Physical Operations Questions

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    QUESTION

    RESPONSE

    What is being considered for childcare options for parents who cannot work from home? 

    The department of Community Resource Development (CRD) is planning to provide full day programming during the period when school is remote. In a hybrid model, CRD is coordinating with community partners to provide full day programming for students on their off weeks. Space is limited.

    How will emergency ALICE drills happen now that we have to socially distance?

    Information taken directly from the FPS Back to School Plan as of August 12, 2020: The physical safety of our students and staff is our first priority. In an emergency situation, our primary responsibility is to ensure everyone in the school is kept safe from any immediate danger. The emergency evacuation and lockdown plans for each school will be reviewed to identify if there are ways to allow for adequate physical distancing within the plans. However, in the event of an emergency, the risks of exposure to COVID-19 will be weighed against the imminent threat of physical harm to staff and students. 

    If I already registered for transportation but I choose to drive my child until a vaccine is available, will my seat be saved?

    We will be scheduling students based on the questionnaire that will be distributed the week of August 24th. If a student does not ride for 5 consecutive days, without good reason, the seat will be re-assigned to a student on the waiting list.

    How will the district protect students on school buses with respect to social distance?

    Information taken directly from the FPS Back to School Plan as of August 12, 2020: Precautions will be taken while on the bus including physical distancing through assigned seating, requiring students to remain in their seat for the duration of the ride, required use of masks by the bus driver and all passengers, prescribed boarding and disembarking procedures, and explicit behavior expectations.

    School buses will be disinfected twice per day (once after the AM route and again after the PM route). Cleaning and disinfecting supplies will be provided to drivers to enable them to spot-clean any surface as needed. If a driver or passenger on a bus has tested positive for the virus, the particular vehicle will be taken out of service for a minimum of 24 hours prior to disinfecting it and putting it back into service. To increase ventilation, windows will remain open whenever possible while buses are in use.  

    What will transportation look like in the Remote Model? The Hybrid Model?

    Information taken directly from the FPS Back to School Plan as of August 12, 2020: Based on the cost and bus availability, this will significantly limit the number of students that we can reasonably and safely transport to school each day. We have carefully considered alternatives to increasing our transportation capacity including staggered start times to create multiple bus runs at the elementary level, acquiring additional buses, and shortening the school day. We have determined all of these options are not sustainable, are unrealistic and/or not educationally sound. To adhere to the guidelines, FPS will prioritize bus transportation for all eligible riders (students in Grades K-6 living more than two miles from their assigned school) who request a seat. For ineligible students (students in Grades K-6 living under two miles from their assigned school and all Grades 7-12 students) who request bus transportation and are provided transportation based on available space, FPS will offer a seat, for a fee to be determined. FPS is also designing a plan that will address special circumstances such as daycare drop-offs, multiple residences, and hardship waivers.

    Why are you using building and grounds employees rather than hvac professionals, who have expertise in this area, to assess air filtration and circulation in buildings?

    We do have qualified B&G staff for maintenance and planning for HVAC upgrades in the District. We review and oversee design and specifications for equipment. We also contract with HVAC design and consulting engineering firms and review our processes and procedures on many projects and on a regular basis.

    We also consult with the local Board of Health and certified industrial hygienists firms when evaluating IAQ at school buildings. 

    What are the expectations of child care centers for school age children in regards to supporting remote learning?

    Framingham Public Schools intends to provide professional development open to community partners on strategies to support remote learning for families and community partners.

    Assuming FPS starts with a remote or hybrid model. Suburban/SMOC is interested in learning more in order to support the children enrolled in our school age programs. We would love to have discussions about how that will work. For example, if each grade (regardless of child's school) had to be on the computer at the same time this would make a huge difference with our capacity and staffing. Does every child have headphones, and a chrome book? We have opened our centers and would be happy to share how things have gone so far if this might be beneficial. We have had a good reopening thus far!

    As FPS begins with a remote model we are committed to making sure each student has the materials necessary to fully access learning. Ensuring each student is equipped with a chromebook and a hotspot if needed is a priority. Additionally, students will receive learning bags with needed materials for the remote experience. 

    Funding for non-licensed child care programs to provide programming & access to remote learning is critical to serve those families that cannot afford a child care fee OR do not qualify for vouchers. These are the kids that will fall through the cracks and need additional support. Is there any funding through the school department and/or city to support this initiative?

    The district is working with the Department of Public Health to assess the collective ability of community partners to implement community hubs to meet some of the care needs of our most vulnerable families. We are also working to assess what resources may be available to support such an effort. We recognize the hardship COVID-19 is having on our families and remain committed to finding opportunities to support them through these efforts. 

    Building off the idea of 1-1 mtg of family & teacher at the beginning of the year, how might community partners support this? 

     

    What is being done to improve the water fountain system and ensure it’s safe for use?

    The District performs water flushing at all school buildings daily and maintains a record of the flushing log at each location. Water quality is insured by sampling and testing annually by the City Water Department.

    200 Water drinking fountains are being replaced and upgraded with water bottle filling stations throughout the District.

    Is it possible to contact community partners to help with remote learning?

    The district has been working with community partners to meet the increasing needs of families throughout this pandemic. In partnership with the Department of Public Health and the Mayor’s Office we coordinated a 3 tier food distribution model that provided 3 different levels of access to emergency food: 1) Through existing providers such as Daniel’s Table and the United Way and through the establishment of 4 school based food distribution sites. 2) Coordinated delivery through SMOC to emergency food locations including homeless shelters 3) The establishment of an emergency food insecurity line through the city. 

    We have also worked extensively with our Faith Based Community to coordinate weekend food delivery to families in need. These efforts have taken place since the Spring and will continue throughout the COVID crisis. 

    Through a collaboration with the Foundation of MetroWest we coordinated a COVID-19 Emergency Food Fund that led to over $100,000 in donations to support emergency food sites in Framingham. 

    Through Wayside’s Family Resource Center we have been able to identify and refer families in need. Mass Hire has been a strong resource in referring families for support in career readiness and employment assistance. 

    Currently we are working with DPH to examine the potential to develop community hubs with community partners to provide some level of childcare support for families in need. 

    Will buildings be COVID19 compliant by August 31?

    Yes. Our schools currently comply with code requirements and ASHRAE guidelines. Below are the guidelines and FPS commitments related to air movement in school buildings:

    • ASHRAE recommends increasing air flow in buildings by opening dampers to 100% and increasing air volume to 100%. FPS is committed to comply and continue to increase airflow and increase run times of HVAC equipment.
    • ASHRAE also recommends upgrading air filters from MERV 8 to MERV 13. FPS is committed to comply and install filters where possible.
    • ASHRAE also recommends that we should consider adding portable room air cleaners that have HEPA or a high-MERV filtration that complies with air delivery rate, (AHAM 2015). FPS is committed to provide portable air purifiers for every classroom in the District.

    What will happen to after-school activities, clubs, and teams?

    Information taken directly from the FPS Back to School Plan as of August 12, 2020: The District recognizes the significant need to provide programming for our students before and after school. Careful consideration and planning will take place to provide programming that we feel we are able to offer that ensures the health and safety of all students and staff. Areas that need to be addressed before any programming can be offered include staffing and supervision, transportation, attendance, and scheduling. All before and after school programming, at all levels, will follow the same social distancing and personal hygiene protocols that exist during the school day.

    Can my child use their own chromebook vs. a school issued chromebook? (Updated 9/2/20)
    While students are able to use their own personal devices to access remote learning, the District strongly recommends that all Framingham Public School students use school-issued chromebooks.

    School issued chromebooks have a few features that have been added on to make them work better in our classrooms.

    • They have protection against unauthorized and potentially harmful sites.

    • They allow teachers to use a program called Securly which allows them to control each student's chromebook during class time. This is most often used in elementary and middle schools.

    • The district’s technology staff can troubleshoot or replace technology that is not working.