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Frequently Asked Questions

The list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below will continue to be updated as more questions arise and answers are known.
(Updated: 11/23/2020 9:30 a.m.)

General Questions for All Students

1. How does this plan accommodate the Return to School Roadmap?

If the State of Michigan is in:

  • Phases 1-3: Schools do not open for any in-person instruction and all instruction is provided via distance learning
  • Phases 4&5: Schools open for hybrid, in-person instruction and distance learning. (We are currently in Phase 4)
  • Phase 6: Schools open for in-person instruction with moderate required safety protocols

2. Are students required to wear masks even though some of the Governor’s Executive Orders were overturned in the Michigan Supreme Court?

Yes. We will be adhering to guidance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Ingham County Health Department (ICHD). On October 4, 2020, the ICHD implemented emergency orders including Mask Wearing and Indoor and Outdoor Gathering Limits

3. What metrics will the District use to determine next steps?

There will be many factors that would cause the district to return to fully distance learning. Guidance from the Ingham County Health Department advises us to use these factors when determining what is best for the District:

  • Percent of positive tests (with consideration of hot spots and if they impact our community)
  • Number of cases per million
  • Number of known cases and/or evidence of transmission within a school building

4. When will students be back to an in-person hybrid model?

The MPS Board of Education will meet on January 4, 2021 and make a decision to resume in-person in January 2021.

5. Will my two children be on the same hybrid schedule?

Yes. We plan to accommodate families with multiple children.

6. If we choose the hybrid option, will there still be transportation available?

Yes. 

7. Will students need to bring their materials home everyday for hybrid?

Yes.

8. Why aren't the hybrid days Monday/Tuesday for Blue Team and Thursday/Friday for Red Team?

The Monday/Thursday & Tuesday/Friday model will ensure equitable instruction for all students.

9. Will the buildings be sanitized every day since cohorts are not on back to back days? 

Yes.

10. For either option, will my child’s teachers be Mason teachers?

This depends on the subject area. A vast majority of the courses both via Distance Learning and in the classrooms for hybrid learning will be taught by Mason teachers. At the secondary level, if there is one class on a specific topic, they may have an outsourced teacher. 

11. Will attendance be taken for students each day through Distance Learning?

Students will check-in to their courses each day. Attendance will be based on student engagement and recorded in Skyward. We are developing a method to be sure flexibility is included for students and families.

12. Why would Google Classroom, Seesaw and Skyward not work during the transition time?

Once we receive responses from every Middle School and High School student, we will need to reassign students in our student information system, Skyward and therefore have to suspend access. This will then impact the other systems.

13. Why did the MS/HS registration form ask if my child has an IEP but the Elementary form did not?

This was added to the registration forms so we can consider this information as we reschedule the student.

14. Will IEPs, speech and physical therapy, etc. be upheld through the hybrid model?

Yes. Contingency plans for special education students that were created last year will be revisited and new plans will be developed for students that need them. 

15. Will there be WIN, PAWS and TIES time for students this year?

Yes. 

16. Is there training for parents to be better at coaching our students for Distance Learning?

District literacy coaches and instructional support teachers are working on creating programs for parents/guardians.

17. When programs resume in-person, what happens if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?

We will follow requirements established by the Ingham County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We will then follow their instructions for returning to school. 

18. Will food services continue to be available for students? 

Yes. 

19. Will we still utilize Chromebooks through the district?

Yes. Chromebooks will continue to be available to all students.

20. How will MPS handle School of Choice students?

School of Choice (SOC) applications accepted in June for the 2020-2021 school year will continue to be honored per Sections 105 and 105C of the School Aid Act and Michigan Pupil Accounting rules. Once a SOC student is accepted to the district the student is enrolled in Mason Public Schools through graduation. Non-resident students may apply to enroll at any time and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Placement may be granted after a review of the student’s previous school records and if space is available. A family seeking non-resident enrollment must contact the Superintendent’s office, from the district in which they reside, for a release. Students cannot enroll in Mason Public Schools without a release from their resident district. The release is limited to one school year and families must request a new release each year and reapply to attend Mason. 

21. Can my child use our family computer or Chromebook to participate in online sessions? 

The district will provide Chromebooks, one for each student, to use for online sessions. District provided Chromebooks will have consistent software to ensure students have access to needed lessons, will be required for some testing, and will allow our technology team to provide better support. It’s also important to note that the district may not be able to provide technical support for personal devices (especially iPads, Macs, phones and PCs) and personal devices cannot connect to a district-issued hotspot.  

22. How do I qualify for a free internet hotspot from the District?

Mason Public Schools has a limited number of Internet hotspots to check out for students that require one to support distance learning. To request a hotspot, please respond to a brief questionnaire that was emailed to district parents/guardians on 8/18/20. When completing the questionnaire, please answer the questions for your family as a whole. Please do not complete this survey if the district confirmed you need a hotspot via a phone call on or after 8/12/20. If you have questions about requesting a hotspot please email: help@masonk12.net.

23. How do I set up my Skyward account? Skyward doesn't let me log-in, how do I access my child's schedule?

If you cannot access your Skyward account, need to set up a new district account, or are not receiving district communications, please contact us at help@masonk12.net.

Elementary Students

1. What does HyFlex Hybrid mean?

Grade 1-5 teachers will provide instruction to half of their class live in front of them, and half of the class remotely joining them from home via Zoom.

2. What is the difference between HyFlex Hybrid and Distance Learning?

HyFlex Hybrid students will be in-person two days per week and receive live instruction remotely three days per week. Distance Learning students will receive live instruction remotely five days per week.

3. If I choose HyFlex Hybrid, can my child who is on Blue Team learn remotely at home rather than attend in person, if needed? 

Yes. They can join the Red Team cohort remotely in these cases.

4. If I choose HyFlex Hybrid, can my child who is on Blue Team attend in-person rather than learn remotely, if needed? 

No.

5. What will an average in-person day look like for students Kindergarten/Young 5s through Grade 5?

Live instruction will follow a regular student schedule of classes. Students should bring their materials, including their Chromebook to school each day.

6. What will an average remote day look like for students Kindergarten/Young 5s through Grade 5?

Each remote/continued or Distance Learning day will be via live instruction with their teachers.

7. What will Wednesdays look like when both Blue and Red Teams are together remotely for students Kindergarten/Young 5s through Grade 5?

Every Wednesday all students, Blue and Red Teams, will be blended together in a remote setting. All instruction on Wednesdays will be delivered live via Zoom.

8. Will my child receive reading intervention every day with hybrid plan like he is now?  ​

Reading intervention will take place 2-3 times per week.

9. How will programs at Harvey Education Center (HEC) operate?

HEC offers many programs which must adhere to separate rules and regulations. 

  • Kindergarten, Young Fives and GSRP will follow MPS’ instructional model. 
  • Head Start is a federal program and will follow federal guidelines as they are released. 
  • Tuition-based programs such as Early Learning and Preschool are excluded from MI’s Return to School Roadmap. More information will be released when it is known. 
  • A plan for the Before and After Care Program is being developed.  

All HEC programs operate under Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) rules. These rules include but are not limited to:

  • A maximum of 10 children per classroom. This limit causes us to operate under an extremely reduced capacity.
  • All required elements of Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap must be followed. This includes masks for staff and students as well as the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), frequent hand washing, frequent building sanitizing and the use of individual supplies. No external visitors or parents will be allowed in the building.

10. Will Skyward and our online curriculum systems continue to work during the transition time?

Yes. Since the District is implementing HyFlex Hybrid and the rescheduling of students is no longer necessary, the systems will not need to be taken offline during the transition.

11. Will students who are remote or distance learning receive the same quality and equity of instruction if the teacher is masked on screen while teaching the in-person students at the same time? How will they be able to hear and interact and receive assistance?

We plan to set up the classroom teacher stations to be positioned in a way that they can teach both groups at the same time. Additionally, our teachers will be using transparent face masks so students can see their mouths. Last, teachers will be using voice amplifiers for students in the classrooms. We will be continuing to adapt as we learn what strategies are working well.  

12. With the HyFlex Hybrid option, will my child still have the ability to ask questions and receive face time with their teachers?

Yes. Additionally, we plan to set up the classrooms to position the teacher's station and the in-person students in a way for both groups to interact. Teachers will be able to project the distance learning students onto the classroom screens which will allow the teacher to more easily see in-person and distance learners at the same time along with an opportunity to ask questions, participate in discussions and even see each other at times for the classroom interaction. 

13. Why aren’t Kindergarten students included in the HyFlex Hybrid option? Will they receive new teachers?

The HEC was able to accommodate every family’s request as indicated on their initial enrollment form and utilizing the HyFlex Hybrid model is not necessary. At HEC, there are 4 Kindergarten teachers assigned to fully virtual classrooms and 6 hybrid (in-person) teachers. All Young 5’s will all remain in their current roster. HEC is following a slightly different model than grades 1-5, which may have required a teacher/classroom change. Students at this age have specific developmental needs and having daily routines, procedures and early literacy skills will help support them. Our kindergarten aides, intervention teacher and MTSS aides will continue to support our students online and in-person.

Middle School Students

1. What will an average in-person day look like for middle school students?

Live instruction will follow a regular student schedule of classes. Students should bring their materials, including their Chromebook to school each day.

2. What will an average remote/continued learning day look like for middle school students?

“Continued” learning would be time that a teacher could assign classwork, independent problems, reading, or remote small group work for students. In this model, the teachers may explain to the students that this is time for them to even close their Chromebooks for a while and go “old school” working in consumables, novels, or paper/pencil assignments. These days are not intended to be a day off from instruction. It is an opportunity to provide students with a chance to dive deeper into the assignments provided by our teachers, complete classwork and provide additional time to collaborate with peers to complete projects.

3. Will Skyward and our online curriculum systems continue to work during the transition time?

No. Once we receive responses from every family, we will need to reassign students in our student information system, Skyward and therefore have to suspend access for a few days.

High School Students

1. What will an average in-person day look like for high school students?

Live instruction will follow a regular student schedule of classes. Students should bring their materials, including their Chromebook to school each day.

2. What will an average remote/continued learning day look like for high school students?

“Continued” learning could include live instruction or time that a teacher could assign classwork, independent problems, reading, or remote small group work for students. In this model, the teachers may explain to the students that this is time for them to even close their Chromebooks for a while and go “old school” working in consumables, novels, or paper/pencil assignments. These days are not intended to be a day off from instruction. It is an opportunity to provide students with a chance to dive deeper into the assignments provided by our teachers, complete classwork and provide additional time to collaborate with peers to complete projects.

3. Will students still be able to participate in Wilson Talent Center courses?

Yes. Students will continue their course load as normal. 

4. For middle and high school students, will electives like choir, band, robotics and art be offered through Distance Learning?

Unfortunately not all electives can be available through Distance Learning as some utilize a hands-on element. We will have a list of available electives for Distance Learners by the end of the month.

5. Can students in AP Courses still participate with either option?

In most cases, students enrolled in AP Courses can participate regardless of choosing hybrid or Distance Learning. More information on AP courses will be available prior to the transition.

6. Will Skyward and our online curriculum systems continue to work during the transition time?

No. Once we receive responses from every family, we will need to reassign students in our student information system, Skyward and therefore have to suspend access for a few days.

Students in Special Education Programs

1. What will remote learning consist of until they return to school?  

Your case manager and other special education staff will be in contact with you about remote learning.  In addition, the staff will also be preparing lessons to help you and your child to return to school with the current requirements.  Our procedures and processes will be different from the past but once in school the team will work helping the students transition to this new way, making sure the students understand the new procedures. Once the students are comfortable the teachers will then focus on the teaching and learning. 

2. I want my child to return to school because in the spring they really struggled with remote learning.

The case manager or service provider and team will look at the student’s disability and the roadblocks caused by the disability in accessing remote learning and make adjustments.  We learned a great deal very quickly in the spring about what worked and what did not work for our students.  If you have concerns please contact the case manager or service provider so we can help.  Also, we are aware of the mental and emotional stress caused by the big changes in life for students and families as a result of COVID-19.  We will be doing intentional checks on students' emotional well being.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if your child needs help.  

3. My student was in the process of being evaluated for a special education or 504 Plan. Will that evaluation continue to be postponed until school fully reopens?

No. Our school psychologists and other members of the evaluation team used the time in the spring to complete as much of the special education evaluation as they could.  If there is testing that needs to be done in-person, the school psychologist, or other members of the evaluation team, will contact you to schedule a time for you to bring your student to the school so that this testing can be completed.  If you are not comfortable bringing your student into the building, the evaluator will discuss alternate options with you.

As we navigate through these unpredictable and unprecedented times your support, patience and collaboration are appreciated. If you have questions or concerns as we navigate how to support students with disabilities please stay in close contact with your student’s case manager or service provider.