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General Questions regarding Return to Learn:

Some questions may be combined when the topic is the same.

Attendance

Will the attendance policy for students be amended to allow for extended student absence due to illness, quarantine, etc?
The attendance policy has been under review by the Policy Committee. Recommendations are being sent to the Ankeny Board of Education at their September 8, 2020 meeting and will be voted on at the September 21, 2020 meeting.

Before and After School Program/Childcare

What will the Before and After School Program be doing to assist during this time?
Please see the Before and After School section of the Return to Learn plan on page 17.
Will childcare be provided for students on days when a hybrid group does not attend?
No. We have compiled a list of resources to support families in identifying child care options that can be found here.  

Enrollment

Will remote learning option students keep their spot in their community school for return after first semester?
 Students who participate in the “remote only” option will remain assigned to their assigned school buildings / attendance centers. This means that students participating in the “remote only” option will be able to return to their assigned buildings at the end of the semester (or later in the year, if the option for “remote only” is extended). Board policy related to attendance centers and intra-district transfer will remain in effect.

Iowa Department of Education/State of Iowa Requirements

Does the hybrid model meet the state's requirement for in-person learning?
Yes.
Is the hybrid learning model temporary? Will the kids go back full time in a few weeks if health circumstances are improving?
They Hybrid Learning model was approved for August 24 – October 2. Recommendations are being sent to the Ankeny Board of Education at their September 8, 2020 meeting and will be voted on at the September 21, 2020 meeting.
If a building is closed for 2-5 days due to a confirmed COVID-19 case, what will learning look like during that time?
When a building or a classroom needs to close due to a case or an outbreak, students and the teacher will move into our required continuous learning model for remote learning.
Does the Ankeny School district intend to follow all of the Governor’s guidelines for positivity rates for switching between hybrid, online and in class options?
Ankeny Schools is working closely with Polk County Health Department and the Iowa Department of Education to ensure our plans follow local health guidance and meet the requirements of the state education department.

Metro School Districts

Can you describe how the Ankeny School District is working with other school districts during the 2020-21 school year? Are you sharing ideas/strategies for operating your respective districts, implementing Return to Learn models, and/or educating students in the context of COVID-19?
Yes, we discuss our Return to Learn planning weekly, our structures, and our interpretations of the state guidance. We have also shared our drafts of our Return-to-Learn plans with one another.
Why were other school districts able to provide a full-time on-site option to families to start the school year, but the Ankeny School District was not?
While there is no right answer to how to ensure the safety of staff and students, each one of us is doing our very best to balance the state of public health, the needs of our students, and the desires of our communities.  The Iowa Department of Education has provided guidance and asked each district to submit 3 plans – a tradition onsite, a hybrid, and a full remote and our plan was approved as were others. 
Are the decision-making metrics being standardized across the Des Moines area school districts?
For school districts in Polk County we are all conferring daily with the Polk County Health Department on our data which inform our metrics.  We all regularly access the 14-day positivity rate in Polk County and submit daily attendance counts to PCHD. We are also all following the guidance provided by the Iowa Department of Education who works in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Public Health. How each district uses their data and metrics is left to the local decision-makers.

School Calendar & Schedules

Have you considered changing to full year schooling?
At this time, we do not offer year-round school.

Will school hours be the same as in previous years?
You can find start times for all grade and building levels in the Return to Learn plan. Find these on page 2 in the Hybrid Learning model. Find the Required Continuous Learning model on page 4.

If your child is going to school every other Wednesday and that day falls on a no school day do they just miss that day and continue with the normal pattern? Or is the next school day their day to be in school?
They would not have school that day and continue with the normal pattern.

Is there still a late start on Wednesdays?
Yes, there is a late start on Wednesdays. You can view school calendars and schedules here

Transportation

Why isn’t Pay to Ride available at this time?
We have not opened the pay to ride process because the district needs to determine availability on buses for students who qualify per Iowa Code. In order to social distance on a bus, seating will be limited. We will revisit pay to ride as soon as initial bus routing and capacity is determined.
Can we choose to allow our children to sit with a friend on the bus?
In order to prepare plans for all students, we will not be able to accommodate these requests.
Can you please advise how the transportation will work for the students on the remote learning days to get to school for practices that start immediately following the school day?
Transportation is only being provided for academic purposes. Students/Parents will need to provide their own transportation to activities.

Technology

Will the schools be providing chromebooks for all students?
Yes. See Technology on page 19. The district will ensure that all students and staff have access to a working device.
How do I sign up for a hotspot?
Please contact your child’s teacher to request a hotspot. 

Miscellaneous

Who should our student ask when they have questions?
This depends on the nature of the question. Some sources for students are outlined under Student and Family Roles and Responsibilities on page 2 of the Required Continuous Learning document and on page 4 of the Hybrid Learning Model document.
How will lunches be handled? In the remote learning plan there is time for grab and go lunch. Will this charge to lunch accounts or will it still be free?
Lunch information can be found on page 18 of the Return to Learn Plan. There is a break from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. for lunch. The meals will follow normal school year pricing. 
How can I help other parents who may need financial help?
If you contact your child’s social worker, they can refer you to often used charities that you could support. 
As the weather changes, what will students do with coats and winter gear? Carry it with them everywhere?
A decision will be made prior to the winter months.
Will kids have to adhere to having clear water bottles?

No, we will temporarily allow all water bottles, unless otherwise directed by a building principal in individual circumstances.
Are you able to specifically address the issue of school districts forcing teachers to come back who are COVID-19 positive but asymptomatic?

Currently, Polk County Health Department is advising that people who had close contact should stay home for at least 14 days. The length can vary depending on whether the employee is in ongoing close contact with a positive case, as if the person was a spouse or child with whom they shared a home. Likewise, they’ve told us that people who test positive need to stay home for a minimum of 10 days. Based on this, we have been having employees stay home for the PCHD-directed period of time, regardless of whether they are symptomatic.
As the weather changes, what will students do with coats and winter gear?
We are continuously reviewing our practices, including the use of lockers.