Last Updated: July 20, 2020
*These FAQs will be updated as more information becomes available. Information that differs from previous announcements will be labeled as “UPDATED.”
UPDATED When is the first day of school?
In accordance with a directive from Governor Asa Hutchinson, the first day of school has been moved to August 24. We are currently updating the school calendar to accommodate this change and will post it as soon as it is approved.
Is the district considering a schedule where students report to campus on alternating days or half days?
No. There are no plans to schedule alternating days or half days for students.
UPDATED What is the difference between Virtual Learning and Blended Learning?
The SSD Virtual Academy is a K-12 online school option where students can learn remotely full time while also having access to our curriculum, teachers, intervention, and support. Students will receive the same level of education they would receive on campus and will also have the opportunity to be involved in Yellowjacket extracurricular activities and events.
The new virtual academy will be different from the digital learning provided in the Spring of 2020 during the extended school closure. Families can expect a more rigorous curriculum that will be organized and monitored through a new learning management system. This system will make it easier for students and parents to navigate through the curriculum and instruction and will allow parents the ability to track their child’s engagement and progress throughout the school year. A device will be provided to each student enrolled in the virtual academy if needed.
Students returning to the classroom in the fall will have a Blended learning environment. Students will report to campus to learn, but both teachers and students will be prepared for remote learning if needed due to illness or inclement weather. Blended learning allows the student to continue learning grade-level content standards through an educational plan that leverages both technology-based and face-to-face instruction. The curriculum will be aligned with the content provided through the SSD Virtual Academy so that students and teachers can easily pivot from onsite to online instruction as needed.
Please refer to the SSD Options for Learning document which presents a detailed side-by-side comparison.
Is SSD Virtual Academy the right choice for my child?
Virtual learning can be more difficult for some students. Families must strongly consider the following characteristics that lead to a successful virtual school experience for students.
● Independent Learner
● Computer Literate
● Time Management Skills
● Effective Communicator
● Personal Commitment
● Academic Readiness
● Technologically Prepared
● Strong Parent Support/Involvement
If my child commits to the SSD Virtual Academy option, can he/she switch to the Blended (Onsite) option?
Families who choose the SSD Virtual Academy option will not be able to switch to the Blended (Onsite) option until the next semester. This allows us to plan for transportation, food services, and spacing in the classroom. However, we realize there may be circumstances in which the switch is still necessary. Changes would be approved on a case by case basis by district administration.
If my child commits to the Blended (Onsite) option, can he/she switch to the Virtual (Online) option?
The benefit of a blended classroom is that it will allow students to move seamlessly from the classroom to virtual learning when needed. If your child is sick or quarantined and needs to stay home, the Canvas Learning Management System would allow access to instruction and assignments from home so your child could stay on pace with his/her classmates. This flexibility should eliminate the need to switch to the SSD Virtual Academy for many cases. However, we realize there may be circumstances in which the switch is still necessary. Changes would be approved on a case by case basis by district administration.
Is there a charge for the SSD Virtual Academy?
UPDATED Do I have to provide my own computer for Virtual or Blended learning next year?
No. All students in the Sheridan School District will be assigned a district Chromebook for both the Virtual and Blended learning options if needed that will remain the property of the school district. Some families may choose to purchase their own device. Click HERE for an option to purchase a Chromebook at a discounted rate.
UPDATED How do I enroll in the SSD Virtual Academy?
We have now opened enrollment for parents to officially make their selection between Blended (Onsite) and SSD Virtual Academy (Online). Please complete the form below no later than July 24, 2020.
Will I be allowed to have lunch at school with my child?
No. In order to maintain proper spacing, we are limiting the number of people who can be in the lunchroom and classrooms. Parent and guardian visits to school will be limited to essential activity.
UPDATED Will face coverings be mandatory?
Face coverings that cover both the face and mouth will be required to be worn correctly by all adults and students when proper physical distancing is not feasible. Face coverings should not be used on anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious; or anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.
How will children socially distance in their classrooms?
Requirements for physical distancing may not be feasible in all situations in every school facility or on school buses, but all efforts possible will be made to observe physical distancing. We will limit contact through the following actions:
- Arrange classrooms and other areas to maximize spacing between students and teacher to the extent possible.
- Amend schedules to conform with social distancing guidelines (e.g. stagger lunches, minimize transitions, teachers may go to students).
What will school athletics, plays, concerts and performances look like in the fall?
Large group gatherings will be limited. The Arkansas Activities Association will release guidance for all AAA activities.
Will my child still receive support services like speech and mental health services in the SSD Virtual Academy?
If staff and students are required to wear masks, how will they learn phonics?
A clear plexiglass face shield will be used when teaching phonics so students can see the teacher’s face.
Will clubs, athletics and extracurricular activities continue for virtual students?
Students sixth through twelfth grades will have the option to participate in athletics, clubs and extracurricular activities on campus.
UPDATED Will there be bottle filling stations for the refilling of water bottles during the day?
Water fountains will not be in use. Students should bring water bottles that can be refilled at filling stations.
UPDATED Will students on school buses be required to wear a mask and socially distance?
All students will be required to wear a face covering at all times while on the bus, since the bus is a confined area where physical distancing is not feasible. There may be exceptions for students with health, sensory, or other conditions. This will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Will students in the SSD Virtual Academy still be responsible for state assessments?
Yes, all students in the SSD Virtual Academy must complete assessments mandated by the Arkansas Department of Education.
Will the SSD Virtual Academy be like the digital learning we had in the spring where the kids can work on the school work at night and on weekends?
The SSD Virtual Academy will be different from the digital learning we provided in the spring. The curriculum will address all grade level standards and new learning will occur. Students will log onto the Canvas Learning Management System where they will have access to their classes. Students will determine where and when to start each day and will work at their own pace. Some students may work faster than others. Students are finished when the work is finished. Students will not be expected to complete a certain number of hours but will be expected to complete the work to stay on pace to meet grade level requirements. Within the Canvas Learning Management System there will be opportunities to communicate with the teacher through recorded video, audio, and text. Occasionally, there may be scheduled live interaction with a group of students and/or the teacher.
UPDATED What will be the protocol if a student or a student’s family member tests positive for COVID-19?
If we receive a report that a student or student’s family member has tested positive for COVID-19, we will immediately report the positive case to the Arkansas Department of Health. At that time, ADH will advise the district on what actions AND communication must take place to contain the illness. Please refer to the ADH Communication Flow Chart and the ADE Response Levels For On-Site Learning for current guidance.
Will the school district provide face coverings for staff and students?
The district will provide cloth face coverings for all staff and students if needed.
Can you guarantee students will not become ill?
No. While the well-being of our students, staff, and families is our number one priority, we cannot guarantee no one will get sick. Every risk cannot be mitigated, but we will do all we can to ensure everyone’s safety.
Will students still be able to have recess or play on the playground?
Yes, students will still have outdoor play time.
Will students still have extra classes like P.E., art, music, and library?
Yes, students will still have the opportunity to participate in activity classes.
What about students who have special needs?
The district will accommodate students with special needs through both Blended and Virtual instruction. Our Special Education instructors will be taking extra precautions when working with students.
Does Blended Learning mean students will be learning from a computer even when they are at school?
No, there will be face-to-face instruction while students are on campus, but teachers will incorporate technology into their onsite instruction.
Will the attendance policy for onsite students be different from previous years?
One of the benefits of a blended classroom is that it will allow students to move seamlessly from the classroom to virtual learning when needed. If your child is sick and needs to stay home due to quarantine, the Canvas Learning Management System would allow access to instruction and assignments from home so that your child can stay on pace with his/her classmates. We will have more flexibility to count students as being present if they stay engaged virtually when they are out. However, we are still working on these details.
Will the district provide sanitizer for classrooms and throughout the building?
Yes, however, families are welcome to send personal-size containers of hand sanitizers with their students.
Will the virtual academy be like the learning we experienced in the spring?
Virtual learning will be more rigorous than we experienced in the spring. The curriculum will address all grade level standards and new learning will occur. Teachers in all grade levels will utilize the Canvas Learning Management System to house digital content and to communicate with families. This learning management system will make it easier for teachers, students, and families to navigate the digital learning experience.
Will virtual students be required to log into the Canvas Learning Management System at a certain time each day?
Students will determine where and when to start each day and will work at their own pace with some guiding parameters to ensure they stay on track throughout the semester. Some students may work much faster than others. The student is finished when the work is finished. Students will not be expected to complete a certain number of hours but will be expected to complete the work in order to meet grade level requirements. Within the learning management system, there will be opportunities to communicate with the teacher through recorded video, audio, and text. Occasionally there may be scheduled live interaction with a group of students and/or the teacher.