Fall 2020 Frequently Asked Questions During COVID-19

What is Distance Learning? What will it look like?

Distance learning at Khalsa will be similar to what was experienced last spring. Our teachers are currently working out details and fine-tuning how to best serve students at each level. Methods may need adjusting depending on the ratio of students who are online versus in-person. Please check back as plans are continually developing.

Can we switch from online learning to in-person within the semester or vice versa?

We are asking families to choose if they want to participate in online instruction or in-person instruction for the fall semester. Sticking to one method will help students find consistency and allow teachers to use their time most effectively. 

What if my student must quarantine or becomes ill?

In the case that a student must quarantine due to possible exposure, online instruction will be made available to them during the quarantine time.

Who will conduct virtual teaching?

All lessons both in-person and online will be presented by a Lead Teacher. One teacher per level will be in charge of running the online classroom while the remaining teachers will conduct the in-person class. This may mean that your student will be learning with a different teacher than they have before.

Our teachers are still making plans on how they will manage this semester. We will share who specifically will be teaching the online classes once this has been settled.

If a student gets a cold, will the normal process require that student to stay home and quarantine for two weeks (or more) with no classwork? Won’t that be a lot of time away from class?

In the case that a student must quarantine due to possible exposure, online instruction will be made available to them during the quarantine time. As long as students are attending the online instruction, they will not be counted as absent.

What happens with the Activity Fee?

The Activity Fee covers items such as Gardening, Yoga, Spanish, and Field Trips. All of these activities will continue. Mr. Mark will still conduct Gardening, as usual, taking a small group out at a time. Yoga and Spanish classes will be given, however, we are not yet sure if they will be in person or through other means. In the case of field trips, on-site trips will take place, and in many instances having them on campus is more expensive than what is typical.

Will there be a discount on tuition for those electing for distance learning?

Yes, a discount will be given to families who choose distance learning over in-person.

What are the protocols for a positive COVID case in the community?

If COVID-19 is confirmed in a child or staff member in a classroom community, all persons regularly in that community will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days per the CDC guidelines. Positive cases will be alerted school-wide, but only those within the confirmed case’s class will quarantine. Our local health department will be notified and we will follow their instructions on contact tracing. All of this must be done while maintaining the privacy of individuals according to HIPAA regulations. (Please see page 12 of the Operating Plan)

What’s the sanitizing routine?

Supporting staff will be regularly cleaning and disinfecting common areas and items throughout the day. Cleaning is also a normal part of students’ Montessori learning. (Please see page 16 of the Operating Plan)

How do absences work?

Student attendance will be taken both for in-person instruction and online instruction. The state is being flexible on required attendance. The typical rule is that students cannot miss more than 10% of the required number of school days per school year without being considered to have “excessive absences”, but we want everyone to feel comfortable staying home if they are sick. We are waiting to hear more clarification and guidelines from the state.

Who must wear a mask?

Khalsa campuses are considered public spaces. As directed by Phoenix Mayor, Kate Gallego, all persons over the age of 6 years must wear a mask whenever they are away from their homes and whenever they are within six feet of another person who is not part of their household. Certain exceptions do apply, such as physical exertion, and can be found on the Phoenix City website phoenix.gov/newsroom. Students will be allowed “mask breaks” if needed where they will be separated from other students and remove their mask for a time.

How will classrooms accommodate new requirements?

Teachers are already in the process of setting up their classrooms to allow for maximum space between students. Works will be cleaned and disinfected between each use either by an adult or the child if appropriate. Students will still be allowed to move about freely in the classroom, but supplies, such as pencils and erasers, will not be shared. Each student will have their own personal supplies.

My child has a condition that puts them at higher risk. What should I do?

If your student has any special needs or requirements due to an underlying health issue, please communicate your concerns with their teacher. We will do our best to address and accommodate their unique situation, and discuss what action is most appropriate.

How will lunch and recess work?

During lunchtime, to minimize spread, students will eat only with those who are in their classroom. Handwashing will be followed both before and after eating. During recess, students will only mingle with their level, i.e. Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, and will not be required to wear masks, although they will be encouraged.

Will Montessori materials be provided for distance learners?

Montessori materials are very expensive, and thus cannot be given out to students to take home; however, suitable substitutions for these materials will be given whenever possible. 

Will PPE provided?

Yes! Masks, face shields, gloves, and cleaning supplies will all be provided by the school for staff.

How will Yoga & Spanish work?

We don’t yet have specific information on how Spanish and Yoga will be managed, but our goal would be that both in-person and distance learners are able to participate in all aspects of these classes.

What if I need to change my contract?

If you need to change or update your contract due to recent changes, please reach out to Heather at the Primary campus: [email protected]

What were the results of the online/ in-person survey?

The final results of the survey were about 46% to 53% in favor of in-person instruction. We received far more responses than students though, so unfortunately this information isn’t entirely reliable.

Have you considered a hybrid model?

Yes, we have been observing what other schools around us are doing and seriously contemplating what would work best for us. The difficulty with adopting a hybrid model is that it would add a layer of complexity to our small school that wouldn’t serve the community very well. Further, by going with a hybrid model, parents wouldn’t have the option to keep their children at home for purely online instruction only. Their children would then be required to physically be at school on the in-person days.

Won’t students be mixing when they go to aftercare? Will they be sharing materials?

Aftercare and Extended Care will allow students to mix, but only with their specific level. Each student will have their own personal supplies. Supplies such as pencils and erasers will not be shared, but items such as balls will be allowed for sharing on the yard. 

How about getting a new ventilation system?

At this point purchasing ventilation systems is cost-prohibitive. If any parents have a resource for acquiring ventilation systems that would be affordable for the school, we would love to hear from you!

How will we distinguish between symptoms from illness and allergies?

The best solution would be to ask your doctor to help create an Allergy Action Plan. This will help to inform us of the particular symptoms your child has due to allergies. By utilizing an Allergy Action Plan, we will be able to distinguish between allergies and possible COVID-19 cases.

What about substitutes?

We do have some substitutes, but not many. We are looking into possibly hiring permanent subs as finding quality staff that live up to our expectations is difficult.

How will we fulfill our 20 volunteer hours?

We will be flexible on the required hours this year while looking for new ways for parents to help and contribute.

What can the parents do to help support the teachers, students, and the community?

This is a great question! A few things parents can do to help are:

  • Fundraising for PPE
  • Researching and finding air purification equipment
  • Grant writing for funds to be requested from the state
  • Making materials and packets for teachers.

Parents can also contact their Lead teacher to find out more about what you can do to help.

Would you send your kids to school right now?

Knowing the precautions being taken, teachers and staff at Khalsa who have their children enrolled at Khalsa are all allowing their students to attend in-person.