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Back-to-school faq

Updated: 7/16

Click or tap the questions below to see the answers.

Learning Options

Yes, you can switch from in-person to distance or distance to in-person, but only at particular points in the instructional year. For high school students, that point is at the completion of the first semester. For elementary and middle students, that will be at the completion of each 9-week instructional period. Exceptions can be made if determined by an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) committee, a Section 504 committee, or at principal’s discretion.

No. Students will be enrolled in in-person or distance learning. They cannot participate in both. However, if an entire school is closed or a class is asked to quarantine due to a potential exposure, then children will participate in distance learning temporarily during the quarantine.

If a child is sick, they will participate in distance learning (if possible/able) temporarily during the illness and quarantine.

In-Person Learning

We are currently developing guidelines and plans for specials and electives. Elective choices in the full-time virtual school are still being considered and developed. Please note that we will not be able to offer all electives currently offered at the brick and mortar school within distance learning.

School supply are available on our websites. Instructional adjustments have been made so students will not share classroom supplies.

When possible, students will be kept in small cohorts or groups during the day, and from day to day, to limit mixing. Elementary students will most likely stay with their class throughout the day to limit interaction with other classes. Middle and high school students will continue to transition to their classes following a normal school day.

Distance Learning

Yes. Student attendance will be taken daily. Students are expected to be ready to learn following their daily school schedule. For example, if first period starts at 8:30 a.m., that is when distance learning will also begin.

We are diligently working to offer AP and honors classes to our students through the Barrow Online Campus. Please talk to your counselor about your schedule.

Yes. The graduation requirement is that a student completes a pathway, which is three classes in a fine arts, foreign language, or CTAE subject. This requirement will be waived if that is not possible this year.

Yes. Students will be enrolled in a distance learning class, which will be separate from in-person classes.

High-quality instruction is expected for all courses. Concerns with the quality of instruction can be addressed through school administration. Variations with instruction can be shared with the school administration.

While your child is expected to complete the school day online and follow their schedule, they will not have to sit at a computer for 8 hours straight. Instructional activities will vary, and there will be times that students will work independently on assigned activities.

Be sure to check Infinite Campus and review your child’s schedule together. Further information will come from individual teachers. Please contact your child’s school counselor if you need to discuss a schedule change.

Students will need to log in for each class at the scheduled time. Be sure to check Infinite Campus and review your child’s schedule together. Further information will come from individual teachers.

BCSS bell schedules have changed for the 2020-21 school year.

Bell Schedules

AHS & WBHS
8:30am-3:35pm

BASA
7:30am-3:05pm

Middle School
8:30am-3:10pm

AIM
9am-2:30pm

Pre-K & Elementary
7:30am-2pm

Yes, students will maintain their eligibility for gifted services.

Distance learning will follow the Georgia Standards of Excellence. The scope and sequence of their curriculum will align with in-person learning.

Learning choice boards will be available for Pre-K students and parents. Students will be able to connect with students through video conferences. We are also expecting additional guidelines to be provided from Georgia’s Bright from the Start.

Our special education department is working on developing and finalizing plans for families who are opting for distance learning. Please contact your school program specialist or district coordinator if you have additional questions.

Student accommodations will still be upheld according to your child’s IEP. Please contact your school program specialist or district coordinator if you have additional questions. 

Face Coverings

Any face covering that securely covers both the nose and mouth is acceptable. Masks are expected to follow other dress code expectations in regards to any content on the mask (language, images, etc.). Face shields are an acceptable substitute for students, but not as good as a reusable cloth mask. On buses, masks are required and face shields may not replace masks. Shields may be worn in addition to a mask.

If you would like to request to wear a head covering/hat, please send a picture to your school principal in advance to get approval to wear a hat/shield/mask combination. Schools will decide how they would like to handle hats, visors or other head coverings. This also applies to bandanas students want to wear as a mask. Any items are expected to follow other dress code expectations in regards to any content on the item (language, images, etc.).

Students may provide a doctor’s note or address this requirement in their IEP or Section 504 plan. Exceptions will be made as warranted based on individual situations.

Students are expected to follow directions, which now includes wearing a face covering, while riding the bus. As with other issues on the bus, progressive discipline will be followed, which starts with a warning. If behaviors continue, action will be escalated up to and including suspension of bus privileges.

If a student has a medical reason for not wearing a mask, they may provide a doctor’s note or address this requirement in their IEP or Section 504 plan. Exceptions will be made as warranted based on individual situations.

We will have limited supplies for students that occasionally lose their mask. Students that habitually attend school without a mask or lose their mask will be addressed by the administration.

The bus is a unique environment in which physical distancing is virtually impossible. Students are placed in close quarters in an enclosed space much smaller than the classroom. They are not allowed to move around or exit the environment. As such, the only means of viral mitigation is masks. In classrooms, physical distancing can be combined with mask usage in ways that are just not feasible on a bus. Please note, this may change based on viral spread. It is possible that masks may be required in classrooms/schools at a future point.

The following steps will be implemented in schools to provide physical distancing wherever possible. Desks and seating areas will be arranged in classrooms to maximize space between students. Students will also face the same direction as much as possible. Students will be kept in small cohorts or groups during the day, and from day to day, to limit mixing when possible. Since students cannot be kept 6 feet apart in classrooms at all times, they are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings while in their classrooms. Students uncomfortable with these measures can enroll in Distance Learning by July 17.

Masks do not need to be in uniform colors, but they can be. Masks are expected to follow other dress code expectations in regards to any content on the mask (language, images, etc.).

Cleaning/precautions

Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned during the day, which includes the buttons on vending machines. Students should also be aware of proper hygiene and should utilize hand sanitizer before/after each visit to the vending machine.

Teachers can decorate their rooms. The use of cloth covered items such as pillows, cushions, and drapes and area rugs should be removed. Student artwork and teaching manipulatives can also be displayed on bulletin boards and tack strips.

Monitoring Symptoms

As a school system, we are only legally allowed to require what is written in Georgia law, and that currently does not include COVID-19 testing. Staff and students are strongly encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

We shared our reopening plans with the local Health Department and they agreed that we should not conduct daily temperature checks. In addition, the process itself would create a bottleneck at entry points of schools, which would decrease the possibility of maintaining physical distancing. It is strongly believed temperature checks will create more problems than solutions.

Schools can utilize targeted temperature checks as a tool when spread levels necessitate it. Staff and students are also strongly encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath and stay home or keep students home when sick.

For any medical concerns, please consult with your child’s doctor and your child’s principal. Barrow County School System students in Pre-K through 12th grade have two options for returning to school: (1) Traditional in-person learning or (2) Distance Online Learning. Families must enroll their children in Distance Learning by July 17.

Schedule

Hybrid options were considered and may still be an option that we implement depending on how the school year progresses relative to the spread of COVID-19. Hybrid schedules offer greater opportunity for physical distancing, which is desirable, but they present difficult instructional and organizational challenges. Hybrid schedules also create significant problems for parents and families to find intermittent childcare on a rotating schedule.

We don’t anticipate needing to increase time allotted for car rider drop-off. After the initial start of the year, we anticipate that morning drop off traffic will even out and be manageable to allow students to get to class on time as usual. We recognize there will be some issues and staff will be flexible accordingly during the two weeks.

BCSS bell schedules have changed for the 2020-21 school year.

  • Elementary 7:30am-2:00pm, doors open at 7:00am
  • Middle 8:30am-3:10pm, doors open at 8:00am
  • High 8:30am-3:35pm, doors open at 8:00am
  • BASA 7:30am-3:05pm, doors open at 7:00am
  • AIM 9:00-2:30pm, doors open at 9:00am

We envision that they would indeed be able to switch over to distance learning, particularly if they are asymptomatic (a child sick with COVID-19 would likely not be in a position to continue work). If an entire class were quarantined, we envision the whole class and teacher would move online, similar to what happened in the spring with distance learning. For individual students, we would work out an individualized plan for them, but we envision they would continue to receive instruction and support.

We are currently developing guidelines based on state organizations’ recommendations for all fine arts programs. Each local school will determine in which extracurricular activities students will be able to participate in.

No. We are limiting outside visitors into the school, including parents. Students may not be walked to class on the first day of school. We will have staff on hand to help your child find their room.

The system is monitoring conditions related to COVID-19 spread and coordinating with the Department of Public Health. As circumstances change, the system may choose to delay the start of school. That decision will be based on evidence and made with proper timing. At this point, we do not feel the data merits a delay. That may change, and if it does, a delay becomes more likely.

Transportation

Yes. This is also preferred by transportation and will be implemented when creating seating charts for students.

Transportation is working to have new routes available on the website by July 20th. We will send out additional information when that is ready to be reviewed by families.

There are 24 seats on a bus. Our buses can hold 48 middle and high school students (2 students per seat) and up to 72 elementary students (2-3 per seat). We don’t anticipate our buses reaching a maximum capacity this year due to students choosing to enroll in distance learning and an increased number opting to be a car rider instead.

Buses will be cleaned between morning and afternoon routes each day. As much as possible, buses will also be wiped down with disinfecting wipes between routes (MS/HS and ES).

MEALS

Students that enroll in distance learning may still receive breakfast and lunch from their school. Each day, students/parents will need to complete an online form to select their meal choices that will be available that day. Parents will then need to pick up the meal bag at your child’s school; we will not have delivery at this time.

If you have students at multiple schools, you may just go to one school to pick up all the meal bags. If you have students in the AIM program or Alternative school, we will ask that you pick up meals at Winder Elementary or Apalachee High School.

Students that qualify for Free and Reduced Meal options will need to complete a form and submit it to your school at the beginning of the year. More details will be available as we get closer to the start of school.

Yes, students may bring their own lunches from home.

Technology

BCSS does not have enough devices to assign one device to each student (1:1). Custodial staff will wipe down desktop keyboards and mice at the end of every day.

Needs are being assessed in response to surveys distributed to families. If available, devices will be distributed on an as needed basis. More information will be available the week before school starts for students. We will do our best to accommodate requests for Chromebooks to be used for distance learning, but we cannot guarantee that we can provide a device to a distance learning student.

If available, devices will be distributed on an as needed basis. More information will be available the week before school starts for students. We will do our best to accommodate requests for Chromebooks to be used for distance learning, but we cannot guarantee that we can provide a device to a distance learning student.

Yes, students should plan to be online during their regular school day hours at the same time. Distance learning will include a full school day, Monday-Friday, following their daily class schedule.

Yes, it is strongly recommended that your child’s device have a web camera so the teacher can see the student during instruction.


BCSS policies and procedures are intended to mitigate not eliminate risk. No single action or set of actions will completely eliminate risk of COVID-19 transmission, but implementation of several coordinated interventions can greatly reduce that risk.

Back-to-School Questions?

Please let us know.

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Additional resources

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention