•  Richland One Reopening Plan - Frequently Asked Questions



    1. If I choose the Phase-in Model for my child, will s/he remain assigned to our home school and be taught by teachers there?

    Yes. Students in the Phase-in Model will remain enrolled in their home/assigned school and will be taught by teachers assigned to that school.

    The exception to this is the occasional instance at the high school level where a student may want to take a course that is not offered in his/her home school. In those instances, efforts will be made (with principal approval) to allow the student to take the course virtually by joining a class being taught by a teacher at another school. Students may also be enrolled in dual credit courses that are taught by instructors who are not members of the school’s faculty. When course requests cannot be accommodated within the master schedule, students may also enroll in courses through VirtualSC or Edgenuity.  *These types of exceptions are not unique to this year.)


    2. Does my child have to remain in the R1 Virtual School Program for the entire year? Will you give consideration to allowing a transfer back into the Phase-in Model at any other time?


    Many decisions, such as staffing and transportation routes, are made based on school and program enrollment. Although full-year commitment in the R1 Virtual School Program is preferred, if a family requests a transfer to the Phase-in Model, we will make every effort to work toward a semester transition, if appropriate space is available. A process for requesting transfer that is fair to all will be developed and publicized at a later date. (*As previously communicated, our Reopening Schools Plan is one that will evolve. This response represents a change from our original plan.)


    3. What if we do not have a computer or internet access in our home?

    The District’s 1:1 initiative is being expanded. All students in grades K-12 will have devices this school year. Hot spots have been purchased to support families without internet connectivity. The District is exploring other ways to support students who live in areas without service.


    4. What support will be provided to help students and parents gain confidence in using their devices and in accessing digital content used in the classroom, such as Dreambox, ALEKS, and other district-supported interventions?

    Training materials that include student- and parent-friendly videos as well as documents with screenshots and simple directions are being developed and will be posted to our district’s website. Print copies will be made available in our schools, as well.

    Training will be provided to parents and students during a face-to-face orientation that will be provided for students in PreK4 through grade 8 during LEAP days. (*See Question 6 below for more information about LEAP days.)


    5. What should we do if we have technical issues during the eLearning and hybrid phases of the Phase-in Model?

    Many technical issues can be resolved at the school level. When technical issues cannot be handled by school staff, however, the District has a competent and caring IT team that is ready and willing to provide assistance.

    Additional information will be provided on the Richland One website and communicated to parents through schools to ensure parents and students know how to reach someone for IT support and times IT support will be accessible.


    6. What are LEAP days, and how will they be used?

    The South Carolina General Assembly appropriated funds through the CARES Act to allow for five additional days at the start of the 2020-2021 school year for students in PreK through grade 8. Specific dates for LEAP days will be announced following approval of the updated District calendar. Generally speaking, however, LEAP days will occur during the five days prior to the first day teachers return to school.


    All students in PreK through grade 8 will be invited to participate during one of the five LEAP days. Determination about which day students will attend will be announced at the school level. Times for participation will be carefully scheduled to ensure staggered arrivals and departures throughout the day and to accommodate social distancing.

    During LEAP days, the following types of activities will occur:

    Students will have an opportunity to meet their teachers and to participate in activities designed to introduce and acclimate them to school and classroom procedures and expectations.

    Some diagnostic assessments may also be scheduled during this time to assess learning loss. Results of these assessments will help teachers plan more targeted instruction throughout the school year to meet individual needs of students.

    Meetings with parents may be held to review IEPs of students with disabilities (SWDs). Additionally, some evaluations and re-evaluations may be scheduled during this time.


    7. Since LEAP days are not provided for students in grades 9 through 12, when will my child meet his/her teachers, be oriented, and pick up his device?

    Each school will provide information about when students in grades 9 though 12 should come to school for orientation and to pick up devices. This time will also be used to introduce and acclimate students to new school procedures and expectations related to COVID-19 so that as soon as the District is able to transition to the hybrid phase, students know where to go and what to do to ensure their health and safety, as well as the health and safety of others.


    8. What can I do now to help my child recover any learning loss that may have occurred?

     While we are all concerned about learning loss, research has shown that learning loss can be recovered over time with excellent teachers and targeted instruction. We are very confident in the ability and commitment of our teachers to do everything they can to do mitigate learning loss when school reopens. But, we need your help.

    The Office of Teaching and Learning has compiled lists of a number of excellent standards-based resources that are organized by grade level and content area. These lists may be found here: https://www.richlandone.org/Page/9528. You are encouraged to review them and use them with your child. Some are so much fun that your child may not even realize s/he is learning!


    9. What curricula will be used while my child is in the eLearning or hybrid phases of the Phase-in Model?

    The same curricula that would be taught in a typical school year will be used in all phases of the Phase-in Model. South Carolina standards will be taught.


    10. How will I know what work my child is expected to complete?

    Specific information will be posted by each teacher weekly or bi-weekly (depending on subject and grade level) so that parents and students know what students should be learning, which materials support the learning, and when the learning will be assessed. This expectation has been established in direct response to parents’ requests.


    11. Will my child be expected to do more or less work during the eLearning or hybrid phases?

    The amount of work assigned in courses will be developmentally appropriate for each level. If any parent or student believes the amount of work being assigned is too much or too little for their child, they should contact the teacher. If the concern remains following that discussion, the parent should contact the principal.


    12. Will schedules look different this year?

    Yes. A number of factors will be considered in planning schedules. Examples of these factors include but are not limited to the following:

    Additional time will be needed during classes so that students can stretch, use the restroom, and have a few minutes for a brain break during the eLearning phase of instruction.

    When students move into the hybrid and traditional phases and are at school, additional time must be allowed for transitions due to the need for cleaning, movement to other locations following social distancing protocols, and restroom breaks (due to the fact that some restroom fixtures may not be usable while maintaining social distancing). 

    Every effort is being made to create structured eLearning and hybrid schedules that will allow students and staff to easily transition to the traditional face-to-face phase. We believe this consistency is important in minimizing disruptions in learning due to transitions.

    Time will be provided to address social and emotional needs.

    Office hours for teachers must be provided to support student learning needs and parent questions/concerns.

    When students return to school for either the hybrid or traditional phases of instruction, it is likely that staggered arrival and dismissals will be required due to transportation.

    Samples of schedules are posted on the district’s website. Note that class periods are necessarily shorter to accommodate the factors listed above. Also, please keep in mind that student schedules often vary within a grade level, as well as by school.


    13. Will students be sitting at their computers for long period of time listening to lectures? What will class periods look like?

    No. The amount of time designated in the student’s schedule for a class period does not mean the child will be in front of the computer the entire time. The schedule reflects the time the class will start and end for purposes of planning.

    Similar to how multiple activities are shown within “periods” at the elementary level, students and parents should expect multiple types of learning experiences within class periods at the middle and high school levels. Lessons at all levels should be interactive and engaging.

    For example, while part of the lesson will likely involve direct instruction by the teacher, students also need to interact with one another. Small group work with peers is actually one of the best ways to learn. Within our Team platform, students are able to collaborate within channels to have small group discussions and to complete projects. Additionally, students may be assigned independent reading from a text, a writing assignment, or a project that takes them away from the computer for a period of time with follow-up discussion occurring at a designated time later in the class period. In this example, students would be told when they need to “return” to the class.


    14. My child’s experience with eLearning last spring was not positive. How will eLearning be different this year? What is being done to ensure eLearning is more effective this fall, in the event we have to begin the school year in the eLearning phase?

    The quick pivot to eLearning last spring allowed very little time for preparation and practice to support eLearning. Since late March, however, the District has devoted extensive amounts of human and financial resources to ensure our teachers and students would be prepared should eLearning be required this fall or at any time in the future.

    The following are examples of strategies that are included in our current plan:

    Professional development on using Microsoft Teams and other software programs/apps that support virtual/eLearning experiences has been and continues to be provided to teachers, school and district leaders, and classified staff who support teaching and learning.

    Technology Ambassadors have been designated in every school. Classroom teachers who assume this role will serve as colleagues who can provide peer support to members of each school’s staff on the use of Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft applications in their learning environments.

    Teachers will work from their classrooms. This will ensure they have all the materials they need to support instruction.

    The District implemented several virtual programs during the summer. The implementation of these programs allowed us to test new strategies and use of software in a fully virtual learning environment. Our summer pilot has positioned us to have already identified the strategies and tools that best support eLearing/virtual learning, as well as the training that is most helpful to teachers and school leaders.


    15. How will course offerings be determined, and how will the master schedule be built?

    Priority is being given to English language arts (ELA) and math in grades PreK through 5. Standards from social studies and science will be integrated into ELA and math content.

    At the middle school level, students will take four core content courses and two related arts electives.

    At the high school level, core courses and courses needed for graduation are always considered highest priorities in building the master schedule. Those priorities will not change.


    16. How will students be graded?

    Grading policies established by the South Carolina Department of Education Uniform Grading Policies and Richland School District One will be followed.


    17. Will attendance be taken during the eLearning and hybrid phases of the Phase-in Model?

    Yes. Attendance will be taken daily, even on days when the student is not physically present. Each teacher will inform students of how to “check in” on the days they are working from home.


    18. Will state assessments be given this year?

    Yes. At this time, the South Carolina Department of Education has said that all state assessments will be administered. Information about testing administration will be shared as additional information is made available.


    19. Will direct instruction be provided by a teacher?

    Yes. During the eLearning phase, students will participate in “live” instruction with the teacher and the class.

    Hybrid Phase - In addition to “live” learning experiences on the days elementary students are learning at school, some recorded (asynchronous) learning experiences may be provided to support learning of some students on days they are working from home. Work with interventionists, sessions with counselors, and other activities that require more independent support for students will be scheduled on these days, as well. A specific  schedule will be provided for parents so they will know when their child will work with individual or small groups on days they are not physically present in school.

    Students at the middle and high school levels will join their classes via Teams on the days they are working at home so that lessons may continue as if they were physically present in the classroom.


    20. Will teachers be teaching from home, as they did last spring? Teaching from home seemed to limit their access to materials.

    No. The situation last spring was very different, as the Governor had ordered that school buildings be close. This fall teachers will report to their classrooms every day, where they will have access to all the materials needed to support effective instruction and student learning.


    21. My child has an IEP. How will his needs be addressed during the eLearning and hybrid phases of the Phase-in Model?

    Students with Disabilities (SWDS) will have equal access to the general curriculum through Richland One's Virtual School Program, as well as in all phases of the Phase-in Model: eLearning, hybrid, and face-to-face.

    Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams will meet to determine what services are needed for students based on the instructional delivery model in which each student will be served. IEP teams will collaborate to develop IEPs that are aligned to the instructional delivery model chosen by the student's parent. IEPs will be amended to meet the individual needs of students. 

    If you have specific questions regarding your child’s needs, please do not hesitate to call the Office of Special Services at 803.231.6773.


    22. How will the needs of ESOL students be met?

    When the district is operating in the eLearning phase or when ESOL students are members of the R1 Virtual School Program, the following should be expected:


    Students will receive accommodations and modifications based on their English proficiency levels.

    Core content area teachers and ESOL teachers will work together to ensure equitable access to learning activities and academic success for the ESOL population.

    ESOL teachers will plan with core teachers to provide targeted virtual interventions as necessary to ensure participation and academic support. 

    Secondary level English Learners will receive services and support as outlined by their scheduled courses.

    English Learners will participate in synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities.


    When the district is operating in the hybrid phase, the following should be expected:


    Students will receive accommodations and modifications based on their English proficiency levels. 

    Core content area teachers and ESOL teachers will work together to ensure equitable access to learning activities and academic success for the ESOL population.

    Each school will establish a schedule to provide English Learners with access to face-to-face interaction with their ESOL teacher to receive academic support.


    In the eLearning and hybrid phases, as well as in the R1 Virtual School Program, the District ESOL Bilingual Family-School Liaison and ESOL teachers will communicate frequently with families and community organizations to ensure students are receiving the support they need for success during this particularly challenging time.

    23. What will PE, dance, weightlifting and other classes that require movement be like this year? Last spring my child had to do homework that included journaling, reading or recording requirements. Will that be expected this year?

    Learning about lifetime fitness and applying that knowledge is part of the reflection and formative assessment process that should be integrated with physical activity in physical education classes. Physical education courses should include journaling, reading, and recording requirements, in combination with physical activity. These are meaningful, standards-based activities that should occur, even in “normal” times. 

    Students will be expected to complete these kinds of activities in eLearning, hybrid, and face-to-face instructional phases. These kinds of activities are also appropriate for and will be utilized in the Richland One Virtual School Program.


    24. How will performing arts courses like chorus and drama/theatre classes work? Are there other opportunities for high school performances and productions?

    1. Presentation/performance is an integral part of courses such as theatre, band, and chorus. Because of the way COVID-19 is transmitted, however, additional health and safety concerns must be considered as we make plans for these courses in the fall.


      With a goal of ensuring students in our performing arts classes have experiences that are as normal as possible while keeping them as safe as possible, the Richland One Visual and Performing Arts Department in collaboration with our teachers has developed a plan that takes into consideration guidance from the AccelerateEd Task Force, the National Association for Music Education, and the CDC. The plan is currently under review. Additional information will be shared after the review has been completed


    25. Much has been written about the impact of COVID-19 on the social and emotional health and well-being of students. What strategies will the district use to address these concerns?


      A plan to address the social and emotional needs of students has been developed. It includes but is not limited to the following strategies:


      • Schools will implement social and emotional learning into curricula with emphasis on reassuring the health and safety of students.

      • Age-appropriate resources that promote social and emotional health will be made available on the Richland One website.

      • A tiered plan has been developed to contact any child who does not report to class (virtually or in person). This plan includes but is not limited to the use of CARE Teams, counseling contacts, bus stop visits by school staff to see students (during eLearning phase), home visits for wellness checks, and collaboration with appropriate agencies to provide individualized support.

      • Schools will provide on-going support by orchestrating opportunities with students, parents, and staff for the purposes of relationship building and sharing of experiences.

      • Schools will bolster their multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) for students, parents and staff through increased services.

    26. Will there by after school/extended day programs while we are in the eLearning phase?

    No. There will be no after school/extended day programs during the eLearning phase. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 activity, as well as CDC and DHEC guidance, and hope we can make changes as we progress to different phases of the Phase-in Model.


    27. How will schools give tests and assessments in courses while students are in the eLearning phase? Is there an increased chance that students will cheat?

    The Office of Teaching and Learning is preparing a guidance document to support teachers as they transition into virtual/eLearning and hybrid environments. This document will include guidance on administering teacher-created tests and various types of formative assessments often used to gauge student progress.

    Online schools have been giving tests and administering various types of assessments in a virtual platform for many years. We are studying the strategies that have worked best for them. These strategies will be incorporated in the above-referenced guidance document.


    28.  Can the date for decisions about the R1 Virtual School Program be extended?

    As may be noted on the application form posted on the Richland One landing page, the date for submission of the application for participation in the R1 Virtual School Program has already been extended through Friday, July 31, 2020. The date cannot be further extended because, by law, teachers must be informed of their assignments by August 15, 2020. In order for us to make assignments, we have to know how many students will be attending each school and program.


    29.  If I completed an online application for the R1 Virtual School Program and now want to withdraw my application, what do I do?

    You may withdraw the application for your child to attend the R1 Virtual School Program by sending an email to Dr. Erica Fields, Director of the Office of Learning Environments and Instructional Resources, at erica.fields@richlandone.org no later than Friday, July 31, 2020. Simply state in the email that you wish to withdraw your application and provide your child’s name, parent’s name, and your child’s current school.


    30.  Is Teams really a learning platform, or is it just a collaboration space?

    Perhaps the best place to start in responding to this question is to explain what is meant by a learning management system. A learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs. Microsoft Teams includes these components.


    Microsoft Teams allows teachers to do the following:

    · post announcements;

    · facilitate discussion posts;

    · create learning paths for an entire class and/or individual students;

    · create assignments which, when graded, are synced to the teacher’s gradebook in PowerSchool;

    · hold live virtual classes,

    · create small groups,

    · track student screen time, completion of assignments, attendance in live class sessions, and

    · create a Class Notebook where teachers can create engaging lessons in which students can interact and provides for each student his own notebook in which to work.


    Students can chat, have voice calls, interact in lessons in a Class Notebook, work in his/her own notebook, and engage in video calls with their teachers for one-on-one support.

    Because Teams is synced with PowerSchool, parents will receive email updates of assignments and students’ progress.


    31. I've heard that teachers have received no professional development to help them get ready for the return of school. Has any training been provided and, if so, did anyone actually participate?


    To date, more than 1600 teachers, district leaders and school staff have completed district-developed courses in Teams 101, and more than 1700 have completed Teams 102. Professional learning opportunities in these courses continue to be provided for new staff and others who may not have yet had the training.

    A number of webinars in our locally-developed series, Supporting Transitions to Virtual Learning, have been created as well as other self-paced and district-supported courses. Documentation reflects more than 1000 completions to date. Additionally, many teachers and school leaders have taken advantage of self-paced courses provided by Microsoft on the Microsoft Education Center. You may see where many of our teachers have posted their credentials on Twitter as they have received them!

    Professional learning opportunities will be provided on professional development days in August. There will be an intentional focus on using technology in the content areas. Additionally, technology ambassadors have been identified at each school and are in the process of being trained so that they may provide additional support to colleagues at the school level.

    There have been and will continue to be numerous professional learning opportunities available for teachers and staff. However, if any teacher needs additional, specific training or support and does not see opportunities listed on the Office of Instructional Services webpage that support these needs, s/he should communicate directly with their principal, who will communicate needs to the Office of Instructional Services

    32.  Will my senior be allowed to participate in the prom (assuming risk levels are lower by then) and graduation with peers in her home/assigned school if she participates in the Virtual School Program?

    Yes. Students who participate in the R1 Virtual School Program may participate in prom and graduation with their home/assigned school.


    33. Will every class at my child’s high school be offered in the Richland One Virtual School Program?

    To every extent possible, all classes offered at your child’s high school will be a part of the Virtual School Program. Students participating in the Virtual School Program will be taking the courses in which they are enrolled according to their transcripts. Some students, however, may seek approval from the principal to take a course offered outside of the regular high school course offerings by taking a course through VirtualSC or a dual enrollment program.


    34. Will every class in the Phase-in Model at high schools have a teacher?

    All classes will have a teacher. The expectation is the majority of the teachers will be Richland One teachers; however, some of the teachers may be those that teach courses with VirtualSC or at a postsecondary institution (example: dual enrollment instructors). Some circumstances may require a teacher from another Richland One high school to teach students. This may occur when there is very low student enrollment in a class, and classes have to be combined with another school.


    35. How many days per week will the students receive online instruction from a teacher?

    Students will have online, “live” instruction from teachers. The number of days and daily minutes will vary depending on the course and the school’s schedule.


    36.How many students will be in each virtual class?

    Students’ transcripts will be analyzed. Students will then be enrolled in the required courses for graduation and program pathways. The number of students will vary from class to class, as is traditionally the case, and will be within state guidelines.


    37.Will there be a Montessori teacher for the Richland One Virtual School Program?

    Yes, there will be certified Montessori teachers, and a virtual Montessori platform will be used.


    38.  If I enroll my child in the Richland One Virtual School Program for the 2020-2021 school year, will my child’s Montessori slot at Brockman, Caughman Road, or Logan be saved for the 2021-2022 school year?

    Yes, your child’s slot will be saved for the 2021-2022 school year.


    39.  Does my child have to remain in the R1 Virtual School Program for the entire year? Will you give consideration to allowing a transfer back into the Phase-in Model at any other time?


    Many decisions, such as staffing and transportation routes, are made based on school and program enrollment. Although full-year commitment in the R1 Virtual School Program is preferred, if a family requests a transfer to the Phase-in Model, we will make every effort to work toward a semester transition, if appropriate space is available. A formalized process for requesting a transfer that is fair to all will be developed and publicized by the district at a later date. (*As previously communicated, our Reopening Schools Plan is one that will evolve. This response represents a change from Richland One’s original plan.)


    40.  If I withdraw my child from the Montessori Program at Brockman, Logan, or Caughman Road for the 2020-2021 school year and enroll my child in a private school, will my child’s slot be saved for the 2021-2022 school year?


    No. In order for your child’s slot in the Montessori Program to be saved, your child must be enrolled in a Richland One program.


    41. If I withdraw my child from the Montessori Program at Brockman, Caughman Road, or Logan for the 2020-2021 school year and homeschool my child, will my child’s slot be saved for the 2021-2022 school year?


    No. In order for your child’s slot be saved, your child must be enrolled in a Richland One program.



    42.  The Board of Commissioners voted to move the start date of school from August 19 to August 31. When is the start date for 3K and 4K students?

    A staggered start for 3K and 4K students is tentatively scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.


    43.Will there be tuition for 3K and 4K students?


    Yes, 3K and 4K students will receive daily instruction with a certified Montessori teacher. Therefore, parents are still required to pay tuition.


    44.Will 3K students still attend half days during the Phase-In Model?


    Yes, 3K students will still be dismissed at 10:30 a.m.