|Kinder – 8th||Level 4: Increased Capacity||April 26th|
Our Kindergarten – 8th grade students will return to campus on Monday, April 26th in Level 4: Increased Capacity. Please see the Return to School Guidebook below for additional information regarding our reopening plans.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The following questions were curated from parent surveys and feedback the school has received. We will continue to update this section of the website as more questions arise and more information becomes available. If you have any questions that you would like included, please email them to [email protected].
Lunch will be ‘grab and go’ and will be available to all students. Please see our Return to School guidebook for additional information on our Breakfast and Lunch procedures.
2. Is there really a big outcry for health and safety issues?
Yes. Health and safety is our primary focus. This includes not only the physical, social emotional, and mental health of our students, but of our staff and families as well. We believe that when we focus on health and safety, we will arrive at the right answer more often. Westlake Charter School takes this charge incredibly seriously. We are committed to think of each stakeholder, each community member, and each individual as we draft our policies, practices and procedures in collaboration with local health officials.
3. Kids need to take breaks from wearing masks/not wear mask for extended time frames.
As we prepare to return to in-person instruction, the health and safety of our students, staff and community is a top priority. Although mask requirements may change, we continue to follow California Department of Public Health guidelines and ask all students and staff to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth while on campus.
4. I don’t want students to wear masks.
Thank you, we completely understand, we are also nervous about this, however we appreciate any support that is offered from home for our school to meet California Public Health guidance.
5. I am concerned about safety of students/teachers/admin if we return to campus, but know importance of being in the classroom.
We agree, this is a balance. This is why we believe it is important to have a multi-leveled plan. While we wish we could race to Level:4 and get everyone back to school, we do not feel that is a safe way to start. We appreciate your support for starting cautiously and building our capacity so that we can eventually arrive at each next level safely.
6. Will Westlake add plastic partitions on the tables between each student, such as what they’re doing for cashiers at supermarket check outs, in their classroom?
Great question, these types of partitions are recommended where social distancing guidelines can not be met. Our current plans are based on meeting social distancing guidelines of keeping students at least 6 feet apart at all times, wearing masks, and frequently washing hands. If there were a situation where this standard could not be met, we would consider the use of these plexiglass partitions.
7. I have safety concerns with students sharing toys with one another.
This is an excellent point. We have temporarily eliminated all shared supplies for the year, and therefore, students will be issued individual supplies. We continue to explore the possibility of cleaning outdoor supplies that can be used during activity break periods, and will provide an update to this page as new information or practices become available.
8. What preventative measures are being taken at the school to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
Everything from altering the schedule, to physically altering the campus have been the work of our entire staff during this time. You will see hundreds of decisions that have been made and documented by reading through these FAQs and the Return to School guidebook.
9. What will happen if one student tests positive for COVID-19?
This is an excellent question, you will find our protocol documented in the Return to School guidebook. In short, a positive case launches several steps including consultation from Sacramento County Public Health which leads to contact tracing and could shift a classroom, grade level, or the entire school back to Level 1: Distance Learning.
10. How will staff monitor and ensure proper use of masks and hand washing?
Staff, students and families will all be engaged in training on this subject as we prepare to return to campus. Staff and families will be reminded to wear a mask (and provided one, if necessary) upon entering the campus.
11. Will the school provide medical services if a child needs them?
Westlake Charter School has a Health Aide who has protocols for a range of health scenarios, including the display of symptoms of COVID-19.
12. What are the health screening procedures for staff, ie daily temperature screening, symptom screening, etc.? Can that please also be shared with us and posted on the return to school webpage?
All staff, students and essential visitors to campus will be asked to self-screen before leaving for campus, than will undergo a verbal screening and a temperature screening upon arrival. More details can be found in the Return to School guidebook.
13. When a child is screened at the entrance and is “negative” for all the symptoms, yet a teacher is noticing symptoms while in class (example: fever or frequent coughing – not due to a known or chronic condition), I understand the child will go to a separate area to wait to be picked up at the office? Will the staff taking care of that child have proper PPE on for a potential covid positive student? Is there a school nurse or doctor available to handle these scenarios or called upon as a resource?
Excellent question, we too are concerned for the health and safety of not only our students, but staff and community as well. PPE will be a part of our protocols within the classroom and our Health Aide has a specific set of protocols for handling any person who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
14. If a child has symptoms while in school and goes home, will that child be required to stay home for a certain amount of time (what is that amount of time?) and/or test for COVID? If at any point the child gets tested, what would happen to the cohort in the meantime, including the teacher? Would we all then go back to level 1 as a precautionary measure? Do we wait for the results to come back, and will those results be reported to the school/district? What will be the process of returning back to school? Will there be a protocol in place for that?
Yes, this is on all of our minds as well. Our current protocols are taken directly from Sacramento County Public Health recommendations and they include multiple potential responses made in consultation with local health officials. It is possible that students sent home with symptoms could be required to quarantine for as short as 72 hours after symptoms subside and as long as 2 weeks with or without negative test results depending on the severity of the symptoms and the consultation of the local health authorities.
15. Do the doors remain shut during in-class instruction? If they are left open to increase circulation, will that then pose other safety risks?
Great question, please see the Return to School guidebook for more information on our ventilation procedures, including our HVAC and filtration system.
16. How do teachers handle students who are not following social distancing guidelines or masking policies?
As with all behavior, we are focused on teaching the correct behavior and collaborating with families regarding the redirection of behavior that is not considered appropriate.
16. Can child care, like the BASE, be offered on the school campus?
This is a great question and one that was recently reiterated by the Sacramento County Public Health department. According to the County, students can attend childcare programs in small, stable cohorts.
17. I don’t think we are in a safe zone to go back to school.
Westlake continues to work closely with Sac County Public health to monitor COVID numbers and current guidance on when and how to safely reopen school.
18. Will kindergarten need to wear a face covering on campus as well?
To support the health and safety of everyone, at this time, all staff and students will wear a face covering while on campus.
19. If COVID-19 is positively found, how will the school react?
WCS will follow the Sacramento County Public Health guidelines regarding exposure to COVID-19.
Yes. We are working with our specialties teachers to embed PE, Art and Spanish as a part of our school week, and specialties are currently planned to occur during asynchronous work time. Please see the Return to School guidebook for additional details.
2. How are we going to make specialties possible?
The specialties team is working on a multitude of solutions that range from in-class, online and embedded into school activities learning opportunities. The team is working hard to ensure that our students continue to have access to high quality Art, Spanish and PE curriculum and instruction.
3. How many hours will the children go to school for?
The state of California has updated the daily instructional minutes requirements to the following number of minutes: Kindergarten: 180, 1st-3rd: 230, 4th-8th: 240. In addition to these minutes there is time each day for recess and lunch. The start and end times have been updated in the Return to School guidebook.
4. I’d like an option of distance learning until school is back to normal.
All families can request long-term Distance Learning at any time during the 2020-2021 school year.
5. When the kids return to school will they be able to get out all of their pent up energy and their need to connect with friends before class instruction starts? If not, there will be a lot of talking in class.
School will include daily activity time and lots of talking in class! We start every day in morning meeting which encourages student interaction.
6. Will there be a teachers aid provided to kinder teaches given the circumstances?
We have teacher’s aides at every grade level. To ensure small class sizes Kindergarten has expanded by one classroom making class sizes even smaller than in previous years.
7. Provide some guidance on how to instruct at home. I’ve heard of home schooling but I’m not familiar with the practice. Teachers were educated for years on how to teach. Can you please provide a parent teaching handbook or training session for us?
This is a great suggestion. This is being discussed with staff to determine the best way to help prepare parents for the road ahead.
8. I was wondering if the school is going to provide us the Textbooks/workbooks, specifically for Math (McGraw Hill) for the concepts that the class is going to cover for this school year?
Textbooks and workbooks will be provided to students based on each grade level’s instructional plans.
9. Is the expectation that young children will sit in front of a computer for hours straight with just a lunch break? What does this expectation really look like for young kids?
Great question. Please see the Return to School guidebook regarding what a day in the life of a student will look like.
10. My daughter was in fifth grade last year and, due to the transition to distance learning, wasn’t offered the sexual education course as was typical for that grade. Would it be possible to offer that unit for the sixth graders this year instead? I’d much prefer that rather than have students wait until the eight grade unit.
The admin team is looking into how to cover this content in 6th grade this year.
11. We ask that you allow special education aids on campus as they are essential workers.
We value all members of our staff and look forward to bringing everyone back on campus following health and safety guidelines.
12. Curious about what the classrooms will look like. Our 7th grader would like to know what your plan is to keep students safe. Will there be small groups or all in one class. He also wants to know if there are small groups- can he request to be with particular students. Will the students have the same classes and teachers they have now?
We continue to keep health and safety the center of all the decisions we make. With our Baseline schedule, having cohorts of students on campus at one time allows us to reduce the number of students to small groups of no more than 14 and maintain 6ft distance in a classroom setting. Students will continue to have the same classes and teachers they have now.
This is an excellent question and one that our team discussed. Our primary objective in building classes for the fall was the Social and Emotional health of our students. Teachers helped to build class rosters by identifying friends for each student. Next the rosters needed to be split into two cohorts to allow for alternating schedules, while making efforts to preserve these crucial friendships. Finally, we had to build these rosters for over 1,000 students and ensure that siblings each landed in the same cohort, while also being aware of secondary factors such as keeping advisory classes in the middle school feasible and ensuring students had access to critical staff for tiered interventions. We are proud of the work we did throughout this highly complex process, however we recognize that it would have been improved had parents had an opportunity to choose their schedule. If you have any questions on your cohort, please email [email protected] and we’d be happy to help.
2. Will teachers get more permanent aids to help with the constant supervision of kids within their classroom?
Schedules are built to ensure that supervision is occurs in the classroom, during activity time, as well as when students are coming on to, and leaving campus.
Great question. Our current best thinking is that we will have staggered start times, but a singular dismissal time for all students. Please see the Return to School guidebook for additional details.
2. If school is going back as a reduced schedule, will you be cutting costs by eliminating staff that isn’t needed/used? PE, art, etc?
Westlake Charter School has made no layoffs nor reductions in staff due to budgetary restrictions. All our Art, Spanish and PE teachers will be on campus serving our students.
3. If you need to coordinate schedules with siblings at another school, how will that work?
As was described above, we spent a lot of effort ensuring that we aligned our schedules with our siblings on campus. To be honest, the logistics of thousands of students attending nearly 20 campuses across Natomas, each on a modified schedule of some kind will undoubtedly lead to some inconvenience, however, with that said, we are working hard to reduce the discomfort every way we can.
4. Can WCS families coordinate schedules in order to help one another out or for childcare purposes?
Yes! WCS and our WAVE Parent Team have been discussing the potential launch of a Child Care Cooperative, where parents who have students in the same cohort can help one another out during Distance Learning days. BASE will also be an option for families when we return to campus.
5. If we need our kid in BASE and can’t afford it, will there be financial support?
BASE accepts a variety of subsidy programs including Child Action. If you have questions on how BASE can support you, please contact [email protected]
6. I want kids back to school 5 days a week as soon as possible.
Yes, we want that too! We will continue to collaborate with local public health officials to determine when that might be possible.
7. Is full time regular school a possibility?
Yes, our plan includes five levels of returning to school. Level 4 plans include students possibly returning to school daily. We have opened six new classrooms to reduce class sizes so that we can socially distance and return to school daily. We will continue to collaborate with local public health officials to determine when that might be possible.
8. How many days will my child be in school in person?
We will determine which level of reopening is appropriate based on local health information. In Level 1: Distance Learning, all students will be learning from home five days a week. In Level’s 2 & 3: Orientation and Baseline, students will be on campus 2 days a week and learning through distance learning 3 days a week. In Level’s 4 & 5: Increased Capacity and Full Capacity, students may return to school daily.
9. Do you offer a homeschooling option?
Yes, any family who would like to select long-term distance learning may do so.
10. During Distance Learning are parents/guardians able to sit with their students on a Google Meet during instruction?
Parents or guardians are not permitted to appear or be heard on camera during online activities.
11. Are uniforms still required?
Uniforms are required as usual anytime students are on campus. Students are not required to be in uniform when they are at home for distance learning.
12. Is plexi glass being considered as an alternative to wearing masks in the classroom? If cost is a consideration, I know myself and other parents would be willing to donate.
Our team has looked into plexiglass and is considering the possibilities for classroom use. Sacramento County Public Health advises to use face coverings and six feet distance in the classroom setting. In instances when visitor interaction, such as the front office, is necessary to use plexiglass.
13. When school reopens, how many hours are kids going to be in school? Is it going to be a full school day?
On Campus Start & End Times for our Level 4: Increased Capacity model are:
Kindergarten 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
1st-3rd grades 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
4th-8th grades 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
14. Is there a possibility that in person time will be extended beyond a couple of hours? How does the in person help working parents when they are only gone a couple of hours? How much interaction will the students get with each other when only together for such a short period of time?
While we agree that there are so many limitations to the current Baseline schedule, we know we have to start somewhere. We look forward to supporting academics and the social emotional well being of our students given the current model we have. We are committed to continued innovation to support our community as time goes on.
15. Can you please continue to push for lunches and breakfasts to be free? Anything you can do to help parents financially whose kids are at base right now we would really appreciate it.
Great news! The free meals program has been extended through June 20, 2021!
Westlake Charter School will use this page to continually update our communications in response to the latest information pertaining to school reopening. Please also read the weekly communications that are sent home – if you do not receive these weekly communications, please email [email protected]
2. Will BASE be open when students are back on campus?
Yes, BASE will be open. Preregistration and prepayment of BASE is required in order to help us plan for small stable cohorts. Please see the Return to School guidebook for additional program details.
3. Can you help me understand the safety protocols BASE will have in place?
BASE will follow the same hygiene and social distancing protocols as WCS. Please make sure to send your student with a mask each day, as all staff and students must wear a mask while on campus.
6. Do I need to reserve a space for my student(s) in order to attend BASE?
Due to the need to ensure social distancing, families will be asked to pre-register and pre-pay for BASE. Additional details on how to register for BASE will be released soon.
7. How much does it cost to attend BASE?
BASE will offer a full day rate and an afterschool only option during Level 3: Baseline. While the rates are daily, fees and reservations are due weekly. In order to attend, a reservation must be made and the fees paid at least 7 days prior to the desired week of attendance. For example: If you would like to have your student attend the week of March 15th, your reservation and payment would be due on Monday, March 8th by 5pm.
Program fees per day are:
Full Day: $45 (8am-3pm: Wednesdays)
After School Only: $25 (11am-3pm: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)
8. How do I sign up for BASE?
If your student did not attend the BASE Distance Learning Camps, please print, complete and submit this registration packet at least 48 hours in advance of your student’s first day, along with the required $30 registration fee (per family). The registration packet and fee can be brought to school, or scanned and emailed to [email protected] If you have any questions on BASE, or the registration process, please contact Jen Holbrook at: [email protected]
If you have any questions, please continue to visit this FAQ page or email [email protected] and we will try to answer as quickly as possible.