FAQs - Reopening and Learning Options

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Updated Feb 24, 2021


See information in these sections below:

Reopening and Timing
Health and Safety
COVID Testing
Learning Options Specifics
Learning Pods, Childcare and Essential Workers
Middle School Specifics
Elementary School Specifics
State Testing
Mental Health


Why 14 days after the Red Tier?
MVWSD wants to surpass the county’s minimum requirements in interest of student and staff safety. We are still concerned about COVID case levels countywide, and Mountain View is seeing higher case rates than surrounding cities in the county. Additionally, there are other actions that need to be completed before we open for in-person learning. 

The minimum requirements for schools to reopen for in-person instruction are when the case rate is below 25/100,000 (CR<25) in Purple Tier and safety plans are completed and posted publicly. 

MVWSD’s targeted reopening date of two weeks after the county enters the Red Tier gives parents and staff some clarity on timing and means a safer opening. Please note that a county must meet criteria for the next less restrictive tier for measures for the prior two consecutive weeks in order to progress to the next tier.  MVWSD’s two-week ramp up time begins after the Red Tier is called. 

Will MVWSD apply for the waiver to reopen K-6?
Waivers were eliminated last month when the state updated its COVID guidance.

What else is left to do before we reopen?
Meeting the minimum requirements is just part of the process of reopening. Here is our In-Person Learning Readiness Dashboard (found on mvwsd.org/returntolearn). There are several actions that are still in process, namely scheduling students based on their preference for learning options, giving two week’s notice of reopening to our staff, and securing adequate substitute staffing.

Which students will come back to campus and when?
Our current plan is that reopening will occur in phases:

Group 1: PrK, TK, K, 1st, SAI/SDC, 6th

Group 2: 2nd, 3rd grades, 7th

Group 3: 4th, 5th, 8th grades

What is the status of the required safety plans?
Our safety plans have been completed and submitted to Santa Clara County Department of Public Health as well as the California Department of Public Health for review and approval. The state-required safety plan is posted here with the District’s reopening plans on https://www.mvwsd.org/ReturntoLearn

Is there a date on the school calendar where if we haven't opened yet because of purple tier that we will make a statement to stay with distance learning for 20-21 and put our efforts for a strong August opening?
Yes, Dr. Rudolph will be talking with the Board of Trustees about what that date may be. 


If we open in the Red and then are back in the Purple Tier, will we remain open?
We are not sure yet. The answer will depend on the factors present at the time, such as case numbers in MVWSD, how many students are back in person, what Santa Clara County’s guidance is, etc.


What is the time lag between introducing phases of students? One week each? Two weeks each?
We anticipate that it would be two weeks between groups, but that is not set in stone and is based on factors such as County Tier status, the timing of school breaks, etc.


Would Spring Break count in the 14 day count?
It is possible that one of the two ramp-up weeks before reopening could be a school break. It depends on the date when the County passes into the Red Tier.


COVID Testing

What will COVID test frequency be for staff after reopening? Will students also be tested? Will testing be available at all school sites?

We will follow county guidance, and frequency is dependent on County Tier. Currently, response testing for exposed cases happens on an as-needed basis.  Asymptomatic testing is done every 2 weeks. If there is an outbreak, we will increase to weekly testing for everyone. 
Students will follow the same testing cadence as staff, and there will be random testing of students. We will send out more details about testing procedures, type of test, location, etc., when we have them. The type of testing (whether it’s saliva testing or nose swab) will be determined by the test provider, El Camino Health. El Camino Health will provide times that parents can bring their children to El Camino Hospital for the test. Parents of students who are attending on-campus school may also bring students to Crittenden or Graham Middle schools on scheduled testing dates.


Health and Safety


How does the district plan to deal with the possibility of children potentially spreading the virus asymptomatically after being exposed to a positive family member?
As required by the County, students who return for in-person learning will be tested on a regular schedule as well as staff members. The daily screener for fever and other COVID symptoms will help MVWSD to monitor and help families to follow the guidelines for coming into campus.


What happens if someone tests positive for COVID after being on campus?

MVWSD has extensive protocols, based on Santa Clara County Department of Public Health requirements, for handling this. Please see the protocols for each scenario here: https://www.mvwsd.org/ReturntoLearn

What safeguards will be in place to protect both teachers and students?
Our safety protocols are extensive. Please see the Return to Learn plan on https://www.mvwsd.org/ReturntoLearn



What system will we use for contact tracing/student COVID testing/accountability to health screening? 
Daily health screenings for students will be completed through the OKtoReturn app. All those who enter campus will complete a symptoms screening prior to arrival and have their temperature taken. Asymptomatic testing will occur for students and staff every two weeks. While we ask for cooperation of families with compliance to COVID-19 safety measures, we cannot guarantee it. The Public Health Department of Santa Clara County leads contact tracing efforts in the event of positive cases.


Good ventilation is an important factor in limiting the spread of COVID. How is MVWSD doing in this area?


Our schools’ HVAC systems are being updated to include MERV-13 filters, which is the highest-grade filter available for our units, or air purifiers with filtration ratings at least as high as the MERV-13.   Additionally dampers on all of our units are 100% open and will pull in outside air.  Recently, our Board of Trustees approved bipolar ionization filtration systems that go above and beyond recommendations. Installation will begin this summer.


Will guardians need to wait at drop off until their child passes the on-campus temperature check before they can leave? Will they need to sign out their child if their temperature is too high?


Parents should complete the daily, at-home screener (OKtoReopen) and submit their results through that platform. 






How will the district prioritize the safety of staff with the possibility of returning back to in-person instruction before they are vaccinated?

The District has instituted many safety measures including improved ventilation, mask wearing, and touchless faucets and soap dispensers, in order to prevent transmission of the virus and to keep staff safe upon return. Please see mvwsd.org/returntolearn


It is not likely that all staff will be fully vaccinated before we return to in-person school, but many will have received the first dose. Both the CDC and state of California have stated that vaccination is not necessary for schools to reopen. The County is currently in Phase 1A and partial 1B for vaccines. Educators are scheduled for the latter part of Phase 1B, and are eligible for vaccination beginning on Feb. 28. The state has also committed to setting aside 10% of its vaccine supply for educators. 



Is there a way that MVWSD could partner with El Camino or somewhere else to get vaccines for teachers? Relying on Kaiser or PAMF would mean that we would all be vaccinated at different times and reliant on their appointment systems.


At this time, the county has instructed individuals to work with their healthcare providers when they become eligible for a vaccine, within the established vaccine tiers. This is in flux. Very recently, the county stated that regardless of provider schedule, certain groups could get their vaccines. For the most recent information about vaccinations in the county, go to sccfreevax.org.


Do you have suggestions for how families can advocate for vaccine access for teachers and staff?
You may contact the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and Santa Clara County Department of Public Health.



Learning Options Specifics

Will there be any other windows to opt in potentially later in the school year or will the learning options selection be set for the remainder of the school year with no changes/opportunities to switch?


In order to schedule students appropriately and accurately, parents' choice of learning options for their students will be final. It’s important that parents answer the learning option survey with as much certainty as possible. There will likely be few opportunities, if any, to switch from online learning to hybrid/in-person learning. It will be unlikely students will be able to go from distance learning to on-campus learning due to COVID requirements of keeping cohorts stable.


What will PE, recess, and lunch look like for students on campus?
Students will stay with their classmates, so there will be no mixing of classes within the same grade level. At recess, there will be designated areas for each class to play in. In accordance with County and State Health Department guidelines, students can play with each other, but should keep masks on and stay 6 feet apart as much as possible.


For lunch, students will eat outside as much as possible, or inside classrooms, with their classmates only. Students will be seated 6 feet apart as they are eating and drinking with masks off. Lunches from Food Service will be delivered to classrooms. After lunch, classrooms will be aired out for at least 10 minutes before class resumes. 


Will the kids return to school and have the same teachers and cohorts they have now (online)?
Every effort will be made to keep students in the same cohorts with the same teachers. However, due to staffing, this will not be possible in all cases. There will be cases in which students request to return to campus, but their teacher does not. In these instances, principals will try to keep students with another teacher in the school’s grade level. In the Learning Options survey, parents will be able to show their preference for their students to “follow” their teacher to either distance learning or hybrid. This information will help principals when scheduling students. 


When schools reopen, will the teachers be present in the classroom for live instruction, or will they be remote?
Teachers will be present in the classroom for students on-campus in Option B/Blended learning. Students in Option C/Distance Learning will view their teacher on Zoom as they have been doing. The only difference for them is that there may be on-campus students in the classroom with the teacher. Unless they are distance-learning-only teachers, teachers will simultaneously teach students present in the classroom while teaching those at home on zoom. For more information, see the videos on https://www.mvwsd.org/AcademicsDuringCOVID.


What happens if the teacher is not returning to in-person teaching (for example, if they have a medical exemption)?

In most cases, the students in that class who choose Option B/Blended would be assigned another in-person teacher at the school who teaches in the same grade level.


What are the details about in-person special education students, their schedule, the spaces they’d use at school?

Please see the Special Education Department’s document here


Can classes go outside for learning?
Outside learning is encouraged as an option, following safety protocols. Whether classes go outside is determined by the teacher, school schedule and access to these areas.

Will there be policies for student behavior, such as mandatory mask wearing, to ensure safety and reduced disruption for classes in person?
Yes, schools will have consistent practices for student behavior regarding masks and social distancing. These expectations will be communicated to students and parents. While we understand there will be a short learning time, we are confident that our school community will be able to quickly learn and  follow safety rules.  If a student cannot comply with mask wearing, he/she will be returned to distance learning. 


Have you any thoughts about how the library will open for small group visits? 


District administrators, site administrators and library technicians will explore reopening options, and if feasible/allowable develop plans for opening libraries for small groups once we transition to in-person learning.


What plan is there to orient students/families ahead of time?  Example, having small groups come to campuses for orientation, as well as multiple offerings of evening Zoom info sessions for parents.


Principals will be working with District staff support on these efforts. Please share your ideas with your principal.


Will teachers in hybrid-instruction be adequately prepared to teach both in-person and distance learning students at the same time?

Teachers have had and will have more professional development in order to help them feel comfortable teaching online and in-person concurrently. This is a learning curve and new for all of us. Each day teachers and students will become more familiar with hybrid learning.  



What will student drop off and pick up look like for in-person students? 

Arrival and dismissal will look a bit different at every school. Please check with your school. Everyone on campus will be maintaining social distancing and wearing masks. Site Reopening plans will provide details on student arrival and dismissal protocols. 



Will any curriculum change with the shift to hybrid instruction?

No, the same curriculum and grade level standards continue through distance learning and hybrid instruction. 




Learning Pods, Childcare and Essential Workers


Is MVWSD coordinating with YMCA/Right at School? Will there be afterschool care?

MVWSD is communicating with our childcare providers. They are planning to offer afterschool care and are exploring logistics. They will update parents as they have information. 


What happens if the student is already in a pod, like at Right At School? Can they be in blended in-person/distance learning (Option B) as well?
 Do Pods continue?

We have communicated with parents with students in Pods about their options. 



Why did the learning options survey ask about whether parents are essential workers?

In the case principals have to make scheduling decisions, the students of parents who are essential workers would have priority for 4 days of in-person learning per week if they choose Option B/Blended.

Will food distribution at Castro continue when the district reopens?

MVWSD will continue providing free grab and go meals at each school (Stevenson and Theuerkauf are combined) during lunchtime for students who continue in distance learning. Additionally, free meals will be delivered from Food Service to students each day who are in the classroom.


Middle School Specifics


For middle school Option B students, what happens with classes before school (like Spanish at Crittenden)? For 6th period classes in the afternoon like Band and Orchestra?


The middle school principals are currently working on a solution for how in-person students will access 6th-period ELD and electives. We will update parents as soon as we have more information. 


Since students have different subjects in middle school, will they change classes when they’re on campus?


No, teachers will rotate through the rooms. Option B/Blended students will stay in their classroom with their cohort while their teachers move from room to room.


What will PE at the middle schools be like? Still online and asynchronous for all students?


PE at the middle school will continue to be asynchronous for the remainder of this school year.


How will the middle school schedule look if some of the teachers in a student’s cohort do not return to in-person learning?


For the students, the schedule stays the same.  If there is any change it will be with the teacher.

It’s possible that because of medical reasons, some teachers will not return to campus. In that case the schedule that principals and support staff create will take this into account and determine how instruction will be delivered to these students for a particular subject.  Please contact your  principal to get further information about how the schedule is working at your school.


Will potentially changing teachers this school year impact a student’s math track for the fall?

Teachers will teach the curriculum and use the appropriate pacing for each math class/ pathway, so there should not be any impact to students’ progress. 



Elementary Specifics


What will PE at the elementary schools be like? Still online and asynchronous for all students?


Students who choose option B, Blended will have outdoor, in person PE.  Students who choose option C Distance will have asynchronous PE lessons.


How will STEAM be taught at the elementary schools for both B/Blended and C/Connected students?

STEAM teachers will continue instruction via Zoom. Students in either B/Blended and C/Connected groups join the STEAM Zoom sessions at designated times (just as they do during Distance Learning) 

What will the classroom be like for in-person learning?

Will teachers be able to help kids? For example,  finding a page in a workbook.

Teachers may give verbal or visual instructions (projecting it on the document camera or presenting on TV screen). Teachers will be able to support students while maintaining 6-foot social distance.

Will students be on Chromebooks in class with headphones?

Students will be on Chromebooks for most of their instructional time. There will be times when they will be using headphones to hear their teacher interact with them and distance-learning students at the same time. There are other times that they may listen to the teacher in person. Lessons will be displayed on the screen at the front of the room and simultaneously on zoom.

Will students switch classes?

No. Teachers will rotate between classrooms as needed.

Will students have circle time together on the carpet?

Students and teachers must maintain 6-foot social distancing amongst each other, so classroom aspects like circle time will have to be adapted to these new parameters.




State Testing 

If we are still in distance learning during state testing, how will this process work?  


If we are not back for in-person learning, CAASPP will be administered remotely on the CA Secure Browser (just like ELPAC is currently being administered). Students will be monitored through the new features built into the Secure Browser (Securly will not be used). More information to come.


I’m  concerned that we might come back in-person the week or two before CAASPP testing and the transition would significantly impact student performance.
Our district is committed to not introducing major transitions right before or during testing. Currently, there is not clear guidance from the state or national level on whether the CAASPP will be administered.



Mental Health

How can we attempt to bring back some vital community building events such as student photos or school yearbooks before the end of the year? Also, what is planned for the 5th and 8th graders at each school site to celebrate their promotion?

District administrators and principals will be brainstorming in the upcoming weeks. We definitely want to celebrate students as we’re allowed to (depending on the County’s risk Tier).


How are we managing extra social emotional concerns (such as suicidal concerns) about students due to the on-going effects of the pandemic?

We have not seen an uptick in the number of students requiring a suicide risk assessment this year. In fact, the number is lower than usual. It’s hard to say whether this means the issue is not as present here or it’s just being underreported due to being in distance learning. Mental health is an important initiative for MVWSD as we move forward with strategic planning and developing district and site initiatives.


Please submit your questions to this form.



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