Your child’s attendance is more important than ever! Due to the pandemic, decreased connectivity and increased closures have put incredible stress on everyone. By regularly attending distance learning classes, students establish much-needed routines and make connections with their peers and teachers. This allows students to remain social and intellectually engaged.
The GRPS COVID-19 Learning Plan states:
“Program attendance and participation is required daily for the Learning at a Distance program.”
Therefore, it is very important that your child attends school, whether they are attending as a hybrid in-person student or a 100% distance learner. Regardless of which choice you opted into, the CDC website has a ton of great resource guides for families. Check out some of their resources below! But first, check out these great attendance guides from Attendance Works. They have been created to reflect attendance expectations during COVID:
In-Person Learning Checklist (Source: CDC)
Actions to take and points to consider
- Check in with your child each morning for signs of illness. If your child has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they should not go to school.
- Make sure your child does not have a sore throat or other signs of illness, like a cough, diarrhea, severe headache, vomiting, or body aches.
- If your child has had close contact to a COVID-19 case, they should not go to school. Follow guidance on what to do when someone has known exposure.
- Identify your school point person(s) to contact if your child gets sick.
- Name of school point person(s)
- Contact information
- Be familiar with local COVID-19 testingexternal icon sites in the event you or your child develops symptoms. These may include sites with free testing available.
- Make sure your child is up-to-date with all recommended vaccines, including for flu. All school-aged children should get an influenza flu vaccine every season, with rare exceptions. This is especially important this year because we do not yet know if being sick with COVID-19 at the same time as the flu will result in more severe illness.
- Review and practice proper hand washing techniques at home, especially before and after eating, sneezing, coughing, and adjusting a mask or cloth face covering. Make hand washing fun and explain to your child why it’s important.
- Be familiar with how your school will make water available during the day. Consider packing a water bottle.
- Develop daily routines before and after school—for example, things to pack for school in the morning (like hand sanitizer and an additional (back up) mask) and things to do when you return home (like washing hands immediately and washing masks).
- Talk to your child about precautions to take at school. Children may be advised to:
- Wash and sanitize their hands more often.
- Keep physical distance from other students.
- Wear a mask.
- Avoid sharing objects with other students, including water bottles, devices, writing instruments, and books.
- Use hand sanitizer (that contains at least 60% alcohol.) Make sure you’re using a safe product. FDA recalled products external icon that contain toxic methanol. Monitor how they feel and tell an adult if they are not feeling well.
- Develop a plan as a family to protect household members who are at increased risk for severe illness.
- Make sure your information is current at school, including emergency contacts and individuals authorized to pick up your child(ren) from school. If that list includes anyone who is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, consider identifying an alternate person.
- Be familiar with your school’s plan for how they will communicate with families when a positive case or exposure to someone with COVID-19 is identified and ensure student privacy is upheld.
- Plan for possible school closures or periods of quarantine. If transmission is increasing in your community or if multiple children or staff test positive for COVID-19, the school building might close. Similarly, if a close contact of your child (within or outside of school) tests positive for COVID-19, your child may need to stay home for a 2-week quarantine period. You may need to consider the feasibility of teleworking, taking leave from work, or identifying someone who can supervise your child in the event of school building closures or quarantine.
- Plan for transportation:
- If your child rides a bus, plan for your child to wear a mask on the bus and talk to your child about the importance of following bus rules and any spaced seating rules.
- If carpooling, plan on every child in the carpool and the driver wearing masks for the entire trip. If your school uses the cohort model, consider finding families within your child’s group/cohort at school to be part of the carpool.
- If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan or receives other learning support (e.g., tutoring), ask your school how these services will continue.
- If your child receives speech, occupational or physical therapy or other related services from the school, ask your school how these services will continue.
- If your child receives mental health or behavioral services (e.g., social skills training, counseling), ask your school how these services will continue.
- If your school uses a cohorting model, consider limiting your child’s in-person out-of-school interactions to children in the same cohort or to activities where physical distancing can be maintained.
- Reinforce the concept of physical distancing with your child.
- Talk to your school administrators and teachers about their plans for physical education and physical activity (e.g., recess).
- Safer options include being outdoors when possible, reducing the number of people in an indoor space, and encouraging students to stay at least 6 ft apart.
- Ask how your school plans to help ensure that students are following practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Virtual or At-Home Learning Checklist
Actions to take and points to consider
- Find out if there will be regular and consistent opportunities during each day for staff and student check-ins and peer-to-peer learning.
- Find out if students have regular opportunities for live video instruction by teachers or if they will primarily be watching pre-recorded videos and receive accompanying assignments.
- Ask if the school will offer virtual or socially distanced physical activity. If not, identify ways to add physical activity to your child’s daily routine.
- Ask your school what steps they are taking to help students adjust to being back in school and to the ways that COVID-19 may have disrupted their daily life. Supports may include school counseling and psychological services, social-emotional learning (SEL)-focused programs, and peer/social support groups.
- If your child participates in school meal programs, identify how your school district plans to make meals available to students who are learning virtually at home.
- If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan or receives other learning support (e.g., tutoring), ask your school how these services will continue during virtual at-home learning.
- If your child receives speech, occupational or physical therapy or other related services from the school, ask your school how these services will continue during virtual at-home learning.
- If your child receives mental health or behavioral services (e.g., social skills training, counseling), ask your school how these services will continue during virtual at-home learning.
- If you anticipate having technological barriers to learning from home, ask if your school or community can provide support or assistance for students without appropriate electronic devices for schoolwork (like a computer/laptop or tablet).
- If your school offers a hybrid model, be familiar with your school’s plan for how they will communicate with families when a positive case or exposure to someone with COVID-19 is identified and ensure student privacy is upheld.