Frequently Asked Questions

This page will be updated frequently as questions are received.

Remote/Hybrid Model Questions

Q: What are the options for the 2020-2021 school year?
A: Parents have the choice to send their children to school following a hybrid instructional model (in person/remote combination) or to have them learn remotely to start the year.

Q: If I choose all remote for my children will it be synchronized instruction?
A: Yes, students will have a blending of daily synchronous (live, real time) and asynchronous learning opportunities.

Q: Are we able to keep our child/children at home for remote learning the entire 20-21 school year? (past the first semester)
A: The reason we are only offering the remote only option for the first semester as of now is because we don’t know entirely what things will be like in January. If things do not change, we certainly plan on reevaluating the situation prior to the end of the semester and possibly continuing it through the remainder of the year.

Q: If you chose remote learning then want to change to hybrid; will that be an option?
A: We are asking families to commit to one decision for the first semester/trimester as we need to balance class sizes and make sure all students have access to the same instruction. Of course, if there are extenuating circumstances, please reach out to your building principal.

Q: Will there be attendance taken?
A: Attendance will be taken daily by your child’s teacher when they physically attend their scheduled classes. Teachers will take remote attendance when students attend online synchronous learning or asynchronously through other online engagement, such as email or posts on Google Classroom.

Q: The days the A group are off – are they remote learning? Or are they off completely?
A: Daily attendance is required, and they will have both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities.

Q: What is the rationale for not having students two days in a row (A,A, remote, B,B) as opposed to every other day (remote, A, B,A,B)
A: We opted for ABAB rather than AABB because in the latter students will have a 5 day gap in physically attending school. ABAB allows for great continuity.

Q: During remote synchronous learning will instruction be given, or will they just be given assignments for the parents to teach, like last year?
A: Yes, the teachers will teach the students synchronously (live) following a schedule during remote instruction.

Q: If I opt to have my child learn remotely every day, will they only have synchronous classes on Mondays and therefore only one chance a week to interact live with their teachers and classmates?
A: No, students will have their own remote schedule with the teacher and will connect with their core teachers at least 3 times a week.

Q: How long will the school day be for remote learning? *ANSWER CLARIFIED ON 8/13/20
A: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m on remote synchronous Mondays. Tuesday – Friday, remote only students at the secondary level will follow the regular building schedule and remote only elementary students will follow the 9 a.m. -2  p.m. schedule.

Q: Can we opt out to full online during semester if we are not comfortable or if children are not ok with situation and environment?
A: Yes, parents can opt students into a fully remote learning environment until August 14.

Q: Will the kids have to be live on the days of virtual learning?
A: Yes, there will live synchronous learning opportunities during remote learning days.

Q: My husband works full time out of the home and I am a teacher in another district. On days that my child will not be in school his grandparents will be with him. Is he required to log in during the day or can he do the work when my husband And I get home? I hope you will consider these circumstances.
A: Students will be required to attend school daily, both in person and remotely. If you are unable to log into the synchronous opportunities, they will be required to “attend” in other ways, such as posting in the Google Classroom or submitting assignments to the teacher.

Q: Can you please elaborate on remote learning? Honestly, the children did not “learn remotely” at all. I understand that last period was a difficult situation, though last Spring classes were more of “refreshers” and “teach-yourself” exercises. Regarding next year, there are so many tools that we can utilize to teach LIVE and ONLINE (WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, et al); we are able to interact with every student/teacher, while watching lessons LIVE on white boards, etc. As a perfect example, Princeton Review has been doing the exact the same type of live remote learning to teach and prepare students for SATs/ACTs. Do we have the tech capability or is that not possible?
A: We are in a process of purchasing Google Enterprise License that allows us to conduct Google Meet (i.e. WebEx and Microsoft Team). We have provided training to our teachers and will continuously provide them more training with the added options to this solution.

Q: Will Mondays be remote learning for all students even when students return at 50% level?
A: Yes

Q: How will the kids be graded on their online work?
A: Students will submit work electronically to the teacher through Google Classroom, and the teacher will grade it similar to how work gets graded that is physically submitted. 

Q: When will we find out what group our child is assigned to? So that working parents can plan accordingly.
A: Cohorts have been developed by the school district using household addresses to ensure members of the same household attend school on the same day and to maintain balanced rosters and to maximize social distancing. Cohorts will be released when student schedules and teacher placement information is communicated later in the month.

Q: Can parents have the curriculum and guidelines for kids that are remote so they can assist with instruction?
A: Yes. 

Q: Will remote and hybrid models have exactly the same syllabus for core classes?
A: Yes. 

Q: Will the children get to meet their teachers?
A: We are planning a meet and greet opportunity at the elementary level between September 1 and September 4 for students to see their teacher prior to beginning remote learning on September 8.

Q: Will high school students stay in the same classroom all day long?
A: No, students will follow their assigned schedule.

Q: My daughter is new to the middle school. How do I find out who my daughters’ teachers are?
A: All Middle School students will receive their schedule from the Middle School at the end of August.

Q: Are parents able to submit a preference for their choice of A or B cohort with the understanding that it might not be possible to pick their own cohort?
A: Parents are unable to choose their cohort. Cohorts have been developed by the school district using household addresses to ensure members of the same household attend school on the same day and to maintain balanced rosters and to maximize social distancing. Cohorts will be released when student schedules and teacher placement information is communicated.

Q: What happens with students who need AIS services for math and reading? Remote learning does not supplement this. They need one on one with an instructor as they would have received normally
A: AIS services will continue. 

Q: Will all the classes students requested be available during the hybrid semester?
A: Yes, we are planning to offer the same number of sections and classes even during the hybrid model. Eric

Q: Will the school hours be adjusted so that children in both different schools can leave together?
A: We will still need to stagger start and end times of in person school days to allow for transportation. School hours will be similar to past years.

Q: Is there a difference between synchronous learning and remote learning?
A: Synchronous learning is one model of remote learning when the student is able to participate live in instruction. Remote learning can also occur asynchronously when the student is engaged in learning independently

Q: How will related services (OT, PT, SPEECH, etc) be provided to students in the hybrid model? In-school or virtual?
A: Related services will be provided through a blending of both in person instruction with synchronous and asynchronous remote opportunities.

Q: Is the remote learning going to be on a schedule ? Like a class schedule?
A: Yes, students will be given schedules for both in person and remote instruction.

Q: Will kids have specials?
A: Yes

Q: Will there be after school programs?
A: Not for the first month of school.

Q: When will we find out what group our child is assigned to? So that working parents can plan accordingly.
A: Cohorts have been developed by the school district using household addresses to ensure members of the same household attend school on the same day and to maintain balanced rosters and to maximize social distancing. Cohorts will be released when student schedules and teacher placement information is communicated later in the month.

Q: Gyms are not allowed to open as per Governor. So how can you have gym classes with kids sharing equipment?
A: We are going to avoid sharing equipment and PE classes will go outside as frequently as possible.


Transportation Questions

Q: How will transportation keep children safe? What is the plan for social distancing for bus pick up?
A: As students get onto the bus, they will have to be socially distant while wearing a mask. Should they not have a mask, one will be provided to them by the driver or attendant. Students will occupy the seats in the back of the bus first and fill them forward, sitting 1 per seat unless they are sitting with a member from the same household, keeping the seat directly behind the driver empty at all times.

At the end of each tier, drivers will wipe down high touch areas (i.e. seats and handrail) using the cleaning products and rags issued by the transportation department and complete a disinfection report sheet. Gloves and face shields must be worn when disinfecting between tiers. Buses will be disinfected between AM & PM bus routes by trained personnel and logged by dispatcher each day, then again after all PM Routes.

When students disembark the bus, they should continue to follow social distancing protocols. Students will have access to hand sanitizer dispensers as they enter the school building. Additional protocols for student drop off will be created for each building if necessary.

Q: I was hoping the district would consider allowing High School Junior drivers to park for the day this year?  It seems to me that if there is half the student body attending each day there would be room in the parking lot, and  that allowing juniors to drive would help with limiting numbers on the buses. At this point, if my son were allowed to drive, he could bring his sister and one neighbor which may reduce the need for stops as well.  Hoping that it has at least been under consideration as we are concerned about Covid transmission on the buses.
A: Yes, if possible. The high school is working out the details and will be in touch with junior parents.

Q: If I can commit to driving my son to/from the middle school, my concern is: How long I will have to wait and sit in traffic to drop off or pick up? Last year it was pretty streamlined but if more parents are driving I don’t want to be sitting in traffic for 15 or 20 minutes in the afternoon, as I will be picking my son  up on my lunch break. Thank you!
A: It’s difficult to know for sure what traffic will be like, but we can assume there will be delays, especially as we all get adjusted to the new school year. 

Q: Do we need to fill out the bus form if are choosing the remote option
A: No

Q: I have one child in the High School that is requesting remote learning and one child out of district that will be using the hybrid model, will this be allowable and can my son still use transportation for the out of district hybrid model?
A: Yes.

Q: Will transportation be provided to students in out of district placements whose schools are physically opened during the first two weeks which MW schools will be teaching remotely?
A: Yes.


Safety/Health Questions

Q: What will social distancing look like in the classroom and on buses and will children be required to wear masks?
A: Students will be required to maintain 6 ft social distancing and wear a mask. 

Q: Seeing the schedule as is, does this mean that each night the school will get a cleaning? If you are going to switch students every 24 hours, wouldn’t that absolutely need to be done?
A:  Yes, the schools will be cleaned and disinfected each night. The district will adhere to the cleaning and disinfection recommendations promulgated by the CDC and Departments of Health. The following are examples of cleaning and disinfection protocols for different parts of a building and facility: 

  • Bathrooms 
    • Bathrooms will be cleaned and disinfected at regular intervals throughout the school day and as needed (goal of 2-3 times daily).  
    • High touch surfaces such as door knobs, sinks and faucet handles will be the primary focus during the daytime cleaning/disinfection routine. 
    • Athletic training rooms, locker rooms 
        • Similar protocols to bathrooms will be applicable to locker rooms and training rooms, presuming they are being used regularly. 
        • Specific weight room cleaning protocols will be evaluated and determined in accordance with public health guidance when these types of facilities are deemed safe to operate.
        • High touch areas will get periodic daily cleaning.  
            • Health offices, isolation rooms
            • Routine daily cleaning protocols will take place with daily disinfection of surfaces and high touch areas or objects.
            • Isolation rooms/areas within the nurse’s office will be disinfected/sanitized after every use. The nurse’s office should contact custodial staff to notify them of the need for sanitizing after a sick child has vacated the room/area. 
            • Administrative offices (main office, reception area) 
                    • Routine daily cleaning protocols will take place with daily disinfection of surfaces using electro-static sprayers. 
                    • Certain high traffic areas may require more frequent cleaning/disinfecting especially reception areas that may have high volumes of students and staff daily. 
                      • Frequently touched surfaces in common areas (door handles, elevator buttons, copy machine keypads, etc.)
                      • These surfaces will be wiped down multiple times per day with disinfecting wipes or sprays depending on the frequency of use. 
                        • Every effort will be made to do this cleaning when children are not in the area.  If this is not possible adequate ventilation should be provided.  
                          • Breakrooms
                          • Routine daily cleaning protocols will take place with daily disinfection of surfaces using electro-static sprayers. 
                            • Cafeterias/Kitchens
                            • Routine daily cleaning protocols will take place which shall include a cleaning/sanitizing wipe down of all student tables/desks between each meal period with nightly disinfection of surfaces using electro-static sprayers. 
                            • Routine daily kitchen cleaning protocols will take place which provide for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces and equipment. Enhanced sanitizing wipe down of handles and high touch surfaces/objects may occur. 
                            • Plastic barriers will be installed at each cash register to reduce virus transmission potential.   
                              • Computer labs
                              • Routine daily cleaning protocols will take place with cleaning/disinfection of desks and other hard surfaces occuring nightly using disinfecting sprayers or cleaning/disinfecting wipes as needed.
                                • Science labs
                                • Routine daily cleaning protocols will take place with cleaning/disinfection of desks and other hard surfaces occurring nightly using disinfecting sprayers or cleaning/disinfecting wipes as needed. 
                                  • Classrooms
                                  • Routine daily cleaning protocols will take place with cleaning/disinfection of desks and other hard surfaces occurring nightly using disinfecting sprayers or cleaning/disinfecting wipes as needed. 
                                    • Maintenance offices and work areas
                                    • Routine daily cleaning protocols will take place with daily disinfection of surfaces using electro-static sprayers. 
                                      • Bus Garage
                                      • Routine daily cleaning protocols will take place with daily disinfection of surfaces using electro-static sprayers. 

                                      Q: Will high school students switch classrooms on the days that they are attending school in person? If so, will desks and chairs be wiped down between classes?
                                      A: Yes, HS students will change classrooms when at school and no the desks and chairs will not be wiped down by district staff between classes. However, each classroom will have sanitizing wipes which will allow an individual student to wipe down the desk before taking their seat. Hand sanitizer will also be available in every classroom.

                                      Q: The EPA has calculated the KILL time of disinfectant products…what products will be given throughout the day to the students and staff to sanitize their own desks and workspaces and what’s the KILL time?  KILL time-some products need to be left wet for 2 minutes or more.
                                      A: The Kill time for the solution used in our disinfecting wipes is 1 minute. The Pure Tab solution, used in the electro static sprayers, is 2 minutes, but that will be applied after school so there will be no students around. 

                                      Q: Could you address whether or not ventilation systems have been upgraded or changed in any way? Thank you.
                                      A: In an effort to increase fresh air circulation at the HS, the HVAC system will be evaluated by the manufacturer of the air handling system…Trane.  The system will be rebalanced and optimized to bring in and circulate more fresh air than would ordinarily be brought into the building by opening dampers. Furthermore, new air filters are being installed with a MERV 13 rating which will clean the air and eliminate droplets and aerosols. The vendor will also provide the District with an Indoor Air Quality assessment.

                                      In our other buildings, dampers on unit ventilators will be opened to 40%, the typical setting is ~10%, allowing more fresh air to be circulated through the buildings.  When feasible windows should also be opened and fans can be used so long as the fans are not pointed directly at students or staff.    

                                      We will continue to monitor and modify our plan as needed to increase fresh air circulation in school buildings.     

                                      Q: What precautions will be taken to reduce the possibility of infection at school?
                                      A: Daily and nightly cleaning and sanitizing of classrooms and buildings as outlined above. Also water fountains will be in some cases turned off with new touchless bottle filler fountains installed.

                                      Q: Can I enroll my children in remote learning if they do not have vaccinations?
                                      A: No. According to state law, all children must be vaccinated to attend public school. 

                                      Q: Why do kids need masks while SITTING at their desks if 6 feet apart?
                                      A:  Information from the American Academy of Pediatrics –

                                      A significant number of individuals with Covid‐19 have no symptoms and can transmit the virus through respiratory droplets. These droplets are released when coughing, sneezing, loud speaking or singing. A mask acts as a barrier and can decrease the amount of respiratory droplets released into the air. While it is not a perfect barrier, it is one of the best tools we have to prevent the spread of Covid‐19 along with social distancing.

                                      In order to make the indoor classroom setting as safe as we possibly can, mask wearing is advised at all times. It may sometimes be difficult for children to stay 6 feet apart. Masks can help prevent the spread of the virus in respiratory droplets released when coughing and sneezing. In addition, masks will also help prevent children from spreading germs by touching their nose and mouth.

                                      Schools and teachers should structure in times when students can take off masks and have a break. These breaks can occur hourly, ideally during quiet reading time or study when students are not speaking. Children may also remove their masks while eating, playing outdoors and during gym activities requiring physical exertion provided children can remain 6 feet apart from each other.

                                      Q: Will the number of students allowed into the restrooms at the same time be limited so as to avoid overcrowding?
                                      A: Yes, we intend to use security staff and school monitors to limit the number of students allowed in the bathrooms at the same time. Keep in mind that we will only have approximately 35% of our students in person at any one time, so that will make this task easier to manage.  

                                      Q: At the high school and middle school levels (as I have a student in both) how will changing classes be handled?
                                      A: Students at the secondary level will continue to change classrooms while wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, additionally, each classroom will be equipped with a hand sanitizing station and disinfecting wipes. These wipes may be used between classes, by a staff member, to clean and disinfect desks that were recently used. Although it’s not recommended that students engage in cleaning activities, the use of an individual disinfection wipe by students at the secondary level, is safe and unlikely to be a problem. So this is another means, if the student is concerned, of disinfecting the desk and area. We also expect COVID related signage and floor graphics, such as hallway or stairwell directional arrows, to be delivered and installed next and the week after.

                                      Q: Let’s talk about ventilation. Malls are recommended to have updated HVAC systems, Merv 13 filters. Now gyms are also, why not school buildings? Students, staff will be In the building at least 7 hours a day. Patrons who visit gyms and shopping malls don’t spend that amount of time, but again they are required to have these precautions in place. PLEASE, let’s discuss. We are not prepared to send our community back to schools unless we have the right precautions in place.
                                      A: In an effort to increase fresh air circulation at the HS, the HVAC system will be evaluated by Trane Inc. the manufacturer of the chillers and air handling system. The goal will be to recalibrate and rebalance the system to bring in and circulate more fresh outside air. Furthermore, new air filters are being installed with a MERV 13 value, MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and a higher value means the air filter is more effective. The consultant will also provide the District with an Indoor Air Quality assessment.

                                      In our other buildings, dampers on unit ventilators will be opened to 40%, the typical setting is ~10%, allowing more fresh air to be circulated throughout the building. When feasible windows should also be opened and fans can be used with some new restrictions or caveats. The CDC is recommending that if fans are used they should not blow from one person onto another So fans could be used to draw air out of a classroom or pointed into an unoccupied space in the room. The idea is to avoid aerosols or droplets being blown around the room.

                                      Additional information related to fresh air circulation in M-W schools is listed below (added 10/5/20).  Summary of COVID19 Related HVAC Analysis and Report by LAN Associates:

                                      Introduction

                                      The District commissioned a report from our architectural and engineering firm, LAN Associates, to assess the HVAC systems of each of our school buildings and make recommendations to increase the introduction of fresh air in an effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID19 virus. LAN produced a report entitled HVAC Analysis and Report for All Schools at Monroe-Woodbury C.S.D. which has been sent to you under separate cover. The following narrative summarizes the key findings of the report and resulting District action to carry out the recommendations of the report. To date, all LAN recommendations have been implemented short of initiation of capital projects to install new or retrofitted HVAC systems.

                                      COVID19 Related HVAC Analysis and Report – Summary of LAN Report and District Actions

                                      MWHS is the only school in the District that has a building wide integrated heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system that includes air conditioning and air handling units. This allows a building wide introduction of fresh air through the automated opening of air dampers and filtering of air with the installation of MERV 13 air filters. The MERV 13 filter is a tighter filter that purportedly stops COVID19 particulates. The District retained Trane Company to install the higher efficiency filters and check all systems to insure all the air handling systems were functioning properly and optimizing fresh air circulation into the building.

                                      Our remaining buildings have similar heating and ventilation (HV) and heating ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC). Classrooms for the most part have unit ventilators that bring in fresh air and heat the classroom. Typically, the damper which pulls in fresh air is set at 10% to 20% open. With the assistance of Honeywell, the building management system provider, we have set all classroom dampers at 60% open. This will draw in a significant amount of fresh air allowing for regular air exchanges in each classroom and throughout the entire building. Honeywell not only assisted in programming this system change they verified in most cases that the dampers respond appropriately. We considered installation of the tighter MERV 13 filters but our older unit ventilators can not handle the higher resistance of the MERV13 filter.

                                      As it becomes colder, leaving the dampers open at 60% or higher may not be possible because the unit would no longer be able to heat the room properly and you risk the unit malfunctioning if the coil freezes. Later in the fall when the dampers must be closed to the original design setting of 10% to 20%, we will use a technique to purge the buildings of the stale air every night and possibly every morning. This technique involves temporarily opening the dampers to 100% and drawing in fresh air for one to two hours and then returning everything to a normal setting.

                                      The other recommendation that we are following from a LAN report we commissioned, is running all HV/HVAC units in full occupancy mode, which means these units will not turn off at night rather they run 24/7. This will ensure that fresh air is continuously pushing through the buildings.

                                      In addition to the unit ventilators, these school buildings use rooftop HVAC units for office air conditioning. These units have been adjusted to allow the maximum amount of fresh air in while maintaining building temperature and humidity levels. Furthermore, they will be set to occupied mode 24/7 to continually flush the space and dilute the air. Following nearly all the COVID19 related guidance, we have also recommended that windows remain open, as much as possible, to facilitate air flow and air circulation.

                                      Finally, we have ordered and received a limited number of air purification units that we will distribute as needed.


                                      Special Education Questions

                                      District leaders answered questions related to special education services during a video for M-W families. Please view this video for more information.

                                      Q: Is there any way to have FT school for those children who have special needs? They need it the most.
                                      A: We are working on scheduling special education and ENL students for in person instruction more than the alternating in person schedule of the hybrid. 

                                      Q: From what I have read, students with special needs that can’t wear a mask can be exempt from wearing the mask . How will that work ? What’s the protocol on that ?
                                      A: Please notify your child’s building principal or program director. 


                                      Technology/Connectivity Questions

                                      Q: WiFi reception is poor at best at some locations. Will this be fully resolved?
                                      A: We have improved WiFi in all our schools. Every classroom has a wireless access point and all the common areas have WiFi available as well. We are recommending all the teachers to use a hardwire desktop that has a camera and microphone. Teachers can certainly use their district assigned chromebook as well. 

                                      Q: Can you please elaborate on remote learning? Honestly, the children did not “learn remotely” at all. I understand that last period was a difficult situation, though last Spring classes were more of “refreshers” and “teach-yourself” exercises. Regarding next year, there are so many tools that we can utilize to teach LIVE and ONLINE (WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, et al); we are able to interact with every student/teacher, while watching lessons LIVE on white boards, etc. As a perfect example, Princeton Review has been doing the exact the same type of live remote learning to teach and prepare students for SATs/ACTs. Do we have the tech capability or is that not possible?
                                      A: We are in a process of purchasing Google Enterprise License that allows us to conduct Google Meet (i.e. WebEx and Microsoft Team). We have provided training to our teachers and will continuously provide them more training with the added options to this solution.

                                      Q: What support can the district provide for families who do not have internet and/or wifi access in their home?
                                      A: We purchased a few MiFi hotspots and we are also working with local cable companies to explore an option to provide WiFi for the students who do not have access at home.

                                      Q: Will the kids bring their laptop to school?
                                      A: Students will bring their district assigned device to the school.