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FAQ


Thank you for visiting West Allegheny School District's Frequently Asked Questions platform where responses to your Reopening Plan inquiries are shared. Please note that this page will be updated as new information becomes available. 

 

Can I change my child’s Educational Delivery Model? 

  • At this time, the transfer period for the District’s Educational Delivery Models is closed. Families were asked to select an educational delivery model for the second semester by December 13. Selections for the second semester will be in place from January 19 until the end of the school year.  

  • A change to your child/ren’s choice will only be considered outside of the transfer window if extenuating and exceptional circumstances are present. Students enrolling new to the District will be enrolled as in-person students.
     

What are West Allegheny’s Face Covering/Mask Guidelines? 

  • All students and staff are required to wear a mask while on buses and when entering and exiting school, during class times, and during hallway transitions. 

  • All students and staff are required to wear a mask when indoors or in an enclosed space where persons who are not members of the individual’s household are present in the same space irrespective of physical distance.  

  • All students and staff are required to wear masks outdoors when with others who are not members of a person’s household and are unable to maintain sustained physical space.  

  • Teachers can provide 1-2 mask breaks per period while students are engaged in independent work at their desks, while eating, or when socially distanced by six feet.  

  • Mask breaks should not be more than fifteen/twenty minutes apart per class period and will be encouraged for 3-5 minutes of time.  

  • Students may also request to have a mask break.  

  • We are asking parents to provide masks/face coverings. In the event students lose, damage or forget their mask, one will be provided to them. Mask stamina for students attending in-person should be up to thirty-minutes at a time. 

  • The PA Mask Order requires individuals to wear a "face covering." "Face covering" means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face. A face covering can be made of a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen, and, for the purposes of the order, can include a plastic face shield that covers the nose and mouth. https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Guidance/Universal-Masking-FAQ.aspx 

  • West Allegheny approves of ear-loop masks and gaiters. Bandanas are not appropriate in school.  

  • If your child has a documented medical, mental health and/or disability prohibiting the wearing of any face covering, please contact Mrs. Tammy Adams, Assistant to the Superintendent for Special Education and Student Services, at [email protected] to discuss.

 
When would the District shift from 5-days in-person to a remote learning? 

  • As we prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff, we will continue to work closely with the Allegheny County Health Department on our case investigations and seek advisement from their experts within the context of PDE's guidelines to make the determination of when, if and for how long a school would need to close (move to remote learning).

  • The decision to move to remote learning would be made based on case investigations, complexity of contact tracing and/or necessary deep cleaning required, specifically part of a school or the entire school. 

  • A shift to remote learning may also occur based on a state mandate.  

If my child is quarantined, how will his/her education be continued and supported? 

  • Students in quarantine may opt to continue their learning independently through Canvas assignments or through teacher-led instruction. If a student elects teacher led instruction, teachers will provide access to direct classroom instruction either through Zoom and/or prerecorded sessions to support COVID quarantined students for reasons related to travel, exposure and/or illness. Please contact your child’s principal/nurse to share your selection for instructional delivery and establish connection to the in-person classroom where applicable.

When should I quarantine my child? 

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Health has adopted the CDC’s revised quarantine exposure guidelines, changing from 14 days to 10 days. When testing resources are sufficient, quarantine can end after day 7 if a diagnostic specimen (e.g., RT-PCR, antigen) tests negative and is collected on day 5 or thereafter and the person remains asymptomatic. At this time, West Allegheny intends to apply the 10-day quarantine for students, and only in extenuating circumstances will we end a quarantine after day 7 with a negative PCR or antigen test. 

  • The above quarantine guidelines should be applied if your child: 

  • Was exposed to someone presumed or confirmed COVID positive 

  • Is over 11 years of age and traveled out of state (not applicable in cases of custody) 

  • Is presumed or confirmed COVID positive and, if they continue to have symptoms, for additional time until there is at least one symptom-free day. You must contact your school nurse prior to returning your child to school. 

  • If an individual residing with you is confirmed/presumed positive for COVID, you should quarantine your child during the person's symptomatic days PLUS an additional 14 days. 

  • If any of the above apply to your child, or to discuss any quarantine related questions, please contact your child/ren's school nurse. Teachers will provide access to direct classroom instruction either through zoom and/or prerecorded sessions to support COIVD quarantined students for reasons related to travel, exposure and/or illness. 

 

When should I call my child’s school nurse? 

  • Your child/ren or anyone in your household has/had tested positive for COVID 19. 

  • Your child/ren or anyone in your household has/had close contact exposure with a CONFIRMED case of COVID 19 

  • Your child/ren has recently traveled or intends to travel, outside of Pennsylvania and is over the age of eleven.  

  • If your child stayed home as a result of answering “yes” to any of the home health screener questions, we ask that you call your school nurse prior to returning your child to school.
     

What social distancing protocols will be in place throughout the school day? 

  • All classrooms have six feet of social distancing accommodating 100% of our enrollment; we have converted large spaces such as libraries to classrooms to provide the recommended six feet. Due to social distancing guidelines being met in all classrooms, class sizes will not be altered. However, in-person class sizes are below average as a result of some parents opting for online instruction and students not attending daily.
     

How will transportation work this school year drop-off/pick-up times? 

  • Many parents choosing the in-person option for their child/ren are willing to assist with driving them to and/or from school. We greatly appreciate the support. 

  • For middle/high school, buses arrive on campus at 7:20 a.m. and begin unloading between 7:20-7:35 a.m. Student drivers and students dropped off by parents/guardians arrive between 7:25-7:45 a.m. Student drivers and their approved passengers are dismissed at 2:30 p.m. All other students are dismissed at 2:35 p.m.  

  • Elementary drop-off (8:25 a.m.) and pick-up times (3:25 p.m.) at the elementary schools remain the same. We do expect a longer wait (about 10 minutes) due to the anticipated amount of drop-off and pick-ups. 

  • If a family opts to drive their child/ren to school, it does not take away your bus option. You may still utilize the bus service any time. 

  • Bus routes remain consistent from last school year. Expect most elementary school students to be dropped off 10-15 minutes later due to a staggered bus dismissal schedule at the elementary schools. 

  • Middle school and high school students will still ride the same bus. We will not seat students by their grade. Students riding the bus will have assigned seats. 

  • All students riding the bus must wear a mask. Buses will be disinfected after the morning run and again after the afternoon run. Hand sanitizer will be available on all buses. 

  • All special transportation arrangements should be made with the bus company. 

  • Transportation changes during the school year may take 3-5 days to process.
     

How does the School Reopening Plan impact my child who may have an IEP or 504 Service Agreement? 

  • Each student's IEP or 504 service agreement team will work collaboratively to determine safe and best practices related to individualized student needs. Parents and guardians are active participants in their child's education; thus, they will be included in such conversations and decisions. Any student with a disability who cannot wear a mask or face shield due to a medical condition is not required to wear face coverings as per guidance received from the PA Department of Education; however, this must be recommended by the student's medical doctor and documentation is to be provided to Ms. Tammy Adams, Asst. to the Superintendent for Special Education and Student Services. 

  • Students who receive special education services will continue to receive services if their education is delivered virtually. IEP teams and special education teachers will facilitate IEP meetings to determine the frequency and delivery for such services.
     

What health and wellness protocols will be in place for students and staff? 

  • To view the District's complete plan for mitigating spread and keeping students and staff safe, please see the West Allegheny Health and Safety Plan.

  • The Governor's Targeted Mitigation Order does not apply to classroom settings but does apply to school activities outside of the classroom that are not related to educational instruction. 

  • As students enter the school daily, thermographic cameras will be used to take their temperature, and parents will be notified if a fever is detected or if the student is displaying symptoms. 

  • The West Allegheny Health and Safety Plan relies on all of us following the health organization mandates to do what we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19: 

  • MUST follow ACHD and PA Department of Health guidelines such as travel quarantine and exposure quarantine guidelines; reporting exposure, COVID illness and symptoms 

  • MUST complete daily home health screen prior to coming to school 

  • MUST comply with PA Mask Order 

  • MUST comply with social distancing rules 

  • MUST comply with hygiene and safety precautions 

  • MUST stay home if symptoms of illness are present 

  • West Allegheny nurses made five videos that are accessible on our reopening website including symptoms and screening, hand washing, sneeze and cough proper techniques, social distancing and mask etiquette and safety. 

  • Health organizations are strongly recommending everyone get a flu shot. We support that recommendation for students planning to attend our in-person model.
     

What are West Allegheny’s procedures for notifying families of exposure at school and/or during activities? 

  • The Allegheny County Health Department will be notified immediately of a positive case. As part of all COVID-19 case investigations, information will be quickly obtained from the student or staff member as to their close contacts since the onset of their symptoms. The actual nature of the contacts will be explored in detail, and multiple variables (i.e. was the case actually symptomatic during school or did the case only develop illness at home) will be considered. Once the information has been gathered, students and staff considered close contacts to the case (if any) will be notified of their exposure, using as little identifying information about the case as possible. Close contacts due to exposure will quarantine in accordance with Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines. Any mitigation steps will then be evaluated by the school and the Allegheny County Health Department. The individuals will be provided information on symptom monitoring during the quarantine. Our lead nurses will be contacts throughout the quarantine period to monitor symptoms and provide support prior to return to school.  

  • Please see the question on accessing learning while on quarantine.  

  • ACHD will work directly with us on contact tracing. We will notify any individual if they were exposed and expectations for quarantining. The guidance for requiring quarantine based on exposure depends on the time of exposure (for 15 minutes or more) and on the distance from the ill person (less than six feet). Closing a school or a classroom for cleaning depends on the contact tracing and numbers of individuals impacted. 

  • The District will not require COVID testing for every student/staff illness. COVID testing will be recommended based on the symptoms present. If testing is not possible, we will follow the quarantine protocols. West Allegheny nurses will not be COVID testing students or staff.
     

How will technology support my child in or out of school? 

  • The District has moved to a 1:1 technology plan and has purchased devices for each child regardless of educational delivery model.  Kindergarten students will be provided with an iPad. The District has purchased HP Chromebooks 11 G5, G6 and G7 education edition (EE) models for students in grades 1-12. Devices will be used in classrooms and at home. Students in grades K-12 will take their devices home daily. 

  • West Allegheny has adopted Canvas as the district’s new Learning Management System this school year. 

  • Canvas is a feature-rich platform that serves as a centralized communication hub for teachers, students, and families, offering an app for each user group and communication tools that include built-in videoconferencing as well as integration with Zoom. All users have access to assignments and gradebooks and the ability to set custom notification preferences.

Will my child be able to participate in electives/related arts in all Educational Delivery Models? 

  • We intend to offer all classes/courses with some modifications as necessary during in-person instruction. An example is that students will not change for gym class or swim in the pool. Students will be asked to wear comfortable clothing and appropriate shoes on their physical education days.  Physical education activities will be modified appropriately to encourage and promote social distancing. Activities will include light fitness and wellness-based activities such as walking, stretching, yoga, light weight lifting, etc. During physical education classes teachers will provide social distancing markers and cues as developmentally appropriate for various grade levels. Students will be required to wear masks during physical education. 

  • Our 6-12 chorus and band teachers will provide asynchronous/synchronous instruction to our students participating in 6-8 SOLA and 6-12 WAVA participating in any of the educational delivery models. In person students will continue to participate in band and chorus electives. There are some modifications being made for elementary band and chorus for both in-person and online students. 

  • All K-5 SOLA students will participate in online synchronous instruction for related arts according to their schedule.  

  • Students in 6-8 SOLA will participate in related arts through West Allegheny Virtual Academy.  

  • All K-5 WAVA students participate in physical education.  

  • All 6-8 WAVA students participate in a quarterly rotation of electives through Edmentum courseware.  

  • High school WAVA students should consult the side-by-side course comparison chart for information on elective courses available through WAVA.  

Will there be significant changes to meal service? 

  • All student meals will be provided for free through June 30, 2021.   

  • The menu options will remain consistent as in the past. Students will have lunch choices as well as ala carte options. All food will be handed/served to students rather than allowing students to self-serve. Elementary school students will select their lunch in the cafeteria line and then return to their classroom to eat. Elementary students will also continue to have recess time as part of their lunch period at the elementary schools. Students eating in their classrooms will still follow protocols regarding allergies. 

  • Lunch times for middle and high school remain the same as does our supervision model. Middle and high school students will select their meal options using the food court as has been done previously. Middle and high school students will be eating lunch in assigned areas in the school with seating charts. Middle school students will be using the cafeteria, which has been divided into cafeteria pods, the former locker bay area and gymnasium.  High school students will be eating in the cafeteria, which is partitioned into cafeteria pods and also an area on the auditorium stage. 

Will my child be able to participate in the meal service program if enrolled in SOLA or WAVA? 

  • Your child may continue to participate in the free meal service if they are enrolled in SOLA, WAVA and/or a 9-12 Hybrid student.  Curbside meal service is available daily from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. OR 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the middle school cafeteria, regardless of what school your child attends. Please pull up to the cafeteria entrance in the back of the middle school and your meal(s) will be brought to your vehicle. 

What Educational Learning Options were available to High School students? 

High School Educational Delivery Model options included In-person, Hybrid, or the West Allegheny Virtual Academy (WAVA).

  • Hybrid- In the Hybrid option your high school student attends in-person for part of the day and WAVA during the other portion.

  • WAVA- In WAVA your high school student takes all of their classes online from home. The WAVA model provides flexibility so that your child does not need to be online at a pre-determined time.

  • West Allegheny offers 138 in-person courses at our high school and 120 courses in West Allegheny Virtual Academy (WAVA). WAVA provides many comparable courses to our in-person courses at the high school and is supported by our high school teachers.  

  • Your child's brick and mortar schedule as well as their IEP and/or 504 service agreement can be accommodated in WAVA.  

  • WAVA credits will transfer seamlessly as WA has operated WAVA for several years. All WAVA courses are NCAA approved. Through WAVA, physical education courses require students to complete a physical activity log, which requires 15 hours per quarter for a .5 credit course and 30 hours per quarter for a 1.0 credit course. 

  • Hybrid and WAVA students remain West Allegheny students and are eligible to participate in extracurricular activities such as athletics and band. 

  • If your child receives special educational services, they will continue to receive support from our special education teachers related to goal attainment and progress monitoring, implementation of specially designed instruction, accommodations and tutoring. 

  • To view the course options available through both In-person and WAVA, see the Course Comparison. Most of our Advanced Placement classes are available in our virtual academy (WAVA), which our teachers support. 

  • We are not offering synchronous options at the high school as a result of the ability for students to access WAVA, which offers comparable courses to courses offered in-person, as well as the option to attend in a hybrid model, which allows students to attend in-person for part of day and complete other courses online. The synchronous model offered at K-8 does not offer live streaming into classrooms. There are dedicated teachers K-8 to instruct online at a set time. At the high school, due to the large number of specialty programs and courses offered and requirements for teacher certifications, we are unable to staff a fully online synchronous model. However, our WAVA program offers comparable courses, which can accommodate your child's schedule. 

  • CCAC courses offered through our Early College in High School Academy are not able to be taught online as our teachers are qualified and approved as affiliated CCAC professors and must follow CCAC guidelines. We are unable to live stream CCAC eligible courses. We strongly encourage considering a hybrid model where students attend a portion of the day to complete their college eligible courses and complete other courses in WAVA. 

  • Work release will be available to high school students who are meeting their indicated credit requirements. 

  • We believe the best model for academic learning is in-person. However, families have to make the choice based on your comfort level with the safety measures in place. West Allegheny cannot 100% mitigate all COVID risk.
     

What were the Educational Delivery Options offered to K-8 students? 

  • West Allegheny offered three options from which parents could choose: In-person Learning (planned for five days per week); Synchronous Online Learning Academy (SOLA) for K-8 families requiring a set schedule for real-time virtual instruction; or West Allegheny Virtual Academy (WAVA), which allows flexibility in scheduling and provides teacher support but not in real-time (asynchronously).

  • For the elementary in-person model, students will not switch classes for ELA and Mathematics. Their teachers will share two classrooms and switch rather than having students move. This allows for students to maintain one desk and not touch multiple desks.

  • Also at the elementary level, we are encouraging classes to use outdoor areas (weather permitting) as part of regular classroom instruction to provide breaks and fresh air to our in-person students. 

  • K-8 SOLA provides five days of live instruction with the same expectations and curriculum as the in-person model. West Allegheny's K-8 SOLA provides real-time instruction with a West Allegheny teacher(s) on a set daily schedule. Elementary online instruction begins no earlier than 8:30 am and will conclude on or around 3:15 pm. Middle school online instruction begins no earlier than 7:45 am and will conclude on or around 2:35 pm. 

  • SOLA requires the same amount of time as our in-person instructional model.  Students are online with teachers for instruction in their core content areas for the majority of the school day. They have additional asynchronous hours where assignments and activities need completed for each content area. Our synchronous model is a strong model because the in-person curriculum is implemented online allowing for a very smooth transition back to in-person when the pandemic is over.

  • The online synchronous model does not provide live streaming or Zooming into classrooms.  

  • Please refer to the SOLA presentation on our reopening page for additional details. 

  • WAVA K-8 students will participate in asynchronous instruction and complete assignments independently with parent/guardian support according to their own schedule. WAVA offers over 180 courses allowing students to develop robust schedules meeting diverse academic needs. Students have 24-hour access to a full online educational program. 

  • Please refer to the WAVA presentation located on our reopening page for additional details.


What items should my child/ren bring to school? 

  • Plan to send your child to school with a mask, a non-breakable bottle with water, and a book bag. If you are not comfortable with your child using the district-provided disinfectant, please send your preferred household disinfecting wipes. It is suggested that you have multiple masks for your child/ren to avoid daily laundering and please practice with your child/ren so they become comfortable wearing a mask. We also recommend putting your child's first and last name on their masks in permanent marker.

  • School and class specific supply lists are provided on the reopening page.
     

Will the school calendar remain the same? 

  • All students will follow the 2020-2021 School Calendar, regardless of their chosen educational delivery model (in-person, SOLA, WAVA, or 9-12 Hybrid)  
     

Will preschool still be offered at the high school? 

  • We are offering the pre-school program at the high school with preschool students rotating on an A/B schedule and remote learning every Friday.  Preschoolers will follow the same mask guidelines as the PA Mask order applies to children 2 and older.  

Will my child be able to check out books from the school library? 

  • Until further notice, we will not be circulating library books. We will be using e-books as a result of all students having their own Chromebook.
     

Will Middle and High School students use their lockers? 

  • We will not be using lockers at the middle or high school. Students should plan to carry their laptop and books in a backpack.
     

What are the procedures for student late arrival and early dismissal? 

  • In the event your child has an early dismissal, you will pull into the designated area within the school parking lot and call the front office. You will be asked security verification questions. A staff member will escort your child to your vehicle and ask for proof of identification in elementary and middle school. 

  • If your child/ren are getting dropped off late for school, please send them to the main office, wait in your vehicle and a staff member will call you once temperature screen is completed. Once your child is admitted to school, you may leave school campus. 


What disinfecting and ventilation protocols are in place and can be expected? 

  • We will be following the CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting buildings on a daily basis. Our custodial team has developed checklists of high touch surfaces and will be following the guidelines to clean and disinfect these areas daily. Additionally, the custodial staff has access to backpack sprayers and aerosol-based disinfecting room foggers for use in identified high traffic areas. 

  • The District placed hand sanitizer stations in every classroom and in high touch areas throughout the schools for student and staff use. 

  • For additional protection, the district will provide a disinfectant for wiping of desks between use that is classified as non-hazardous and requires no precautions for use. Parents who opt their child(ren) out of using the product should send disinfectant wipes to school with their child(ren) to wipe down student surfaces between use. Elementary and middle school students will wipe their desks after the teacher sprays the disinfectant on the desk. Desk disinfecting will occur in the elementary before and after lunch minimally. Middle school desk disinfecting will occur anytime students change classes. High school students will have access in every classroom to disinfectant spray bottles and paper towels to spray and wipe their desks and then sanitize their hands. 

  • Restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected on regular intervals throughout the day using staggered closings when necessary.

  • Aerosol disinfecting foggers will be used in certain areas and are hospital grade. They will be used when students are not in school. They will be used to disinfect sensory rooms, locker rooms and sports equipment; as well as being deployed in empty rooms if we have a reported case of COVID-19. The active ingredients are Ethanol and Petroleum gases. 

  • Closing a school or a specific classroom for cleaning depends on the contact tracing and numbers of individuals impacted. 

  • Increased filtration is being provided as well as increased outdoor airflow in all schools.