Mead School District 354
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Fall 2020 Reopening » Reopening FAQ's

Reopening FAQ's

To help families make an informed decision on the learning option that best meets the needs of their children the district hosted two interactive webinars - August 11 (elementary focus) & August 12 (secondary focus). Click here to access links to these two webinars. 
For additional information or answers to specific questions not covered in these FAQs please call 509-465-6014.
The School Board, to allow time to implement Fall 2020 Reopening Plans, has delayed the start of school to Monday, September 14 for 1-12 grade students and Thursday, September 17 for Kindergarten students. Click here to access the revised 2020-2021 School Year Calendar. 
More than 70% of Mead families took surveys this summer about their preferences for learning this fall. The vast majority - more than 69% - said they favored some sort of face-to-face instruction. About 31% said they favored distance-only learning. 
In addition to guidelines provided by the CDC and others, those preferences factored significantly into the decision to offer in-person learning as an option, with extensive safety measures in place, in addition to a remote learning option. 
While the specific teaching assignments have not been finalized, the district's goal is to assign each remote student a teacher who works in their home school. Once we have an accurate count of students who will access remote learning, our schools will finalize teaching assignments and communicate those decisions to families and students. 
We want to empower families through choice and flexibility. We support and respect your decision, whether you choose in-person or remote learning. Our job is to provide the best education we can, even facing challenges that we as educators and students never imagined. We're offering learning options so that students can continue receiving a high-quality Mead education - no matter where they're doing it.
Learning for students selecting the remote option will look significantly different from what we experienced last spring. This will be real-time instruction, with more direct contact between teachers and students and with students fully engaged in learning throughout the school day. 
Students will be able to check out laptops to use during the school year. The district is also working on internet access options for students without access at home. Be looking for additional information regarding technology resources in the near future. 
All students and staff will follow safety protocols, with adaptations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, as students receive in-person classroom instruction. 
Elementary students will attend school every day, Monday through Friday. Students will learn together in small groups but remain socially distanced. Learning will continue to focus on key standards and learning targets, and students will continue to have individual work time as well as access to weekly specialist content such as physical education, music and library time. Students will eat together in their classrooms and play structured games at recess to have fun and stay safe.
Please see the districts detailed Reopening Plan for additional information. 
All students and staff will follow safety protocols, with adaptations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, as students receive in-person classroom instruction.
Secondary students will be divided into two groups to help minimize movement throughout buildings. Students in the same household will be in the same groups. Group A attends school on Mondays, Wednesdays and every other Friday. Group B attends school on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other Friday. The bell-schedule will follow the traditional six-period day at each school. Some students may attend more days for additional support. Students receiving special education services will be served according to their Least Restrictive Environment Level. 
Please see the district's detailed Reopening Plan for additional information. 
School districts have received varying guidance from local, state and federal health agencies about how best to resume learning in the fall. The district conducted a comprehensive review of all guidelines and recommendations from state, local and federal agencies. Those agencies include the Surgeon General of the Unites States and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which favor reopening schools with in-person learning.
Mead considered all of this guidance, along with parent preference, before deciding to meet families' desire for learning options while maintaining stringent safety procedures for in-person learning. 
The CDC's best evidence indicates that COVID-19 poses relatively low risks to school-age children and that they are far less likely to suffer serious symptoms if they are infected. 
The CDC also recommends that school districts consider all the benefits and risks of in-person and virtual learning options, in addition to any risks related to COVID-19. Those risks include the harm attributed to closed schools on children's social, emotional and behavioral health. They also include the disproportionate harm caused to students with disabilities, students from low-income families and others when in-person learning options are unavailable. That's because those students are less likely to have access to private instruction and care - and may be more likely to rely on school resources that meet basic needs, such as food programs, special-education services and counseling. 
School districts have received varying guidance from local, state and federal health agencies about how best to resume learning in the fall. Mead considered all this guidance along with parents' preferences as it decided to reopen schools by offering both in-person and remote learning options for students.
Most recently (August 5th) Governor Inslee left it up to individual districts to decide how to best meet the needs of their students and communities. Ultimately, Mead's plan is based on the majority of families' expressed desire for in-person learning options along with guidance from the CDC and other agencies. 
The district will follow coronavirus reopening guidance from the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. As part of our extra precautions, we will (these practices could change as conditions change):
    • Require face coverings for students and staff on buses. 
    • Intensity cleaning protocols for transportation services. 
    • Expand entry and exit access options for each building, assigning specific and consistent access points for groups of students to limit the number of students going in or out at any one time.
    • Require face coverings for all students and staff on school campuses.
    • Require daily reported temperature and health checks.
    • Impose physical distancing measures.
    • Group students to minimize exposure and allow for contact tracing. 
    • Designate hand washing breaks throughout the school day. 
    • Provide self-contained "grab-and-go" meals.
    • Stagger meal schedules to limit students picking up lunch in the cafeteria at one time.
    • Creatively repurpose spaces such as gyms, libraries and underused building space for instructional use to allow for more space between students. 
    • Optimize ventilation and airflow in each building.
    • Establish protocols for reporting symptoms and initiate contact investigation and tracing in collaboration with the Spokane Regional Health District. 
Each school building will have an isolation room where students or staff with potential symptoms can be evaluated by a school nurse.
If a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, the district will work with the Spokane Regional Health District to determine best course of action depending on the circumstances. 
Key to our next steps, however, would be whether the person got the virus at school or at home (if it is possible to determine transmission, again depending on the circumstances). If transmission happened at school (of if the transmission point cannot be determined), the sick person's class could go to remote learning for a period of time. If transmission happened at home, the diagnosed patient would quarantine at home but in-person learning likely would continue for others.
If the health district found transmission was widespread in a building, the building could be closed and all students at that school would transition to remote learning. 
  • Isolation is what you do if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or have tested positive. Isolation means you stay home and away from others (including household members) for the recommended period of time to avoid spreading illness. 
  • Quarantine is what you do if you have been exposed to COVID-19. Quarantine means you stay home and away from others for the recommended period of time in case you are infected and are contagious. Quarantine becomes isolation if you later test positive for COVID-19 or develop symptoms.    
If a student or staff member were diagnosed with COVID-19, the district would work closely with the Spokane Regional Health District to determine the best course of action to prevent spread of the virus. While the top priority would be to keep students, staff and families safe, we would also strive to keep learning disruptions to a minimum.
Some teachers and other staff may face higher risk of serious COVID-19 symptoms due to health conditions or other factors. The district will work directly with those individuals to ensure they can continue to work outside in-person learning settings.
The affected school's principal would use SchoolMessenger to inform families whose students attended that school. 
No. In order to offer learning options that work best for families, the district is adding technology, training, tools and resources for teachers and students. The district is also adding staff to meet the variety of needs and wishes. Teachers will still be creating lessons and/or teaching all day every day, whether it's online or in-person.