2021-22 School Year FAQs: Elementary Schools
We have two essential priorities:
- Protect the health and safety of your children and our staff
- Provide full-day in-person instruction five days per week for all students
We need your help to make this happen. If we work together to implement health and safety measures, we can minimize any disruptions.
Calendar and Schedule
Tell us about the daily schedule.
We are returning to a full daily schedule of in-person learning, with morning instruction, lunch, and afternoon instruction. Please check the website of your child’s school for school start and end times.
What is the school calendar for 2021-22?
The calendar for the 2021-22 school year may be found in the Parents section of our website and is linked here for your convenience.
Will students need to wear masks at school?
All adults and children must wear masks at all times when indoors as required by CDPH. This includes parents and visitors. There are no exceptions for vaccinated people because they may be carrying the virus and not know it because they have no symptoms, especially with the new Delta variant.
When outdoors, students only need to wear their masks where people are crowded close together, such as when they line up to come in from recess. Students will wear their masks for recess as they go outside in a group but may remove their masks to run and play. Then they will put them back on when they are lined up closely together to go back to class. We will encourage children to spread out when they are unmasked. Children will also always have the choice to keep their masks on.
My child gets tired of wearing a mask.
Sometimes we do, too. We want people to be as comfortable as possible. Both students and staff are welcome to take mask breaks at any time by stepping outside the classroom into the open air. If more than one person is taking a mask break, we will ask them to stand with some distance between them.
What if my child loses their mask, or it becomes soiled?
We have plenty of disposable masks in both child and adult sizes to give to anyone who needs one.
How long will masks be needed?
We wish we had an answer for you. We will continue to follow the CDPH guidance on masking as updates are provided. Their guidance depends on the level of community transmission of the virus, and as more people are vaccinated and the spread of the virus slows, we could see changes to masking requirements.
Do children need to wear masks to PE?
They will keep their masks on as they go through the halls to go outside, but they can take them off during the PE activity where students are spread out. Children may also wear their masks if they prefer.
What if the guidance changes?
Please note that if guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) changes, we may need to make changes to what is outlined here. If that happens, we will let you know.
We read that wearing masks and improving ventilation are the two most important measures to prevent the spread of the virus. What are you doing about ventilation?
The HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) systems in our schools are equipped with MERV-13 filters which catch virus-sized particles. They are changed regularly according to recommendations. There are stand-alone air filtration systems in any spaces not served by the MERV-13 filtered systems. We also encourage teachers to open doors and windows when the temperature outside is comfortable.
When do I need to keep my child at home?
Please help everyone stay healthy by keeping children at home if they have any of the symptoms listed below. Although these symptoms are often caused by the common cold or other minor illnesses, it is important for children who are ill to stay home. Call your school’s attendance clerk if you believe your child may have COVID so that we can take precautions to protect the health of others. We will protect the privacy of those diagnosed with COVID as we take measures to prevent spread.
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
What processes will you follow if there is a COVID case at school?
Once we are notified that a child or staff member has tested positive for COVID, contact tracing will begin. The school (administration, nurse) will identify others the person with COVID has been in contact with and notify families.
Is lunch being served this year?
Yes, and we have some very good news to share. Both breakfast and lunch are available at no charge for all students this year, without any income qualifications. We encourage all families to take advantage of this convenience, which should make getting out of the house in the morning a little bit easier. Children are also welcome to bring their own lunch.
Breakfast and lunch menus are posted, and you will notice that these menus reflect feedback received by the Food Services Department. On Wednesday, August 11, the first day of school, students may choose between an egg and cheese muffin or cereal plus string cheese for breakfast. For lunch, the choices are cheesy breadsticks or a turkey hot dog, plus corn, carrot sticks, and fruit. Meals come with a choice of nonfat chocolate milk and 1% white milk. Serving times for breakfast will be posted on your school’s website.
Children will go through the line, select their lunch, and go outside to designated eating areas. Children need to take their masks off to eat, and that is most safely done outside. When the weather prevents eating outside, elementary schools will make adjustments so that students are not too close together when eating indoors. We need to avoid crowding when children are unmasked.
Physical Education and Recess Equipment
Can children play basketball and climb on the play structure this year?
Yes. Children can use playground balls for foursquare, basketballs, soccer balls, hula hoops, jump ropes, and all of the equipment we usually have out at recess and PE. They can also climb on the play structure. Teachers will encourage children to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when they return to the classroom.
How will classrooms be arranged now that full classes are back?
In the spring, we had plexiglass barriers on desks, and those will remain. We will keep some space between students, but the six-foot distancing is no longer required. In some classes, like Kindergarten, students may sit at a table with barriers.
What about hand hygiene? That’s still important.
All sinks are stocked with soap and paper towels, and hand sanitizer stations are available in many locations at school. All teachers also have small pump containers of hand sanitizer for convenient use.
What about cleaning?
Regular cleaning of classrooms, shared spaces, and restrooms will continue, and we are prepared to provide special disinfection if we have a positive COVID case.
Will the buses be running this year?
Buses will resume normal operations. Bus passes may be purchased through the link on the Transportation Department website where you will also find information about bus fees and routes.
Families qualifying as low income are eligible for free transportation. Families had the opportunity to fill out an income survey as part of data confirmation. If you believe you may qualify for free transportation but did not fill out the survey as part of data confirmation, you can provide that information in the Titan Parent Portal. Follow the directions under Bus Fees for information about what to attach to your application if you qualify for a free bus pass.
Can all regular school activities resume?
We can resume nearly all regular activities. For example, classes will visit the library to select books to check out and use laptops and computer labs. Our after school robotics program will start later in the fall. Back-to-school night will be held in person (masks required). Student Councils can plan fun activities like Pajama Day.
At this time, we do not believe it would be wise to hold evening events that draw large crowds, such as harvest festivals. We encourage parent organizations to work with their principal to adapt events to improve safety, which may mean scaling back or changing formats. There are many ways to do things safely with some creativity and flexibility. We need to prioritize keeping our schools open and running normally so that all students are present in class to work on unfinished learning as well as working on grade level concepts and skills. We need to be cautious about non-essential activities where the virus could spread.
My children have some health conditions that put them at risk and I’m not comfortable sending them to school. What should I do?
Information about our independent study program and the registration form are available on the Independent Study Program website. The website includes staff contact information if you have questions about the program. There is also an FAQ sheet for elementary independent study.
We want to be sure families understand this program is not the same as the teacher-directed distance learning we provided last year. Independent Study is truly independent study: your child will have a 30-minute daily session with the teacher, either individual or small group. The teacher will assign work for the week to be done independently. Young children are likely to need a great deal of adult assistance at home to succeed, especially those who are not yet able to read and follow directions independently.
I still have a few questions and want to know some things that are specific to my child’s school.
Please watch for information being sent out by your child’s school. You are also welcome to call the school office for information.