USD 460 - Questions and Answers

DECEMBER 2020 Update

Where can I find all of the latest information on the USD 460 response to COVID-19?

There are several easy ways to access information on district plans related to COVID-19. If you go to our home page, you will see a link to the latest updates along with a link to our Gating Criteria.  You will also find a link called COVID-19 Resources, which houses current and historical information related to our protocols and procedures.

How does the school district share data on COVID-19 within USD 460?

We share weekly data reports each Friday afternoon or evening and that information is shared through our mobile app, it is posted on our website and available through our social media platforms.  The data includes specific metrics related to our Gating Criteria at both the county and school district levels.  We plan to continue sharing these weekly reports throughout the 20-21 school year.  You can access these reports by clicking on our COVID-19 resources from the home page or clicking Menu on the home page and following the link to the weekly data report. 

September 14, 2020

Where can I find information to make decisions about whether my child should attend school based on illness, being a close contact, etc?

Linked here, you will find several graphic organizers that help guide decision-making for parents.

August 26, 2020

How do I stay updated on the latest information on school reopening?

We will utilize our district and building websites, mobile app, facebook page, twitter accounts, and provide families with updates through our Infinite Campus Messenger system. You can always get in touch with anyone on our administrative team, and you will find contact information along with links to all of our communication platforms by clicking here.

Where can I find the district gating criteria and how the color-coded zones will impact school?

You will find our Gating Criteria by clicking here.  On page two of the document, you will find how each color-coded zone impacts different aspects of school including activities and building access.  You can also find this information on pages 8-9 of our Back to School Plan.

How will I know what zone we are in based on the Gating Criteria.

We plan to start the school year in the Yellow Zone, based on current county-wide data.  We will utilize the Harvey County Dashboard to stay up-to-date on data in the county and will also use school district data to inform our decisions.  We will utilize a  small team of health care professionals to advise our administrative team and Board of Education to make the most informed decisions about the most appropriate zone.

How often will decisions be made about the Zone? Could this switch week to week?

We want to provide as much consistency as possible for students, staff, and families.  Therefore, we do not plan on bouncing back and forth between zones.  If we start in Yellow, we feel the data needs to be trending in a different direction for several weeks before we would consider a move to a different zone.  We hope to have at least two weeks of lead-time before we would actually move to another zone and will communicate our plans to do so as early as possible.

For example, since we are starting in Yellow, if our county data suggested that we could move to Green, we would want that data to be firm and in place for several weeks before we actually make the move to Green.  This will help us avoid bouncing back and forth from one zone to another.

What if we have a significant or sudden change in county data? Would we potentially have to move to a different zone without much lead time?

Yes, if we have a sudden change in the data, we would potentially need to make a quicker move to a different zone.  For example, if we had a considerable number of USD 460 students or staff test positive for COVID-19, we would need to consider moving to a Remote Learning Environment for a period of time, which would mean a move to the Red zone.  So, we will always need to be prepared for disruptions.

Why does the USD 460 Gating Criteria look different than other county or district gating criteria I have seen?

There are many models that counties or individual school districts are using.  The Kansas State Department of Education put out a model, and much of our district criteria is based on KSDE's guidance.  There are some differences including the Orange zone in particular.  In KSDE's guidance, Orange calls for secondary students to move to a remote learning environment, whereas the USD 460 criteria maintains a hybrid environment.  

Although we considered moving to remote learning in Orange, we also understand how important it is to keep our students in school and engaged in activities as much as possible.  We will continue to monitor conditions in our county and community and will work with the Harvey County Health Department should we need to make further adjustments to our plans. Additionally, if we move to Orange, there are a number of ways we will tighten our procedures to further promote our Fundamentals of Safety.  We also want to remind parents that they can move to remote learning if they feel it is best for their children.

When we are in a Hybrid model, how will transportation work?

The transportation department is prepared for the adjustments we will make when we are in a hybrid model.  All students who normally ride the bus will be able to do so, and we will have a mid-day route for students at HHS when we are in our AM/PM Hybrid.  

July 28, 2020

Below are some common questions, and we will continue to update this section over the next few days and weeks...

How do I stay updated on the latest information on school reopening?

We will utilize our district website, mobile app, facebook page, twitter accounts, and provide families with updates through our Infinite Campus Messenger system.  You can always get in touch with anyone on our administrative team.

When is the first day of school and how do I access the new school calendar?

By action of the Board of Education on July 27, the first day of school has been moved to Wednesday, September 2.  This will be a half day, which has been our long-time tradition to have a half day on the first day of school.  You will find our entire district calendar by clicking here, which includes a look at the entire school year.

Why are we starting school so late? 

Our staff needs time to prepare, and this new calendar gives us that time.  We now have a full three weeks for staff to meet, collaborate, and plan for what promises to be a unique school year.  This time will be utilized to prepare for the logistical adjustments found within our operations plan along with a new approach to teaching and learning that will be required for 2020-21.  

Will my child attend school longer each day? What time does the school day begin and end?

The newly adopted calendar does extend the school day in each building by 5 minutes.  Dismissal time will move from 3:10 to 3:15 pm at HES and HMS, while HHS students will be dismissed at 3:25 pm.  All three schools will maintain their regular start time of 8:00 am with HHS following its modified schedule on designated days.

When is enrollment and how do I know when to enroll my child?

Our official enrollment day will be held on Thursday, August 6.  For those who have enrolled in the past, the process will look different this year.  You will find all enrollment details by clicking here.  The alternate enrollment date will be August 13.

Where can I find the USD 460 Back to School Plan?

Our Back to School Plan is currently in draft mode and will continue to develop.  You can find the draft plan by clicking Website View and Google View.  It is broken into an Operations Plan and a Teaching and Learning Plan.  It is important to note that this plan will likely change based on new information and guidance.  As those changes are made, we will update our plan and communicate the details of those changes.

Will there be more community meetings prior to the start of school?

We have two dates scheduled for community meetings, one on Thursday, August 13 and the other on Thursday, August 27.  Both meetings will begin at 6:00 pm and will be held at the Hesston High School auditorium.  There is limited in-person availability, and the meeting will be available to all via zoom.  More information on these sessions can be found by clicking here.

How do I find out what safety measures will be put in place when school begins?

Our Back to School Plan includes a section on Operations that details all safety and mitigation aspects of our plan.  This plan was developed in collaboration with a number of agencies including the Harvey County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.  The details of this plan is subject to change as guidance, recommendations and requirements change.  You can see the current Back to School Plan by clicking here.

Will you do temperature checks on students?

According to Executive Order 20-59, we are to conduct temperature checks on all individuals upon entering a school facility for the first time each day.  We will utilize hand-held touch-less thermometers at all entryways and office areas.  We will also have our bus drivers do a temperature check as students step into the bus.

What will bus transportation look like?

We will have all students wear a face covering while on the bus.  We will have assigned seats, ensure that family members sit together, conduct temperature checks when students get on the bus, and roll down windows when the weather allows.  You can find more information on transportation in our Back to School Plan.

Will I be able to choose a remote learning option for my child?

We will make Remote Learning an option for all students.  This will be part of the enrollment process this year.  We have not yet determined the feasibility of moving between the Remote Learning Environment and the On-Site Learning Environment, but we will make decisions on that soon and will communicate accordingly.  

Will remote learning look like it did last spring?

There will be differences in the Remote Learning Environment compared to what we experienced this past spring.  We are planning to implement a virtual learning platform that will be used to supplement learning activities in the classroom.  You can find more information in the Back to School Plan.

Will my child be required to wear a mask at school?

As of July 27, 2020, all students, staff, and visitors must wear a face covering while in school buildings, according to Executive Order 20-59.  We understand that this may cause difficulty for some students, especially our younger kids.  We will make sure students are provided breaks throughout the day from their mask, and you can read more on this in our Back to School Plan.

What is a hybrid model and how do we know when my child would attend school if we go to a hybrid model?

A Hybrid Learning Environment is where students attend in-person some days and participate in Remote Learning from home other days.  Currently, we do not have a Hybrid Model selected, but we do believe this option is important to consider.  The purpose of the Hybrid Learning Environment is to maintain On-Site learning while reducing the number of people in a school building.  This model could be employed when community restrictions and spread are at moderate or high levels.  We will work with the county health department on making this determination, and you can find more information on this subject in our Back to School Plan.

How often will the school be cleaned and disinfected?

We will clean and disinfect our schools throughout each day.  We will ask everyone to help in this process, and our custodial team will take the lead in ensuring the highest standard of cleanliness throughout each building.  We will utilize fogging systems at the end of each day to disinfect classroom and common spaces.  You can find more on our cleaning and disinfecting plan in our Back to School Plan.

Will we have activities and sports this fall?

As of 7.28.200, KSHSAA plans to conduct the fall activities season on time and as scheduled.  The first day of fall sports practice is scheduled for Monday, August 17.  More information can be found here.

Updated 3.24.2020

When will my child begin receiving school work?

Phase I of our Continuous Learning Plan is to connect with our students.  Our goal is to connect through emails, phone calls, or other technology with every single student in USD 460.  We've made very good progress with this, and beginning Monday, March 30, you can expect to begin receiving information directly from teachers about what our new approach to teaching and learning will look like this spring.  Initial communication will feel a bit like "back to school" communication as new procedures and new expectations must be shared.  Our plan is to start slow, remain flexible, give lots of grace, and continue to put relationships first.

How will you support those who do not have internet access?

This is a big challenge for us, but we are going to accommodate all students, even if they do not currently have internet access.  We are working to provide wifi access on our campus, which will be parking lot hotspots and these should be operational within the next week or two.  We are working with internet service providers and mobile carriers to see how we can support other creative ways to expand internet services.  In the short-term, we will work to facilitate hardcopy instructions and learning activities for those without internet access.  If you have not completed our Technology Needs Survey, please do so to let us know what your needs are.

Is it too late to sign up for the school lunch and breakfast program?

It is not too late and we encourage you to sign up by clicking here and reading more about the program.  We do offer a delivery service to those in need.  Although we are happy to deliver to those in need, we do ask any families that are capable of picking up food at the middle school, please do so as we have quite a few deliveries to make at this point.  Please keep in mind that we need to see your child to give him or her the food.  If you child is not present, we are not supposed to provide food under the food program guidelines.

Do I need a device for each of my children and when will the school distribute devices?

You do not need a device for every child, but it might help to have multiple devices if you have three or more children in the house.  We are working to coordinate a process to distribute devices and plan to coordinate this process when we distribute personal belongings to students.  This will likely happen early next week.

When will my child be able to pick up his or her belongings from school?

We are working to coordinate pick up and plan to begin this process early next week. Once we figure out the logistics of this, we will contact you.  Our plan is to schedule by building and grade level to make this process as efficient as possible.

How does my child access his/her school email address?

Each student has a school issued email account, and the email address is:  graduation year, first name.last name@usd460.org and the password is swather + lunch code.  For example 2026john.smith@usd460.org and swather4422.  If you have trouble accessing your child's email, please contact a teacher or our central office at 620-327-4931.

Will there be a prom or graduation this year?

We do not know what the next few weeks and months will bring, but we are committed to providing any and all opportunities for our kids in accordance with current safety guidelines, recommendations, and mandates. We know how disappointing the loss of spring activities is for everyone and want to support our kids and families through this challenging period of time. We will continue to follow federal, state, and local safety guidelines and mandates and will constantly review this information to plan future student and community opportunities and events.

Updated 3.21.2020

What is the USD 460 Continuous Learning Plan (CLP)?

The CLP is something we had never heard of before the Coronavirus outbreak. Now it is standard language for all of us. Although the campus is closed, our teachers are going to give our very best effort to embrace a new approach to teaching and learning in Hesston Schools. All teachers will stay connected to their students. We are working to create authentic learning experiences for our students that focus on essential competencies for each grade level and content area. This plan will develop over time and will emphasize interaction, creativity, service, and family involvement. This is not simply moving everything online, and we will begin rolling out this plan in very early April.

Who qualifies for the daily lunch and breakfast program?

Anyone 18 years or under in the Hesston community may receive a lunch and breakfast Monday-Friday. These meals are free, and will be available for pick-up each day from 11:00 am - 12:30 pm in the back of the middle school outside the gym entrance. We will also offer delivery beginning at 11:00 am each day. If you plan to have your child participate in this food program, please complete the following form….Lunch and Breakfast Form

Does my child need a technology device to complete school work?

Having a device, such as a Chromebook, iPad, or other technology that can access web-based platforms will be important for our Continuous Learning Plan. We have devices that can be checked out to you, and we will develop a method to make this happen soon. We will work to ensure each household has at least one device. You will want to work with your kids to make sure they share their devices. If your child needs a school issued device, please complete the following form...Family Technology and Internet Survey

How will we receive a school-issued device and what will the device be?

We are working to create a check-out process that will likely occur in early April at the front of the middle school. The device your child receives will likely be a Chromebook or an iPad, either of which will be sufficient for the work they will do this spring.

Will the Continuous Learning Plan mean my child is on a device all day?

We do not plan to structure our new model in a way that is going to require being on a computer or tablet for long periods of time. We will use online platforms such as Class Dojo at HES and Google Classroom at HMS and HHS to share learning activities. There will likely be some activities involved that requires a device, but many learning activities will be offline too.

What if I do not have internet access at home?

We are working on ways to solve this challenge and will have more information very soon. For now, please make sure you let us know that this is a concern by filling out the Family Technology and Internet Survey so we know who we need to help.

Do I need to find my own resources to teach my children since school is closed?

Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to have many resources available to you and your children that can assist in our implementation of the Continuous Learning Plan in USD 460. So, there is no reason, at this point, to purchase or acquire a lot of new resources. You are more than welcome to promote learning as you see fit, but your child’s teachers will have many resources and strategies at their disposal to engage students.

I’ve heard that kids might be able to come to school in small groups of less than 10. Is that going to happen in Hesston?

We have no plans at this time to bring students into the building. Local Health Departments can determine if this is allowable, but our school district is not comfortable with students being in classrooms or buildings based on strict distancing guidelines.

Will my child be able to get things from their locker or classroom?

Yes, we are working on a plan to make this happen and will communicate when we are ready to do so. It will likely be at the very beginning of April when this happens. We know this is a pressing need for some but ask for your patience as we determine the very best approach to get everyone what they need from the buildings.

When can I expect teachers to contact my child?

Through March 27, our teachers are contacting students just to check-in with them and see how they are doing. For HES students, our classroom teachers are contacting their students. At HMS, RS teachers are reaching out to their RS groups. At HHS, Crew leaders are getting in touch with their Crew groups. We do want to account for all of our kids and hear back from them, so please encourage your child to respond to their teacher's messages.

When can I expect my child to begin school work under the Continuous Learning Plan?

We are planning to be ready to go by very early April. Teachers and administrators will be working the week of March 23-27 to develop our Continuous Learning Plan and determine how each teacher will approach this new model. There is certainly a lot of work to do, but we have gotten off to a good start with our plans. We have guidance from the Kansas State Department of Education and an excellent team of Hesston teachers that comprise our local Continuous Learning Team. This team has already been working hard, and we've taken initial steps to prepare for our new teaching and learning model.

As a parent, what should I do to help support my child in this new Continuous Learning Plan model?

The big thing right now is we need our kids to be receptive to this completely different style of teaching and learning. It is not going to be ideal, and we are going to learn a lot in the first few days and weeks. We need your feedback and will provide formal ways for you to share how things are going. We also will need you to pay attention to the activities we are asking your children to engage in and help us ensure the work is being done. Many of the activities will be project-based and service-oriented, while some might be more traditional type school work. As a parent or guardian, you are a critical part of this plan’s success.

Who do I contact if I have concerns or questions?

For the short-term, you can call our Central Office at 620-327-4931. Although our office is not currently keeping traditional hours, the superintendent, Ben Proctor, is on-duty each day and will work to answer the phone if at all possible. You can also email ben.proctor@usd460.org. As the new Continuous Learning Plan takes off in very early April, your child’s teacher will be a good resource, but until then, feel free to use Ben Proctor or one of our school principals as a point of contact for questions or concerns.

Will school building offices be open? What about the Central Office?

Right now, school buildings will not be open to the public and offices will not be operational. The central office will be open on a limited basis, but we are not currently operating on normal business hours. We will see how CDC guidelines change and that will dictate whether office hours are established or adjusted.

I have children in different building and receive the same information over and over. Could you streamline your communication so we do not receive so much redundant correspondence? 

Yes, this is something our administrative team is working to do better. We recognize there has been a lot to share over these past few days and apologize for not having that as streamlined as we should. We are assessing our communication platforms and will work hard to align these to make information relevant and easy to access.