Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about our transition to all-in learning and the opportunity to request a change in learning pathway (either to or from the Online Academy) prior to the transition to all-in learning on March 1. 

UPDATED! Q: What will “as much physical distancing” as possible look like?

A:  With all in learning, our classrooms will resemble what a typical classroom looked like before the COVID-19 pandemic but with mitigation protocols (proper mask usage and additional sanitizing and cleaning procedures) in place. Our goal is 3 feet of physical distancing, but in many instances, we won’t be able to achieve that in our buildings. In many classrooms, students will be closer than 3 feet, as they were before the pandemic.

Q: What mitigation measures are in place because of the change from 6 feet of physical distancing in hybrid? 

A: In our schools, students and staff will continue to use mitigation measures such as face masks at all times except at lunch; frequent hand-washing and hand-sanitizing; and increased cleaning and sanitizing protocols in our buildings. At lunch, when students are unmasked, we will be maintaining 6 feet of physical distancing.

We are also putting in place additional environmental controls such as air purifiers in larger common spaces, especially spaces where students will be eating lunch, and photohydroionization (PHI) units in HVAC systems where applicable. You can click here for a video explaining this technology and how it is being used at COSI.

Q: Why can’t the new school buildings maintain six feet of distance by spreading students out so that one class fills two adjoining classrooms and relocating displaced classes for the duration of in person learning to neighborhoods, cafeteria, music room, library, etc.? 

A: The reality is none of our buildings have the space to have all students in and keep 6 feet of physical distancing.


UPDATED 3-3121! Q: What are the quarantine requirements? 

A: Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) has updated its guidance for schools regarding quarantine. The updated guidance is available here. You can see a video summarizing the new guidance here. You can also see this video for an overview of the changes in quarantine guidance over the course of the current school year.

According to FCPH, a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet or less of someone diagnosed with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more (combined total time) starting 2 days before their symptoms began. This is their “infectious period”. If they don’t have symptoms, it is two days before the day they were tested for COVID-19.

The updated quarantine guidance states:

  • If the exposure occurs within a classroom environment and at least 3 to 6 feet of physical distancing was maintained, any close contacts to a COVID-19 case are allowed to continue attending class and organized athletic and extracurricular activities during a "modified" quarantine period if both the case and contacts were adhering to other prevention measures (i.e. correctly wearing masks, covering the nose and mouth, at all times). However, during a modified quarantine, contacts should still limit all other activities for 10 days - staying home, separating themselves from others, and monitoring their health.  According to updated guidance from Franklin County Public Health, this means not attending after-school care, not visiting individuals that reside outside of the household, and not taking part in any other types of events or activities, with the exception of organized athletics and other structured activities that students commonly participate in outside of school (i.e. dance, clubs, music, etc.).
  • If the exposure occurs within a classroom environment and less than 3 feet of physical distancing was maintained, a close contact to a COVID-19 case would not be eligible for the modified quarantine described above and would need to quarantine at home for 10 days beyond the last date of exposure. They would not be permitted to attend school or any other activities. They would have the option of returning to school and all other activities after day 7 of their quarantine period with a negative result from a COVID-19 test administered on day 5 or later.
  • If the exposure occurs outside of a classroom environment (exposure from a teammate, family member, childcare, etc.), the individual will need to quarantine at home for 10 days beyond the last date of exposure and should not be permitted to attend school or any other activities. They would have the option of returning to school and all other activities after day 7 of their quarantine period with a negative result from a COVID-19 test administered on day 5 or later.

We will continue to follow Franklin County Public Health for any updates on the quarantine guidance for schools. 

Q: What conditions constitute a “classroom environment” per quarantine rules?  Does a PE class with students closer than 6 feet engaging in a physical activity constitute a “classroom environment?”

A:  According to Franklin County Public Health, “a classroom environment is anything that is part of a normal day for students, including recess and gym/P.E. Busing is also included. Sports, extracurriculars, and before/after care are not included as part of the classroom environment.”  

Q: Would the quarantine requirements apply for SACC?

A: Yes, based on current Franklin County Public Health guidance, any elementary student who is identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case may not participate in before/after childcare, including our SACC program.  

UPDATED! Q: What about students who go away for spring break? Will there be any regulations for quarantining if they travel outside of state?

A: Leading up to and following spring break, we will remind families of the state’s travel advisories and self-quarantine guidance. Franklin County Public Health recommends quarantining for 10 days if you have traveled to any state reporting positive testing rates of 15% or higher for COVID-19).

For someone who has traveled internationally, the CDC recommends people should quarantine upon returning. This is even if they had to have a negative test before returning to Ohio. Franklin County recommends quarantining for 10 days after returning from international travel. The CDC provides additional information on international travel here.

Q: How is it determined that you had a close exposure?

A: Based on current Franklin County Public Health guidance, close contacts are defined as being within six feet of someone who is positive for a total of 15 minutes or more. Whenever we are notified of a positive case in our schools, our COVID Nurse Coordinator, in partnership with our school staff, conducts a COVID-19 case investigation to determine whether there were any close contacts in the classroom or through school activities. 

Q: Will we be made aware if someone in our child’s classroom tests positive? 

A: Yes, we will continue to send a school notification and a classroom notification for any positive case in our schools, per the state order.

Q: How do we report if our child has tested positive or is in the process of being tested?

A: You can report that to your school nurse, or you can contact or COVID-19 Nurse Coordinator directly.  Contact information is available on our website.

UPDATED! Q: For HS students rotating classes, if exposed in one class, do they go to all classes after or just the one they were exposed in? 

A: Under the updated quarantine guidelines from Franklin County Public Health, any student who is determined to be a close contact in a classroom setting where at least 3 feet of physical distancing has been maintained would be allowed to continue to attend school during their quarantine period. So, in such a case, the student would continue to attend a full class schedule.

UPDATED! Q: How will my child keep up if they are on quarantine? 

A: Learning during quarantine will be treated like extended absences we’ve had in the past, and we’ll handle any students who are quarantined and are not able to attend school on a case-by-case basis. In general, elementary teachers will connect with students as they have for years with long term absence situations using their learning management system, SeeSaw. Secondary teachers (middle school and high school) will do the same - monitoring Canvas for assignments and work submission, and using either Canvas or email for that two-way communication to keep up with the assignments.  

Q: What are the procedures for lunch in all-in learning?

A: At the elementary level, students will return to ordering lunches at school each morning, and preorders will no longer be taken at the elementary level. You can view the lunch menus by clicking here, or by downloading the "Web Menus by Isite" app. Students purchasing lunch will go through the cafeteria service line, with some exceptions for younger students. All food items will be served to students, with the exception of picking up their own milk.

At the middle school and high school level, students will continue to pre-order their meals through our online ordering system, and limited service may be available through a cafeteria services line. Items will either be served by staff, or pre-packaged and available for students to pick up.

At all levels, there will be no shared serving utensils. Students will eat six feet apart in spaces throughout their school building and possibly outdoors in tents, as weather permits. Safety protocols will be implemented by classroom or designated spaces to ensure the safety of all students who have or may have food allergies.

For students in the Online Academy, the meal pickup services will continue. Please watch our Nutritional Services webpage for updated information and details.

Thanks to a USDA waiver, all students enrolled in Upper Arlington Schools (preK-12) will be able to receive free lunch this school year, or until federal funding is no longer available. At the high school and middle schools, grab-and-go breakfast will also be available for no charge, and a la carte options will still be charged to students’ EZPay accounts. We will communicate with families in advance of any changes to this temporary federal program.

Q:  Where are the lunch locations?  Can I change lunch locations if my student does not have any friends in her/his classroom for lunch?  They need to be 6 feet apart. How can my student choose a tent / sign them out? 

A:  Lunch locations will vary by building, and students will be maintaining 6 feet of physical distancing during lunch. Each school will have contactless pickup protocols in place for any parent/guardian who wishes to pick up their child for lunch. Please look for more details on your school’s specific protocols coming soon from your principal.

Q: How are buildings managing food allergies during lunch?

A: We want lunch to be a safe place for all. We will follow similar protocols during all-in learning in order to provide a safe environment - including not permitting peanut or tree nut products in classrooms where these food allergies are present, using disposable placemats for every meal by every student, and hand-sanitizing before meals and washing with soap and water after meals. 

Q: Will parents be allowed to write an excuse to allow their children to leave the building to eat their lunch?

A: Only parents/guardians may pick up their child for lunch. Our building principals will have protocols in place for any parent/guardian picking up and returning their child for lunch.

Q:  Will we be taking temperatures and or COVID testing students at school? 

A:  We will continue to ask parents to assess the health of their students before school, or before they go to the bus stop.

Q: Will we require double masks? No gaiters? Specific masks now that we are less than 6 feet?

A:  Staff and students are required to have a face covering with them at all times.  Students and staff should wear their own face covering, or one will be provided for them. Gaiters are not to be used. They are not recommended by the Medical Advisory Team.  

Double masking is not required, but health officials have advised that wearing a mask with at least two layers of fabric is recommended.  Face coverings should be cloth/fabric and cannot be made of mesh or cloth/fabric that is transparent (with the exception of plastic components of a cloth/fabric face covering that allow for viewing a person’s mouth and face shields).  Disposable masks are also allowable. Face coverings must cover an individual’s nose, mouth, and chin.

Q: Many European countries are teaching classes outdoors in open spaces to improve social distancing. Can this be a bigger part of our strategy?

A: Just as we did in the fall, as the weather improves, our teachers will be using outdoor spaces when appropriate.

Q: What is the daily schedule going to look like for grades 6-12?

A:  Secondary students will follow their block schedule - which the Medical Advisory Team and public health officials have recommended because it limits hallway transitions and reduces the number of total potential contacts within a school day. Further, maintaining the block schedule provides consistency that students are familiar with this year. Mondays and Thursdays will be periods 1-4, Tuesdays and Fridays will be periods 5-8, and Wednesdays will rotate those blocks of classes every other week. 

Q: Why isn’t there a parent webinar before we have to decide on a learning pathway? 

A:  Our family webinar is scheduled for Monday, February 22 from 6 to 7 p.m. We have extended the window for families interested in requesting a change in learning pathway for their student - either to the Online Academy or to the school-based pathway. The window will now close on Tuesday, February 23 at 8:00 a.m.

Q: What if we would prefer to delay our learning pathway decision until after spring break or into April? 

A: For scheduling and staffing purposes, the learning pathway change window will close on Tuesday, February 23 at 8:00 a.m. The changes that we are able to approve will remain in place for the rest of the school year.  

If families want to change learning pathways after the deadline, we will take those requests via email ([email protected]) and will process them weekly.  There are no guarantees that we will be able to approve change requests after February 23. 

Q: What is the status of summer in-person learning opportunities?

A: Our summer reading program for elementary students is in place as is Summer Academy - as we have done in years past. You can click here for course offerings and registration information.

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