FAQs

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    FAQ 2020 Reopening

     

    GENERAL QUESTIONS

     

    What is Hatboro-Horsham School District’s instructional plan for the opening of school for the 2020-21 school year? The District will use a virtual instructional plan for the start of the 2020- 2021 school year through the first quarter of the year (11/11/20).

     

    Can we expect any changes to the 2020-2021 school year calendar? The District plans to adhere to the previously approved school calendar. The school calendar can be accessed here.

     

    How did Hatboro-Horsham School District arrive at this decision?

    The District began planning for the start of the 2020-2021 school year in the Spring, but plans were re-evaluated frequently as COVID-19 data evolved and guidance for reopening schools was released from multiple sources. This included gathering feedback from multiple surveys to parents, guardians, staff, and students. Guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Montgomery County Department of Health were also critical resources in our decision-making. In late July and early August, case counts in Montgomery were on the rise, projections for cases were on the rise, and testing protocols for COVID-19 were both inconsistent and returning results slowly. While no instructional model was going to be ideal for the fall of 2020, the District sought a model to balance the educational needs of our students with the health, safety, and wellbeing of our entire school community. The primary reason for recommending this instructional delivery model for reopening the school year is that it is the model that poses the least health risk to our students and staff. According to guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education released on August 10th, it is not recommended for public schools in Montgomery County to open for full in-person instruction, based on the current rate of COVID-19 transmission in our area. Most public-school districts in Montgomery County are pursuing similar virtual instructional models.

     

    How will this instructional model differ from what was implemented in the spring of 2020? Our Continuity of Education Plan, implemented in the spring of 2020, was a short-term response to emergency remote instruction. The instructional plan for the Fall is very different.

    Details about the remote learning instructional program:

     

    How will the District address concern about extended screen time? We understand that maintaining a balance in screen time is important for students of all ages, but especially for children in younger grade levels. The District has built in developmentally appropriate breaks for movement and time away from screens for all K-12 students. Some supports for managing screen time can be found HERE and HERE. Additionally, some resources for parents/guardians regarding best practices for supporting your child can be found HERE.

     

    Will physical textbooks and classroom resources be provided? Yes, physical textbooks and resources are in the process of being distributed to students at all elementary schools and at Keith Valley Middle School. Arrangements are being made with families who were not able to pick up those resources during the scheduled times and for any new registrants. Most of the high school

    textbooks and required resources are available online and/or not needed for the initial week of school. The high school administration will be distributing resources for those courses and student during the second week of school.

     

    Will special area classes still be offered to students as part of the remote learning experience? Yes, the District has plans to continue special content areas such as STEM, library, art, music, health, and physical education at the elementary level and continue all specials experiences at the secondary level.

     

    How will students enrolled at the Eastern Center for Arts and Technology receive their instruction? The Eastern Center for Arts and Technology will be offering their program virtually to begin the school year. Please visit the Eastern Center’s website for additional reopening details. When in-person programming resumes at the Eastern Center, the District will provide transportation to and from the Eastern Center for these students.

     

    SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES

     

    The approved reopening plan indicated that some students with disabilities will be provided with some in-person instruction. How do I know if my child is able to receive this? What are the details? The District considered programming options for all students with disabilities. The students who will be recommended to begin the year with some in-person instruction include those with the most complex learning needs and our most vulnerable populations. Families of students who will be offered to begin the year with some in person instruction have been contacted directly to discuss the programming needs for their child.

     

    With some students with disabilities being offered to return for in-person instruction, is this required? If this is offered to my child, am I required to send my child to school? Will my child lose services if I do not? As HHSD is starting the year providing full remote learning for all students, a family is not required to accept the offer of in-person instruction. The services indicated in the IEP will be delivered remotely. It may be necessary for the IEP team to meet and review the delivery of a particular service in a remote environment.

     

    Will IEPs, GIEPs, and 504 Service agreements be followed? Yes.

     

    Will teaching assistants be able to support the students?

    Yes, paraprofessionals will be supporting students synchronously in the virtual instructional model.

     

    Will my child receive IEP related services? Yes, related services will be provided according to a student’s IEP.

     

    How will remote instruction for students with IEPs differ from what was offered in the spring following the emergency closure? Instruction during the spring was provided to ensure continuity of education during the emergency closure. Specialized instruction in the fall will be goal-driven and will include direct related service instruction (when applicable).

     

    I received a letter earlier in the summer indicating that my child's progress on IEP goals will be reassessed within the first few weeks of the school year. Does this mean my child will not be getting any instruction during that time? No. Your child will be receiving goal- based instruction as per their IEP starting the first day of school. The letter was to inform you that

    HHSD was in compliance with PDE guidelines which require districts to review and take into account the impact that the emergency closure may or may not have had on your child's educational progress. In some instances, students may require additional supports beyond what is currently indicated in the IEP to address that impact. This will be reviewed individually within the IEP team structure as outlined in the letter.

     

    My child receives support from a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) and other related service providers throughout the school day. Will these services be provided in my home? Related services will either be provided remotely or within a school building for students with disabilities. Services provided in the school building will be available for those students who are offered some in-person instruction and will be aligned with those in-person days whenever possible. For those students not attending in person instruction, the service will be delivered remotely. It may be necessary for the IEP team to meet and review the delivery of a particular service in a remote environment.

     

    My child attends a school out-of-district due to the needs of their IEP program. Will you provide transportation now that HHSD is beginning the year with remote instruction? Yes. If your child is eligible to receive transportation, it will be provided for your child should the out-of- district school be offering in-person instruction.

     

    My child's initial evaluation or re-evaluation was interrupted due to the emergency closure. What happens now? All psychoeducational evaluations and re-evaluations will resume in person starting September 2020. Psychologists will be in contact with impacted families to discuss this process. Should you have questions about your child's specific evaluation timeline please connect directly with the School Psychologist assigned to their evaluation and/or your child's school counselor.

     

    HOMEBOUND INSTRUCTION

     

    Will the district provide homebound tutors for students who have medical issues or have surgery that will temporarily not allow them to attend school in-person? As HHSD is opening remotely for all students, homebound tutors for temporary medical issues are not required as students will have access to all instruction and curriculum from the home or hospital environment. Parents should continue to contact their child's school counselor in the event that medical concerns impact school attendance.

     

    HOME EDUCATION (HOME SCHOOLING)

     

    What steps beyond simply withdrawing my child from the District will I need to take if I choose to Home School my child? To be approved to home educate your child(ren) several guidelines including providing a signed affidavit must be followed. Please contact the Office of Special Education and Special Services for additional information. Your child(ren) will not be withdrawn from the district until your home education program is properly approved.

     

    Will students who are home-schooled for the 2020-2021 school year be issued an electronic device? No, children who are being home educated are not entitled to an electronic device. Any district device currently in the possession of a student/family will need to be returned.

    If a student is home-schooled for the 2020-2021 school year, am I still required to provide medical information to the district? Yes, you are required to do so. Please review the documents provided to you following your request to begin a home education program and/or contact the Office of Special Education and Special Services for additional information regarding these requirements.

     

    CHILDCARE

     

    Is the Hatboro-Horsham School District providing before-and after-care during the remote learning phase? While the District recognizes that a fully virtual model poses childcare difficulties for many of our families, the before- and after-care programs and preschool programs will not be operating through the closure.

     

    MEAL SERVICE

     

    Is Meal service available for all families? Yes, meals will be offered to all children in the community free of charge. This includes all children 0-18 years old. Enrolled students over 18 with special needs can receive meals as well.

    When and where will meal service be located? We will open two sites for meal pick-up, Hallowell Elementary and Crooked Billet Elementary. Although we encourage Horsham residents to go to Hallowell and Hatboro residents to go to Crooked Billet, families can come to either location. We will be open on Monday from 10:30am-1:30pm and on Thursdays between 4pm- 6pm. We will be providing 5 days’ worth of breakfast and lunch at each pick-up. Students do NOT have to be present at the time of pick-up.

    What do I need to do when I arrive at the building to pick up meals? When you arrive at the site, please look for Food Service personnel, stay in your vehicle, a Food Service employee will approach your car and assist you.

    What is included in each meal bag? Menus will be communicated to families on a bi-weekly basis. We plan to provide a combination of hot food, cold food, and meals to be prepared at home.

    What safety procedures are in place? All staff will have a health screen prior to work. Proper PPE will be supplied and required while in the buildings. We have also received health and safety plans from all our food/supply vendors to ensure the supplies are handled properly.

    Is delivery available? Yes, home deliveries are an option for families with transportation issues.

    How do I apply for free/reduced meals? Please apply online HERE at https://www.schoolcafe.com/ Contact Maryann Murphy with any specific questions regarding the application process, mgmurphy@hatboro-horsham.org

    Will students receiving in-person instruction be provided access to meals? Yes. We will be providing breakfast and lunch to students in the buildings every day.

     

    SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL WELLNESS

     

    The past several months have been very challenging for families and students for several reasons. How does Hatboro-Horsham School District plan to address the social and

    emotional wellness and mental health needs of students? The District has emphasized and prioritized the education of the whole child, including reviewing and modifying current programming in place that addresses inclusion, mental health, bullying, substances, and diversity and equity issues through the education of social and emotional awareness. Professional learning around trauma-informed support for students has been included in our program. For information on ways in which Hatboro-Horsham School District teachers and staff will be providing supports and for additional resources, please see the social and emotional wellness support page, available HERE.

     

    What types of social and emotional wellness supports will there be for my student?

    All supports that had been in place remain accessible to families including counselors, psychologists, and K-12 student assistance teams and emotional supports. Adults will be checking in regularly with students. Additionally, there is a referral process for students whom staff identify as needing extra support through our student assistance program. Parents or guardians can also take advantage of this referral process for their student by contacting their guidance counselor. Our Student Assistance Program information can be found HERE

     

    TRANSPORTATION

     

    Will transportation be provided to the non-public schools within a ten-mile radius, which are attended by students residing within the Hatboro-Horsham School District boundaries? Yes.

     

    Will transportation be provided to students who are invited to return early for some programming? Yes, when that programming is delivered consistently and if the student normally would qualify for transportation services. If a student needs to return to school for a one-time need, transportation services are not available on-call for this reason.

     

    MISCELLANEOUS

     

    Will clubs and other extra-curricular activities continue?

    Yes, to the extent possible. Schools will communicate information about these opportunities as plans are developed.

     

    Will athletics at the secondary level continue? The District informed the Suburban One League that it will follow the League recommended schedule adjustments and continue its interscholastic athletics and extra-curricular program in accordance with the Montgomery County Office of Public Health’s Guidance for Sports and the District’s Athletic Health and Safety Plan for grades 9-12. Participation is contingent upon the Suburban One League’s continuation of the Fall athletic season.

     

    How will students in the college search process be supported? High School guidance counselors are poised to continue supporting and working with students through the college application process during our time in remote learning and are available for student support. Some additional steps that have been taken include:

    • The HS Guidance Department has created a Canvas Page.

    • College application information is also available in Naviance.

    • Counselors will be we will be sending a needs assessment survey to all seniors to determine where they are in the process of planning their future. This will be sent during the second week of school.

    • Counselors will then be reaching out directly to students to follow- up and assist them with next steps.

    • Guidance support staff will be available to answer general questions about transcripts, Naviance accounts, and upcoming events.

    • Students can schedule individual meetings with their counselor through the MS Teams via email, phone, or the ‘bookings’ app.

       

      Will HHSD students be able to take the SATs this fall? Students will have an opportunity to take the SAT at Hatboro-Horsham High School on Saturday, October 3rd and we expect to be able to accommodate students through the College Board initiated guidelines.

       

      CLEANING AND SANITIZING

       

      What cleaning and sanitizing protocols have been put in place to keep staff and students safe? The District will follow CDC Guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing. Cleaning and disinfecting and promoting hand hygiene are important everyday actions that the School District will emphasize to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases and protect students and staff. The cleaning, disinfecting, and hand hygiene procedures that guide administrative decisions are outlined in our health and safety plan, found HERE.

       

      Why is cleaning and disinfection important? Cleaning with soap (or detergent) and water reduces the number of germs, dirt, and impurities on surfaces. All visibly dirty surfaces will be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces. SARS- CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can be reduced, and killed from surfaces, objects, and hands if the right products are used correctly. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person, however, it may also spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose, or possibly your eyes. Regular cleaning and disinfecting can reduce the risk of spreading infection by reducing and killing germs on surfaces people frequently touch. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has compiled a list of disinfectant products that the District will use against the virus that causes COVID-19, including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes.

       

      Why is practicing good hand hygiene important? Keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from getting sick. When SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, gets onto hands, and is not washed off, it can be passed from person to person. Germs from unwashed hands can get into the body through the mouth, nose, and eyes and make people sick. Good hand hygiene – regular handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available – reduces the spread of germs that can cause illness, especially if done at key times throughout the day. To avoid poison emergencies, hand sanitizers should be stored away, and out of sight of children under six years of age and should be used with adult

      supervision. Students and staff returning to our schools will engage in hand hygiene procedures several times during the day.

       

      Cleaning and disinfection – What is the difference? Cleaning and disinfecting are part of a broad approach to prevent infectious diseases, including COVID-19, in schools. To help slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, preventive measures include staying home when sick, social distancing, using cloth masks, washing hands often, and regular cleaning and disinfection. Cleaning physically removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects by using soap (or detergent) and water. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill the germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection. Cleaning surfaces and objects using soap and water is done prior to disinfection. Cleaning and disinfection products will not be used near children, and District staff will ensure that there is adequate ventilation when using these products to prevent children or themselves from inhaling fumes.

       

      How will frequently touched surfaces be cleaned? Frequently touched surfaces (e.g., playground equipment, door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains) within the school and on school buses will be cleaned and sanitized at least daily or between use as much as possible.

      Viruses, including Covid-19, on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days. Warmer temperatures and exposure to sunlight will reduce the time the virus survives on surfaces and objects.

       

      What advice is provided for staff to consider managing shared objects when students are in school?

    • Limit the use of shared objects (e.g., gym or physical education equipment, art supplies, toys, games, computers) when possible, or clean and disinfect between use.

    • Discourage sharing of items that are difficult to clean or disinfect such as electronic devices, pens and pencils, classroom stapler, whiteboard markers and erasers, books, games, art supplies (e.g., markers, crayons, scissors), and other learning aids. Soft and porous materials, such as area rugs and seating, may be removed to reduce the challenges with cleaning and disinfecting them.

    • Keep each student’s belongings separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, lockers or areas.

    • Ensure adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high touch materials to the extent possible (e.g., assigning each student their own art supplies, equipment) or limit use of supplies and equipment to one group of students at a time and clean and disinfect between use.

     

    How is the District ensuring that they are using the right products? The District will use products that meet EPA disinfection criteria. These products can kill the virus that causes COVID-

    19 and include ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes. The District will ensure that adequate supplies are available to support more frequent cleaning and disinfection. The District will provide teachers and staff with needed additional cleaning and disinfection supplies (e.g., cleaning and disinfection products, paper towels, gloves) beyond those normally stocked in classrooms.

     

    What safety precautions are taken when using disinfectants? The District will adhere to the following safety precautions when using disinfectants:

    • All directions on labels will be read and followed to ensure safe and effective use.

    • Wear skin protection and consider eye protection for potential splash hazards.

    • Ensure adequate ventilation.

    • Use no more than the amount recommended on the label.

    • Use water at room temperature for dilution (unless stated otherwise on the label).

    • Avoid mixing chemical products.

    • Label diluted cleaning solutions.

    • Store and use chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.

       

      What PPE will be supplied to staff in their classrooms? Disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, masks and face shields, and protective barriers in one-on-one settings. Given the range of instructional environments, there is some variation based on professional responsibility and proximity to others.

       

      NURSING SERVICES

       

      Are Immunizations required during remote instruction? The state requirements for immunizations for this school year remain in place. You should have received an email notification if your child needs to submit any of this information. While there is no student exclusion during remote instruction, the student immunizations remain required with a state deadline for submission being extended for two months to 11/8/2020. Additional information can be found HERE.

       

      When should I keep my child home from school and when are they permitted to return to school after an illness? The school district is requiring that students who are ill and exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as fever (100.4 degrees or higher), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, body aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, congestion, fatigue, headache or new loss of taste or smell to stay home. If your child has any of these symptoms, they may need to see their doctor who may recommend an office visit or testing for COVID-19. Please do not premedicate your child with Tylenol and Ibuprofen before sending them to school. They are sick and should stay home. They may return to school with a doctor’s note and 24 hours after fever- free (less than 100.4 degrees) and improvement in symptoms.

       

      How long do I need to keep my child home if they test positive for COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19? Parents should have received a call from the Montgomery County Office of Public Health (MCOPH) for a positive test result. The MCOPH will conduct a case investigation and start contact tracing. They will issue the following guidance to families:

      • For COVID-19 Symptoms: Test for COVID-19 or provide a doctor’s note for another cause of symptoms or a differential diagnosis

        • If differential diagnosis: May return to school 24 hours after fever free (less than

          100.4 degrees), and improvement in symptoms. If antibiotics are recommended, 24 hours after starting antibiotics. A doctor’s note is required to return to school.

        • For Negative COVID-19 Test: May return to school 24 hours after fever-free (less than 100.4 degrees) and improvement in symptoms

      • For Positive COVID-19 Test with Symptoms: May return 24 hours after fever free (less than 100.4 degrees) and improvement in symptoms and 10 days since symptoms first appeared.

      • For Positive COVID-19 Test without Symptoms: May return 10 days after test was collected. If symptoms develop during the 10 days, follow the Positive COVID-19 Test with Symptoms.

      • For Close Contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) to a Positive COVID-19 Person and you are experiencing symptoms: Get tested for COVID-19.

        • If test result is negative, you may return 14 days after last exposure to the person with COVID-19 and symptoms have resolved.

        • If test result is positive, follow the Positive COVID-19 Test with symptoms.

      • For Close Contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) to a Positive COVID-19 person and you are without symptoms: May return 14 days after last exposure to the person with COVID-19

      • For Household Contacts to a positive case without symptoms: Quarantine for 14 days AFTER household positive is released from their isolation. If symptoms develop during the 14 days, follow the Close Contact with Symptoms

      • Travel to States with High COVID-19 Rates with symptoms: Quarantine for 14 days on return to PA. If symptoms develop during the 14-day period, get tested and follow the Positive COVID-19 with Symptoms

      • Travel to States with High COVID-19 Rates without symptoms: Self-Quarantine 14 days on return to PA.

     

    How will the school be monitoring students for illness? When students are in school, all teachers and staff will be observing students for illness and symptoms of COVID-19 throughout the school day. Those students who appear ill will be sent to the school nurse for further evaluation. If the school nurse determines that the student is sick, a parent will be notified to pick their child up from school. Parents should plan to arrive at school within an hour of the call. Parents should call the school nurse when they arrive at the school, and the school nurse will walk the student to the parent’s car. Information will be provided to the parent by the school nurse including: a list of COVID-19 symptoms to watch for, “When to Stay Home and When to Return to School” letter, a doctor referral form and a list of COVID-19 testing sites. A doctor’s note that lists a differential diagnosis will be required to return to school. Students that are being tested for COVID-19 should contact the School Nurse prior to returning to school and after meeting the Isolation and Quarantine Recommendations from the Montgomery County Office of Public Health.

     

    Will parents be permitted in the school building during a Hybrid or Virtual Model? As part of the districts Health and Safety Plan, schools will be open to “essential” visitors only. If you are considered an “essential” visitor, you will be required to follow the district’s revised procedures for visitors. Visitors will report to the main entrance of the building, use hand sanitizer, enter information into the Easy Lobby Visitor Management System and complete a temperature check and a health screening questionnaire. Before you exit the building, check in at the front office, and use hand sanitizer.

     

    How will parents be notified of a positive COVID-19 case in the school? The Montgomery County Office of Public Health (MCOPH) will notify the school immediately upon learning that a person with COVID-19 was present at school while infectious. The school nurse will assist the MCOPH in identifying any close contacts within the school. The MCOPH will notify the parents of those classmates identified as close contacts. They will assist the school with risk assessment, isolation and quarantine recommendations and other infection control measures.

     

    What is the district doing for “Slowing the Spread” of COVID-19 in the school?

    All students and staff will be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water frequently throughout the school day including at the beginning of each school day, before and after breaks, after coughing and sneezing or using tissues, before and after eating and after using the bathroom. Hand Sanitizer will be available in areas without sinks. Students and staff will be practicing social distancing while in school. This means 6 feet of distance between others. Students are encouraged to use proper respiratory etiquette including covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow. Face coverings are required to be worn by all students and staff while in the school building and on school buses or vans. Students may remove face coverings while eating and at least 6 feet from others. They will be provided with 10-minute mask breaks while seated throughout the school day. Parents should send in an extra face covering in case the student’s mask breaks, is soiled, becomes wet, or is lost. Videos regarding these measures will be viewed by all students to reinforce these healthy habits.

     

    What if my child cannot wear a face mask? All students and staff are required to wear a face covering while on the school bus and in school. There are certain students and staff who may have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering. Individuals under the age of 2, anyone with breathing problems and anyone who is sleeping or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance are not required to wear a mask. The school should receive a doctor’s note for those students and staff who cannot wear a face covering. Face shields are encouraged if a face mask cannot be worn.

     

    Do I still need to report a full or partial day absence in a remote learning or hybrid learning environment? Yes, parents/guardians should report all absences by calling the attendance line and completing the on-line attendance excuse form within three days of return, available HERE.

     

    Who can I reach out to for support if my child is experiencing any personal, academic, social, or emotional concerns? You should reach out to your child’s guidance counselor for support in any of these areas. Visit your building level webpage to find your child’s guidance counselor contact information.