Frequently Asked Questions
(Items in this section updated July 17, 2020)
WMSD Parents and Students:
As an Arkansas public school, West Memphis School District, must follow the decisions made by state governing bodies. During the pandemic, guidance changes daily and therefore, so does the information distributed by WMSD. Please understand WMSD is doing our best to filter and minimize conflicting information, but some changes are unavoidable. Thank you for completing Re-Entry Surveys #1 and #2. Information collected has been extremely helpful with planning for re-entry. We will have a few more surveys to come, so please continue completing them. Information collected is critical to re-entry of school and serving the needs of each individual student. WMSD appreciates your continued support and is ready to get kids back in school!
1st Day of School is Monday August 24, 2020
Governor has mandated statewide the use of facial coverings when social distancing is not possible.
Students "at school" will be required to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible.
Masks will be provided to students each day, but students are welcome to provide and wear their own, granted the mask does not contain inappropriate text or graphics.
Students with health conditions preventing the use of a face masks, must provide medical documentation stating such. Details of condition are not requested or required. We just need physician documentation this person who is on campus cannot wear a mask. These persons may be asked to wear face shields or other covering if compliant with condition. Another option is for students to receive instruction "at home." See below.
Deadline to declare "at home" or "at school" instruction is now July 31, 2020
Survey #3 "At Home or At School Declaration" is now available. Click link to complete.
Parent/Student MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) for Chromebook, iPad, and Mobile Internet devices can be read by clicking the above link. Agreement by signature and date will be required to receive device(s).
Device distributions will begin the week of August 10th. Drive through pick up will be coordinated at each campus through the principal’s office. Please review this flyer and refer back to this page for further details. You may also check school social media pages or contact your principal to learn more.
Please read the MOU online to ensure the drive-through distribution process is as efficient as possible. Those who want to read paper copy of MOU before signing will be given a paper copy and signature page and directed to exit their position in line and come back through once MOU is read and signed to receive device.
All WMSD K-2 students will be issued an iPad (tablet). All students in grades 3-12 will receive a Chromebook (laptop). Special needs children will receive the device that best suits their needs.
All means All. There will be no shared devices.
AT SCHOOL students will use their exclusively assigned device for instruction both at school and at home for homework and/or for potential closure. AKA "Blended Learner."
AT HOME students will use their exclusively assigned device for instruction at home for their regular school day, and continue the same if there is a future school closure. AKA "Virtual Learner."
Households or students in need of Internet access will be issued a mobile Internet Hotspot to connect their issued iPads or Chromebooks to WiFi internet. Each hotspot can accommodate the connection of 5 devices. Issue of this device is optional. Data usage and access is restricted to instructional websites and services. If you already have WiFi in the home, you do not need to checkout this device. However, a Internet Hotspot and Internet data will be provided by WMSD to all students in need. Checkout of this device will take place during the iPad/Chromebook distribution and will be covered by the same MOU. Request of Internet Hotspot will also be on Survey #3.
(Items below Updated July 7, 2020)
WMSD will follow the Arkansas Department of Health guidelines and the Arkansas Ready for Learning report issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in planning for re-opening in the fall. We hope the following information helps answer many of the questions you may have about re-opening schools.
We want to provide the most “normal” experience for your student as possible. We know that education is much more than academics and classroom instruction. Our goal will be to provide as safe an experience as possible that includes a rich educational experience, with opportunities for social interaction and extra-curricular activities while adhering to guidelines provided by the Arkansas Department of Health.
What is the first day for students?
School will begin on August 24, 2020 per recent Governor's announcement to delay start. This date will only change if ADH sends updated guidance with this requirement, but this is not anticipated.
Who will be required to wear face coverings?
Currently, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is recommending all individuals 10 years old and over wear a face covering. We are strongly recommended that adults and students age 10 and up wear face coverings when physical distancing cannot be achieved particularly on school buses. The ADH has not issued a directive to require face covering; however, this does not downplay the importance of this additional safety measure. Students under 10 years of age and those with health issues and special needs will not be asked to wear face coverings. Students will be highly encouraged to wear face coverings in areas with a high concentration of students where social distancing cannot be maintained. In the event we have an increase in the number of positive cases, face coverings could be required. We are evaluating this point of emphasis daily and updates will be revised as we get closer to August 13th for all students and staff.
Do we need to provide masks for our student or will one be provided?
The district will provide one disposable mask for each student daily. However, students may also bring and wear their own mask.
Will bus transportation be provided?
Yes, the district will provide bus transportation for all students. Based on current ADH guidance, students aged 10 and over will be required to wear face coverings when riding the bus. We are planning no changes to bus schedules or bus stops.
How normal will the day be for a student?
Our goal is for your student(s) to have as normal of a day as possible while we also provide as much safety as possible. Students will not remain in the same classroom all day but will be able to transition from one class to another. Of course, sanitization will take place before a new group of students enter a space.
Will students at the elementary still have extra classes like PE, art, music, guidance and library?
Yes, students will continue to participate in all extracurricular activities. In some cases, the activity teacher may present their lesson in the student’s classroom. In others, such as PE, students may have an assigned area in the gym with specific materials assigned to their classroom.
Will my elementary student have recess?
Yes. Elementary students will have outdoor play time with restrictions that limit the number of students they come in contact with. Additionally, playground equipment will be sanitized between groups of students.
Will social distancing guidelines be observed?
Social distancing will be observed as much as feasibly possible but at times students will be closer than the recommended 6 ft. apart. When social distancing requirements cannot be maintained such as class exchange time, etc., students will be expected to wear face coverings. We will redesign classrooms and cafeteria spaces to increase the space between students but cannot always guarantee it will be 6 ft.
Will classrooms be arranged differently to protect students?
Yes, classrooms will be arranged to provide more space between students. That might mean all desks are arranged in rows facing in a single direction. It might result in reading areas with bean bags, couches or comfy chairs being removed. It might include dividers between students who are seated at a table. We will make every effort to provide distance but not limit students’ ability to interact and communicate with others in their classroom.
Will students attend school every day or will we have some type of alternative schedule?
We plan for students to attend school daily following a very similar schedule to the traditional school day.
If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, what will happen?
In the event an individual tests positive, we will follow the latest guidance from the ADH. We will be in direct contact with ADH. This could result in a brief closure of a single school within the district to provide time for additional cleaning and sanitation.
Will students and adults be screened daily?
Both students and adults will complete a daily screening tool. You will be provided a link to the tool prior to the start of school. Individuals will be asked the following questions:
1.) Have you had a fever of 100.4°F or greater in the last 2 days
2.) Have you had a cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell
3.) Have you been in contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19 within the previous 14 days
If I don’t want my student to return to a traditional classroom, what are my options?
The District has provided a survey to all parents to collect information regarding their interest in a digital option for students. This would provide a total online educational program for students who do not feel comfortable returning to onsite instruction. Parents will be asked to sign up for the virtual education program and commit to a minimum of five weeks or progress report dates. Parents and students will be required to commit to the Virtual Education option no later than July 31st. Registration Survey #3 coming soon.
If students choose to do full-time virtual, will they be able to participate in extracurricular activities?
Yes, but they must check in with the principal and establish arrival and exiting protocol for safety.
Will we have open house?
We are currently designing a modified version of our open houses and will be sending more information soon. The dates will be determined.
Will students be able to participate in extracurricular activities and sports in the fall?
Yes, athletes returned to campus June 2 to begin practice. We anticipate sports activities in the fall with possible modifications as required by the ADH. At this time, we are still awaiting guidance on both band and choir.
Will my student eat lunch in their classroom?
Based on current guidance, the ADH is recommending cafeterias limit the capacity of students in the cafeteria. We anticipate this may either mean we will be required to adjust lunch schedules or use alternative areas, such as large gathering spaces or potentially have lunch in their classroom on a very limited basis. Proper sanitation of all areas will be completed after each meal. Procedures will not allow students to pick up utensils, self-serve, or share food. Parents are encouraged to send a water bottle with their students since water fountains will not be available.
What special precautions will be implemented in regard to cleaning and sanitizing?
Sanitation and cleanliness will be a high priority for our district as we return in the fall. We will be revising our cleaning staff assignnments to clean high touch surfaces (door knobs, light switches, etc.) and restrooms on a continuous basis throughout the day. We have also purchased disinfectant sprays to quickly sanitize rooms between usage. We will also provide time for hand washing and hand sanitizer throughout our campuses. Students will be asked to sanitize their hands each time they leave and enter a new space.
If a student comes to school sick, what will happen?
If a student comes to school sick, the school nurse will screen the student and check their temperature. If temperature is over the ADH guidance, the student will be sent home and will need to be fever free for 48 hours without medication before returning to school. When the child returns to school they will check in with the school nurse.
How will you help fill any gaps my student has from the previous year?
Curriculum teams have worked to revise the curriculum so that missed essential standards will be addressed when students return. Additionally, students will be assessed to determine individual strengths and deficits. These assessments will determine if students need additional support. At the secondary level, missed skills from a previous course will be embedded in the next course in the sequence. For example, a student enrolled in geometry would have geometry skills embedded in their Algebra II course.
What happens if we have school closures again?
If schools close again, a plan for at-home digital learning has been developed. This plan includes using SeeSaw for grades K-2 and grades 3-12 using Google Classroom to submit assignments. Teachers will utilize Zoom to deliver live lessons. Students will learn how to use these Learning Management Systems by participating in lessons throughout the week while at school. Blended learning that included both on-site traditional instruction and digital instruction will become the norm. This approach will allow students who might be ill or quarantined for a limited amount of time to continue their education even if they are not physically present in the classroom.
Will our students have the same arrival and dismissal times?
Depending on guidance from ADH, arrival and dismissal times may be varied, in order to increase social distancing and to decrease the number of students in the cafeteria and gym before school starts.
What advice do you have for students with special needs (autism, asthma, panic attacks, anxiety, etc.) or students with weakened immune systems and pre-existing conditions?
The district will be prepared to accommodate students through both onsite and offsite instruction with special needs. Our Special Education instructors will be taking extra precautions when working with students. If parents have concerns about their students who may be at high-risk because of COVID-19, they may explore the virtual learning option which allows the student to continue their education from the safety of their own home.
In the event of a temporary school closure, how will the district serve students who have special needs (Special Education, 504, Dyslexia, etc).
In the event of a school closure, students will participate in live instruction with scheduled Zoom sessions
May I email a question or speak to a staff member over the phone to help me discuss the best option for my student?
Yes, you can email your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like someone to call you back, please include your name, your student's name, and your phone number in the email and a district employee will contact you as soon as possible to help answer your questions.