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FAQ: Transition to Onsite/Hybrid

Please review these Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the hybrid plans and full online plans for the 2020-21 school year. The District will continue to update this page as necessary. Updated 9/23/2020.

How can I be sure my child is safe at school?

The District is putting in place health and safety protocols and structures to protect the health and safety of students, staff and families. Nevertheless, it is impossible to remove all risk associated with returning to onsite instruction. Families with students who have medical concerns should consult with their physician before deciding to send their child back to school. For the vast majority of students, medical research is clear that children, especially in the lower grades, are less likely than adults to be infected. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that if young children become infected, they do not appear to have the same transmission potential as adults. 

What happens when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?

A confirmed positive case will be reported to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH)  who will initiate an interview with the student and their family and notify close contacts identified. The District will work with CCBH to ensure that employees and students are contacted regarding potential close contact. After consulting with CCBH, the District will determine additional communications that need to be sent to staff, families and students. The District will determine whether spaces need to be closed and cleaned.

Will the District tell us if students or staff members test positive?

The Ohio Department of Health has issued an order that requires K-12 schools to report and notify parents/guardians and local health departments when students, teachers, staff members or coaches test positive for COVID-19. The order also states that parents and guardians are encouraged to report positive cases to schools. Each day, the District updates its COVID-19 Dashboard that indicates the number of active and cumulative reported COVID-19 cases among students and staff at Shaker Heights Schools. The Dashboard also shows COVID-19 cases by school building. In compliance with this order, the District will notify appropriate families and staff by email when a staff member, classmate, teammate and/or bus rider (if applicable) tests positive for COVID-19.

What is the District’s policy on masks and face coverings? Are masks available?

Per state order, masks must be worn by all children in grades K-12 and all employees. Students and employees are free to wear a mask of their choice. The District has masks available for those who need them, including N95 masks for staff when requested.

Are there exceptions to wearing masks or face coverings?

Limited exceptions to the face covering requirement exist for those unable to wear a mask due to a documented medical condition, disability or other health or safety factors.

Some have concerns about air quality in our buildings. What is being done to ensure our air is safe?

The District regularly conducts air-quality tests which have shown air quality to be good in our schools. Out of an abundance of caution, the District contracted with Heapy Engineering, an industry leader in this field, to conduct an HVAC ventilation study and analysis. The company has inspected and tested the systems in all of our buildings and will issue a report and recommendations in the final week of September.

What are the physical distancing policies? What will done to ensure a safe distance are maintained?

Our goal is to keep staff and students six feet apart at all times. However we realize that is not always practical or able to be achieved based on classroom size, furniture configuration, etc. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation of six feet is where feasible. Our buildings contain signs and floor markers to help ensure the distance is maintained. We will also be using plexiglass dividers and screens as needed.

There is a national substitute teacher shortage. How will the District deal with this challenge?

The District is in the process of hiring substitute teachers for each school building. In addition, available faculty may, at times, be requested to cover classes when needed. This will ensure that a qualified substitute who is familiar with the school, students and staff is available whenever possible.

Will we still have clubs and extracurricular activities?

Every effort will be made to offer clubs and other activities within the health and safety protocols the District has adopted.

My student's medical condition precludes onsite. What kind of instruction will my student receive?

There will be a fully online learning option available for all students. An online learning participation survey will be sent to families during the week of September 21.

How will breakfast and lunch work?

The District will continue to offer meals to any student who wants one. While the logistics of meal delivery are still being worked out, meals will be provided for onsite learners, online learners and those participating in a hybrid model.

Will my student have the same teacher when the District returns to onsite instruction?

We will make every effort to keep students with the teacher they now have for remote learning. We cannot guarantee that each and every student will have the same teacher.

The benefits/risks of onsite can vary among students. Has the District considered this in its plan?

The District’s plan mirrors recommendations from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health which differentiate between younger and older students. Generally, health officials recommend more online learning for older students and more onsite learning for younger students.

What protocols are in place on our school buses?

The District will follow the Cuyahoga County Board of Health recommendation of one student to a seat. Children living in the same household may share a seat. The hybrid learning model will reduce the number of students on buses on any given day, allowing for adequate distancing. The Transportation Department has also adopted additional cleaning and disinfection protocols. The District’s buses have been transporting private school students since August without incident.

Will there be daily temperature checks for students and employees at school?

No. State and local health officials recommend that parents take their child's temperature daily before they send or take their child to school. Students with a temperature of 100.4°F or greater should stay home and consider coronavirus testing if symptoms of COVID-19 are present and consult their doctor. Employees are also expected to take their temperatures and stay home if their temperature exceeds 100°F, with or without other COVID-19-related symptoms.

Detracking in Shaker Heights Schools

  1. Why are we introducing detracking for students in Grades 5-12?
    Educational equity remains our priority. Students in Grades 5-12 will no longer be grouped by class level (core, enriched, honors). At the High School, courses that were previously split by Core and Honors will be combined. AP and IB classes will continue to be offered for those students who have selected those courses. This approach to instruction dismantles our current tracking system and expands opportunities for all students.

    We will continue to provide targeted enrichment, support and instruction to individuals and groups of students.

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