Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ
School Closing- updated March 16, 2020
Based on a new order from Gov. Evers at 1:30 pm on March 16 regarding large group gatherings in the state, all PCSD schools and 4K classes will close Tuesday, March 17. Schools are currently scheduled to re-open on April 14, 2020.
What information or recommendations are available to families traveling for spring break?
The CDC has provided specific travel recommendations based on locations identified as a potential health risk per current information related to COVID-19. General travel recommendations include avoiding contact with sick people; avoiding touching your eyes, mouth, or nose with unwashed hands; and cleaning your hands often. For any families traveling during spring break, please self-monitor for illness upon return from travel and contact your health provider for recommended next steps if you or a loved one begin to exhibit symptoms that appear connected to any respiratory illnesses.
Please keep in mind that PCSD cannot control where students and staff personally travel nor test or quarantine students or staff for symptoms that appear to be related to COVID-19. Only public health agencies have that authority.
Will school events (field trips, sports, etc.) be cancelled?
At this time, all off-campus student activities such as field trips and other trips are suspended. Sporting events, concerts and other events are suspended until April 14, 2020. All school-sponsored international trips are suspended for the 2019-2020 school year.
Parents of students with compromised immune systems should consult with family physicians regarding travel and/or participation in events. As always, parents have an option to withdraw their child(rens) participation in an event.
What do you need from me?
Communication with families will be extremely important if schools were to close. We are asking parents to update emergency contact information in Skyward Family Access or by calling your child’s school. To update your phone numbers and email in Skyward, log into Skyward Family Access and select “My Account” in the upper right menu bar. We would like to ensure that we are giving families the most up-to-date communication.
How will students continue to learn if school is closed?
The district will have a plan in place for learning to continue if school should close. With our Digital Learning Plan options in place with one to one devices, we will be able to continue online learning for our 4K-12 students. An emphasis for our K-5 students will be on math and literacy while 6-12 will be provided instruction for all content areas including electives. Our teachers will require professional development time and work time to create specific online content that will be able to be shared with students.
Fortunately, our students’ access to technology devices, ebooks and apps within their current instruction will provide the means for virtual instruction. Students’ access to learning materials, assignments and communication with teachers will occur virtually through the use of current online resources and students’ district issued iPads. Students in grades K-5 will utilize Seesaw and be provided the ability to take home their district-issued iPad. Students in grades 6-12 will utilize Canvas and continue to take home their district-issued iPad. Our staff have access to utilize a variety of apps for designing interactive lessons. Some of those include: recording lessons in Quicktime, collaborating with their students via Canvas, Seesaw, Google Hangouts and Padlet and use websites, online videos and images to teach content and explore learning topics.
What do we do if we don't have wireless at home?
To support families' needs for reliable internet during the Coronavirus pandemic, Night and Charter Communications are offering free wireless internet to families for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have their service.
If this provider does not offer service to your area, please contact the Technology Department at (920) 822-6070 for alternative options.
Will we have to make up time or adjust the school year calendar?
The required number of instructional minutes is mandated by Wisconsin State Statute. The decision to waive instructional minutes is not a local decision and is made in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
What happens with state assessments (Forward Exam, ACT Aspire) and Advanced Placement?
As of March 11, this is another unknown. We are in communication with the Department of Public Instruction and are awaiting guidance regarding state assessment requirements and from the College Board regarding Advanced Placement and ACT should schools close.
According to the DPI communications, testing is a federal and state requirement. The vast majority of students have already completed ACT testing. The Wisconsin Forward Exam and the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) assessments run from March 23 to May 1. In addition, the ASPIRE assessment window is April 6 to May 6. Given the unknowns associated with the spread of this virus, the DPI is encouraging districts to consider testing earlier in that window to leave flexibility should districts need to close.
What resources are available to help me talk to my child about Coronavirus?
The CDC has a resource related to talking with children about Coronavirus. Some general recommendations they provide includes: remain calm and reassuring, make yourself available to listen and talk, avoid language that blames others or leads to stigma, pay attention to what children see or hear on television and online, provide information that is accurate and honest, and teach everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs. Additional information can be found at Child Mind Institute’s “Talking to Kids About Coronavirus.
Will my child be considered truant if they miss school (if it isn’t closed)?
While attendance is very important, we understand that each family’s circumstance is unique, and we respect the decisions made by each family. Parents who do not feel comfortable sending their child(ren) to school may opt to keep their child at home without penalty of truancy. For families who have chosen to excuse their children from school, please continue to communicate absences to your school’s attendance office.
If a parent/guardian decides to excuse a student, then it will be considered as an excused absence. We ask that you let school staff know of student absences because of symptoms that align with COVID-19, concerns about contracting COVID-19 or if it’s another sickness. For anticipated extended absences, please work with your building administrators and school counselors to follow extended absence procedures, including contact with teachers to complete work, where appropriate.
What can I be doing now?
The district encourages students and staff to take everyday preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, such as
- Stay home when you are sick and limit contact with others
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizing gel with at least 60% alcohol, especially after
- Blowing your nose
- Going to the bathroom
- Before eating or preparing food
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects in your home (smartphones, for example)
- Cover your cough with your elbow and sneeze within a tissue
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with hands
- Avoid travel while sick
Facilities are cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily. Staff are encouraged to continue to use the disinfectant spray daily in their classrooms.
Are additional cleaning measures in place?
Custodial staff continue to follow the recommended cleaning procedures daily, with extra effort on areas considered high-risk (e.g., bathrooms, athletic areas, commons, healthrooms/nurses office) and high touch points (door handles, hand railings, shared desks, etc). Additionally, buses will have thorough cleanings completed in the next few weeks to continue to follow the recommendations locally and through the CDC.
What about parents, volunteers, contractors and outside vendors who come into our buildings?
Currently the district is NOT restricting their access to schools. Staff will encourage visitors to communicate if they are sick and, if so, to self report their name, symptoms and contact information.