Please note that we will add questions and answers on a frequent basis, as more information becomes available. Answers will be updated if there are changes in the guidance from Governor Wolf's office and the PA State Department of Health. Those changes will be indicated in red.
RETURN TO BUILDINGS
Why are students distance-learning on Wednesdays?
Distance-learning Wednesdays are designed for teacher collaboration and professional development, and to better prepare students for distance-learning procedure. The District will also be able to do additional cleaning and disinfecting on Wednesdays.
Will students be able to attend in-person classes this fall?
Yes, students will be able to attend in-person classes this fall as long as York County remains in ‘Green’ or ‘Yellow’ status.
If Pennsylvania goes back into the ‘Yellow’ status, will we go back to virtual learning?
No, according to the state guidelines and the District Health and Safety Plan, schools will remain open in ‘Yellow’ (and ‘Green’). Virtual learning will be implemented if the York County designation changes to ‘Red’ but student expectations will be more like a traditional day. Families can choose a 100% cyber option through the District if they choose. Visit the West York Cyber Academy for more information.
Will non-employees (i.e. volunteers) be permitted into school buildings?
As stated in the WYASD Health and Safety Plan, the following action steps will be implemented:
- Limit non-essential visitors and volunteers.
- Communicate with potential visitors to discourage in-person or contact visits in the interest of their own/family members’ health. Perform verbal screening (for COVID-19 symptoms and close contact with cases) and temperature checks for all visitors and volunteers on entry.
- If possible, inform potential visitors and volunteers before they travel to the school that they should expect to be screened for COVID-19
(including a temperature check), and will be unable to enter the school if they do not clear the screening process or if they decline screening.
- Exclude visitors and volunteers who do not clear the screening process or who decline screening.
- Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol in visitor entrances, exits, and waiting areas.
- Continue to use the Raptor System for visitor/volunteer log in the event contact tracing is required.
- Staff performing temperature checks should wear recommended PPE.
- Display signage outside visiting areas explaining the COVID-19 screening and temperature check process. Ensure that materials are understandable for non-English speakers and those with low literacy.
- Verbal screening for symptoms of COVID-19 and contact with COVID-19
Will the District close schools if a certain number of students or staff report illnesses?
This will be based on the totality of circumstance, the ability to contact trace, and in conjunction and recommendation of local health officials and the PA Department of Health.
What precautions are being taken for older educators?
As stated in the WYASD Health and Safety Plan, the following action steps will be implemented:
- Staff who may need to be out of school for illness or quarantine will communicate with their Building Principal and Human Resources to determine remote working opportunities when possible.
- Increase frequency of hand washing/sanitizing.
- Require staff who are at high risk to wear clear face shields as an alternative to masks when meeting face-to-face, teaching, or interacting with others in classroom and congregate settings.
* What is the District’s policy on students wearing masks? Will there be alternatives to masks for students, especially in the lower elementary grades?
Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Order dated July 1, 2020, the use of face coverings is required and applies to all individuals while in school entities, including public K-12 schools. For the safety of students, staff and families and to avoid community spread of COVID-19, students and staff are considered to be members of the public who are congregating in indoor locations. Students should wear face coverings at all times regardless of the recommended 6 feet social distancing area being met, to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As such, they are required to adhere to this Order. Schools may allow students to remove their face coverings when students are:
1. Eating or drinking when spaced at least 6 feet apart;
2. When wearing a face covering creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task; or
3. At least 6 feet apart during “face-covering breaks” to last no longer than 10 minutes.
Any student who cannot wear a mask or face shield due to a medical condition, including those with respiratory issues that impede breathing, a mental health condition, or disability, and students who would be unable to remove a mask without assistance are not required to wear face coverings. Individuals who are communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired or who has another disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication, are not required to wear a mask; however, individuals should consider using another type of face covering such as a plastic face shield. Schools must require all students over 2 years of age to wear face coverings, except for any student who has a medical or mental health condition or disability that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school. Notwithstanding Section 3, Paragraph B of Secretary Levine’s July 1, 2020 Order regarding face coverings, schools may require such students to provide medical documentation. PDE recommends that any documentation that is provided be in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA of such medical or mental health conditions or disability.
When will we know about the plans to return to school this fall?
The Board approved the Health and Safety Plan on June 29, 2020, allowing the District to prepare for the return to school in the fall. The District is planning to bring students back to school in person according to the District calendar if York County remains in ‘Green’ or ‘Yellow’ status. The District also has a cyber option for parents/guardians who feel more comfortable with their children receiving education online. Visit the West York Cyber Academy for more information.
How will classes such as science and media labs be conducted safely?
When individual-use items are not available, students will receive assigned and controlled access to shared supplies with a hand sanitizing and disinfecting protocol. Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be utilized as needed in labs and hands-on learning activities. Sanitizing protocols for shared items will be followed and personal handwashing/hand sanitizer will occur before and after. Sneeze guards/face shields will be utilized where appropriate. Individual technology accessories (i.e. headphones) will be used throughout K-12 grades.
What will locker assignments in the secondary grades look like? How will students and staff practice social distancing in the hallways?
Staggering options are being evaluated as potential ways to reduce the number of students in a small area, like a hallway. The Health and Safety Plan provides guidance to minimizing large groups of students or having students in densely populated areas.
Since water fountains are high germ transfer areas, will bottled water be available for students?
Students will be encouraged to bring a refillable water bottle to school. Water fountains will not be in use. In some cases, bottled water will be provided. Water fountains will not be available for direct drinking, but the bottle filling station portion of dual fountains will remain available.
Will students be able to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities?
We anticipate that teams will be able to participate. We will take guidance from the PIAA as well as the Governor’s Office and state health officials for scheduling. Depending on Pennsylvania’s color zone, spectator size and behavior stipulations will be communicated.
Will hand sanitizer be available in classrooms, libraries, and other high traffic areas?
Yes, ample sanitizer will be available throughout each building in high-traffic areas as well as in each classroom.
Are extra safety precautions being taken about vendors such as food service deliveries, UPS, ext.?
Visitors or outside workers/vendors may need to enter buildings on an as-needed basis. During these situations, our Health and Safety Plan (updated 12.01.20)* requires a protocol to take temperatures and check symptoms.
IN-SCHOOL LEARNING AND CYBER SCHOOL
Will in-school class sizes be smaller? Will classroom desks be farther apart for social distancing?
Brick and Mortar/class sizes will be in accordance with our Administrative Regulation 125 and be within the recommendation of 25 students or less to the extent possible. Classroom spaces are being modified to allow for 6 feet of space between students. Excess furniture has been eliminated from the learning spaces to allow for maximized space for our students and educators.
I am not yet comfortable sending my child to school. Can I have them continue with virtual learning only this school year?
Yes, the District is offering a 100% cyber option for K-12 students during the 2020-2021 school year through the West York Cyber Academy. Visit the West York Cyber Academy for more information.
What will happen in the cases of teachers who cannot or choose not to return to school?
We will staff all of our classes with highly qualified teachers to ensure continuity of education for all students.
Will children be provided with tablets if schools are forced to close again?
All students (K-12) will be provided a Chromebook for educational use.
Will students have a comprehensive seminar the first day of school that explains all expectations in detail?
Principals meet with students on the first day of school and will explain expectations to students. Teachers will also reinforce expectations throughout the first few weeks of school. The District will also release videos and updated information over the summer so students and families know what will be expected, including health and safety expectations, when students return.
Will my child be required to bring his/her own school supplies this year? Will we be given a list before the start of the school year?
Learning kits with essentials will be assembled and distributed. They are not to be shared with other students. When individual items are not available, assigned and controlled access to shared supplies with a hand sanitizing and disinfecting protocol will be used. Supply lists will include items you may be more comfortable purchasing and labeling rather than using District-issued items.
What will the attendance policy be for the District?
Attendance expectations will remain in accordance with Policy 204. Building handbooks detail attendance policies, and daily attendance is expected whether online or attending classes at the student’s assigned building.
Will classroom-based instruction look different during the 2020-21 school year as a result of COVID-19 precautions?
The West York Area School District prides itself on using highly effective instructional practices that support interactive, human, social and purposeful learning. This is more difficult while social distancing, but not impossible. We will prioritize safety, as directed through the Health and Safety Plan while also supporting all students’ social, emotional, and academic success. All staff members will be trained on new protocols outlined in the Health and Safety Plan. Teachers will be able to instruct students within their classroom, but procedures may look different. As an example, for a lab there would be designated handlers of materials, or hand washing protocols would be in effect to support sanitation. Circle time on the carpet would have to look different, and young learners rotating centers will have assigned materials to students in their locations.
Will there be physical education classes?
Physical education classes are an integral part of the District curriculum. Physical education classes will continue following the protocols set by the Health and Safety Plan.
If my child starts the year at the building and I become uncomfortable, can they transition to virtual learning?
Yes, however should online learning not work out for your family, re-entry may not be possible until select points throughout the year. Depending on the situation, the student may be placed in a different section or homeroom. This would ensure educational continuity for all students and appropriate planning for scheduling/class sizes.
What is the time commitment for virtual/cyber learning?
Students enrolled in the West York Cyber Academy will be required to complete the equivalent of a full academic year through activities facilitated online by their teacher and supported at home by a learning coach (in the appropriate grades). Please visit the West York Cyber Academy page for more information.
Will virtual learning be structured differently than the distance learning we experienced this spring?
Yes. Students enrolled in the West York Cyber Academy will be more like the expectations of a traditional day of school delivered in a virtual classroom. Please visit the West York Cyber Academy page for more information.
If my high-school aged child is enrolled in the West York Cyber Academy for this year, will he still receive instruction in the courses he is currently enrolled in for the 2020-2021 school year?
Every effort will be made to mirror the online schedule to the current schedule for our high school students. High School student schedules will be confirmed during the Cyber Academy intake meeting. It should be noted that some of our courses do not lend themselves to online learning due to labs and required materials. Situations such as those will be discussed during our enrollment process and if at all possible, discussions would take place as to whether courses could be rescheduled for the 21-22 school year or substituted for another course.
Will my Elementary student have to check in with one teacher or multiple teachers if he is enrolled in the West York Cyber Academy for the 2020-2021 school year?
Each elementary West York Cyber Academy student will have one teacher leading their instruction for the year that they will check in with daily.
TRANSPORTATION AND OPERATIONS
Will the District provide bus transportation? What will be different?
The District will provide busing. Parents may opt-out of bus service, however. Buses will be limited to 52 students rostered per bus to maintain a two student maximum per seat. Students will be required to wear masks when on board the bus when social distancing is not possible.
*To the extent possible- students will be rostered to only one bus to maintain the 52 rider maximum.
How will school buses be sanitized?
Buses will be sanitized once a day. Between runs (Secondary to Elementary), drivers will wipe down high touch points with a disinfectant wipe or similar product. The transportation contractor will provide the drivers/designated person with a sprayer device, similar to what our custodial staff will use in the buildings, to sanitize their vehicles.
How will locker rooms be kept safe?
Locker rooms will not be used in the off-season. During the season, they will be used by teams and cleaned per our sanitation protocols.
Will school meals be available to students who are participating in distance learning?
Meals will be provided to students in attendance each day. The District will not be providing drive through lunches in addition to serving the students in the building during a normal school day.
How will restrooms be kept safe and low risk for spreading germs?
The custodial department will make these areas a priority on the evening shift utilizing new safe disinfectants with new technology. Foggers and electrostatic equipment will be used to reach difficult areas.
HEALTH ROOMS AND NURSES
What if a parent sends a child to school with cold-like symptoms?
“Regular monitoring of student and staff health,” our fourth “Key Strategy,” requires all teachers and staff to monitor the health of students. If students display cold or flu-like symptoms, they will be evaluated by the school nurse and next steps will be determined. If this continues, we may recommend an alternative learning environment for this student. We are counting on the support of all parents and caregivers for this plan to be successful.
Will the District alert families if a teacher/staff/student tests positive for COVID-19?
The District will notify families if their child has been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The Pennsylvania Department of Health will follow up with contact tracing and information for these families.
If a teacher/staff/student tests positive for COVID-19, will the entire building be quarantined and for how long?
Confirmed case exposure based on contact tracing. This would determine if areas/wings/pods or buildings would require closure for deep cleaning and quarantine measures. This is outlined in the Health and Safety Plan. The level and degree of contact tracing will be determined and led by Health Department personnel. This would help us determine the extent of the contact and determine what quarantine and closure levels are appropriate. “Minimizing interactions between groups of students, to the extent possible,” our first Key Strategy, is designed to minimize the need to shut an entire building down when one person contracts COVID-19.
What if a family member or guardian of a student or staff tests positive?
We highly encourage parents to report these situations to the school nurse. The Health Department will be issuing more guidance regarding their contact tracing methodology and procedures in the coming weeks/months. The contact tracing process will determine to what extent any quartining or closure would be required.
Will students and staff have their temperature taken each day?
Temperatures will not be taken every day.