Traditional vs Virtual School - Frequently Asked Questions
If your question is not answered below, please email your question to questions@pikecountyschools.com. 

1) Will school hours remain the same?
Yes – traditional school hours will remain the same. Virtual School hours may vary depending on grade level and subject area.

2) Will PE be required of all students who attend Traditional School as well as Virtual School?
Yes for traditional students. Plans for PE assignments for Virtual students are pending.

3) Will Jr High and High School students be allowed normal breaks outside?
Yes, we will have breaks, but they may not be outside in groups in the usual manner.

4) Will students remain in one classroom throughout the day? Or, if they move between classes, how will contact be reduced?
For K thru 8th grade - Students will remain stationery and Teachers will change classrooms.  Students will move in most cases for 9-12 grade. Contact between students during class changes will not be permitted. School principals will establish traffic patterns so that students will have minimum contact in the hallways. Desk surfaces will be wiped down between each class. 

5) If students refuse to wear masks, are they allowed to stay in the class?
No.  Students who do not want to wear a mask should select the Virtual option.  

6) Can you describe what a typical day would be for a high school or junior high school student? (one that plays sports and one that does not?)
The schedules for Traditional At-school students will remain the same.  Students are scheduled to attend classes in Blocks as they have done in the past.  All At-school students will also have online (Blended activities) that require them to have devices and Internet.  There will be at least two online sessions/assignments per week that will be completed at home.  This is being done in an effort to prepare all students should the system be forced in the fall to go to all Virtual.

It is difficult to address any questions concerning athletics at this time.  We are awaiting additional guidance from the AHSAA.

7) For virtual, will it be the same curriculum that is taught in class?
Yes

8) For virtual, will there be pacing information for parents if students are not on track?
Content will be posted on the educational learning platform weekly (Schoology). Parents can log in with their children and view weekly tasks and assignments to ensure that their children are keeping pace. 

9) For virtual, will breakfast & lunch be provided for pickup?
Yes, additional information on pickup locations will be provided.

10) Will masks be required in classroom when sitting?
Yes. Unless the student is speaking or when social distancing is beyond the minimum requirement as per ADPH or CDC guidance. The classroom teacher will be the final authority on whether a student can remove a mask in a classroom.

11) What happens if a parent chooses traditional, but then decides they want to switch to virtual? Do we have that option?
Parents must choose one of the two options by July 29th.  However, there is a trial period that allows a Virtual student to change to Traditional if the Virtual is not working for the student.  This change must be made by September 4th. The same trial period is allowed for traditional students to swap to Virtual until Sept 4th.

12) If virtual is chosen, how long during the day will students actually be taught online? Can they do lessons during the day or at night? Do the students have to be online during the school day?
This will vary according to grade level and subject.  All online face-to-face instruction will occur during school hours.  Some assignments may be done after school hours.  Schedules will be developed that will advise the times for online face-to-face opportunities with teachers. 

13) Will students get a recess?
Yes. However, the use of playgrounds equipment and student class grouping for recess will be restricted.

14) Will kids get to “play” during recess? 
Yes. However, the use of playgrounds equipment and student class grouping for recess will be restricted.

15) Can kids doing the virtual option still play sports?
 Yes, if the AHSAA activities continue

16) How often can students go outside for fresh air?
There should be no change in the number of times students are provided outside opportunities. We will have breaks, but they may not be outside in groups in the usual manner.

17) Do kids younger than 6 years old have to wear a mask? Current requirement from Governor says “no”.
A decision on this has not been made. The final School Opening Plan will address this questions. As this situation is fluid and modifications/recommendations occur daily, the school system will issue its Plan on August 11th.

18) Will after school program still be available?
Unfortunately, not until conditions allow.

19) Will traditional school be Mon – Fri as in years past?
Yes

20) What will Virtual school look like? Does it have videos or Zoom calls? Are there pre-recorded lessons? Will students be able to get to an online textbook to help with assignments?
This will vary according to grade level and subject.  All online face-to-face instruction will occur during school hours.  Some assignments may be done after school hours.  Schedules will be developed that will advise the times for online face-to-face opportunities with teachers.

21) Will laptops or tablets be available to those who choose to do virtual and do not have access?  

Any parent who has issues with securing devices or Internet services should contact Pike County Schools.  A limited number of devices will be available for lease at a very reasonable cost and these will be distributed based on documented financial need basis initially.  Additionally, the school system is working to resolve issues where Internet services are not available. 

22) Can students bring their own hand sanitizer?
No.  PCS will provide hand sanitizer to ensure that hand sanitizer used in our buildings are safe. Hand sanitizer will be readily available to students and faculty.

23) With virtual learning, will the teachers go live or record a video teaching the kids the lesson or will they just send Instructions for the kids to learn on their own with the help of the parents.

This will vary according to grade level and subject.  All online face-to-face instruction will occur during school hours.  Some assignments may be done after school hours.  Schedules will be developed that will advise the times for online face-to-face opportunities with teachers.

24) Does Virtual Schools start August 24th too?
Yes

25) Athletics: Will there be pep rallies? Virtual or Actual?
There will be no live pep rallies at this time.  At this point, we just hope to be able to have a fall sports season.  We will consider virtual rallies if athletics are a go.

26) Athletics: will football and volleyball be played as scheduled?
Awaiting guidance from the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

27) Other clubs/activities: will there be participation this school year?
We hope so.  However, at this time, these activities have been suspended.

28) Virtual: does this mean zoom-like instruction taught along with the actual classroom?
This will vary according to grade level and subject.  All online face-to-face instruction will occur during school hours.  Some assignments may be done after school hours.  Schedules will be developed that will advise the times for online face-to-face opportunities with teachers.

29) Virtual: Are the class times structured or learn on your own schedule?
Structured

30) Virtual: Are students allowed to log in together if they have the same class (if it's a zoom setting)? 
Yes, they can log in together to review content, but in terms of submission of assignments these need to be submitted individually to make sure each child receives proper credit.

31) Virtual/physical: For athletes, will they be health assessed each day for practices?
Student athletes will continue to follow the health screening protocols currently in place.

32) What type of device is recommended for the child to have to keep from renting/ leasing a device?

Beginning this school term, it will be necessary for all students to have access to a device such as a Laptop Computer, Desktop Computer, Chromebook, iOS Device/ipad, Android Tablet, or Kindle Fire Tablet.  This does not mean each individual student will need their own device, but simply have access to one to complete their schoolwork.  Internet service will also be required.

33) How do parents get a device from the school?

Any parent who has issues with securing devices or Internet services should contact Pike County Schools.  A limited number of devices will be available for lease at a very reasonable cost and these will be distributed based on documented financial need basis initially.  Additionally, the school system is working to resolve issues where Internet services are not available. 

34) How much will it cost to rent/lease a device?

$50 to lease a device for the school year. Families will be limited to 2 devices per family. If there are more than 2 students in a family, the students will have to share the 2 laptops.

35) If my child attends Virtual School, will they still be allowed to participate in the STEM program?

No, only traditional students will be allowed to participate in the elementary and middle school STEM program. Virtual high school students can still participate in the High School STEM Academy program. 

36) What operating system will we need for our kids to be able to successfully do virtual schooling?
 A student should be able to use any operating system to access the online learning platform (Schoology). Internet access as well as a browser will be required to access the content. Apple, GooglePlay, and Kindle app stores all have a Schoology app that can be downloaded and used to access the program.

37) Will the virtual school students be online with a teacher or will it be a program they can learn from and submit daily work?
 Online face to face instruction by a Pike County teacher will occur as needed.  A schedule will be provided.  There will be live sessions as well as pre-recorded sessions. There will also be recordings of live session that will be provided for re-reviewing. There are also videos built into the school online learning platform.
 
38) Will the school set the virtual school hours or can the virtual schooling be done throughout the day at the pace of the child?
 This will vary according to grade level and subject.  All online face-to-face instruction will occur during school hours.  Some assignments may be done after school hours.  Schedules will be developed that will advise the times for online face-to-face opportunities with teachers.

39) Do virtual schooled children need the same supplies listed?
 Virtual students do not need to same school supplies as traditional students. Virtual students will need basic school supplies like paper and pencils. Individual classroom virtual teachers will identify additional class needs. It is imperative that Virtual Students have internet access as well as a device to access the online learning content (Schoology).  Please visit https://www.pikecountyschools.com/covidtechnology for answers related to student technology needs.
 
40) What type of device(s) will be needed for virtual school?  Will an iPad be sufficient?  
 Please visit https://www.pikecountyschools.com/covidtechnology for answers related to student technology needs.

41) What about the Academy students?

Virtual students in grades 10 – 12 may participate in Academies if they have met the requirements and been accepted, or previously accepted, into the program. 
 
42) What about the Career tech students?
Virtual students seeking to take Career Tech courses have 3 options:
1) They can take the Career Tech course through an online learning platform if it is available
2) students in grades 10 – 12 that have been admitted through an academy program
3) students taking short term / dual enrollment certificate programs
For further questions about Career Tech, please contact Jeff McClure at 334-566-5396 ext. 89250  

43) Will virtual students receive Student Planners this year?

Yes, all students will receive student planners, calendars, and code of conduct books this year. 

44) What will be the procedure if someone in a classroom contracts COVID? 
We are working on a plan on how to notify anyone that may have been in direct exposure with someone who tested positive with COVID. This plan must respect HIPPA and all School Policies. We are working with local health care providers to establish a procedure of testing and notification as needed. We will be following the guidelines from the ADPH & ALSDE. More details will be provided as these plans are finalized. 

45) Stem is chosen for 4th grade students at the beginning of the 4th grade year. If you choose to do virtual you are not allowed to participate in the stem program. I am wondering if after everything settles down would these virtual students have an opportunity to be in the stem program?
The STEM program for elementary students begins in the 5th grade based off 4th grade performance on specific criteria. If a student is newly selected for the STEM program, but they chose to attend Virtual School they will not be able to participate in the STEM program.

However, if they are a returning student (participated in STEM last year) who chooses Virtual for the first term and may choose traditional for the second term, their spot will be reserved. 

Decisions for the 2021-2022 school year have not been made yet.


46) Will we have an Open House like years past where we find out the students teachers and other information?
No, we will not have an open house. The parent of each child will be contacted by their homeroom teacher for grades K – 6th. 

For students in grades 7 – 12, they can contact their individual school to secure a class schedule beginning August 20th. 

Any additional questions related to school opening should be directed to the local school principal. 

47) If I sign my kids up for virtual schooling and can’t get a device for the school and can’t afford one or can’t get internet access what happened next because I am uncomfortable to send them back to school? 
Any parent who has issues with securing devices or internet services should contact Pike County Schools. A limited number of devices will be available for lease at a very reasonable cost. Additionally, the school system is working to resolve issues where Internet services are not available. You can find more information about the technology that students need here: https://www.pikecountyschools.com/covidtechnology.  Pike County Schools will begin making appointments with parents in Mid-August to lease devices for home use.

48) My questions are about Junior and Senior activities, such as senior pictures and events and Junior class rings etc.  Are these events still going to take place, and will virtual students be notified and included? 
Where activities can take place with social distancing precautions, these activities will take place. Activities that are not conducive to social distancing procedures will not occur. All students (traditional and virtual) can participate.

Examples – Senior pictures – yes, but prom – no 

All students (traditional and virtual) will still be notified of school announcements using the SchoolMessenger Telephone Notification System. In addition, District & School Websites will be updated with announcements.

49) Will they change masks throughout the day? What is in place for children with medical issues?
No, students will not change masks throughout the day.

Students with medical issues and who have conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask must provide a medical excuse from a doctor.

According to the ALSDE the state will be providing each student with 2 reusable masks and 2 disposable masks. Students are expected to use these masks. The Pike County School System may provide a mask in an emergency. 

50)Will clear face shields or neck gaiters be acceptable to wear to school?

Masks are an acceptable form of protection. Neck Gaiters are an acceptable mask option as long as they are designed to fulfill the intended purpose (be made of proper material and cover the mouth and nose).

At this time, Clear Face Shields have been approved for faculty & staff as long as they are worn in conjunction with a mask. A final decision has not been made for student use of clear face shields. We will provide guidance on this in the future. 

51) How will children with an IEP that are pulled from class daily be affected by the new school year plans? 

Students with an IEP that choose the traditional/blended model will have minimal changes. Safety protocols would still need to be followed and within those parameters they would continue as the plan is prescribed. 

For those choosing the virtual option the online curriculum allows for the special Ed teacher to provide accommodations within the content and a schedule for contact by those teachers will be developed. There will also be opportunities for face to face sessions with special Ed teachers as needed. 

IEP review meetings will be held (virtually) to discuss each student and determine appropriate plans.  

52) Do you have a back up plan for students who want to do virtual schooling if you run out of devices and the parents can’t afford one? 

In preparation for Virtual Learning, Pike County Schools bought devices over the summer to help students who might not have a device for virtual learning at home. If we were to run out of devices we ordered this summer, we will work with parents and students to either order more devices or “check-out” a device we already have from the student’s local school. 

53) We have access to get internet in our area but it is an expense we can not afford. Is there a waiver or help to get the internet for the kids to do virtual?

Pike County Schools does not know of a “waiver” to help student’s get internet. We are working with some internet providers to help get internet to students that do not have it available. Any parent who has issues with securing internet services should contact Pike County Schools.

54) Will students need to turn in the summer work packets they received last spring?

1st through 6th grade students who received packets in the Spring that were to be completed during the summer should turn these packets in at the beginning of the school year. The other students in grades  7th – 12th can turn packets in, but this is not a requirement. 

55) Will this year's Juniors have an opportunity to buy class rings since the missed the ordering last spring?

Yes, Juniors will have the opportunity to order class rings. Please contact your local school principal for more information. 

56) Will there be textbooks that we can buy if our students attend virtually?

We are currently working on plans for textbooks for virtual students. 

57) Is this virtual platform the same as k12.com platform or different? 

The virtual platform that Pike County Schools will be using to deliver online instruction is Schoology. We are not familiar with the website k12.com and cannot comment on the similarities or differences in these programs. 

58) Is the virtual learning option going to be available for the entire school year? Will this be an option for students after this school year? 

Yes – virtual school will be an option for the entire school year. Pike County Schools will continue to offer virtual school in the future. 

59) What are the plans for traditional school special need children or children with medical conditions? Are they going to be squeezed in a traditional room of 20+ students and required to wear masks?

Students with an IEP that choose the traditional/blended model will have minimal changes. Safety protocols would still need to be followed and within those parameters they would continue as the plan is prescribed. 
IEP review meetings will be held (virtually) to discuss each student and determine appropriate plans.

Students and Staff will be required to wear masks unless they have a doctor’s excuse. 

Class sizes for each grade level are set by the AL Dept of Education. Pike County Schools plans to abide by their guidelines. 

60) Can my child wear a mask that has a breathable air filter attached on the outside mask or can they only wear what the school provides? 

It is ok for you to provide a mask for your child as long as it meets the following criteria:
1) Solid color mask preferred
2) It can have school logos/emblems/themes
3) Elementary students can have education related/cartoon characters such as Disney, Dr Seuss, etc.
4) No mask can have slogans, symbols, or words written on them  

61) When we get to December 2020 will parents be able to make a choice again between traditional and virtual school for the Jan-May 2021 term?

Yes - if a parent would like to move their child back to traditional school for the 2nd semester, a date will be published on the deadline to let your local school know your child will be returning to traditional school. If you do not let your local school know your child will be returning by this date, then we will assume your child will remain in virtual school for the 2nd semester.

62) Are the younger students expected to stay in a chair all day or can they (spaced at an appropriate distance and forward facing) move to the floor to listen to a story or lesson.

No, students will not be required to remain in chairs all day.  However, center work in groups, sitting on floors in groups, sitting on soft coverings such as carpet, etc. will not be permitted.  Sitting on another surface that can be cleaned as long as social distancing occurs and masks in use will be approved on a case by case basis. 

63) Do the kids have to get a COVID-19 test before returning to school?

No. They do not need a test to return.

64) Are water fountains available for children to use to fill up bottles from home? If they are allowed to bring a personal water bottle, does it have to be clear? 

Water fountains at all school locations will be closed. If a child needs to refill their water bottle, they can ask their teacher for permission to go to the lunchroom to refill their bottle. They may also bring a second water bottle if needed.

A water bottle does not have to be clear.

 

65) The re-opening plan mentions a Rapid Response Testing Team and additional information regarding the RRTT will follow. When will that information be available?

I "heard" if a child or teacher tests positive, the entire class is sent home for 14 days. Is that true? Or is there a method being used to determine which children have been exposed without sending an entire class home?

Information on RRTT will be provided next week - August 17th - 21st.

No. If a student or teacher tests positive, the only individuals to be quarantined will be those who have been within 6 feet for over 15 minutes in a day. So this would likely depend on classroom or bus seating chart. When we make a report to the ALDPH, they will make the final determination of who is inside the quarantine circle. It could be none depending on seating.