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Information for Parents (7/30/20)

Greetings Falcon Families!

We hope this message finds you doing well and staying safe! We want you to be up-to-date with important information about this school year and have provided it below. We know you have questions, concerns, and anxiety over the coming school year, and we want you to know that we are here to help, listen, and provide you with the peace of mind you need to be comfortable this school year. Our goal is to provide you with as much information as possible as soon as we know it. The information contained in this email is lengthy, but we want to make sure you have what you need. Also, please note that our normal message delivery system, School Messenger, is still updating for the new year. Once that system has been fully updated, you will receive these emails, updates, and "robocalls" from that system as you normally do.

First, please know that our phone system has been up and down this week. If you have tried to call the school and been unable to reach us, this is likely the reason why. We anticipate the phones being fixed today, but, if at any time you cannot reach the school by phone, please contact us via email and we will be happy to get back with you. 

As the district has previously communicated, it is important for all parents to update their contact information in Parent Portal. While there has been some confusion about this process, the updated link to access Parent Portal can be found by clicking here. If you updated this information last spring or already this fall, there is nothing new that you need to do. This is simply an update of contact information so we can be sure we have the correct information on file for your family. This process should not be confused with "registration" or "enrolling," especially during this time.

If you are looking for details about the Richland One Reopening of Schools Plan, please click here. There is a wealth of information that can be accessed, and this is the information that guides our decisions at AC Flora. We encourage all Flora parents to familiarize themselves with this information and check back often for updates. If you are looking for the district's list of FAQs, please click here. It is updated often, has a lot of good information pertaining to this fall, and we encourage you to check it often.

While many of our school-specific plans are in the process of being ironed out, we want you to know what we are working on. Below you will find a Flora FAQ list with answers that should give you a general idea of what our school is planning for. Please know that our plans are guided by the district and State Department of Education, and we continue to modify them as needed. As our plans become more concrete, we will, of course, communicate them with you.

When will school start?
The official school calendar will be voted on in the coming weeks, but both calendar options currently have students starting on August 31st. The district is seeking your input to help decide which calendar option you prefer. Please click here to view the options and submit your feedback.

If I have chosen Virtual School Program, am I still an AC Flora student?
Yes! Students who have chosen the Virtual School Program for this school year will receive instruction via the Richland One Virtual School but will remain enrolled at AC Flora. Students may still participate in athletic and extra-curricular activities, join clubs, and participate in Falcon student life. While the exact nature of some of these activities will be determined as we progress, all Flora students, virtual or in-person, are welcome and encouraged to participate as conditions warrant. If you are planning on applying to the Virtual School Program, the deadline to do so is tomorrow, Friday, July 31st. You can access the application by clicking here.

If I am returning in the Phase-In Model, what will instruction look like for my child?
We are working on shifting our Master Schedule to a 4x4 block schedule. This means, in general, that students will have four classes in the fall and four classes in the spring. This decision was made based on parent, student, and teacher feedback about the amount and type of work during last spring’s eLearning. The hope is that this will lighten the daily and overall load on students and families as we progress through the school year. The exception to this will be for students in AP and/or IB classes. These classes will run all year and we are currently working on integrating them into our overall Master Schedule. We will communicate individual student schedules once this entire process is completed.

What training have teachers had on the use of instructional technology?
All teachers in Richland One were required to attend Microsoft Teams training over the summer. In addition, when teachers return, we will hold district and school level professional development on eLearning best practices, Microsoft Teams, grading, communication, and more. In addition, each school in Richland One has a designated Technology Ambassador who will facilitate professional development throughout the year for teachers. The district will also be providing support to teachers, students, and parents on the use of Microsoft Teams, district laptops, connectivity issues, and more throughout the year.

How will eLearning be different from last Spring?
This fall, eLearning will be much more structured. Students will be on a more regular schedule that will be clearly communicated. During the day, students will have built-in time for breaks as well as time to consult with their teacher. Students will not be in front of their computer "all day." A sample schedule has been posted by the district and will give you a general idea of how a typical eLearning day could occur. Please note that this is only a sample schedule, and not necessarily the schedule we will use during eLearning. We are working on developing that schedule for Flora and will communicate it when it is ready. Obviously, if/when we switch to the hybrid phase, our schedule will evolve and be communicated.

What is AC Flora doing to clean, sanitize, and ensure the health and safety of my child?
The district has provided multiple guidelines and resources regarding the health and safety of your student. You can view these guidelines in the districts Reopening of Schools Guide. At AC Flora, we will, among many other things be doing the following:
  • Posting/communicating safety guidelines across campus, on our web site, and via social media
  • Eliminating the use of all water fountains
  • Enforcing strict social distancing rules
  • Limiting the number of students in hallways, classrooms, bathrooms and other areas
  • Requiring the use of masks while on campus and on the school bus
  • Limiting visitors to campus
  • Setting up an isolation room for anyone who may show symptoms
  • Cleaning and sanitizing classrooms, restrooms, and other high-touch areas
Please know that this is not an exhaustive list. It will expand as we get closer to August 31st, so please stay tuned for more specific details.

How is AC Flora planning to accommodate students with IEPs, 504s, or other individualized learning/health plans?
Your child’s IEP/504 team will be their advocate and support as they have always been. We are absolutely committed to navigating your child’s specific situation in this unique time, and we appreciate your partnership in doing so. 

What if someone in my child’s classes gets Covid-19? How will that be handled?
The district has identified the parameters for these types of circumstances in their re-opening plan, and we will be following all district guidelines for the health and safety of our students.

What will be the process for purchasing a Parking Pass?
We are waiting to issue Parking Passes until we know if/when we will transition to the hybrid phase that would put students on campus. Once that information is determined, we will communicate parking procedures. 

How will I get my textbooks, laptop, and other school materials?
We are currently working with the district to determine the safest and most efficient methods to distribute these items. Normally this would be done in person on the first day of school. We thank you for being patient as we organize this complex process. Details will be provided as soon as possible. 

When is Freshmen Orientation?
Freshmen Orientation normally occurs in the week prior to all students returning to school. Our fantastic Falcon student leaders have been busy planning a virtual Freshmen Orientation experience. Stay tuned for more details. We are ready to welcome the Class of 2024 to Flora!

We know this is a lot of information. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at all. We also encourage you to follow AC Flora on Twitter and Instagram for all the latest information. We know this is a confusing time for everyone, and we want to work together to help your child succeed this year and beyond!

Thanks and Go Falcons!

--AC Flora Admin Team