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COVID-19 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Version posted: 9/16/20
Updated: 9/22/20 - Family 3/2 Plan and Remote Learning sections
Updated: 9/24/20 - Remote Learning and Nutrition Services sections
Updated: 9/30/20 - In-School Health & Safety
Updated: 10/7/20 - In-School Heath & Safety
Updated: 10/14/20 - Nutrition Services

Transitioning to In-Person Learning

Will Omaha Public Schools return for in-person instruction in September and October? 
Yes, through a phased approach. We understand that in-person instruction is most effective for the students we serve. We have shared since August that it was our intention to return in-person as soon as possible. 

 To allow for social distancing and our layered health and safety precautions, most students will return using our Family 3/2 Instructional Model. Some students, based on programs or specialized services, will return five days each week. 

Omaha Public Schools will use a phased return to in-person instruction through the end of September and early October, with all students who wish to learn in person returning through the Family 3/2 Model by October 19. 

When does my student return in person? 
See our list of key dates here.

What are the metrics for a 100% return in person? 

  • Testing availability: the opportunity to test staff and students quickly (same day if needed) with a less than 48-hour turnaround for results. 

  • Community spread of COVID-19 controlled at less than 50 cases per million (adults and children combined). 

  • Test positivity rate below 5%, ideally below 3%. 

  • Staff impact – the ability to operate schools and programs in-person. 

It is important to note that these conditions are not met in the Omaha community as of Sept. 15, 2020, which is why the district is pursuing the Family 3/2 plan for a return to in-person learning. 

Will extra-curricular activities resume in the Family 3/2 Plan? 

With our return to in-person learning, we plan to proceed with winter season athletics and other extra-curricular activities, which begin in November. 

  • Students would be able to attend practices on days when they are not on-site through our Family 3/2 model. However, students participating in the Remote Learning Program would not be eligible to participate in extra-curricular activities on-site. 

  • In the event a school were to temporarily transition to remote learning due to a significant number of cases identified on-site, extra-curricular activities would be suspended while students learn from home.

  • We continue to plan for the opportunity to play fall sports in the spring season.

What are the different attendance plans? 
Omaha Public Schools will consider three different plans for the 2020-21 school year.  
They include: 

  • On-site, where 100% of students attend school each day. 

  • Family 3/2, where students with the last name A-K and L-Z are grouped together and attend Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday, respectively. Wednesdays would alternate between last name groups. Students would participate in structured learning on days when not physically in school. 

  • Remote, where 100% of students learn remotely. 

What will determine if schools close again?  
We anticipate that schools will need to transition to remote learning for brief periods of time based on a cluster of cases identified in a building.  

If a pivot to remote learning is necessary, the following MAXIMUM responses will be used with the option to extend 

  • 1 student and/or 1 staff member at a single site depending on level of exposure: School(s)/Programs(s) may remote learn for up to 1 day 

  • 2-4 students and/or staff members at a single site depending on level of exposure: School(s)/Programs(s) may remote learn for up to 3 days 

  • 5+ students and/or staff members at a single site depending on level of exposure: Individual school or program may remote learn for up to 14 days 

  • 5+ students and/or staff members at 10% of sites OR as determined by District Administration: District may remote learn until further notice 

Evolving community conditions, staffing concerns or other unforeseen circumstances could require a district-wide return to remote learning at some point in the year to come. 

Will outside groups including the Omaha Public Schools Foundation Kids Club be providing before and after school care? 
OPSF Kids Club and certain before and after school partners will continue providing services for the students who attended school in person that day, using our Family 3/2 model. Families who participate in the OPSF Kids Club and other before and after school programs should look for additional information from their provider.

Family 3/2 Plan

What is the Family 3/2 plan? 
Students with the last name A-K and L-Z are grouped together and attend Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday, respectively. Wednesdays would alternate between last name groups. Students would participate in structured learning on days when not physically in school. 

Why did Omaha Public Schools create the Family 3/2 plan? 
The Family 3/2 plan allows for better social distancing and more limited transitions during the day. The 3/2 plan provides consistency and predictability in what days a student will physically attend school. With our 1 to 1 technology initiative, students will continue learning at home on days when not present at school. 

How does the Family 3/2 plan work if students in the same home have more than one last name? 
By following the last name of the oldest student at home, all students will be part of the same learning group to best accommodate family schedules. 

I would like for my student to attend every day / entirely remotely during the Family 3/2 plan. Is that possible? 
Students may either attend based on the instructional model used by the district or they may request full-time remote learning by completing the Instructional Model Selection Survey sent by OPS Research. The deadline to enroll in remote learning is Sunday, Sept. 20 and that selection will remain in effect until winter break. 

Can I change the day my student attends school during the Family 3/2 plan? 
A-K and L-Z attendance groups were determined to achieve a near 50/50 split in the groups of students who attend school each day. This is for everyone’s health and safety. We understand that no split schedule is ideal but allowing significant shifts in the group does not protect the health and safety of our community. Schools will not be making individual adjustments to the attendance groups. If you have questions about your attendance groups, please email familygroup@ops.org. District staff will monitor and respond. 

Why does the Family 3/2 plan not have students attend a half-day, every day? 
For a number of reasons including transportation and cleaning efforts, having students attend a half day, every day is not logistically feasible. 

Which students will attend every day during the Family 3/2 plan? 
Students enrolled in the following programs will attend every day of the week: 

  • Beginning Week of Sept. 16: 

    • JP Lord School

    • Zoo Academy

  • Beginning Sept. 23: 

    • K-12 Alternate Curriculum Program (ACP) 

    • Transition 

    • Elementary Behavioral Skills Program (BSP) 

    • All Early Childhood Special Education Students

    • Hearing Impaired Classrooms 

  • Beginning Oct. 5: 

    • Parrish 

    • Student Success Program 

  • Beginning Oct. 19: 

    • Gateway to College 

    • OPS/UNO Middle College 

How does Early Childhood Education work in the Family 3/2 plan? 
Students will follow the district attendance plan unless they are receiving special education services, then they will attend every day. Early childhood staff have implemented procedures that align with school procedures and district guidelines for daily activities such as play time, small and large groups, transitions and more.  

Facial coverings will be worn and social distancing will be followed as appropriate. Students will not be required to wear facial coverings during rest time if social distancing occurs. Outdoor play will occur daily as weather permits. Students will not play on installed playground equipment. 

Over the summer, staff developed curriculum guides to support both the Family 3/2 plan and 100% remote learning. Teachers and technology staff have worked together to develop guidelines and practices for 1 to 1 technology use the follows best practices for early childhood development. 

What will a day look like during in-class and online instruction? 
Elementary Instruction

  • All students attend a daily morning meeting for attendance and community building via Teams

  • All students will receive five days of instruction in English Language Arts and Math

  • Students will receive instruction in Science, Social Studies, and Specials (Art, Music, PE, and Library) on their in-person days

  • Students will receive pre-recorded video instruction in English Language Arts and Math on their at-home days created by district staff

  • Teachers will schedule independent learning time for students to practice and apply what they learned while they meet with 100% Remote Learning Program students for 1:1 or small group support

  • Interventions will be provided to students on their in-person days

  • Special Education, EL, Gifted and Talented Education, and Guidance services will be provided

  • Dual Language instruction will be provided to students in both languages on their in-person days

  • OPS Common Grading practices will be followed

Secondary Instruction
  • All students will receive access to daily course instruction.

  • All students will be expected to engage and attend courses on their in-person days and their at-home days for the duration of each course.

  • Students attending courses from at-home will access their courses through Teams.

  • Students will follow the bell schedule determined by their school.

  • Students will remain in their currently scheduled courses to allow for seamless transitions.

  • OPS common grading practices will be followed.

General In-School Procedures

Will visitors be allowed in schools?  
With very few exceptions, visitors will not be allowed in schools. Teachers are encouraged to connect with guest speakers virtually, and schools should encourage online meetings whenever practical. 

Why might some school procedures look different?  
The district provided overarching guidelines and expectations to all schools. Schools will make decisions related to specific procedures based on their capacity and what works best in their school setting. Families who have questions should reach out to their school principal.   

Will elementary schools be allowed to have classroom parties? 
We anticipate that classroom parties will be limited or adjusted to reflect health guidance as the 2020-21 school year progresses. 

Will students take state tests during the school year? 
A decision regarding state tests will be made by the Nebraska Department of Education. 

Will Omaha Public Schools continue its Strive for 95 initiative?  
While we know that attendance at school is important, our District recognizes this is an unprecedented time. If a student or staff member feels ill, or anyone in their home feels sick, they must stay home. StriveFor95 materials, banners or flyers should not be sent home or displayed. 

With Omaha Public Schools’ 1 to 1 technology initiative, each student will receive an internet-connected device. Attendance and participation in remote learning will be an expectation throughout our district. 

Will school partners still be allowed in our schools to provide additional services or supports for students and families? 
A few, limited partners will continue to serve in the school setting by following safety guidelines. Field trips and general classroom visitors will not be permitted. Staff should pursue virtual opportunities whenever possible. 

Will there be a common daily schedule across secondary schools?  
No. At this time, schools will still determine the daily schedule that works best for their school environment. 

In-School Health & Safety

What precautions are you taking to make sure kids are healthy in school?  
Health and safety are our priority. We understand the importance of caring for the social and emotional wellbeing of our staff and students. Enhanced cleaning measures, regular disinfecting of high-touch surfaces, frequent handwashing and hand sanitizer use, social distancing measures, limiting transitions, adapting meal procedures and the use of district-provided face coverings will all be part of our comprehensive effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.  

What health assessment questions should families review daily?
Every day before they leave home, families will complete a self-health assessment, asking themselves three vital questions:

  • Has your child had a fever of 100.4 or greater, a new cough, new onset of shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell in the last 24 hours?

  • Is your child waiting for a Covid-19 test result?

  • Has anyone in your household been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the last 14 days?

If they answer "yes" to any of these questions, they will be expected to stay home.

Will the district provide face coverings for students and staff? 
Yes. We have ordered five cloth face coverings for each student and staff member in our district community. Our district has also purchased disposable masks for use by visitors and as needed when a cloth face covering is not available. 

Will face coverings be required?  
Our district understands that individuals have different levels of comfort when it comes to wearing a face covering. The CDC recommends that all individuals over the age of 2 wear a face covering to limit the spread of COVID-19. The CDC recommends that face coverings be worn anytime someone is around someone who they do not live with. This will help to limit the spread of the virus. The CDC highlights the importance of wearing a face covering in situations where social distancing may not occur.  

By using face coverings, social distancing where possible, increased cleaning procedures and other measures, we can prioritize in-person learning time. Our district will provide five cloth face coverings for each student and staff member. This will allow students to wear it for one day and then take it home and wash it.  

We will expect face coverings to be worn in all school buildings with limited exceptions based on medical need. Students may remove the covering when eating or drinking, during recess when physically active and social distancing is supervised and maintained. Staff will work with families who have concerns about their child wearing a face covering due to specific health concerns.  

Our goal is to educate and teach students about the importance of face coverings in protecting their teachers, classmates and families. We’re confident that we’ll be able to work with everyone to get where we need to be. 

What happens if my student can’t wear a face covering?  
The district will provide five cloth face coverings to each staff member and student as a measure to ensure the health and safety of all. If a student comes to school without a face covering, disposable coverings will be available. Staff will work with families who have concerns about their child wearing a face covering due to specific health concerns. 

How will a confirmed case of COVID-19 be handled? 
If a parent/guardian reports a student has been diagnosed with Covid-19, the school will partner with district contact tracers to identify students and staff who have come in close contact with the student (defined as greater than 15 minutes of interaction less than 6 feet away) while maintaining the student’s confidentiality. Contact tracers will be in touch with next steps. 

Will communication go to families regarding confirmed COVID-19 cases? 
Omaha Public Schools is committed to open and transparent communication with our students, staff and families. If someone is found to be in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, they will receive direct communication from district Human Resources or Health staff. A general advisory will be sent to the staff and families in a school to ensure they are aware. 

Does the district have enough cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer? 
Our district has worked throughout the spring and summer to secure necessary protective and disinfecting equipment.  

Will schools be doing temperature checks? 
Through a partnership with a local donor, Omaha Public Schools has provided thermometers for families to check symptoms at home. Our district will also provide families with the symptoms to regularly monitor for. If anyone in the home is ill, a student should stay home. 

How will students know what they can/can’t touch?  
OPS Printing and Publication has designed health and safety-related signs for each school to reinforce safety procedures. Watch this video for examples

What will a school do if a student has signs of COVID-19 in school? 
If a student is ill at school, they will move to a designated space while staff work with family members to pick up the student promptly.  

At what point would you decide to close an entire school? 
Criteria for a temporary school-wide transition to remote learning were identified and presented to the Board of Education in early August. 

If a pivot to remote learning is necessary, the following MAXIMUM responses will be used with the option to extend 

  • 1 student and/or 1 staff member at a single site depending on level of exposure: School(s)/Programs(s) may remote learn for up to 1 day 

  • 2-4 students and/or staff members at a single site depending on level of exposure: School(s)/Programs(s) may remote learn for up to 3 days 

  • 5+ students and/or staff members at a single site depending on level of exposure: Individual school or program may remote learn for up to 14 days 

  • 5+ students and/or staff members at 10% of sites OR as determined by District Administration: District may remote learn until further notice 

Families will be notified through our official channels if and when that happens. Families are encouraged to ensure their email address and phone number are up-to-date with the district to make sure they receive future communication. Families can provide an email address and phone number directly to their student’s school. 

When will COVID-19 restrictions end? 
At this time, health officials do not know when COVID-19 will have less of an impact on our daily lives. As a District, our priority is student and staff health and safety. We will continue to work with state and local officials to make decisions that prioritize health and safety related COVID-19, as long as it is necessary.   

Transportation for In-School Learning

What are the general health and safety procedures for bus riders?

  • Before boarding the bus: Students should complete a health assessment with a parent every day prior to riding the bus. Students should have a required face covering on before boarding the bus. Whenever possible, students should practice social distancing at the bus stop.

  • When boarding the bus: Students must put on face covering and maintain an arm’s length distance before stepping onto the bus, waiting for the student in front to reach the top step of the bus before boarding. Students from the same household may be asked to share the same seats.

  • While on the bus: Hand sanitizer will be available for use at the top step. Students should proceed to the back of the bus and sit in the first available, designated seat. Students are expected to wear their face covering throughout the entire ride.

  • Exiting the bus: Students will unload from front to back, right to left, and everyone will remain seated until directed by the driver to exit. The bus driver will direct students when it is safe to exit. Once students have exited the bus, they will follow the directions of the school building staff.

How will buses be cleaned?
After all students have exited, the bus the driver will then start the Child Safety Check Procedure. Once that has been completed, the driver will then start the disinfectant process. The driver will spray seats with the district-approved disinfectant after each run throughout the day. At the end of the day, the driver will do a more thorough cleaning process of spraying and wiping down all high touch surfaces.

How will bus/transportation management occur with social distancing?
Seats will be marked to keep students an appropriate distance. We will work proactively to explain routines and expectations while riding to and from school.

If buses are half capacity, will this impact budgeting and routes?
Routes and the buses running routes will generally be the same. The Family 3/2 attendance plan allows for increased social distancing with fewer students riding that route on any given day.

Nutrition Services

Will OPS continue offering meal pick-up options? 
Omaha Public Schools is offering Meals2Go at no cost to children ages 1-18 including remote learners. Click here for more information about Meals2Go.

What will the meal service look like for kids in school?
Based on capacity, each building will be responsible for deciding how meal services operate in our schools.

All students must stop at the restroom on the way to lunch to wash their hands, and social distancing measures will be followed. Students will not face each other while eating and all seating will be six feet apart. Hand sanitizer will be used before entering the line. Face coverings will be worn when students are not eating.

What changes have been made to ensure safety in this area?
Students will see new meal options this school year as part of the district’s plan to ensure a responsible return to school. Grab-and-go options and tray covers will be available.

Will in school cleaning procedures change for nutrition services?
Yes. The nutrition services team will introduce enhanced cleaning procedures. Dining areas will be sanitized regularly.

 

Remote Learning Program

On Wednesday, Sept. 16, we emailed all families a form to decide and tell our district whether students would return in person or continue in the remote learning program. That survey closed on Tuesday, Sept 22. If families did not complete the survey, students will be scheduled for in-person learning with our Family 3/2 Instructional Model. Our staff began processing those requests beginning Wednesday, Sept. 23, and will be communicating with families about their student's enrollment in either the remote learning program, the light blue Family 3/2 group or the yellow Family 3/2 group.

Remote learning will remain an option for families who feel it is best for their student during this time. There will be differences in the full-time Remote Learning Program when compared to our current instructional model.

Elementary Instruction

  • Students must commit to the 100% Remote Learning Program for the duration of the semester

  • Students attend a daily morning meeting for attendance and community building via Teams

  • Students will receive five days of instruction in English Language Arts and Math through pre-recorded video lessons with task sheets to complete

  • Students will receive at least two days of instruction in Science or Social Studies through pre-recorded videos lessons with task sheets to complete

  • Teacher will meet 1:1 or in small groups with all remote learners at least once a week

  • Students will login, via Teams, for Specials (Art, Music, PE, Library) and/or complete pre-recorded video lessons

  • Limited Dual Language support will be provided

  • Special Education, EL, Gifted and Talented Education, and Guidance support will be provided

  • OPS Common Grading practices will be followed

Secondary Instruction

  • Students will remain in current scheduled courses.

  • Students will participate in synchronous lessons by accessing their courses through Teams following their school’s bell schedule.

  • Students will commit to the 100% Remote Learning Program for the duration of the semester.

  • Students in the 100% Remote Learning Program will not be permitted to participate in-person extra-curricular activities.

  • OPS common grading practices will be followed.

  • Attendance policies will remain in place.

  • Special Education, EL, and School Counseling services are provided.

Students who choose the Remote Learning Program while our district transitions to the Family 3/2 Instructional Model will continue to receive special education services in the same manner they have since the start of school. Each student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) team will determine whether services will be provided remotely, in person, or a combination of the two in order to ensure that every student's IEP is fully implemented. 

Based on the amount of interest, ongoing collaboration with staff and feedback, portions of the Remote Learning Program may evolve in the weeks to come to best serve our students.

 

 

Covid 19 Dashboard for Oct. 23. Staff new cases: 46, Staff current active cases: 51, Staff isolated/quarantined: 245. Student new cases: 51, Student active cases: 55, Students isolated/quarantined: 636.

With community spread, we know cases will be identified among employees and students. Our layers of health and safety precautions, created in partnership with health experts, are designed to limit its spread. To watch more about our health and safety protocols, click here.