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FAQs - Smart Start 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

When will someone be at the school on the phone to answer questions about class placements? 

Principals are now at school and will be available to answer questions. 

I am new to the district, how can I get on the email list and connected with a school?  

Please go to the homepage and click on the new student registration block.  It will provide you with the electronic form to submit to begin the process. 

Why can’t we start school with all students in school if there are not a lot of cases in Juneau?

 We can't start the school year with full classrooms and maintain the health guidelines that the CDC, DHSS and DEED have provided. We hope to start at partial capacity to get us back in the safest learning environment possible. Once we are stabilized after having students out of school for five months, we are assured that our mitigation efforts are working, and Juneau is continuing to have few COVID-19 cases, we will look at how to increase capacity.

If we went a homeschooling route, would it impact future school funding and teacher retention?  

By selecting homeschooling in the district (HomeBRIDGE), we receive funding but at a reduced amount.  If you select homeschooling options outside of the district (IDEA, Raven, etc.) the funding is lost.  We are offering distance delivery through our schools and this keeps the funding in our district. 

If a senior decides to do Homebridge for their final year, will they still receive a diploma from their regular school? 

A student in HomeBridge gets a diploma from YD, TM, or JD and walks at graduation with the school.

What are the deadlines for selecting Homebridge and/or Distance Delivery?  

Schools will be reaching out starting August 3rd and this will also be part of the information discussed at the public forum on August 5. 

We submitted the preference form for school day; will we receive an email that the district received it?  

Schools will be in touch with parents on all details regarding scheduling and other information related to the school day. Because we have determined that we will need to start in a distance delivery model, we will not assign A or B schedules right now.  If we get to a place where we can do a true hybrid model we will then reach back out. 

If we weren’t able to complete the survey, can we, should we, do that now?  

The survey was very helpful in providing the district feedback and identifying some preferences.  However, any follow up needed will be done directly by staff at each school so you don’t need to fill it out. 

For children enrolled in TCLL and have requested the distant delivery option. Will they keep their spot in the program and how will they stay connected with the TCLL staff and students?  

Yes they will keep their spots and we will be working on a variety of strategies to build and maintain relationships between staff and students. This is also true of Juneau Charter School and Montessori Borealis. 

When will a plan be presented for our most intensive needs students? students on IEPs who cannot learn via distance?  

Special Education teachers of intensive programs will be reaching out to parents very soon to coordinate services.  

How will children in the hybrid or distance delivery model access special programs like the TED program?  

TED teachers will be reaching out to students in this program and supporting them through Zoom or small face to face instructional groups. 

Will exploratory (middle school) & electives (high school) classes be available? Yes! 

Is the district also considering offering dual enrollment distance courses through UA’s Advantage Program?

Yes, the district will participate in the UA Advantage program, although there is a cost to families to register for the UA credit. More information will be made available through the high school counseling departments.

What about after school and high school activities? 

Our community case level and risk level will determine our ability to run activities. If we are stabilized in low risk level over time, we will consider slowly expanding school-based learning opportunities. This could mean having visitors and volunteers in buildings, field trips, small after school activities, etc. 

At high school, ASAA is providing guidance on ASAA sanctioned activities. District related staff and student travel is restricted at yellow and red risk levels and will require approval in green risk level. JSD will communicate the expectations related to activities as we progress into the school year. Currently some programs are engaging in summer activities per the ASAA guidelines and districted approved mitigation plans. 

So far ASAA is supporting fall activities continuing in communities that are not in the red (high) risk status.  There are health guidelines and mitigation plans in place. Travel will be limited to and from communities where the risk status is medium or high. 

As long as we can safely operate activities for the students who opt into them we will continue.  Even during periods when teams are not able to travel, there is great benefit to maintaining practice and training opportunities related to extracurricular activities participation for students. Activities play a key role in the physical and mental wellness of students.  We will be continually monitoring these activities. 

When can we start face to face instruction, either in a hybrid or full schedule model?  We will continue to work closely with our CBJ Emergency Operation Center, Juneau Public Health, and watch our risk status as a community to determine operational status.  We will do our first re-evaluation at the end of September.  The earliest we would consider switching to some form of hybrid model would be the end of trimester for elementary and the end of quarter for secondary. There are many layers of this consideration--organizational/operational complexities, risk trends, Department of Education guidelines, etc.  We will be introducing some face to face instruction to some students following Labor Day as we are able to given the limitations of all the layers listed above. 

Will the district be able to help organize cohorts or pods with other children from their classes? As a parent I would love to work with other families who are doing the same program as my children, but I’m unsure of how to connect with other families to make this work, especially for my 7th grader. We are new to Juneau!  This is a great idea and through the schools we may be able to support this idea.  We are hoping that with some small, consistent cohorts, we can do some creative support. 

What will the screening protocol look like?  For small groups who attend face to face sessions, screening will be done through a list of questions (shared with parents) and a temperature check.  If we get into a full hybrid model we will make adjustments to the protocol to accommodate the larger numbers of students.

Can elementary schools work together to create distance content?   YES!  We are excited for teachers at all levels to be working together in new ways.  In particular at the elementary level teachers will be working in grade level cohorts! 

Bussing will be coordinated for small groupings of students as groups are coordinated for face to face instruction. 

Distance Delivery and A/B, do I still have to choose?  Because we have determined that we will need to start in a distance delivery model, we will not assign A or B schedules right now.  If we get to a place where we can do a true hybrid model we will then reach back out.  

Will there be school sports/gym?  As long as we can do so safely, we will maintain some level of activities.  If ASAA cancels then we would be in a position to cancel as well.  When we are providing face to face instruction, we may offer gym. 

 What will a day look like for students? This is being developed and will be shared soon.  What we do know is class support will be based on a “typical bell schedule”.  With that said, not all periods, every day will be direct instruction.  This will keep students from being on Zoom for too many hours in a row.  Direct instruction/support from teachers will be mixed with office hours for teachers and other “non zoom” learning activities.  As we get this more finely tuned, we will be sharing information with families.

How will teachers be assigned to students at the elementary level?  Each grade level team will work together to support students in that grade level.  Each of these teachers will connect with students at that grade level.  If and when it is time to begin the hybrid model we will determine groupings for the face to face instructional time.  

How can parents work? Many parents are not able to work from home and if elementary and middle/high schools are on different schedules, older siblings can’t help with childcare.

We are working with the city to come up with some solutions to the child care issue. We truly do understand the dilemma so many parents are in. This is a challenge for JSD staff and families. We will share any progress with you as solutions are developed. 

What's the plan for RALLY?

We will be using RALLY as much as we can. The need is likely to be greater than what we can accommodate, so we are working with the city to come up with additional solutions. RALLY is also limited in operations due to the COVID-19 mitigation requirements.

Will JSD require students to wear masks? 

Yes, the Board of Education has approved a mask requirement for all students, staff and visitors. 

Can all staff and students be tested before school starts?

The school district is not able to require mass testing for students. However, schools will be using a number of other mitigation factors including physical distancing, face coverings, hygiene, disinfection and symptom free requirements.

Will travel quarantine be required for families and staff who have been traveling?

Yes, the State of Alaska has issued travel requirements that all residents and visitors must follow.

When you review case numbers, are you also considering the non-resident cases (along with resident cases)—cumulative total--- as many of the non-residents may remain in our community for an extended period of time. 

As we consider the risk level locally, we are looking at averages and considering all cases, resident and non-resident.  We are also considering regional and state cases as we determine the safest way to operate.

What is the district's plan for when a positive case is identified within JSD?  JSD will follow the Public Health guidelines if there is a case associated with an employee or student.  

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