Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is there any chance the district will consider moving students temporarily to virtual instruction due to COVID-19?
Based on guidance from SCDHEC medical epidemiologists, Richland One would consider a grade level or school temporarily going to virtual learning based on the following thresholds:
Should any of the above first three thresholds be met, the principal of the school will immediately notify the executive director of schools, who will meet with the superintendent and other relevant staff to make a final determination regarding school or grade level closure. Communication to parents regarding grade level of school closures will be made by the school principal.
If a school (or grade level) temporarily goes to virtual learning for one of the above scenarios, it is recommended by SCDHEC that they remain virtual for 7 to 14 days and then re-evaluate the situation. Decisions regarding the length of temporary virtual instruction will be communicated by the school principal.
How will decisions be made regarding school, classroom, or cohort closures?
Richland School District One recognizes the importance of in-person education to the academic, social, and emotional growth and well-being of students. The decision to close schools for in-person learning will take into account a number of factors including, but not limited to, the following:
Decisions regarding the closure of schools, classrooms, or cohorts will be made by the Superintendent in consultation with the Executive Team, the Coordinator of Nursing Services, local health care providers, and others whose knowledge is essential to making an informed decision that supports the academic, social, emotional, and physical well-being of students and staff.
Are masks still required to be worn in Richland One?
Effective March 14, 2022, masks are optional for students and staff inside schools and administrative buildings and on school buses. Students and staff who want to continue to wear masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 may do so. The district will not tolerate harassment of anyone who chooses to wear a mask or not wear a mask.
Masks may be required in health rooms or other designated health care areas. Masks will be required for days 6-10 of the isolation period for students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 and return to school/work after 5 days of isolation. Masks also will be required when there is a school outbreak as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Masks are still required to be worn by visitors.
Why are parents not allowed to visit classrooms or walk their children to class this year, as they have done in the past?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has described the Delta variant of COVID as highly contagious, with the variant being more than twice as contagious as previous variants. Given the level of contagion and the fact that school staff may not know if someone is carrying the virus, limiting the number of individuals inside our buildings is essential in our efforts to provide for the health and safety of students and staff.
Will we be notified of COVID-19 cases in my child’s school?
The Richland One COVID Dashboard is updated daily. Not only does the dashboard provide district-wide daily and cumulative data, it also provides the number of positive cases, as well as the number of students quarantined. The dashboard is typically updated by 5 p.m. each day.
I’ve heard of an entire class being quarantined, but the numbers reported on the COVID Dashboard for the day do not reflect a quantity large enough to include a whole class. Are all students and staff who are COVID-positive or quarantined reflected on the dashboard?
The COVID Dashboard is updated daily and reflects the number of completed reports we have at the time of posting. The reports are not considered completed until contact tracing has been verified and all documentation has been completed. So, you may actually hear that a class has been quarantined a day (or even two, depending on the time of day we learn of the exposure) before the numbers are reflected on the dashboard. Our goal is to provide accurate information, which means that all documents are verified before they are posted.
We received a letter from the school that our child could have been exposed to the virus. What does it mean and what should we do?
If you are notified by the school that your child could have been exposed to COVID, the essential question to ask is whether or not your child is considered a close contact. School staff will advise you as to requirements for quarantine, should it be determined that your child is a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID.
Will Richland One schools remain open if the COVID cases increase?
The district’s goal is to remain open for in-person instruction without compromising the health and safety of students and staff. We will continue to monitor the level of spread in our schools and community and will make decisions based on available data, research, and the availability of staff to support instruction and essential services.
Where can I find information about who is required to be quarantined and who is not?
The district’s COVID-19 Mitigation and Safety Protocols for 2021-2022 (REVISED 3-11-2022) provides information about quarantine requirements. That information is posted at www.richlandone.org/RestartStrong.
The district’s plan states that schools are organizing classrooms in cohorts (or pods) when possible. How are schools “cohorting” or remaining in “pods” if students are leaving their classroom to go to related arts classes?
When possible and practical, schools organize students into cohorts or “pods” as a COVID-19 mitigation strategy. Cohorting is more practical in elementary grades than in middle or high school grades.
When elementary students are in a cohort, they remain together as much as possible and have little or no interaction with other groups inside the building. As long as the cohort remains together, they can still travel together to another location, such as related arts class, for instruction. During these travel times, every effort is made to minimize contact with other cohorts in hallways. “Lazy river” travel patterns are often used to minimize contacts in hallways.
At the middle grades level where all students typically move through the hallways during change of classes, students in cohorts often remain in one classroom while their core content teachers change classes. Students travel for their related arts classes only. This minimizes the number of students in hallways during class changes. Cohorting can be accommodated at the middle grades level only if students are organized into teams.
In most instances, cohorting is not possible at the high school level because students’ schedules vary significantly.
Continued Learning During Quarantine
How will my child be supported in continuing to learn if she has COVID or if she is a close contact to someone who has COVID?
When students are absent from school due to being COVID positive or in quarantine, it is a district expectation that they have meaningful opportunities to remain engaged in learning (if they are well enough to do so). It is also expected that opportunities be provided for students to remain connected to their teachers and other adults (such as counselors, interventionists, etc.) in the building.
The way in which schools meet these expectations may be a little different based on the school’s size, staffing, and schedule. The support provided within and across schools, however, must be equitable.
Therefore, schools will implement school-based, district-approved plans to ensure students remain connected to and supported by staff while they are absent due to COVID. These plans may include but will not be limited to virtual appointments with teachers, counselors, tutors, interventionists, and/or other school or district staff; lessons that occur before or after regular school hours; access to online resources; recordings of content/lessons; or other approved types of support included in the school’s plan. Specific types and amounts of support may vary depending upon the grade level of the student, IEP and 504 services, ESOL needs, etc.
Student assignments will be shared through SeeSaw in grades PK-1 and Schoology in grades 2-12.
Please contact your child’s school for specific information about ways your child will remain engaged in learning during COVID-related absences.
I have reached out for information from my child’s teacher and school administrators and have not yet received information about continued learning and support. What do I do now?
If you have not received a response from your child’s teacher or principal, please contact the Office of the Executive Directors of Schools at (803) 231-7151 or (803) 231-6847.
Why is the district not using Teams this year?
Teams is still available for use by students and teachers through Schoology, the district’s new learning management system (LMS).
Why did the district get a new LMS?
Shortly after the pandemic began, the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) surveyed districts to determine what learning management system (LMS) each was using. They offered to provide licenses for students and staff for three years for any one of three comprehensive LMSs to districts like ours using Teams (which supports interaction but lacks many features of a comprehensive LMS). Staff vetted each of the three recommended LMSs and selected Schoology, which was piloted in 14 schools last spring. Plans to fully implement during the 2021-2022 school year were announced last spring to allow time for staff to become trained.
As stated above, teachers and students can interface on Teams through the Schoology platform. While Teams supports interactions among staff and students, there are many features of a comprehensive, student-friendly LMS like Schoology that Teams alone does not provide. By using Schoology, students and staff get the benefits of all.
When will teachers and students be trained on Schoology?
Training for teachers and administrators on the use of Schoology began last spring and continued throughout the summer. Self-paced courses are also available for teachers and administrators, and each school also has a Schoology Master Instructor (SMI) who can provide assistance.
Schoology is a student-friendly, intuitive platform. Teachers will provide instruction to students on its use. Very often, this training will occur while a lesson is being taught using the platform. In other words, students will learn by doing.
When will students get their devices?
Devices for students are issued at the school level. If your middle or high school child has not yet received his/her device, please contact the school.