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2020-2021 School Reopening: Frequently Asked Questions

Updated 4/9/2021

Many questions can be answered within the NMUSD School Reopening Plan. We ask that you please review that plan carefully. Please contact your teacher or school with additional questions.

  1. When will Schools return to full-day instruction?

    ELEMENTARY: All NMUSD elementary schools (TK-6) will transition to full day instruction in Level 1, beginning Wednesday, April 21, 2021. 

SECONDARY: All secondary schools (7-12) will transition to full day in-person instruction four days per week, and maintain one day distance learning, starting the week of April 26, 2021. 

Principals, teachers, and departments have been diligently working on plans for the transition back to full day instruction, and are working with employee associations/unions, to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Additional school-specific details will be provided by principals in the coming weeks.

  1. What is the Level 1 schedule for elementary schools?
    The Level 1 schedule will be the schedule in place for the 2019-2020 school year prior to the pandemic. Each school will be sharing its schedule with families. All students will report to school at the designated start time and there will no longer be an AM/PM cohort or the hybrid schedule. Students are expected to attend class in-person each day.

  2. What is the schedule for secondary full day in-person instruction?
    Schools will maintain their current schedule, including at home learning. Cohorts A and B will be combined and required to attend in-person 4-days a week, with distance learning 1-day a week. Schools will provide details as the start date nears. 

  3. What are the safety protocols?
    We will continue to adhere to the CDPH guidelines, last updated on March 20, 2021. This includes the safety measures since we re-opened our schools including maximizing space between seating and desks in classrooms. Efforts will be made to maintain six feet but no less than 3 feet, based on the most recent guidance. 

Additional measures also have been implemented in all classrooms, including optimizing ventilation, HEPA air cleaners, and plexiglass between students (elementary schools). Face masks requirements will also continue. Social distancing in non-classroom areas will continue, including during recess, passing periods and lunch. 

Any modifications to drop-off and pick-up procedures will be provided by the school principal. COVID-19 Safety Plans will be updated to reflect the new protocols in place at each school. 

  1. Will students be moved to a different classroom?
    In most cases, students will remain with their current teacher(s) and classroom(s) if there is adequate space for all students. If this cannot be accomplished there may be a need to add additional classes, which would require some students to move to another classroom. While we recognize that this is disruptive to students and teachers, we must be able to meet the requirements set by the CDPH.

  2. Can my at-home learning student in secondary return to in-person?
    No. Students currently in at-home learning will continue in at-home learning.

  3. What if I do not want my child to attend in-person school?
    Parents are encouraged to meet with the principal to determine the best solution.

  4. Will student meals be served and where will students eat?
    Grab n’ Go meals will be served and students will eat at multiple designated locations on campus to maintain distancing in groups. Except on days of inclement weather, outdoor locations will be utilized whenever possible. Students are required to wear face coverings at all times except when actively eating or drinking. Principals will provide more details specific to each school.

  5. Will the school and front office be opened to the public?
    The front office and school campus will continue to be closed to the public until further notice. Parents are requested to make appointments in advance when possible and to meet with staff remotely. In order to minimize risk and potential contact, non-essential visitors are still not permitted on campus.

  6. When will events and performances resume in-person?
    CDPH recently released guidance and the requirements for live seated events for outdoors and indoors. Administrators will use this guidance to determine if events and performances may be held and that all safety requirements can be met.

  7. Will bus transportation continue?
    Transportation routes and safety protocols will continue. Pickup and drop-off times may be adjusted to align with the start/end times for each school. Students who reside in areas that are eligible for transportation under the current criteria are able to apply. Contact the Transportation Department.

  8. If my child attends Cloud Campus can they transfer back to their home school now?
    Students enrolled in Cloud Campus made a commitment for the 2020-2021 school year. Due to space limitations and staffing constraints, transfer requests from Cloud Campus back to the home school will not be granted. Parents will be given the opportunity for their child to return to their home school for the 2021-2022 school year. An interest form will be sent later this spring for parents to indicate whether they plan to remain in Cloud Campus or return to the home school for the 2021-2022 school year.

  9. If my child does not currently attend a school in NMUSD, can I enroll my child now?
    Students who reside in the NMUSD attendance area may enroll their child in the District. However, due to space limitations and the school’s ability to adhere to the CDPH guidance, space for new students may or may not be available at the student’s home school. If space is not available at the school, students will be offered enrollment at another NMUSD school with available space. If the number of new students exceeds available space for a particular school or grade level, a lottery system will be used to determine the priority order and waiting list.

  10. Will there be full day instruction for the 2021-2022 school year?
    Yes. NMUSD intends to provide full-day instruction for all TK-12 grade students in Fall 2021. With the exception of the state or county prohibiting districts from opening with a full day model, we are committed to providing this as an option and have begun our preparations.

    We will also continue to provide a 100% virtual school option for students as an alternative.

1. When will NMUSD schools begin in-person instruction or modified in-person with social distancing?

At the special board meeting on September 10, 2020 the board approved the start dates to reopen Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) schools and transition to modified in-person instruction (level 2). The staggered reopening of schools starts with elementary and students with special needs (TK-12), followed by middle and high schools. See below for the start dates and instructional models for modified in-person instruction (Level 2).

  • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2020 - Transitional Kindergarten – Grade 2 and Special needs students receiving Special Day Class (SDC) services (TK-12)
  • Thursday, October 1, 2020 - Grades 3 - 6 
  • Monday, November 9, 2020 - Grades 7 – 12 

2. Will we have the same teacher throughout the school year?

Unless unforeseen circumstances arise, we are hopeful that the same teacher will instruct students via any of the three levels in the 3-Level model.

3. (Update) How will the student cohorts be determined for Level 2?

Schools assign cohorts based on various factors. Students receiving school bus transportation will be assigned to the AM cohort (elementary). Parents are not able to select a preferred cohort. Effort will be made to keep families in the same AM/PM cohort.

4. Will there be specialized instruction at elementary schools (P.E, science, music, etc.)?

Yes. Schedules will be shared by school sites.

5. Will there be recess, assemblies, etc. in Level 2?

There will be recess, as we believe it to be an important part of the day. During recess, classes and/or grade levels will be in designated areas to promote social distancing. At this time, we will not have large in-person gatherings such as flag deck, performances or assemblies. 

Review the School Reopening Plan for additional information 

6. What after school programs will be available?

We are working with local community groups to offer after school programs. Schools will be in contact with parents about possible options.

7. Will there be extracurricular activities offered (ASB, dances, assemblies, etc)?

School activities will continue to the extent possible, but within the guidelines at the time. Schools will determine what is possible within these limitations and requirements. Large in-person gatherings are not currently allowed.

8. Will there be athletics?

High school athletics began on Monday, August 17, 2020 under specific guidelines recently issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for youth sports and school-based athletics. Contact your school for more information.

9. How can families of Estancia High School learn more about the 4 X 4 model?

Estancia High School will communicate directly with families regarding the specifics of their 4 X 4 instructional model and how that fits into Level -3, Distance Learning for the start of school. 

10. What will be the structure and expectations for Distance Learning? 

It is important to recognize that last spring all schools had to shut down overnight and shift teaching and learning to a remote setting. This was a major challenge for every teacher, student and parent. 

For this school year, with more time to plan and new distance learning guidance from the California Department of Education regarding Distance Learning, there will be many enhancements and improvements to the learning experience for our students.

Review the School Reopening Plan for additional information. 

11. What security and privacy guidelines will be established for Zoom? 

All Zoom sessions have forced waiting rooms enabled so that teachers and moderations can manually approve participants. Encryption technology is used to  enhance safety. 

12. What supports are available for special education students?

There is a plan to have instructional assistants support teachers and students. Classes will have appropriate staffing to support students with special needs.

13. How will Individual Education Programs (IEPs) be implemented via Distance Learning or the Virtual School (Cloud Campus)? 

There are plans to support students with special needs and with IEPs (Individualized Education Program) to provide appropriate support for students, regardless of the instructional delivery method. Correspondence will be sent to parents regarding the instructional plan.

14. Can Students wear face shields instead of face masks?

In accordance with current California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and directives from the State, anyone on a school campus or district facility is required to wear face coverings at all times, except when eating, drinking or as noted in the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) exemptions. 

For additional information and exceptions visit review the School Reopening Plan 

15. Will social distancing be implemented in Level 2 (modified in-person) of the 3-Level Plan?

Yes. Social distancing will be implemented in classrooms and also will be promoted throughout the campus.

Review the School Reopening Plan for additional information 

16. Will there be enhanced cleaning at school sites?

Custodial staff will have appropriate tools, equipment and training to provide enhanced disinfecting at all schools and District facilities. Staff will provide additional cleaning throughout the day. The prioritized focus for cleaning and disinfecting will be on high touch areas such as door handles, student desks, restroom accessories, etc.

Review the School Reopening Plan and the Maintenance and Operations COVID-19 Safety Protocols for additional information. 

17. Will classrooms have adequate ventilation?

Our Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems provide adequate air circulation. Filters used are of highest quality and provide proper air flow. HVAC systems also will be set to bring outside air into the classroom.

18. Will there be wellness screenings?

Yes. Along with the other safety measures, a wellness screening will be implemented and subject to change based on the California Department of Health guidelines.

Review the School Reopening Plan for additional information, including a list of symptoms that would prevent someone from being allowed on a school campus or district facility.

19. What guidelines are in place if an employee or student tests positive for COVID-19?

If there is a confirmed COVID-19 case within our schools or district sites, we may need to implement multiple actions, based on Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) and State guidance. 

Review the School Reopening Plan for additional information 

20. How can individual students who have COVID-19 symptoms, exposure or quarantine, be able to participate in the instruction?

In accordance with District policies, normal excused absence procedures are in place and students will be allowed to makeup assignments.

100% Virtual School - Cloud Campus

Offers 100% online (via computer) instruction (not in-person). 

21. Can I transfer my child to Cloud Campus?

Parents may request a transfer to Cloud Campus via the Transfer to Cloud Campus Form

Please allow 5 business days for a response.

22. Will there be specialized instruction at elementary schools (P.E, science, music, etc.)?

It will be limited and schedules are being adjusted to coordinate with the virtual school schedule.

23.  Are specialty programs being offered via the Virtual School? 

Very limited electives and specialty classes will be offered. 

  • Advanced Placement (AP) - Limited AP classes will be offered. Only the most popular AP classes will be offered. 
  • GATE - No formal program will be offered.
  • AVID - No formal program will be offered.
  • Honors - Honors English Language Arts and honors Math will be available to qualifying students in middle school. 
  • Dual immersion programs - Will not be offered. Students enrolled in a dual immersion program for the 2020-2021 school year can return to their dual immersion program in the 2021-2022 school year.   

No other honors or specialty courses will be offered.

24. Will students who are enrolled in the Cloud Campus be able to participate in activities, clubs, and events on their home campus? (e.g. drama, sports, clubs, ASB, etc.)?

No. This is a new school, not connected to any other NMUSD school. No in-person events, activities or clubs will be planned at this time. 

25. What grading model will be used?

Grading will be consistent with the standard NMUSD grading policy.

26. Can I transfer back to my home school at the end of the year?

Yes. At the conclusion of the 2020-21 school year students will have the opportunity to return to their current or home school site for 2021-2022. You will NOT lose your spot in your current school should you decide to return the following school year.

27. Will athletics be available for students in the virtual school?

Students who are enrolled in the Cloud Campus will not be eligible to participate in sports programs at their home school, due to CIF rules and local league bylaws.