Smart Restart FAQs
1. Why open schools this year?
Parents and families need and deserve flexibility. While virtual learning may be working for some scholars, it’s not working for all. Public health data firmly sides with opening schools as there is a limited spread of COVID-19 in schools. Additionally, our own attendance data shows Average Daily Attendance is down 13% from last year. Some scholars may lose morale as they struggle to overcome the challenges of online learning.
2. What is an outbreak?
An outbreak is defined as three or more connected cases of COVID-19 in a classroom or among members of a group (sports team, group activity, band, or other) within 14 days.
3. At what point will JPS contemplate quarantining a classroom?
In the event of a suspected outbreak, the entire class or group should be quarantined at home. In a classroom or group setting (such as a sports team or other activity), when it is difficult to determine specific contacts, then consideration should be given for exclusion, quarantine, and testing recommendations for the whole group or classroom, rather than limiting to a few known close contacts.
4. At what point will JPS contemplate closing a school?
If three or more connected individual classroom settings, defined groups, or defined buildings are experiencing simultaneous outbreaks, or If multiple absentees or exclusions of students and staff lead to disruptions in on-campus functioning and impacting the learning environment, then school closure may be considered.
5. What is the contingency plan in the event of an outbreak at a school?
We will return to all-virtual instruction. Refer to our virtual learning schedule.
6. What do I do if my child is sick?
If your child is showing signs of illness, the CDC recommends the following:
- If your child has a fever or is exhibiting other symptoms, please keep your child at home.
- Contact your healthcare provider and discuss whether your child needs a test.
- Contact your child’s school and let them know about symptoms and/or test results.
7. What happens if someone in my child’s class gets COVID?
Schools will separate the student, send them home, and notify families of classmates and schoolmates in accordance with CDC guidelines.
8. What precautions can we take to help keep everyone safe if we send our children to school?
- Check your child’s temperature every day before school.
- Keep your child at home and communicate any symptoms of illness with the school.
- Be familiar with a local COVID-19 testing site in the event they develop symptoms and need a test.
- If they can, make sure they keep up with classwork from home.
- Always reinforce the practice of key safety precautions: proper handwashing, wearing a mask, and keeping a physical distance from other people.
9. Will families have to stick to their decision throughout the grading period?
Yes. However, if an outbreak occurs in a classroom, the class will be quarantined for 14 days. If simultaneous outbreaks occur at a school or absences lead to disruptions in the learning environment, the school will return to all-virtual instruction.
10. Will students be able to keep their current teacher?
This will depend on many factors, including the number of families who choose in-person learning at your child’s school. Only your child’s school will be able to give you the most accurate answer.
11. How will we handle extracurricular activities such as choir and band?
JPS intends to resume its high school basketball and soccer programs in December 2020 and middle school in January 2021. To ensure that our scholars and staff are safe, the JPS Athletics team is developing guidelines that may include:
- Transportation of teams to sporting events.
- Limitations to the number of players and team participants.
- Team and spectator seating arrangements.
- A No Mask No Entry requirement.
- A change to game dismissals to reduce overcrowding.
- Hand sanitization stations throughout school gyms and game facilities.
- Pre-packaged food sold at concession stands.
- Only official, bookkeeper, and clock operator will be allowed at the scores table.
Due to the fluid nature of the circumstances, these plans are subject to change.
12. Will students be able to play sports if they select the virtual learning option for the spring semester?
Yes. Scholars, whether virtual or hybrid, will have the opportunity to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities.
13. Will students be required to wear uniforms to school?
Yes. Elementary and middle school students will wear uniforms. The District’s dress code is still in effect for all students, whether virtual or in-person. The District Dress Code begins on page 102 in the Student Handbook.
14. Are we encouraging parents to transport their students?
Yes. However, bus transportation will also be available.
15. Do we have nurses available for each school?
16. Has the district weaved Social-Emotional Learning into the plan and curriculum?
17. Is the hybrid instructional model Monday through Friday?
Yes. Middle school and high school scholars who choose the hybrid instructional model will attend schools on A days or B days depending on the assigned cohort for middle school students or grade level for high school students. Refer to page 6 of the Smart Restart brochure for details.
18. Will after school care be available?
Please check with your child's school to inquire about aftercare providers currently servicing students there.
19. What steps have been taken to prepare classrooms for in-person?
Schools have been stocked with PPE and sanitizing supplies to include touchless foam sanitizing stations (2 per building) and bulk sanitizer to fill the dispenser; washable cloth masks and one-use masks for children and adults; face shields to be used with our smallest students; gloves; and digital no-contact thermometers.
Custodians have been involved in continuous training on the use of electrostatic disinfectant fogger machines. Each school has at least one machine. These machines are being used to disinfect surfaces in classrooms and other high touchpoint areas of schools throughout the day as well as on school buses. Custodians will use the machines to disinfect every hour or every class change.
20. When will masks be required?
Masks will be required from the time students board the bus throughout the school day. We will allow mask breaks during the day.
21. What factors would prompt a return to distance learning?
In the event of an outbreak at a school. We will return to all-virtual instruction. An outbreak is when three or more connected cases of COVID-19 occur in a classroom or among members of a group within 14 days.
Still have questions? Email us at ContactJPS@jackson.k12.ms.us.