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Back to School 2020 Topics
Back to School 2020 Topics
Putnam County Schools
Wednesday, September 02, 2020

BACK TO SCHOOL 2020 TOPICS

Questions & Answers

(September 2, 2020)

As you know the first day of school for students is less than one week away, on Tuesday, September 8th, for both those choosing Virtual and In-Person Learning.

Below you will find a list of Back to School topics and areas of focus. Please know that this is not an exhaustive FAQ list, nor is it the PCS comprehensive re-opening plan, which can be found in full HERE.

Back to School Topics Include:

  • Virtual Learning & Technology Deployment
  • Food Services
  • First Two-Week Staggered Start & Transportation Time Updates
  • The WVDE Metrics & Color Code System
  • School Mitigation Measures & Safety Protocols
  • Schoology
  • Meet the Teacher Virtual/Drive-Through Events

Putnam County Schools is grateful for your patience, understanding, and flexibility as we continue to persistently navigate the fluidity of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be “a first year” for us, all and we know that, TOGETHER, we will establish the best and safest way to educate our students.

As always, our top priority remains the safety of our students, staff, and families. We are thankful for the collaboration and unity that we continue to witness in our outstanding school community. Once more, we believe that we will launch a safe and successful 2020-21 school year in Putnam County by working together as a team.


VIRTUAL LEARNING & TECHNOLOGY DEPLOYMENT

Putnam County families of students enrolled in Putnam County Virtual for the 2020-21 School year have now been contacted by their student’s school regarding technology/device deployment and further information on virtual learning. Students enrolled will use their Putnam County Schools' issued device, either an Apple iPad or Lenovo Thinkpad laptop, to receive instruction and learning.

Device Deployment Schedule for Middle School Virtual Students

Device Deployment Schedule for High School Virtual Students


FOOD SERVICES

The nutritional needs of students will be met in an environment that promotes social distancing and personal hygiene practices with the use of specific staff safety protocols and PPE (e.g. face masks, gloves, face shields, uniforms, aprons, hair restraints, and physical barriers of plexiglass in food preparation and eating areas). Food distribution will be implemented in ways to minimize person-to-person contact. The WVDE/local health officials will be the primary resources for guidance on food service safety operations.

Two-Week Staggered Entry Feeding Plan:

  • Student groups that are on-site in attendance on their specific designated days will be offered regular breakfast and lunch meals at school.
  • Every day take home meals will be available at the end of each school day for students that will not be in attendance the following day.  Take home meals will be optional and will consist of one breakfast/one lunch meal.  If take home meals are desired by students, these meals will be pre-ordered and will be recorded on student meal accounts when distributed; therefore, charges will apply if meals are taken.
  • Students desiring to bring meals from home during staggered entry will also be permitted to do so daily.
  • See the 5-Day Week Feeding Plan for additional services that will be provided each day while students are on-site.
  • Grab-and-Go Breakfast will be picked up by students and taken to classrooms or designated eating areas.
  • All students that are at school on-site will be offered breakfast and lunch meals each day, meal costs are $1.45 for breakfast, $1.90 for elementary lunch, $2.05 for secondary lunch.

5-Day Week In-School Feeding Plan:

  • Free and/or Reduced meal benefits will be available for families if eligibility is determined throughout the entire school year. 
  • Students that desire to bring meals from home will also be permitted to do so daily.
  • Cafeterias will operate at only 50% capacity; therefore, a variety of alternate eating locations will be used.  Each school will determine safe places for students to consume meals and within the proper time limitations set by the WVDE.  Areas that may be utilized are cafeterias, gyms, classrooms, and outside eating areas (weather permitting).
  • Grab-and-Go Breakfast will be picked up by students and taken to classrooms or designated eating areas.
  • Meals will be portioned and served as unitized meals in various food-safe compartmentalized disposable containers, bags, plates, plastic baskets or trays.
  • All self-service meal options are prohibited; therefore, salad bars, hot food bars, condiment stations, share tables, water dispensing containers, and microwaves will not be utilized by individual students.
  • Meals will meet USDA regulations. Breakfast will consist of breads, fruits, and milk servings. Lunches will consist of entrees, fruits, vegetables, breads, and milk servings. A variety of food items will be used unless supply chain challenges are encountered.
  • Cups of water will be available for students during mealtimes.
  • Special dietary meal accommodations will be provided by completing a physician’s form.
  • Simplified menus for breakfast and lunch will be planned that can easily be transported by students in order to reduce spills while taking to alternate eating locations throughout the school.
  • Sharing of food among students is prohibited.
  • No food deliveries from outside sources or families will be permitted during the school day.
  • Students may be required to eat in designated areas in order to safeguard other students that have severe food allergies.
  • All students that are at school on-site will be offered breakfast and lunch meals each day. Meal costs are $1.45 for breakfast, $1.90 for elementary lunch, $2.05 for secondary lunch.

Remote/Virtual Learning Feeding Plan:

  • Schools will provide meal boxes that include five breakfasts/five lunches to students that choose this option of learning or if Remote Learning is ordered by the Governor.
  • Parents may pre-register for a five-day meal box that will be available for parent pick up one day each week at designated times and located at designated areas of the county.
  • If a single school closure occurs, that school or neighboring school will continue to provide meals for students at the closed school.  Meals will be made available for parent pick up only.  If the school is to remain closed for a longer period of time, five-day meal boxes will be planned for distribution.
  • All students that are at school on-site will be offered breakfast and lunch meals each day. Meal costs are $1.45 for breakfast, $1.90 for elementary lunch, $2.05 for secondary lunch.

Note: PCS Meal Distributions Sites will be announced soon.

PCS Meal Benefits for the 2020-21 School Year:

Putnam County Schools continues to put a strong emphasis on providing school meals to all of our students. We understand the important role that good nutrition plays in our educational system and for student learning. For families of students eligible for free or reduced meal benefits for the 2020-21 school year, PCS Child Nutrition Department has made it easier for families to complete a school meals application by submitting an application online in minutes.

Online meal application for the 2020-2021 school year is now open through School Café. You may begin your online application by applying at www.schoolcafe.com.

If you prefer to use a paper meal application instead, they will be available in the school office and sent home with your student at the start of school.

If your student has signed up for Putnam Virtual Learning, but you still plan to order and pick up school meals and may qualify for meal benefits, you will need to also complete a meal application (online or paper). Please be aware that if you choose to complete the online meal application, you do not need to submit a paper application too.

For additional questions on the free or reduced meal application or CEP benefits, please contact Putnam County Schools Child Nutrition Department at 304.586.0500 ext. 1141.

*This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


STAGGERED START & TRANSPORTATION TIME UPDATES

Putnam County Schools will implement a Staggered Re-Entry for the first two weeks of school beginning Tuesday, September 8, 2020, for students enrolled in the 5-Day (In-Person) Model.

The Staggered Re-Entry allows for the following issuance/training with students on Apple iPads/Lenovo Thinkpad laptops, dedicated time with reduced numbers to allow for implementation of travel patterns within school, transportation bus route adjustments, breakfast and lunch cafeteria procedures, teaching of safety protocols, remote Learning Practice Day on Friday, September 18, 2020.

Students attending school in-person will be organized in two student groups by the first letter of their last name. Group 1: BLUE (A-K) & Group 2: GREEN (L-Z)

Please Note: If your children have different last names, contact your child’s school and request he or she be moved to a different group so that both of your children attend school on the same day(s). For example, if your children have last names Jones (BLUE) and Wilson (GREEN), you may request that both children attend school on the same day (either BLUE or GREEN).

Week One, September 8th through the 11th will be outlined as followed:

  • Tuesday, September 8: Group 1 (BLUE) In School & Group 2 (GREEN) Distance Learning
  • Wednesday, September 9: Group 2 (GREEN) In School & Group 1 (BLUE) Distance Learning
  • Thursday, September 10: Group 1 (BLUE) In School & Group 2 (GREEN) Distance Learning
  • Friday, September 11: Group 2 (GREEN) In School & Group 1 (BLUE) Distance Learning

Week Two, September 14th through the 18th will be outlined as followed:

  • Monday, September 14: Group 1 (BLUE) In School & Group 2 (GREEN) Distance Learning
  • Tuesday, September 15: Group 2 (GREEN) In School & Group 1 (BLUE) Distance Learning
  • Wednesday, September 16: Group 1 (BLUE) In School & Group 2 (GREEN) Distance Learning
  • Thursday, September 17: Group 2 (GREEN) In School & Group 1 (BLUE) Distance Learning
  • Friday, September 18: Group 1 (BLUE) & Group 2 (GREEN) Remote Learning Practice

In order to ensure each school facility has adequate time to social distance students upon arrival, serve student breakfast, and to provide extra time to sanitize and prepare for the day, all Putnam County Schools will delay the student start time of the school day for all schools during the 2020-21 school year by 30 minutes.

For example, if your student would usually board his or her bus at 6:15 am, this year, he or she would board at 6:45 am. Another example, for those that chose to transport their student to school, if you would typically drop your student off at 7:30 am, you would now drop off at 8:00 am.

This time adjustment is only for school-day start times for students. School dismissal times remain the same. Review Putnam County School Bus Routes information HERE. For school-specific start time questions, please contact your student’s school for further guidance and information.


WVDE COLOR MAP & RE-ENTRY METRICS

Governor Jim Justice recently released metrics and a color-coded system that will determine how in-person instruction, athletics, and other extracurricular activities are conducted for West Virginia Schools. An online map, tracking each county’s performance in the metric and associated color status, can be found on the WV DHHR website or on the WVDE website.

Metrics are based on each county’s number of new daily cases per 100,000 people on a seven-day rolling average. Based on that figure, each county will still be assigned one of four colors – green, yellow, orange, or red – which is meant to represent the severity of the rate of community spread.

Metrics are defined as followed:
GREEN: 3 and fewer cases per 100,000
YELLOW: 3.1 – 9.9 cases per 100,000
ORANGE: 10 – 24.9 cases per 100,000
RED: 25+ cases per 100,000

The map will be updated daily for informational purposes. However, each county’s officially designated status will be determined on a weekly basis. At approximately 9 p.m. each Saturday, each county will receive an official color status that will remain in place through the following Saturday evening.

Once the spread of COVID-19 reaches identified levels, counties must respond with specific mitigation actions to prevent further spread.

All counties identified as green and yellow on the Saturday prior to the scheduled first day of school, may begin in-person instruction and will be permitted to do so as long as levels remain steady.

Counties with orange or red levels will not be permitted to begin in-person instruction until yellow or green levels are reached on a seven-day rolling basis. Schools in orange or red counties will be full remote learning until yellow or green levels are achieved.

After opening, if a county elevates to orange in its official Saturday status, it may continue to operate in-person instruction under the orange school re-entry protocols. Athletics and extracurricular activities would be limited to controlled practices/activities only and no competitions would be permitted. However, if a county were to reach orange levels in the middle of the week, athletics and extracurricular activities would be permitted to continue until the county reaches orange levels in its official Saturday status.

If a county elevates to red at any time, regardless of the day of the week, all in-person instruction, athletics, and extracurricular activities will be halted the next regularly scheduled school day and will not resume until the county’s levels return to green or yellow. In this scenario, schools in red counties will be full remote learning until yellow or green levels are achieved.

These School Re-Entry Metrics and Protocols will be in effect so long as the state, as a whole, remains below a 5 percent positivity rate based on a rolling, seven-day average.

View the WVDE Re-Entry Metrics & Protocol FAQ

What does this mean for PCS Attendance Plans?

Putnam County Schools three attendance plans (colors) released prior to the Governor’s state-wide metric system. PCS will follow the state color-coded metrics for school re-entry and will share attendance plans using the PCS website bulletin board, live feed, PCS social media accounts, text notifications, and automated calls to families.

*Note: Students enrolled in full-time Putnam County Virtual via Schoology or WV Virtual School will not be impacted by the above attendance Plan.

RED: Remote Learning Model - 0 Days In-Person Attendance Plan
Students will utilize Putnam County Schools' issued Apple iPads or Lenovo Thinkpad laptops and Schoology.

Counties that are ORANGE or RED on the state-wide map will not be permitted to begin in-person instruction until yellow or green levels are reached on a seven-day rolling basis. Schools in orange or red counties will be full remote learning until yellow or green levels are achieved.

YELLOW: Blended Learning Model - 2 Days In-Person Attendance Plan
Students registered for 5-Day Model will report to school two days per week. Students will utilize PCS issued Apple iPads or Lenovo Thinkpad laptops and the Schoology platform for three days.

The state color map (ORANGE) is NOT an automatic requirement for the PCS (YELLOW) Blended Learning Model. Blended Learning would only be implemented after consultation and advisement with state/local health officials and after the implementation of additional mitigation measures.

GREEN: 5-Day Model - 5 Days In-Person Attendance Plan
Students attend in-person. Student and staff safety remain the top priority utilizing CDC and WVDE/DHHR guidance along with health official recommendations.

 All counties identified on the state-wide map as GREEN or YELLOW the Saturday prior to the scheduled school week, may begin in-person instruction and will be permitted to do so as long as levels remain steady.


SCHOOL MITIGATION MEASURE & EXTRA SAFETY PROTOCOLS

Putnam County School will implement an abundance of school-wide mitigation measures and extra safety protocols for the 2020-21 school year. Some of those measures include:

  • Face Coverings/Masks for Students and Staff
  • Hand Sanitizing Stations
  • Reduce Congregation
  • Isolation Areas/Rooms
  • Multiple School Entry Points
  • Instigation of Sneeze Guards
  • Controlled Traffic Patterns
  • Access to Outdoor Spaces
  • School Safety Signage
  • Socially Distanced Classroom Settings
  • Classroom Sanitization and Safety Procedures
  • School-Wide Sanitization Procedures

You can find the link to a detailed infographic outlining some of the additional safety measures schools will have in place for in-person learning below:

PCS Practices & Procedures in Place for In-Person Attendance


SCHOOLOGY

Putnam County Schools students and staff will use the learning management system (LMS), Schoology, for the 2020-21 school year. Schoology will house assignments, communication, and grades for all students.

Along with student access, parents/guardians can also make an account using a code that ties their account to their student. Families can view all assigned work, due dates, instructional videos/materials, grades, and communication that their student receives. 

Students will access to Schoology using their school email address and password. Parent/guardian codes for Schoology will be mailed. 

Below you will find a link to instructions for setting up a parent/guardian account in Schoology:
https://support.schoology.com/hc/en-us/articles/201000823-Sign-Up-as-a-Parent

You can log into Schoology on the PCS website through the drop down “MENU” and selecting the Schoology icon.

If you find that you may need additional assistance creating a Schoology account or have general questions on Schoology, we encourage you to contact your student’s school.


MEET THE TEACHER VIRTUAL/DRIVE-THROUGH EVENTS

In lieu of the “traditional” school open house events, PCS school staff are getting creative when it comes to meeting their new students! Putnam County Elementary Schools will be hosting a variety of drive-through/parade style events or virtual “Meet the Teacher” meet-and-greet events.  

View PCS Elementary Meet the Teacher Virtual/Drive-Through Event Schedule