FAQs for Families on Balsz District Re-opening
What is the overall schedule for Balsz School District for starting the 2020-21 school year?
The first day of school for the Balsz School District’s four schools will be Monday, August 17, 2020. Parents will have two choices for sending their children to school:
1) In-person learning in the classroom with public safety measures in place.
2) Online distance learning, which will be provided as an option at least through the end of the first quarter.
Why is the Balsz School District opening for in-person instruction when some of the other school districts in the region are waiting until after the first quarter ends?
At Balsz School District, we understand that many of our families have to work to make ends meet and are unable to accommodate at-home learning. We also know that our students benefit from learning in the classroom environment as much as possible. While this is a difficult decision, a great deal of planning has gone into making sure students, teachers and staff are as safe as possible while we resume in-person instruction. If the public health environment changes or the state of Arizona issues additional mandates concerning in-person instruction, we will follow those mandates as presented.
For in-person learning, what safety practices are being put into place?
The Balsz School District has done extensive research and is adhering to state and federal guidelines to ensure the in-person learning environment is as safe as possible. As a result, we’re implementing a number of enhanced safety measures, including:
— Class sizes will be limited to a maximum of 15 students
— All individuals will be required to wear masks
— Classrooms have been re-organized to accommodate social distancing
— Desks have been outfitted with custom plastic desk guards
— Custodial services have been doubled, with extensive disinfection during the day
— Students will be given daily temperature checks prior to boarding their school bus or entering their school
— Meals will be served in the classroom in many cases, although some schools may be able to accommodate meals in the cafeteria
For families that choose online distance learning, what accommodations are available to ensure its effectiveness?
The Balsz School District will be implementing the Florida Virtual Learning Curriculum and Google Classroom to provide a platform for students to learn remotely. Teachers will communicate with students through Google Sites, Google Classroom, email, and/or phone.
Students who participate in online distance learning will be provided with a laptop and access to a WiFi hotspot so that they can participate in online learning. Additionally, parents may pick up meals for those students each Monday at their child’s school.
What precautions are being taken to protect teachers and staff as schools open?
We are taking every precaution to ensure our workplace is safe. We are following federal health and safety guidelines as well as guidance from our state and local governments and are implementing social distancing practices to keep our workplace healthy. We are requiring all individuals to wear facemasks and/or maintain at least six feet social distancing when interacting in person with others. Team members who are able to work from home and fulfill their duties are being allowed to do so, and we’re providing teachers and staff with additional training opportunities in the coming days.
What will happen if a student or teacher contracts or tests positive for COVID-19?
If a positive test or diagnosis takes place, teachers and students in the classroom will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Once that period is complete and no symptoms are occurring, in-classroom instruction may resume.
What is the required temperature for sending a student home?
The School Health Office will send students home that have temperatures at or above 100.4 degrees.
May children wear face shields instead of masks?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children 2 years and older should wear “cloth face coverings” when they are in a community setting to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. When a mask impedes a child’s ability to breathe normally, or when they are unable to remove the mask on their own if needed, the CDC recommends that a face covering should not be worn.
Preschool and elementary students can benefit from wearing masks if they do not touch their mouths or noses a lot. Secondary school students should wear cloth face masks, especially when they can’t stay a safe distance apart.
Will elementary school students have the opportunity to have recess outside?
Yes, children will have recess outdoors at normal intervals during the day.
What are the expectations for parents who choose the remote learning option?
— Parents will be asked to ensure that internet access is available in the home.
— Parents should stay up-to-date on District communication regarding instructional continuation plans.
— Parents are encouraged to review appropriate grade-level information within the District website.
— Parents are asked to encourage student participation in remote learning content.
What are the expectations for students who participate in the remote learning option?
— Students need to ensure that they know their usernames and passwords.
— Students should also set-up a remote workspace to complete their lessons.
— Students should make calendars to manage their time.
— Students will engage in the remote activities that the teachers, students and the District provides.
Who should I contact if I have additional questions about the upcoming school year?
Please call the District Office at 602.629.6400 if you have any questions.