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Coronavirus & Reopening Information

Reopening Community Guidebook

As we plan for the upcoming school year we are in the process of drafting a community guidebook which documents our reopening protocols as we navigate distance learning, hybrid learning, and all students back on campus. This guidebook is a "living document" and will continue to adapt based on stakeholder feedback and changes in public health guidelines.

This guidebook also forms the basis of our Learning Continuity and Attendance Plans which is posted at http://www.natomascharter.org/accountability

Planning for 2020-21 communications

Reopening Meetings & Presentations

Mid July Community Meetings

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: 7/28/20 at 10:00 AM to include information regarding distance learning.

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 community meetings in May, June, and July discussing our developing plans. We encourage families to review those on the Natomas Charter School YouTube page. You will also find links to each of the meetings and the slides we used linked above.

2. What is the plan for the first day of school?

The 2020-21 school year begins on August 12th. Based on the direction from Sacramento County Public Health and the increasing cases of COVID19 in our community we will start the school year with distance learning. As soon as the public health conditions improve we will transition to hybrid or in-person instruction.

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 throughout the school year. Please know these will adjust based on the latest public health conditions. Our goal is to create a structure where students can easily transition between the first two depending on immediate family needs (ex: 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. 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 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 providing live instruction, posting academic content, and hosting class meetings and/or office hours to support students and families. Teachers will provide both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded) learning materials . Our plans are aligned with the legal requirements for distance learning in California.

  • In-person and synchronous (live) instruction to the greatest extent possible
  • Ensuring students are digitally connected - we are providing iPads (TK-2) and Chromebooks (3-12) for all students and working with families on strategizing internet connectivity options when needed.
  • Daily live interaction with classroom teachers and peers
  • Attendance based on participating in live (in-person or virtual) instruction, as well as work completion
  • When possible providing on-campus support for our highest need students including students with disabilities, students learning English, and other students struggling with distance learning. These on-campus supports are fully dependent on the public health guidelines/orders at the time.
  • Tiered re-engagement strategies - When students are struggling with distance learning our team will be working families through a student success team (SST) model to develop support options to meet each student's needs
  • Weekly engagement records that track participation in live instruction and work completion

7. What will a typical day of distance learning look like for my child?

The exact format will vary based on the student's age and academy. However, all students will be on a daily schedule, similar to a "bell schedule" where they will attend virtual classes for live instruction, while also completing independent activities. On distance learning days students still "go to school" on a school schedule. This has been designed this way so that students can easily transition back into on-campus learning. Students will be on the same schedule whether they are at home or on campus. This also allows families who select extended distance learning for the school year to have their child remain a part of a site-based classroom.

8. What if I want more scheduling flexibility than distance learning provides?

While the expectation is that all students in distance learning attend live classes we also know that sometimes things come up, such as doctors appointment or family trips. In those cases, families would communicate with the classroom teachers and front office similar to what you would do in a traditional school year. Students will earn attendance by completing the assigned work for the week. For a family who wants more flexibility you might consider enrolling at PACT or VLA. These are a two fully independent study programs. Please contact your academy coordinator for more details about either option. 

9. Has Natomas Charter School considered a 4-day or 5-day-per week model for when students can return to campus?

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. 

For our facilities most classrooms can support up to 18-20 students given the current physical distancing requirements. 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. 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. When we make the transition to on-campus instruction we will likely start with this structure and families will need to select A-Shift (Monday/Tuesday) or B-Shift (Thursday/Friday) for students to attend school. The students will learn via distance learning on their "off-campus" days. 

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. 

10. How do I sign up for distance learning for the whole year? When do I need to worry about signing up for A-Shift or B-Shift?

Since the entire school is starting with distance learning and we do not know when we will be able to transition back to on-campus learning we are not asking families to sign up for extended distance learning or shifts. We will do this once we have timeline for resuming on-campus instruction. This way every family can take the beginning of the school year to find out what works best for their household. 

11. 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. Based on the latest California Department of Public Health guidance for K-12 Schools, cloth-based face coverings or masks are required for every adult and 3rd-12th grader on campus. They are strongly encouraged for any TK-2 students. When visitors can come to campus, cloth-based face coverings need to be worn by anyone over 2 years-old. This is to protect both the individual coming to campus and the school community as a whole. The face coverings must cover the nose and mouth and meet the latest public health guidelines.

If a family thinks their child cannot wear a face covering due to a disability or medical issue the parent needs to contact the academy coordinator so that we can develop alternative arrangements through a SST process to keep the student and school community safe while working within the existing public health guidelines. Alternative arrangements may include, but are not limited to, attending school or meetings virtually or wearing a face shield instead of a cloth face covering. Our goal is to keep everyone at NCS safe and healthy while also ensuring our school campus can remain open. Cloth-based face coverings are our primary means of combatting the transmission of COVID-19 in our community (this is a nice research summary conducted by our very own UC Davis).

12. 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. 

13. 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. 

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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. We are using a collaboration, consultation, and communication model to directly support and work with each student/family during these very dynamic times.

17. 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. 

18. 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

19. 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 closure (2019-20) Communications