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Coronavirus & Reopening Information

Reopening communications

Reopening Meetings & Presentations

Mid-June Community Meetings

Mid-May Community Meetings

NCS Board Reopening Presentations

Note: All future and past Board meeting information is posted on this page.

FAQs about coronavirus & Reopening

Last Updated: 7/9/20 at 6:45 AM with minor grammatical edits and new question #2.

1. How is Natomas Charter School planning for the 2020-21 school year?

Similar to all schools and districts in California, we are making flexible plans for the upcoming school year based on the latest public health recommendations. We hosted virtual parent nights in mid-May and mid-June discussing our initial plans. We encourage families to review those on the Natomas Charter School YouTube page. We will be hosting another meeting in mid-late July. Please check your email for meeting information around July 17th.

2. I have seen some surveys from Natomas USD. Do I need to complete those surveys for my children who attend Natomas Charter School?

No. Those surveys are specific to students who attend a Natomas USD campus. While the district and charter schools are collaborating about reopening, the charter schools (NCS, Westlake, NP3) are sending out surveys specific to their own campuses and information they need for reopening plans. Natomas Charter School will be sending out a survey on July 27th about reopening selection decision for families. This way families can provide their choices with the latest public health information. We have also been informed by public health officials that around this time we should know better the viability of starting the year with an in-person format.

3. What guidance is Natomas Charter School following for its reopening plans?

As a school located in Sacramento County, Natomas Charter School must follow the current public health order issued by Sacramento County Public Health (SCPH). Our primary guidance document was produced by SCPH, the Sacramento County Office of Education, and the 13 school districts in Sacramento County. We are also using the California Department of Public Health document for schools, as well as the one created by the California Department of Education.

4. As a parent, what is the best guidance for me to read to understand what the coming school year might look like?

We encourage all parents and students to read the Sacramento County Office of Education School Year Planning document, especially pages 4-8 and Appendix B. This document was developed by the 13 Sacramento County school districts and the Sacramento County Public Health officials. These CDC guidelines (starting on pg. 3) are also helpful for understanding what the school closure process might look like.

5. What are our school options for the 2020-21 school year?

Currently, we  are planning on three options for all families for the first quarter (August 12th-October 7th) of the school year. Please know these will adjust based on the latest public health conditions as we get closer to the beginning of August. Our goal is to create a structure where students can easily transition between the first two depending on immediate family needs (quarantine, health concerns) and the latest public health conditions (school closure, greater reopening due to improving conditions).

  1. In-Person Attendance - Students attending school likely in shifts to accommodate physical distancing. During "off-shift" times students would engage in distance learning activities at home using school provided technology.

  2. Independent Study (Extended Distance Learning) - Students remaining part of Star, LE, or PFAA and shifting to full-time independent study (extended distance learning)

  3. Transfer to PACT for VLA - For families who want to transfer to independent study for the long-term and leave their current site-based program. This option will be available up to PACT and VLA capacity.

6. What will “off-shift” distance learning look like for students who attend Natomas Charter School?

Distance learning will make use of digital tools to provide standards-aligned course content to all students. The exact process will depend on academy and grade level, but generally, all teachers will be posting academic content and hosting class meetings and office hours to support students and families and teachers will provide both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded) learning materials . We are still developing these plans as we learn more from CDE about distance learning requirements for the 2020-21 school year. Please connect with your academy coordinator or student’s teacher for more information.

7. Has Natomas Charter School considered a 4-day or 5-day-per week model?

Yes. Our families have overwhelmingly shared that they want their children back to school as much as possible. Teachers and staff as well would like to see students more often each week. We continue to examine models that would allow students on campus four or five days per week while staying within the public health guidelines. 

All districts in our region looking at 5-day models need a significant number of students (~20-50% depending on class sizes) to choose extended distance learning in order to implement the current physical distancing guidelines from Sacramento County Public Health.

For our facilities most classrooms can support up to 18-20 students given the current physical distancing requirements. At NCS we need anywhere from 20%-40% of students in Star, LE, and PFAA to choose extended distance learning to implement a 5-day model with the current guidelines.

Our “double day” shift model will be available to every student and allow every student to regularly access the campus and have in-person support from teachers. This is why we are focusing on this model at the moment. However, we recognize that many students need to be at school more often than these shifts for a myriad of reasons and continue to explore options for how we can increase class size and prioritize spots for working families, students with disabilities, and English learners while also keeping everyone safe on a campus. 

Please note if we are able to develop a 4 or 5-day model we would likely start the school year with students attending in shifts to properly on-board all students to the new health and safety protocols on campus for the first few weeks of school. This would also help every student prepare for any future distance learning.

8. When will a final decision be made about the 2020-21 school year?

We plan on making the final decision for the start of the school year by Monday, July 27th as the California Department of Education and Legislature provide legal guidance on the requirements for distance learning. We are also waiting to see if the public health guidance changes as a result of COVID-19 cases in Sacramento County. Based on what we know today, on July 27th parents would have the option of signing up for independent study (extended distance learning) and choosing the shift that works best for their family’s schedule.

9. Will my child be required to wear a mask when on campus next year?

NCS will be providing cloth-based masks for all students and staff. We strongly encourage every student and staff member to wear their masks, especially when 6-foot physical distancing cannot be maintained. We will be following the guidance from Sacramento County Public Health and California Department of Public Health which currently requires face coverings for all 6-12th grade students and adults. We expect this to change in the coming weeks to require all students and staff to wear masks as much as possible on campus. We know from the latest research (this is a nice summary provided by UCD) that mask-wearing will be critical to keeping schools open.

10. How will you screen for COVID-19 at school?

Like all schools in Sacramento County, we are asking all families to engage in screen-at-home activities, such as taking temperatures and keeping kids home whenever they are sick. We will also be screening students upon drop off or entry to school. Any student who is demonstrating COVID-19 symptoms (fever, coughing, respiratory symptoms) will be isolated in the health office and the school will call for an immediate pick up by a family member or other person on the emergency contact card. 

11. What will happen if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19? Will the school close?

If a student or staff member has a positive COVID-19 case we will make our school closure decisions in consultation with Sacramento County Public Health. Based on the current CDC recommendations the school would close for 2-5 days for SCPH to conduct an investigation and engage in contact tracing. Based on the findings and how well guidance protocols were being implemented the school may be closed for up to 14 days. Individuals who are symptomatic or asymptomatic with a positive test result and those who have been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case will be expected to quarantine at home, and in the case of students, attend school via distance learning for 10-14 days following the latest SCPH guidance. 

12. Are students required to participate in distance learning?

Yes. Should the school close, students attend in shifts, or should a parent elect to do extended distance learning students will be expected to fully participate and will be graded and assessed for work completed at home. Completing work during distance learning is considered "attendance" for that particular school day.

13. Will the school provide technology for students to participate in distance learning?

Yes, we have ordered Chromebooks (2-12) and iPads (TK-1) for all students to use this coming school year.

14. Will Natomas Charter School be providing special education support and support for English learners during any campus closures?

Yes. While we are still working out many of the details our goal is to fully support students with disabilities and English learners anytime the school campus is closed for any reason. As we saw during the spring 2020 closure this will occur largely through digital means working with individual students through case managers and support providers.

15. Will the format of the school year change if the guidance from Sacramento County Public Health changes?

Absolutely. The most important word in the name "novel coronavirus" is the word "novel." This means it is new and the epidemiologists and public health doctors continue to learn more about its behavior and how it impacts individuals and communities. The experts in our community are our public health officials. We look to them for guidance, regularly engage with the doctors at SCPH about our reopening plans, and will continue to modify based on their feedback. Our ability to reopen and the format in which students attend school will be largely shaped by the current COVID-19 conditions in our community. 

16. Are Board meetings still occurring during the campus closure?

Yes. All Board meetings will occur according to the approved  2019-20 and 2020-21 meeting dates and times. In accordance with Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-25-20, all Board Meetings will only occur via teleconference to protect the health and safety of our community. There will be no physical location for meetings, but members of the public are invited to attend via phone or videoconference. Meeting agendas are posted here and available to the public 72 hours prior to each meeting. Each meeting agenda provides teleconferencing and virtual attendance/commenting information at the top of the document. If you need any assistance accessing these meeting please contact Zeba Hone at zhone@natomascharter.org

17. Who should I contact if I have more questions?

We will continue to keep our students, staff and families informed as we receive guidance from public health officials. If you have any questions, please continue to visit this FAQ page or email your academy coordinator. 

Resources

Historical school closure Communications