General Overview Questions:
When is the first day of school for students?
On July 27, the Forest Hills Board of Education voted to move the first day of class for students to Thursday, August 27. By postponing the start date by one week, staff members will have additional time to appropriately prepare for the changes and expectations related to the upcoming academic year. An updated academic calendar is available here; this change will not impact the final day of school for students.
All traditional and Virtual Academy students will follow a staggered start to the new school year. This will help our staff educate students about each school’s safety protocols and expectations. The staggered start will also help students establish new routines and develop relationships with their new teachers and classmates.
All students will be divided into Group A (last names beginning with A-K) and Group B (last names beginning with L-Z). Blended families or families with two last names in their household will be assigned to Group A.
Group A will report to class on August 27 and August 31.
Group B will report to class on August 28 and September 1.
All students will report to class beginning Wednesday, September 2.
Are face masks required?
Per Ohio Governor DeWine, all staff are required to wear cloth face masks while on school property. As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, unless special circumstances apply, all students in all grade levels (PreK-12), will wear a cloth face mask in instances where six feet of social distance is not feasible. Students will be expected to bring to school and wear their own face mask at school every day. This is critical to provide a safe and healthy environment for all.
How will students be socially distanced while at school?
Every effort will be made to ensure students and staff maintain safe distances from one another in all school environments, including classrooms, hallways, restrooms, cafeterias, playgrounds and on the bus. Staff will organize furniture and students in classrooms with the goal to achieve a six-foot distance; however, six feet may not always be attainable depending on the class and grade level. As such, face coverings are an essential part of the FHSD plan to help protect all students and staff.
Will my student have recess?
Yes. Recess is considered to be an essential part of the day, and it will be part of our students’ daily schedules. The district continues to work with local health officials to determine how best to facilitate recess in a safe and responsible way, and we will update you with that information as the school year gets closer.
What will lunch look like?
Students will not wear their masks when they are eating or drinking, and as such, social distancing mandates will be enforced. Lunches will be staggered to eliminate crowding and, if needed, schools will utilize additional building spaces as lunchrooms. Cafeterias will utilize a “grab and go” approach instead of the traditional self-serve style. Students will wear masks as they travel to and from lunch. Staff will disinfect tables between lunch periods. As it is during a typical school year, staff will also closely monitor students during lunch to ensure safety for all.
All meals will be served and distributed according to USDA and Board of Health Regulations. One important change during this school year will be that Child Nutrition will not provide change returns for breakfast or lunch cash transactions. Any and all cash that received from the student will be deposited into their meal account.
Will my child have field trip opportunities this year?
All field trips will be canceled until further notice. This includes the fall sixth grade trip to Camp Kern.
Will visitors be allowed inside my child’s school?
At this time, visitors and volunteers will be prohibited from entering any school facility during the school day.
What are the daily cleaning procedures?
Our custodial staff schedules are redesigned to ensure that each facility is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized nightly. This includes disinfecting common touchpoints throughout the day. Cleaning resources will be available in each classroom to disinfect items and spaces during the day. Hand sanitizer will be avaiable for students and staff at entrances and high-traffic areas.
What changes are being made to athletics to slow the spread of COVID-19?
Forest Hills School District will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the state and the Ohio High School Athletics Association. In alignment with the OHSAA, all student-athletes have their temperatures taken and are asked about common COVID-19 symptoms or potential exposure prior to the start of practice. Common surfaces, touchpoints and weight equipment are routinely sanitized throughout the day.
How will social distancing be achieved on the bus?
The Forest Hills School District transportation department is currently working to reduce the number of students on each bus. This is particularly true at the elementary level. We are removing students enrolled in the virtual academy from routes as they will no longer require transportation. With the removal of Virtual Academy students, in combination with other route changes, we are hopeful we can achieve a notable reduction in the number of students on buses.
How will school transportation protocols change to help keep students and staff safe?
All students and staff must wear face coverings while on the bus. Students will be assigned seats on the bus. Buses will be loaded from back to front to allow for reduced contact between students. Sanitizer will be available on each bus. Touchpoints will be sanitized between routes and each bus will be thoroughly sanitized nightly.
Is all-day kindergarten available for fall semester?
Forest Hills will not offer all-day kindergarten for the upcoming fall semester. Safety guides the decision-making process at Forest Hills, and this change was made to help to support the health and wellness of all of our students and staff by allowing for more staff and more space to create additional social distance inside our elementary schools.
The district’s 14 all-day kindergarten teachers will be assigned to other grade levels to reduce the number of students per classroom in grades 1-6. Families enrolled in all-day kindergarten will receive an email from their child’s principal with information regarding half-day kindergarten and the next steps.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols:
Please review our protocol guidelines here. Last updated September 14, 2020.
Do students need to have their temperatures taken before school?
Parents must conduct a daily at-home health assessment for their child and monitor their child’s temperature on a daily basis. Any student or staff member with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher must stay home, or will be isolated at school and will be sent home.
Do I need to notify the school if my child tested positive for COVID-19, or may have been exposed to COVID-19?
Pursuant to Ohio Department of Health guidelines, families, caregivers and staff should notify the district immediately if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or if they, or any members of their households, have been diagnosed with or presumed to have COVID-19. They also should notify the district if they are quarantined. Personnel and students with known exposure to someone with diagnosed or presumed COVID-19 must self-quarantine at home for 14 days. Personnel or students who travel to a location with known community spread may choose to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. Please contact your child’s principal to notify them of the information above.
What steps will the district take if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?
Students/staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 must inform their principal or supervisor immediately. Once FHSD is notified of a positive COVID-19 case, the district will contact the Hamilton County Health Department.
FHSD will work in conjunction with the Hamilton County Health Department to conduct a thorough contact tracing and quickly determine if other students or staff need to quarantine. Per the Hamilton County Health Department, only those individuals who were in close contact with the COVID-19 case will be required to quarantine for a 14-day period. Close contact is defined as a person being fewer than six feet apart (with or without a mask) from the positive case for a cumulative 15 minute period.
How will the district and contact tracers know which students or staff members must quarantine?
All students will be required to sit in assigned seats on the bus and in the classroom. Contact tracers and FHSD will also launch a detailed investigation to determine if any other individuals came into close contact with the positive COVID-19 case.
Will parents be notified when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?
FHSD will distribute an email to the parents of all students in the school where the positive case was reported. Additional guidance will be communicated to students who may have had close contact with the positive case. Please keep in mind that due to federal privacy laws, the district cannot release the name of the person who tested positive to the public.
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, will the entire school facility close for a period of time?
Forest Hills School District will continue to follow all guidance from the Hamilton County Health Department and take all precautions needed to best protect all students at staff. Full-building closures will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Should the district need to close a school facility, parents will be notified immediately using the district’s all-call phone system and via email.
Following a confirmed case of COVID-19, the district’s custodial team will thoroughly sanitize all related areas and common touch points prior to permitting students and staff to re-enter. This will take place in addition to the daily enhanced cleaning protocols.
If a student is showing signs of COVID, where will they be quarantined in the building while they wait for a parent to pick them up?
All buildings are working to designate an area for a sick child to wait for a parent to pick-up if it is determined the child should go home.
How can parents help stop the spread of COVID-19 in schools?
It’s important that we all work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 and maintain healthy and safe learning environments for students and staff. We kindly ask that parents:
Monitor their child’s health daily to ensure that they do not have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher.
Ensure their child wears an appropriate facial covering each day, including while on school transportation to and from school.
Keep students that do not feel well (sick to their stomach, sniffles, flu and cold-like symptoms, headache, etc.) home. Do not send them to school. If a student demonstrates symptoms common to COVID-19, please contact your family doctor immediately.
Notify their student’s principal immediately if their student has been exposed to COVID-19 or if they, or any members of their households, have been diagnosed with or presumed to have COVID-19. They also should notify the district if they are quarantined.
Closely observe their student if they came into close contact with another person suspected to have COVID-19 or a person diagnosed with COVID-19. Please consult your family doctor with concerns.
What is the purpose of the FHSD Virtual Academy?
The FHSD Virtual Academy will provide an educational option for students with medical concerns or high-risk family members for which traditional attendance (regardless of social distancing measures) is too great of a risk. This full-time virtual option will allow students to pace with their traditional-instruction peers and maintain basic grade-level skills. Please note that enrollment is currently closed for the Virtual Academy.
Will the Virtual Academy and the Traditional Learning Plan be combined should Governor DeWine implement a stay-at-home order?
The two models of learning will work independent of one another.
In the event the district must implement a full remote learning model under the direction of Governor DeWine, students who have chosen the Virtual Academy option will remain in the Virtual environment for the remainder of first semester.
Should the district need to transition to a full remote model due to a governor mandated Level 4 COVID-19 risk level, students who chose the traditional model will remain with their assigned classroom teachers.
What is the curricular focus for the academy?
The FHSD Virtual Academy will offer foundational literacy and numeracy skills for early childhood, core content courses (math, science, Language Arts and social studies), and courses aligned with graduation requirements. All content will be facilitated by a FHSD teacher. Virtual Academy teachers may use electronic supplementary resources that students will work through independently to advance learning. These resources can be modified to meet individual student needs.
What will my child need to participate in the FHSD Virtual Academy?
Each student will need access to an electronic device during the day. Support may be available to families who wish to participate in the Virtual Academy but do not have access to a device. All books and workbooks necessary for enrollment in the FHSD Virtual Academy will be provided to students; however, use of digital materials will be maximized. In the event consumable or hardbound texts are necessary, safe pickup procedures will be communicated to families.
What would a typical day look like in the Virtual Academy?
There are important differences between the Virtual Academy and the remote instruction that took place last spring. There may be specific times when students need to attend virtual class sessions or conferences with a teacher. While there may be individual assignments, students may also be asked to meet virtually with their teacher for direct instruction, small group assignments, or collaborative work. Scheduled times may be utilized to a greater extent. These times will be scheduled during the regular school day. There will also be additional emphasis on mastery of grade level content, concepts and appropriate skill standards.
Work that is assigned will need to be submitted electronically using online platforms like Schoology or Seesaw. There may also be supplementary online resources that students will work through independently. Once your child is enrolled in the academy, we will walk you through all of this in more detail.
What will my child’s special education services look like in the FHSD Virtual Academy?
There are no regulatory changes to the district’s obligation to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), considering the specific needs and circumstances of each student with disabilities during these challenging times. The delivery of virtual education may be based upon teacher and parent availability, health and safety concerns, technology access and the unique individualized needs of the student. It is important to note that the delivery of services within a virtual setting may not align to services as specifically described in a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), but our teachers will work collaboratively with students and families to meet each child’s virtual learning plan.
As stated in the answer above, there will be important differences in the Virtual Academy in comparison to the Spring 2020 remote learning plan, including increased direct/small group instruction during scheduled times, access to general instruction, and the provision of related services more directly.
Will high school students enrolled in the Virtual Academy have the same schedule they signed up for in the spring?
The district is in the process of gathering information related to student needs for virtual instruction. The next step will be to determine staffing availability. The primary focus will be to provide opportunities for students to earn credits required for graduation. It is possible that not all levels (i.e. Honors, Advanced Placement) and specialized electives will be available based on available resources, but we will try our best to accommodate the learning needs of each student.
Will students in the virtual model follow the same curriculum/pacing as those in the traditional model? Could they seamlessly return to traditional classes in the spring?
Every effort will be made to maintain a similar curriculum and pacing structure between the models, but it is important to note that the two will likely operate as separate programs. There will be intentional steps taken to allow for students to change placements at the end of the first semester.
Can College Credit Plus be a substitute for Virtual Academy classes?
Students who met the deadlines this past spring to participate in College Credit Plus (CCP) and who applied to a post-secondary institution may use CCP courses to substitute for the corresponding high school courses. It is important that students communicate with their counselor to ensure the courses are meeting requirements for graduation.
Will Advanced Placement classes be offered and if so, will the instructor have the necessary content expertise?
Every opportunity to offer Advanced Placement (AP) options in this virtual setting will be considered; although AP offerings will only be available in the Virtual Academy if they can be instructed by a teacher within the content area or through another curricular approach considered to be an acceptable virtual option.
Is the Virtual Academy kindergarten option a full-day or half-day program?
The virtual opinion for kindergarten will mirror a half-day program. Instructors will focus on Language Arts, math, and other core content areas. FHSD will not offer kindergarten specials, such as art and music, through the Virtual Academy.
Will kindergarteners who choose the virtual option be charged tuition?
Forest Hills will not charge tuition for the virtual kindergarten option.
What will preschool sessions and services look like?
FHSD is working to solidify plans with additional guidance from both the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. The district has received guidelines related to the allowable number of students per classroom, delivery of special education services for students with disabilities, and health/safety protocols. More information related to this topic will be forthcoming.
How soon will we have access to our child’s schedule or teacher placement?
Initial course schedules and assignments were made as a result of student requests this past spring. The final development of schedules will be impacted by the number of Virtual Academy requests and may potentially require the re-assignment of staffing and alteration of course offerings. Final student schedules and teacher placements will be available in early August.
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