Frequently Asked Questions
Updated at 6:00 PM on August 5, 2020
Questions Concerning Family Choice Virtual School
Q. How do I know if my child was accepted in Family Choice Virtual School?
A. All students whose families completed the enrollment for Family Choice Virtual School are accepted! Once you submitted the enrollment form online, you probably noticed a screen that thanked you for your submission. That meant the form was successfully submitted. School teams will reach out to families with next steps following the close of the enrollment period.
Q. We missed the July 31, 2020 deadline for enrolling in Family Choice Virtual School because we’ve just heard about this option. Can we still enroll?
A. Updated: Following a brief closure of the enrollment period so that school leaders could have preliminary student rosters, we reopened the enrollment period. We anticipate keeping the enrollment period open through Friday, August 14, 2020. If you need assistance once the enrollment period is finalized, please contact us at 318.325.0601 extension 3016.
Q. When can we pick up computers and other materials for our children?
A. School teams are at work creating the very best schedule to serve those families whose children will be “attending” school virtually and those families whose children will be attending school on campus. This process takes a bit of coordination since students continue to enroll in both options. Schools will likely communicate with families who chose virtual school via email by or before Tuesday, August 11, 2020 with next steps, including details about their virtual or socially distanced family orientation meeting. For traditionally enrolled students, families should continue to visit school websites and social media, as well as watch for Remind notices.
Q. Where will the information be available for enrolling students in virtual school instead of on campus schooling?
A. Updated: Monroe City Schools' Family Choice Virtual School enrollment form and overview are linked to the COVID-19 Information page and are available until August 14, 2020.
Q. Once a student enters the school year through virtual learning, do they have the option to enroll at the actual school at a later date? If so, what would be the process for doing so?
A. Students will have the opportunity to return to their school campuses at the beginning of each new 9-week grading period. To ensure a smooth transition, parents/guardians will submit a provided form prior to the end of the nine weeks. Likewise, students who begin on campus but wish to enroll in the virtual program at a later date will be able to do so at the end of a nine weeks.
Q. Will students who enroll in virtual school through Monroe City Schools be attending Louisiana Virtual School or will Monroe City Schools provide virtual instruction by its own faculty?
A. Monroe City Schools’ Family Choice Virtual School will be instructed completely by Monroe City Schools’ educators. Students enrolled in our virtual school will pursue the same high-quality curriculum and instruction available to students who attend school on campus.
Q. The Monroe City Schools/ Family Choice Virtual School Enrollment Form asks whether my student will participate in school meals. What does that mean?
A. School meals include breakfast and lunch prepared by School Food Service staff each school day in school cafeterias. Virtual students may wish to continue receiving those meals at no charge. Schools will inform families what time meals may be safely picked up each day. Families will have to provide transportation to the school in order for virtual students to pick up their meals.
Q. Will Monroe City Schools provide laptops for students enrolled in the virtual school if they don’t have their own?
A. Yes, the district will allow parents to check out a laptop for their student to use for Family Choice Virtual School. The laptops will be distributed on an announced schedule at each school site before school begins.
Q. Can I complete the Family Choice Virtual School Enrollment Form any other way than online?
A. Yes, schools have printed copies of the enrollment form and can submit the forms to the appropriate district personnel if you have difficulty with the form online. You can also submit a question asking for assistance through the email@example.com email address.
Q. Will students enrolled in the virtual school have access to the same courses, schedules, and teachers they would have if they were going to campus? For example, will their classes still be honors and Advanced Placement if that’s what they’d signed up for? How can a teacher teach virtual and in person students at the same time?
A. Monroe City Schools' faculty will instruct the students enrolled in virtual school. The assignment of faculty largely depends upon how many students enroll in Family Choice Virtual School from each school and at each grade-level. Ideally, a virtual student will work with the teacher who would have taught him or her on campus.
Update: In many cases, students will log into the virtual platform at the same time their teacher is instructing their classmates in the classroom! They will see and hear the same lessons and be able to ask questions in real time. In other cases, a teacher may instruct only virtual students at a certain time.
Schools have autonomy in creating schedules that work best for their students and faculty members since every school is a unique community.
Q. Will students enrolled in the virtual program be able to play sports, do cheer, and join clubs?
A. Monroe City Schools’ students enrolled in Family Choice Virtual School have the same opportunities for extracurricular activities as students who attend school on campus. Of course, students will have to maintain any eligibility requirements such as grade point average. Virtual students who participate in extracurricular activities must attend all practices and events and families will be responsible for student transportation to the school for these activities.
Q. Is Family Choice Virtual School only for children who will “attend” online every day and never come to campus physically?
A. Yes, with the exception of picking up meals or participating in extracurricular activities, Family Choice Virtual School is for students whose families prefer them to pursue their studies in their home environments. In Phase 2, junior highs and high schools will operate under a hybrid model in which students come to school campus on specified days of the week and do their assignments at home online on the other days of the week. Students who wish to follow the Phase 2 Hybrid model for grades 7-12 should not enroll in Family Choice Virtual School.
Q. My student will be a new student in Monroe City Schools. Is he eligible for the virtual school? If so, what’s the process?
A. Your student who lives in the Monroe City Schools attendance zone is eligible and welcome to enroll in the virtual program. He or she will also be simultaneously enrolled in the specific school to which zoned. Please complete the Family Choice Virtual School Enrollment Form prior to July 31, 2020, when the enrollment period closes. Also, phone the zoned school’s main office to set up an appointment to enroll your student in the specific school. Don’t hesitate to reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance facilitating this process.
Q. Will students enrolled in the virtual school need different supplies from the school supply lists that students on campus use?
A. Students enrolled in Family Choice Virtual School shouldn’t need many specialized supplies other than Internet access and a computer device, and basic school supplies. All, or most, assignments will be submitted online. However, if the teacher has a project that requires supplies, he or she will make sure students and parents know in advance. For example, a pre-kindergarten student may need to practice some motor skills such as tracing letters, cutting objects, and other writing practices.
Q. When Louisiana moves into Phase 3 will students in virtual school be able to transiton to their school campus or will they have to wait until a new nine-week grading period begins?
A. For now, our plan allows students to transition from virtual instruction to in-person instruction between nine-week grading periods during Phase 2 or Phase 3. This transition window ensures schools can best prepare to welcome their students back and make that transition as seamless and beneficial as possible to those who've been learning remotely.
Q. Will Accelerated Reader (AR) be required of virtual students? If so, how will students take AR quizzes and get books?
A. Our goal is for all students to not only be proficient readers, but also to learn to love reading! Accelerated Reader continues to be one of the literacy programs that nurtures reading mastery. We anticipate that AR will likely continue in some form for virtually enrolled students with online quizzes and/or "check ups" with teachers. If schools and teachers require AR, they will help facilitate either the checking out of hard copy books or the availability of digital books.
Questions Concerning On-Campus Instruction and Operations
Q. I’m concerned that my child attending school in person will have to sit in a desk that another child has sat in or use materials that another child used. What methods will be taken to sanitize?
A. We have been working diligently through the summer to amass approved sanitizing products and equipment to ensure that spaces and objects are disinfected. The Louisiana Department of Education has provided detailed information for districts and schools, outlining when and how to make sure that high-touch surfaces are routinely cleaned and sanitized. Our custodial staff is being trained in how to use all supplies most effectively. Teachers will have ample products available in their classrooms, as well. In the cases in which students change classes (please return to the COVID-19 Information page for each phase’s instructional model), desks and other high-touch surfaces such as pencil sharpeners and door knobs will be cleaned between classes. Computer keyboards and any other handheld instructional materials will also be sanitized between uses. Students will not share materials to the degree possible.
Q. (Hybrid—Phase 2) What will a typical school day be like on the days students in grades 7-12 work from home?
A. If your junior high or high school student is attending school on campus and we are operating under Phase 2, he or she will report to school on specified days (Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday) and alternating Fridays. On the campus days, he or she will follow their usual 7 or 8 period schedule. Their teachers will facilitate in person instruction and give students information about their assignment(s) to be completed before their next in person school day. Schools and teachers will have autonomy in what those assignments will be. An English language arts teacher may assign students to read and annotate certain pages in the novel they are reading. A math teacher may have 25 practice problems in Google Classroom. A science teacher may have a virtual lab experience with a lab report to complete in Google Classroom. These are examples of the many possibilities.
Q. The plans you have posted indicate that during Phase 2 students in grades 3-12 will be required to wear a mask. Does this mean my student in early elementary will come in contact with students who won’t be wearing a mask?
A. Monroe City Schools will adhere to the guidelines established by Louisiana Department of Education and Louisiana Department of Health, and we are committed to updating our plans as the guidelines evolve. According to state officials, the mask exclusion for students under third grade was inspired by the age and maturity of the students in that grade band. While we appreciate that guidelines are developed to be both practical and protective, this may create specific concerns for families. To provide families the opportunity to protect their students in their own way, we’ve developed Family Choice Virtual School. This may not be the best option for everyone, but we want to be responsive by offering alternatives to on-campus learning. More specific information about this program is available on the COVID-19 Information page.
Q. What happens if my child is exposed to COVID-19 or becomes ill with it? Will he have to move to the virtual school?
A. The virtual school is voluntary. If your child becomes ill or exposed, he or she will make up any work missed when released to return to school by your family’s physician. Your child will have a doctor’s excuse for missed days and be given a timeline for completing that work. If your child has COVID-19 but is asymptomatic, he or she can keep up with classes virtually. Most, probably all, of our educators will expand their digital presence this school year. While many of our teachers already post a week-at-a-glance type calendar every Monday on their teacher webpages, more of our teachers will provide updated guidance through available resources: Remind app, Google Classroom, and their webpages.
Additionally, it is possible that despite all efforts toward safety, our state or district may require temporary school closures. If that happens, we will be poised for all students to transition to virtual school and will have been working on the virtual platforms in preparation for such an occurrence.
Q. How will I know when the bus capacity is met (50% in Phase Two) on a school morning?
A. If a bus meets capacity before completing the route, the students on board will be delivered to school, the bus will be sanitized, and the bus will resume the rest of the route to pick up the additional students, or another bus will be called out to complete the route. There may be some delays initially until the transportation department determines if routes need to be altered or buses added to a specific route to accommodate student loads. Families are encouraged to provide their student’s transportation to and from school if possible.
Q. Why aren't elementary students provided the hybrid option in Phase 2?
A. After reviewing our family survey results and obtaining detailed classroom size and school capacity from each school site, Monroe City Schools planned for students through grade 6 to be on campus 100% during Phase 2. This plan is meant to be responsive to families who have no one available to supervise younger students. In order to serve families with available supervision, we developed our Family Choice Virtual School. Each school site is unique, but all will use available spaces in creative ways to best adhere to LDOE guidelines. In many cases, class sizes will likely be below the 25 maximum, including adults, set by LDOE due to the number of students who will enroll virtually this year.
Q. We’ve decided for our children to start school on campus. May we elect to change them to Family Choice Virtual School should someone in our family become at risk or if the situation worsens?
A. The short answer is yes. While we sincerely hope that the outlook for your family and for all of us will be improving each day and we take every possible precaution to keep everyone safe, we recognize that every family’s specific situation is different. The transition period for students to return to campus OR to transition to virtual school will be near the end of each nine week grading period. Contact your school principal in the event of extenuating circumstances.
Questions Concerning Louisiana’s Pandemic Phases
Q. Are there any tentative dates set as to when phase one will end and phase two will begin and so on?
A. Louisiana is currently operating in Phase 2 of its COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The proclamation we are currently operating under is in effect until Friday, August 28, 2020. We will update our district plans according to future proclamations as necessary.
Questions Concerning Employees
Q. I’m a district teacher. If I must be quarantined to await COVID-19 test results or because I have COVID-19, how will that affect my sick leave?
A. Employees will have access to Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSLA) provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This federal legislation provides 10 days for COVID-19-related reasons. The legislation outlines 6 qualifying reasons that constitute an employee’s eligibility. EPSLA is a one-time benefit and expires on December 31, 2020. MCS will provide a form and outline the documentation needed for this type of leave. These 10 days are in addition to the employee’s accumulated sick leave and other types of medically necessary leave.