School Reopening – Frequently Asked Questions

We hope this FAQ list will answer many of your questions in relation to reopening schools and the learning options for families. Click on a question below to see the answer. Please note that health regulations change often and the links below may be outdated. We have included the date each question was last updated. We will do our best to update this page based on current information. Please refer to our COVID-19 updates page for more information about reopening plans and hybrid learning.

If you have additional questions please contact your school or send us an email at info@lmsvschools.org. Preguntas frecuentes en Español

Additional FAQ Pages
California Department of Public Health – Schools FAQ
San Diego County Health and Human Services – Schools: K-12 FAQs


General Questions

When will the my school reopen for in-person instruction (hybrid learning)?

2/24/2021

In-person hybrid learning schedules will begin for all grade levels the week of April 19th, 2021 for La Mesa-Spring Valley Schools. Please contact your child’s school for student schedule information.   Please see our COVID-19 updates page for more information.

How is the district making decisions about whether it is safe to reopen schools?

9/14/2020

We are required to follow state, local, and federal health guidelines. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) works in coordination with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and CDPH works in coordination with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Schools permitted to open for in-person instruction must adhere to the guidance outlined in the following documents:

Is the “Learning Options Survey” just a survey, or am I truly selecting hybrid or online learning for my child?

9/14/20

The term survey is confusing. We are asking you to choose which program to place your child in. You are truly making a selection for your child. Based on your response on the survey, schools will organize their classes to accommodate parent selections. The survey is open until Thursday, September 17, 2020. If you have already submitted the survey, and you would like to choose a different option, you can simply resubmit the survey by 9/17. Your most recent submission will be used. Please remember to submit the survey to the school where your child attends. If you have children attending multiple schools, please submit a separate survey for each child to their specific school only.

What health guidelines does the district have to follow in order to reopen schools? 

2/24/2021

We are required to follow state, local, and federal health guidelines and we are working closely with state and local health agencies to ensure that we are meeting the required  safety standards to support students and staff  once schools reopen for  in-person instruction. Specifically, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) works in coordination with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and CDPH works in coordination with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Schools permitted to open for in-person instruction must adhere to the guidance provided by these organizations.

Is it safe for my child to return to school?

2/24/2021

Each school site in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District has posted  a COVID-19 Safety Plan (CSP) on their webpage to address safety considerations for students and staff associated with the return to in-person instruction. However, the decision regarding whether or not to have a student return is one that each parent must decide for each family in consultation with their child’s primary care doctor. As with any other public place, there is no way to guarantee that interacting with people outside of your home would not result in an inadvertent exposure to COVID-19 or another illness. Families who are not comfortable with having their students return to school may elect to remain in distance learning.

Rady Children’s Hospital has partnered with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) and the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) to provide parents with this informative video about considerations for returning to school linked here: Rady Children’s COVID-19 Townhall for Families. As you consider what is best for your family, this video might be helpful for you.

What will the hybrid schedule look like for my child?

2/24/2021

Generally speaking, elementary school students will engage in distance learning over Zoom in the mornings and be invited to a hybrid in-person cohort in the afternoons, at least two days per week.  Further, middle school and academy students will attend on a modified schedule, specific to their school site, that allows them to retain their current schedules and electives and provides weekly in-person time on campus. Your child’s principal will communicate the specifics regarding schedules and unique opportunities for in-person learning at your school.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine be required of all students and all staff?

3/11/21  

Generally speaking, elementary school students will engage in distance learning over Zoom in the mornings and be invited to a hybrid in-person cohort in the afternoons, at least two days per week.  Further, middle school and academy students will attend on a modified schedule, specific to their school site, that allows them to retain their current schedules and electives and provides weekly in-person time on campus. Your child’s principal will communicate the specifics regarding schedules and unique opportunities for in-person learning at your school.

Why can’t the district do what another district is doing?

3/15/21

As each district works to bring students back to campus, they have had to do so considering many factors that are unique to their districts.  So while districts plan and collaborate across the county, each district has unique circumstances for campus space, student capacity, staffing, budget and labor/contractual considerations that need consideration.  From a public perspective, it might be easy to assume that all districts can implement the same reopening plans, but that is just not the case. One example is that the state implemented new health guidelines for distancing, on January 14. These are requirements that we must follow; they are the law. The state then also implemented a waiver process so that districts who were previously opened could “opt out” of the restrictive distancing guidance. We are not eligible to apply for those waivers because we were not previously open, but surrounding districts who had previously opened are.  Therefore, the guidelines that apply to some districts are not as restrictive as those that others are required to follow to accommodate students on campus.  


Health and Safety Questions

What accommodations has the school district made related to air ventilation, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

3/16/21

Given the importance of ventilation in reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection, the district is using both new and existing systems in our facilities to optimize air flow in our working and learning spaces.  The district has installed MERV-11 and MERV-13 air filters at all of the facilities and schools across the district.  Schools that have areas which do not have access to ventilation have received portable HEPA air filtration units.  The rate of fresh air exchange per hour has been maximized for every HVAC unit in order to ensure the highest cycling of outside air into classrooms and facilities.  Additionally, schools are encouraged to leave doors and windows open as feasible, however, teachers may choose to close doors and windows due to individual classroom needs and/or safety and security factors.

What accommodations has the school district made related to disinfection of classrooms, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

3/22/21

Ensuring the presence of strong disinfection practices is critical to maintaining safety in the school environment.  District cleaning staff have been trained on specific practices with respect to cleaning and disinfecting during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In the event of a COVID-19 positive case on campus, school custodial teams are knowledgeable and prepared to safely clean and sanitize according to regulations provided by CalOSHA, CalDPR, and the manufacturer’s guidance associated with each cleaning product in use.   All sites use appropriate disinfecting supplies which are present on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s List N.  Custodial staff disinfect classrooms and frequently touched surfaces on a daily basis and disinfect bathrooms on a revolving basis throughout the day.  

When schools reopen, what happens if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?

9/14/20

The county health department (HHSA) strictly dictates the protocols in the case of COVID-19 exposure. The schools must follow county protocols based on a myriad of factors, including whether the patient is symptomatic, within 6-feet of another person for more than 15 minutes, and when they were last on campus in relation to when they were last tested for COVID-19 or began to experience symptoms. HHSA contact tracers will direct the district to notify the necessary people and will require cleaning, quarantine, or self-isolation depending on the circumstances. These documents outline the necessary steps. However, the district must consult with HHSA’s epidemiology division and receive direction on every suspected case. This is tightly monitored in the following health regulations and documents: 

How will the district respond if a teacher or student is found to have COVID-19? Will I be notified?

9/14/20

Please see above. You will be notified if the county health department (HHSA), with assistance from the school district, believes your child was likely exposed to COVID-19. 

When would a school have to close because of a COVID-19 outbreak?

9/14/20

According to the CDPH Framework for Reopening Schools: Individual school closure is recommended based on the number of cases, the percentage of the teacher/students/staff that are positive for COVID-19, and following consultation with the Local Health Officer. Individual school closure may be appropriate when there are multiple cases in multiple cohorts at a school or when at least 5 percent of the total number of teachers/student/staff are cases within a 14-day period, depending on the size and physical layout of the school.

The Local Health Officer may also determine school closure is warranted for other reasons, including results from public health investigation or other local epidemiological data.

A school district must close if 25% or more of schools in a district have closed due to COVID-19 within 14 days, and in consultation with the local public health department.

Do you need a full day to clean the school between cohorts? How will that work with your hybrid schedule?

9/14/20

We are required to clean and sanitize all classrooms daily. Having a day between cohorts A and B is not necessary because the same level of cleaning is required on a daily basis. 

Will schools be operating their HVAC systems? Will there be a policy about keeping doors and windows open?

9/14/20

Yes. The district will ensure all HVAC systems operate in such a way as to deliver the greatest number of fresh air changes feasible, per hour, including programming demand-controlled ventilation parameters to maximize outside air intake per CDPH guidance. Schools are encouraged to leave doors and windows open as feasible, however, teachers may choose to close doors and windows due to individual classroom needs and/or safety and security factors.

Will students be required to wear masks all day long?

9/14/20

For the protection of all students and staff, children (ages 2 and up) will be required to wear face masks while at school.  Staff or students who have a doctor’s note that exempts them from wearing a face covering will not be required to wear one. Face masks will be worn for outdoor activities unless students can maintain a distance of at least 6 feet (under supervision), or when eating or drinking.  Cloth masks will be provided to all students that need them. Parents are encouraged to find a comfortable, breathable, face mask that works best for their child. There are many great options available.

Will staff and students receive regular COVID-19 tests?

3/20/21

Testing is available at over 20 San Diego County-coordinated testing sites. All testing sites are open to school personnel and youth who are over the age of 12.  Currently, the District is not required to conduct regular testing for students or staff personnel.  Response and symptomatic testing will be made available to individuals, as needed. 

It is expected that a future health order will require that school staff be tested every other month. This is currently a recommendation only. Currently, regular testing is not required for students. 

If schools have to close after they reopen for hybrid learning, how will students receive instruction?

9/14/20

If schools were closed again, students would remain with their current teacher(s) at the time of the closure. The teachers would serve the students in a 100% online format. This is the same format our schools are currently using to serve students (50% synchronous and 50% asynchronous online learning).

Has outdoor learning been considered for LMSV?

9/14/20

Each of our campuses is unique in its layout and structure, but we are fortunate that many classrooms and campuses have outdoor areas that can be accessed for learning. We know that our sites and teachers will maximize those opportunities, weather permitting, but those opportunities will be left up to our teachers to determine based on the appropriateness to the instructional program.  We will also be maximizing the use of our outdoor space for lunch periods.  

Will students have recess? Can students eat lunch with their friends?

9/14/20

Each school will create consistent recess and lunch cohorts that will be determined based on the capacity to maximize distancing on the playground and at lunch. Social interaction is important, and our sites have been planning for ways that children can play together in ways that minimize risk and reduce sharing of equipment, but still allow them to move their bodies.  Our ESS program has provided great examples of how to do this at our childcare program, and have shared lots of creative ideas with our schools.  

Will parents be allowed to walk their children on campus in the morning?

3/26/21

Yes.  Parents will be allowed to walk their children on campus. However, parents will be required to wear a mask and maintain 3-feet of physical distance from others (except their own children). Parents will not be permitted to linger on campus once students have been entrusted to a teacher or site staff.

Will volunteers be permitted on campus?

9/14/20

Some necessary volunteers will be permitted on campus. Volunteers will follow the same regulations as staff and must submit to daily health screening. 

How will you ensure students maintain physical distance on campus?

3/22/21

Each district school has created a detailed reopening plan which addresses procedures that will support students maintaining physical distancing on campus.  Currently, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has stated that students and staff must maintain three feet of physical distance from one another.  Reopening plans include traffic patterns in hallways, entrance and exit points for campus, spacing of furniture in classrooms, and spacing and supervision of students at lunch and recess, accounting for the required three feet of distancing.  By reducing the number of students on campus to half or less (by opening in a hybrid model), schools are able to further maximize distancing.  Per CDPH guidelines, students must remain in the same space and in cohorts as small and consistent as practicable, utilizing face coverings and increased hygiene practices.

What other safety provisions will be in place at each school?

9/14/20

Students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear face coverings. There will be daily health screenings and temperature checks for all staff and students. Anyone exhibiting symptoms of upper respiratory infection (that is not due to a known condition, such as allergies) or fever will not be permitted on campus. Classrooms will be limited to half capacity. Classrooms and high touch surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized daily. Bathrooms will be cleaned and sanitized throughout the day. HVAC systems have been tuned to ensure maximum efficiency and fresh air exchange. Handwashing stations will be installed in areas that lack ready access to sinks. Hand sanitizer will be accessible and used frequently. Signage will be used across the school. Drinking fountains will only be utilized to fill cups and water bottles. Students are encouraged to bring a water bottle to school with their name clearly written on it.  Protocols will be put in place to limit direct contact as students and staff navigate the campus.  Supplies and other instructional materials will not be shared, or will be cleaned between uses.  Additionally, each school will soon post a county reopening plan on their website. The plan will detail the safety measure in place on campus. Safety measures are strictly governed by local, state, and federal guidelines as discussed above. 

Please refer to the following documents for more information about safety requirements: 





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