Reopening - FAQs
Please use the links below to view the Reopening FAQs.
When is the deadline for Pinellas County Schools to submit the public school virtual learning program to the state? What is the likelihood of the plan being accepted?
The district must submit our MyPCS Online virtual leaning plan to the state by July 31, 2020. We believe the state will approve this plan, as it meets all the criteria outlined by the Florida Department of Education.
Can school be pushed back to start after Labor Day?
Currently, the Department of Education is requiring schools to reopen in August.
What information did you use to determine what protocols to follow in order to reopen schools?
The district has been meeting regularly with a medical advisory group, comprised of pediatric and infectious disease specialists from BayCare, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and Community Health Centers of Pinellas, along with the Pinellas County Health Department. Doctors have toured elementary and secondary schools to get an understanding of how students and teachers interact and move throughout a school campus. Medical data has been at the forefront of our reopening plan.
What are the education options that I have?
Parents have three options: Traditonal (PK-12), MyPCS Online (K-12) and Pinellas Virtual School (K-12). Traditional is face-to-face instruction with student attending their assigned school. MyPCS Online is a nine-week commitment with instruction provided virtually. Pinellas Virtual School is a semester commitment with all the instruction delivered virtually and is self-paced. These are all taught by Pinellas County Schools teachers. As we prepare for the upcoming school year, we appreciate our families and students taking the time to make their ReOpening learning choice before the July 27, 2020 deadline. The Student Reservation System is now closed. If you were unable to make your choice or need to make a change to your selection, please contact your school directly to ensure that your request is accommodated. All school contact information can be found at pcsb.org/schools.
What if I select an option before July 27 and later decide that I don’t like that option, can I switch?
The parent would work directly with the school administration to change the learning option. Pinellas Virtual requires a semester commitment (18 weeks) as it follows different guidelines and requirements. Entering Pinellas Virtual is restricted to the start of each semester. You can choose to enter PVS in August or again in January.
What if my initial request was wrong or I no longer feel safe with my choice?
The district and your school will work to accommodate students and families who do not feel their initial choice is working. We do not want any student to continue with an option that is not effective, however, we cannot accommodate students and families who wish to make multiple changes over the course of the quarter. If you feel like your initial decision is not working out, please contact the principal at your school. Your school will work with you to accommodate your request.
Can I switch mid-semester to Pinellas Virtual?
Pinellas Virtual requires a semester commitment (18 weeks) as it follows different guidelines and requirements. Entering Pinellas Virtual is restricted to the start of each semester. You can choose to enter PVS in August or again in January. If a parent is looking to switch from traditional to an online option mid-semester, MyPCS Online would give you this option.
Why do we have to choose every 9 weeks for MyPCS Online?
The MyPCS Online option is provided in 9 week increments so parents can have the opportunity to change their mind at designated points throughout the school year. Parents will have the choice to continue MyPCS Online for the second quarter or switch. If students are in Traditional, parents can choose to switch to MyPCS Online after the first 9 weeks.
Will there be AP Classes and Magnet Classes in MyPCS Online?
Specialized programs will be offered online in one of two ways. If enough students enrolled in the program cohort (grade level) opt for MyPCS Online, then the course(s) in the District Applications Program will be offered fully online. If not, efforts will be made to have the live classroom instruction streamed to students in their homes through Canvas and Microsoft Teams.
Elective offerings will be based on the number of students at each school opting in to MyPCS Online. At a minimum, music, visual arts, physical education, ESE support, ESOL, and gifted courses will be offered at each school.
Will middle school gifted services be offered virtually in the Centers for Gifted Studies?
In MyPCS Online, gifted services will continue as in the Traditional model, but students may be scheduled with a gifted teacher within their school or from another school. Gifted students will receive virtual instruction in all core content areas as well as the gifted elective in a virtual gifted classroom in Canvas with live lessons in Microsoft Teams working with a gifted teachers and gifted peers.
Are full-time gifted services provided in Pinellas Virtual?
No. Pinellas Virtual does not offer full-time gifted services. Please note, that if you choose this option, you would give up your space in the Center for Gifted Studies program.
Can recordings be added to My PCS Online to allow children who attend live sessions to review information with their parents during non-working hours? Yes, teachers will be encouraged to record and post live lessons.
How many students will be in a room at one time?
Master schedules are being developed to allow for maximum social distancing in classrooms. Every classroom and situation is unique. The best prevention, with or without social distancing, is a mask. In cases where there are multiple teachers, the two teachers will be at the front of the room in opposite corners.
How will lunches be handled? Will they stay in the room? Will each school be allowed to dictate what happens?
Lunches will be packaged in fold-over containers, bags or covered trays. All food will be packaged or wrapped. Schools are developing the best service practice for their facility – using the serving line, mobile carts, or classroom delivery. School administrators are also deciding the best eating location – cafeteria, classroom or other area(s) for students. All areas will follow district health & safety guidelines.
Will parents who do virtual learning have the ability to enroll their child in sports and clubs?
Yes, students enrolling in MyPCS Online will have access to extracurricular activities.
I need to register my child but cannot remember my password.
There are a couple of options to get a parent username and password:
- Bring a photo ID to any public school in Pinellas County.
- Bring a photo ID to the Student Assignment Office at 301 4th SW, Largo. The Student Assignment Office is open from 7:30 AM –5:30 PM from Mondays- Thursdays. They can be reached at 727.588.6210 for further questions.
If you are uncomfortable going to a school in person, the Student Assignment Office can work with you virtually to get a username and password.
You will need to email the request to StudentAssignment@pcsb.org.
In your email, you will need to include:
- A photocopy, photo or scan a photo id (driver’s license, passport, state ID, etc.).
- Your email address, and
- Your phone number
With this information, you can be issued a username and password.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Will all students and teachers have to wear mask while inside school buildings?
Yes, masks are required.
What happens if a child forgets to bring a mask to school?
The school will have a supply of extra masks for students who forget theirs.
What are “mask breaks” and how long is it and how will the children be socially distanced?
Mask breaks are opportunities for students and teachers to take their mask off. In doing so, students and staff must ensure they are at least six feet away from other individuals or outside in the fresh air. Teachers will establish routines based on the grade level, length of the class period, and needs of the students. In one room, it may mean students rotate into the hallway for a minute or two, while in other classrooms, the entire class may take a quick walk outside.
If there are impacted individuals, how will parents be notified?
Information will be shared with impacted families and staff in several ways. A Department of Health letter will be emailed to families using School Messenger and sent home with the student; calls will be made as needed to anyone with direct contact.
If a student/teacher tests positive, will the whole class and any classes the teacher comes into contact with be quarantined? Will they transition to MyPCS for that time?
All decisions regarding quarantine will be made by the Department of Health, who considers a variety of factors before making a determination. The curriculum used in MyPCS Online and face-to-face school is the same, with obvious alterations for virtual interaction where appropriate. If an entire class or school must close, students will remain with the same teacher that they had face-to-face.
If students are sick – how will the nurse travel back and forth between the COVID and non-COVID room?
Each school will be assigned a full-time school nurse. The responsibility to monitor students in the isolation room will be determined on a school-by-school basis.
Do students and teachers need to have evidence of negative test before returning after positive diagnosis?
Employees and students must have written clearance from their healthcare provider before returning to school.
What mental health resources are available for students and staff during this period of change?
As Pinellas County Schools reopens, we will continue to provide social/emotional and mental health and wellness supports for students. All student services staff will continue to provide services to all students regardless of the education option they choose. School psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses and prevention staff will triage students that may have specific needs related to Covid-19, their time away from school, and their transition back to us. We will also work with families to provide referrals to community resources as needed. Staff looking for support should contact the Department of Risk Management.
Will the buses be sanitized after each full drop off and how will you enforce mask wearing on the bus? How many students will be on each bus?
The school bus driver will announce and remind everyone to wear their mask while on the school bus. We are still working on procedures for the school bus driver to assist and encourage everyone to wear a mask at all times on the school bus. The school bus driver will have masks available if a student does not have one. School buses will be sanitized between runs and at the end of each day. All school buses will have hand sanitizer available to the students.