well.We will continue to practice safety mitigation measures at school. In the event of possible exposure we will notify the parents of students affected by phone. If a child feels ill during the school day, we will repeat the screening process and use the health room annex if necessary. In this case, families will be contacted to pick the student up from school.
8) What level of community outbreak or number of cases at the school would require students (individual classes or the whole school) to pivot to virtual instruction?
ACPS will continue to adjust measures based on the latest health guidance and best practices. Updates will be shared with the community accordingly as changes occur.
9) Do teachers/staff have adequate days of PTO if they are sick or need to quarantine so that they won't feel like they must teach while possibly contagious?
Each staff member receives sick and personal leave each school year. We are also fortunate to have a sick leave bank as a benefit in ACPS where staff can share leave in the event of emergencies, sicknesses and other life changing events.
10) Are there any virtual options for families who opted to attend in-person school but are worried about the risk now that the delta variant is spreading?
July 15, 2021 was the last day for families to inform ACPS of your selected learning model for 2021-22. Your decision for fall 2021 is binding for the first semester (until January 2022).
11) How are students being screened upon entry into the building?
Similar to the phrased reentry process, students will receive hand sanitizer and a temperature scan upon entering the building. We also request that families complete the Daily Symptom Checklist in the Parents and Students section of the ACPS homepage.
12) Can we better utilize our outdoor space with pop-up outdoor classrooms, tents, etc?
The instructional day will be spent inside the building with the exception of recess.