FAQ

  • Table of Contents

    General

    • Now that we know what the options are, what comes next?
    • Take time to familiarize yourself with the options, and then choose the option using the link on the website that works best for your family. After reading the descriptions of the options, you can review the Frequently Asked Questions. If you still have questions, you can reach out to your child’s school to discuss your options further. When you are ready to make your choice, go to the blue I AM READY TO CHOOSE button. If you have more than one student, please select an option for each student. The deadline for making your choice is July 22.

     

    • Will parents and volunteers be allowed on campus?
    • For Semester 1, parents, volunteers, and visitors will not be present on campus except by appointment. That will be revisited for Semester 2.

    Learning Model Options

    • Once I choose an option, can I change my mind later?
    • A continuous and consistent learning environment is best for student success. However, we understand that parents and students might have compelling reasons to seek a transition from one option to another, so we will provide opportunities to do so when available. For the sake of continuity, transfers from one learning option to another should occur within five days after the completion of a nine week period. 

     

    • Will each option offer the same classes?
    • Core classes will be available under both options. The MCPSonline option will have a selection of electives, but these may differ from courses available in the Traditional model.

     

    • Is the MCPSonline option identical to the distance learning we experienced during the final months of the school year?
    • No. Based on feedback from teachers, students, and parents, we have a clearer idea of which factors contribute to greater student success. Those factors include more frequent, real-time interaction between students and teachers. In addition, the MCPSonline model will incorporate standard school schedules and bell times, leading to a learning experience more connected to teachers.

     

    • Will students who are English Language Learners receive accommodations in MCPSonline?
    • All students attending MCPSonline will have access to any accommodations that naturally occur in the virtual setting, including translation. Teachers will provide additional appropriate accommodations as they are applicable to the online educational environment. Please note that some accommodations may not be possible to implement in the online setting.

     

    • If I attend a magnet school through the School Choice program, will I still attend that school through MCPSonline?
    • Yes, students who select MCPSonline will maintain their enrollment at whatever school they are enrolled in for the 2020-2021 school year. Incoming Kindergarten students will need to follow the school enrollment process before starting instruction.

     

    • Under the Traditional model, will elementary students be able to have recess?
    • Yes. Recess will be organized to emphasize social distancing. Playground equipment will be cleaned between use.

     

    • If I choose the MCPSonline option, will I need to have my own computer or laptop?
    • A device and an internet connection will be necessary. As we did during Distance Learning for the last months of school, the district will provide devices and arrange internet hotspots when possible.

     

    • If I choose the MCPSonline option, will my student be able to participate in athletics?
    • Yes, students participating in the MCPSonline model will be able to participate in sports, clubs, and other after school activities at the discretion of the parent.

     

    • Under the MCPSonline option, will students be interacting with their teachers and classmates via Zoom? Is Zoom safe and secure?
    • Our school district allows Microsoft TEAMS, Zoom, and Google Classroom. Teachers and students will be expected to be familiar with all safety and security features, and to use them.

     

    • Will teachers be expected to teach both in-person and online simultaneously?
    • No. Teachers who are teaching students in the Traditional learning model will teach those courses separately. Some teachers may have both Traditional and MCPSonline courses assigned to them at different times of the day.

     

    • Will IB, AP, and/or Cambridge be offered through one of the online learning models?
    • Yes. IB, AP, and Cambridge will be available through the MCPSonline learning model, as well as the Traditional model. The exact course offerings by school will be finalized in the coming weeks.

     

    • Will students enrolled in VPK for the 2020-21 school year be able to participate in MCPSonline?
    • No, based on state requirements, VPK students must attend in person under the Traditional model.

     

    • When will school start?
    • The Marion County School Board approved a calendar that starts class options for students, as chosen by their parents, on Monday, August 24, for both traditional in-class learning and MCPSonline. This plan calls for a 170-day school year instead of the traditional 180-day school calendar.

     

    • What other calendar changes should I be aware of?
    • As of now, the last day of school for all students will be May 26, 2021. Traditionally, seniors have been dismissed a week earlier, but to meet the state’s 900 instructional-hour requirement, all students will be in class through May 26, 2021. 

      All early release days are now full class days while most weather make-up days remain intact. 

      Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Breaks all remain unchanged.

     

    • How will Dual Enrollment Courses work?
    • Marion County will follow guidance from the College of Central Florida related to Dual Enrollment courses in both the Traditional and MCPSonline learning models.

     

    • What will elementary specials scheduling look like?
    • School sites will determine the manner in which the instruction is delivered by the special area teacher based on the school’s unique circumstances and variables such as size, numbers of teachers, layout of rooms, etc. All elementary specials arrangements in the Traditional setting will have procedures in place to support the health, safety and wellness of students and staff.

     

    • Will stagger start continue for Kindergarten students in August?
    • Yes, Kindergarten students will participate in stagger start the first three days of schools in both the Traditional and MCPSOnline learning models.

     

    • Will before and after school care be available for K-8 students?
    • Yes, please refer to www.marionschools.net/extday for further information.

    Health and Safety

    • Will students wear masks in classrooms?
    • Masks or face shields will be required when social distancing is difficult or not possible (i.e. hallways, common areas, school bus, etc.).

     

    • Will students be expected to socially distance?
    • In many school settings, students will be socially distanced to the extent possible. At the elementary school level, where social distancing will be extremely difficult, students will spend most of the school day interacting only with students in their class. By limiting their exposure to a small number of students, we reduce the spread of illness throughout the campus.

     

    • What steps will be taken to ensure that surfaces are clean in classrooms?
    • School custodians will clean frequently touched surfaces throughout the day and conduct overall cleanings at the conclusion of every day. Other non-custodial staff members will be expected to do their part keeping surfaces clean, and will be provided spray bottles and microfiber cloths for additional cleaning.  Teachers will have access to cleaning supplies for their classroom.

     

    • What other steps are being taken to ensure a healthy environment?
    • Marion County Schools will partner with parents in educating students on the importance of symptom screening, staying home when ill, good hand hygiene, and social distancing to prevent the spread of illness. Staff members will also be educated on the importance of symptom screening, staying home when ill, good hand hygiene, and social distancing to prevent the spread of illness. Signage will be posted throughout schools encouraging healthy hygiene habits to reduce the risk of transmission and promoting social distancing.
      Hand sanitizer will be made available in classrooms, busses and workplaces.

     

    • What will my student’s school do if a classmate or staff member exhibits symptoms of COVID-19?
    • We will send a clear message to parents and staff that if they are exhibiting any symptoms, they should not come to school or report to work. If a student exhibits symptoms at school, they will be taken to a location at the school clinic set aside for possible COVID-19 cases and their parent or guardian will be notified to take them home and seek guidance from a medical professional.

     

    • What if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?
    • The Marion County Department of Health will notify the district if a student or staff member tests positive. We will cooperate with the Department of Health as they conduct the appropriate notifications of individuals who have been in contact with the person infected. Our ReOpening plan is designed to limit the spread of infection and to limit the disruption to a school or workplace in the event of an infection.

    Special Education

    • Will the district be completing Child Find and evaluation when school reopens?
    • Marion County Schools will continue to identify, locate, and evaluate students suspected of having a disability and needing special education and related services. At the same time, we will be mindful that students have been displaced from their typical learning environment when initiating the referral process. Some evaluation procedures can be completed in remote learning situations. Some evaluations require in-person contact with students or observations of students in school settings. Marion County Schools is conducting evaluations remotely and in-person while adhering to public health guidelines for the safety of students and staff.

     

    • How will Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings take place in the Fall?
    • Marion County Schools is committed to providing families an opportunity to have meaningful participation in the special education process. Whether in-person or an alternative format, such as videoconferencing or by phone, IEP teams will partner with families to determine the most practical format to conduct IEP meetings.

     

    • Will students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 Plans receive accommodations in MCPSonline?
    • All students attending MCPSonline will have access to any accommodations that naturally occur in the virtual setting. In addition, MCPSonline may be able to provide additional accommodations per a student’s IEP or Section 504 Plan if the accommodation(s) is/are applicable to the online educational environment. Please note that some accommodations may not be possible to implement in the online educational setting. If this occurs, parents will be invited to an IEP or 504 meeting to discuss any revisions that need to be made.

     

    • Will my student receive their gifted services in Traditional and MCPSonline?
    • Gifted services will be offered through the Traditional and MCPSonline settings.

    Meals

    • What steps will be taken to limit exposure in the school cafeteria?
    • The procedures for breakfast and lunch will look different at each school site based on the number of students served and the size of the facility. Where possible, schools will utilize a grab and go option for breakfast and lunch and allow students to eat in the classroom or alternate locations, including outside. Hand sanitizer will be available in all dining areas.

     

    • Will Grab and Go meals still be available if I select MCPSonline?
    • Yes, students participating in MCPSonline will have the opportunity to pick up meals at their registered school if needed. The times and location will be specific to each school. 

    Transportation

    • What steps will be taken to limit exposure on school buses?
    • Students will be expected to wear masks or cloth face coverings on school buses. Hand sanitizer will be available on buses. Buses will be disinfected between runs.

     

    Athletics/Extra-Curricular Activities

    • Why are athletic events and clubs allowed and not pep rallies, dances, and back to school nights?
    • Most athletic events and clubs have a smaller, more select crowd, and therefore involve less exposure. At this time only certain gatherings will be allowed 1st semester, and we will re-evaluate for 2nd semester.

     

    • Will athletes be required to wear masks?
    • Not during competition or practice, but they will be required to wear masks or cloth face coverings while riding the bus to and from the game.

     

    • Will parents still be allowed to attend games?
    • Yes, but crowds will be limited based on facility capacity.

     

    • Will sports still be offered next school year?
    • Yes, we will offer sports in the 2020-2021 next year. Based on the current Florida High School Athletic Association calendar, school districts will be allowed to offer a full slate of sports with some potential guidelines on social distancing, cleaning procedures, and wearing cloth masks when appropriate, as determined by local and state guidelines. Students will be required to wear a mask on any bus trips to games. We will also be limiting crowds at games based on the capacity of the venue.

     

    • If a student chooses the MCPSonline option, are they able to try out for school sports?
    • Yes, students participating in the MCPSonline model will be able to participate in sports, clubs, and other after school activities at the discretion of the parent.
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    Continuing Opportunities

    Marion eLearning and Marion Virtual School provide virtual learning to thousands of students each year.  This full-time virtual experience is ideal for students who want more control over their learning path and pace and a flexible daily schedule.  Students often work independently on assignments during non-traditional hours yet maintain regular contact with their teacher through web-based sessions, email, and telephone calls.  Please note, this is not the same as distance learning; it is more independent and self-paced instead of being based on a same learning time each day.

     

    For more information about courses or registration, please visit the Marion eLearning or Marion Virtual School webpage.

     


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    Learn More

    We’ve compiled a list of questions and answers to help you consider your options. We’ve also added a list of actions we can all take to promote a healthy school environment.

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