Ware County Schools Frequently Asked Questions - April 3, 2020
1) Q: Is school really closed/over for the 2019-2020 school year?
A: Yes, by order of Governor Brian Kemp, school facilities will remain closed for the remainder of this school year. All school facilities, including playgrounds, tennis courts, tracks, fields, and other areas are closed to the public until further notice.
2) Q: Are we doing online classes?
A: Due to the lack of available devices and Wi-Fi coverage in all student homes, the Ware County Board of Education has opted not to do online classes for students at this time. We will offer a supplementary packet and a list of digital resources available starting April 15th that families can use to help students retain what they have learned. The packet will not be graded. If you are interested in having a packet emailed to you, please complete the form at www.tinyurl.com/supplementalpacket.
3) Q: How will you determine if students are retained or promoted now that school is over?
A: We have developed a new set of promotion guidelines for the 2019-2020 school year due to the unique circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Promotion or retention will be determined at the school level by a committee composed of the teacher, a school administrator, and data review team members using report card performance data and classwork samples. Additional data to support the student’s growth and readiness may also be considered. These guidelines replace the current promotion/retention policy for the 2019-2020 school year only, in response to school closures caused by COVID-19.
Kindergarten: Promotion or placement decisions are based on students meeting the minimum promotion guidelines: Recognize a minimum of 70 of 100 sight words; Recognize/identify upper and lowercase letters in random order; Recognize and identify letter sounds; Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose narrative and informative sentences; Recognize characters, settings, and major events of a story that has been read or heard; Read or blend CVC words phonetically using consonants and vowels; Orally count to 50; Identify and write numerals 0 – 20; and Fluently add and subtract within 5.
Grades 1-5: An elementary student shall be promoted to the next grade if he/she passes reading and math and at least two (2) of the three (3) remaining academic subjects: language arts (English and spelling), social studies, science/health. Final grades from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd nine weeks will be averaged together to determine the student’s cumulative average in each subject. Students must have a 70 or higher in order to pass the subject.
Grades 6-8: A middle school student shall be promoted to the next grade if he/she passes mathematics and at least two (2) of the three (3) remaining academic subjects: English Language Arts, social studies, and science. Final grades from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd nine weeks will be averaged together to determine the student’s cumulative average in each subject. Students must have a 70 or higher in order to pass the subject.
Grades 9-12: A high school student shall be promoted to the next grade if he/she acquires the minimum number of Carnegie units of credit indicated: Grade 9 = 5 units, Grade 10 = 13 units, Grade 11 = 20 units, and Grade 12 = 28 units. The second semester of the 2019-2020 school year will consist of one nine-weeks period only for most classes. Exceptions may be AP or dual enrollment courses in which instruction is still taking place.
Appeals: There shall be no appeal of promotion/retention decisions beyond the school principal.
4) Q: What if I am a middle or high school student who is currently failing a class and thought I had the 4th nine weeks to bring my grade up? What options do elementary students have to bring their grades up?
A: Since school is closed, there will not be a 4th nine weeks grading period. We have reopened the 3rd nine weeks grading period to allow middle and high school students (grade levels in which GPAs are calculated or tracked) an opportunity to bring their grades up. Middle and high school students who are failing or need to pull their GPA up should work directly with their teacher to do so.
Elementary students may submit missing assignments from the 3rd nine weeks, but they will not have the opportunity to redo assignments that have already been submitted.
The final grading window will close April 15th. Assignments issued during the school closure beginning March 17th will not negatively impact a student’s grade if they are not turned in. Any submitted work may be used to improve the student’s current grade.
5) Q: Will the Class of 2020 have a graduation ceremony?
A: All Ware County Board of Education board members and administrators recognize what a significant milestone graduation is, and we are committed to providing a traditional graduation ceremony experience for the Class of 2020. The timing for the ceremony is impossible to predict at this time because we are unsure what future travel and gathering restrictions might be in place. Based on current information, we are likely looking several months into the future before we can reschedule graduation. As soon as we are able to set a date for the ceremony, we will share more information with the families of our graduating seniors.
6) Q: Will we still get our cap and gown, jewelry, or other Class of 2020 items we ordered? Why about yearbooks and pictures for other students?
A: Yes. Once the items are in and we are no longer under a shelter-in-place mandate, we will share with those affected how they can retrieve any items ordered.
7) Q: Will we still get an End of Pathway cord since we didn’t take the End of Pathway assessment (EOPA) due to the state waiver?
A: The cord signifies that the wearer has passed an industry certification test in a designated area. Students must pass the EOPA in order to earn a cord. We will provide any Senior who wishes to take the EOPA an opportunity to do so before the graduation ceremony is held so that cords can be properly displayed as a symbol of achievement.
8) Q: What about prom?
A: We regret to announce that due to social distancing guidelines and Governor Brian Kemp’s restriction on gatherings of groups over ten people, we had to make the difficult decision to cancel prom this year. It will not be rescheduled for a later date.
9) Q: I owe a fine. How am I supposed to pay it since school is out?
A: All fines for graduating seniors in the Class of 2020 have been forgiven from this point onward, due to the closure of school for the remainder of the 2019-2020 year. All other students will receive information about paying fines when school resumes next year.
10) Q: My child left his (glasses, jacket, etc.) at school. How can I get his/her belongings?
A: Please email your child’s principal with the item name and its location. The principal will retrieve the item from the building for you and give it to the School Resource Officer. The SRO will keep the item until a designated pickup time and location can be arranged.
11) Q: How will my field trip money be refunded?
A: School principals and trip advisors are working directly with companies to secure refunds. Once the companies have refunded payments, the school will issue a refund check to you. Your child’s principal will have the most up-to-date information about the status of refunds.
12) Q: What is the status of the feeding program?
A: As previously announced, we will not offer the feeding program during Spring Break April 6 – 10, 2020. Additionally, due to Governor Kemp’s shelter-in-place mandate, we will be suspending our feeding program after Spring Break. Friday, April 3rd is the final date the feeding program will be offered until further notice. Families who wished to pick up a supplemental packet at a feeding site will need to request the packet be sent via email. Hard copies will no longer be available.
13) Q: Will I still be able to earn perfect attendance this year?
A: If you met all Perfect Attendance requirements up through the final day of school (March 16, 2020), you are eligible to earn Perfect Attendance for the 2019-2020 school year.
14) Q: Will there be an Honors Day ceremony?
A: We will not hold any Honors Day ceremonies due to the ban on groups of more than ten individuals gathering. Schools may choose to print certificates for students and distribute them at a later date.
15) Q: Will I still get a yearbook or pictures I ordered?
A: Yes, but we do not have a timeline to share for when those items will arrive or be distributed. Some yearbook companies have experienced delays in printing. Once we are able to safely distribute items that have been ordered, we will do so.
16) Q: What do I do with my textbooks or other items belonging to the school system?
A: You are responsible for all school-issued items during the school closure. Please keep your textbooks and any other school-issued items in a safe place until school is back in session.
We thank you for your continued patience and partnership as we work through the challenges presented by COVID-19 and navigate the information we are receiving, which often changes on a daily basis. We have had to make some very difficult decisions, but they have been made with the safety of our students, their families, and our staff at the forefront. We encourage you to continue practicing social distancing and handwashing safety measures in order to protect yourself and those around you. If you have a question that wasn’t addressed in the FAQs, please send a private message to the Ware County Schools Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!