St. Tammany Parish Public Schools is dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of our students and staff. As a result, we would like to keep the public informed by providing this list of answers to frequently asked questions. This is an extremely fluid situation and this list will be updated as information becomes available.
(Updated September 25, 2020)
General | Students | Safety Protocols | Meals | Transportation | Technology | Virtual School
Have questions about COVID-19?
Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will open houses be held?
Schools may hold virtual open houses or in-person open houses follow group size limitations and safety protocols.
Are volunteers and visitors allowed on school campuses?
Volunteers and non-essential visitors are not allowed in school buildings except under extenuating circumstances. This includes PTA members, parent volunteers, and parents visiting their children for lunch, etc. Visitors and parents/caregivers are asked to contact the school with questions and concerns and inquire about access to campus to check out their child, drop off medication, etc. Essential visitors are individuals who must enter schools to conduct visits in accordance with Louisiana law or policy. Essential visitors are defined as individuals who conduct CLASS® observations, observe teacher candidates as part of the teacher preparation quality rating system, and provide essential supports and services including, but not limited to, early intervention services, special education services, or mental health consultation.
Will before and/or afterschool programs be offered this school year?
Schools determine if before and/or afterschool programs will be offered on their campus. Before and afterschool programs may continue but must adhere to maximum group sizes and physical distance protocols. For younger students unable to maintain physical distance, static groups will be maintained. If you are interested in before or afterschool programs, please contact your child’s school to see if it is available this school year.
Given the impact school closures have had on the well-being of students, what resources will be available this year to support their mental health?
Support and services will be provided to enhance the social and emotional well-being of students and employees. Access to full-time Mental Health Providers (MHPs) will continue at every school. Developmentally appropriate communication will be provided for students about wellness strategies and who to talk to about their feelings and concerns.
Where can I learn more about the STPPS Virtual School?
To learn more about the STPPS Virtual School, visit www.stpsb.org/virtual.
How do I register my child for the STPPS Virtual School or a traditional brick-and-mortar school?
Students enrolling in STPPS for the first time and students transferring to the Virtual School from another STPPS school can register online.
Can I register my child for the STPPS Virtual School after the deadline?
Yes. Students can be registered after the deadline.
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How many students will be in each classroom?
In Phase 1, the maximum group size will not exceed 10, including the teacher/aides; in Phase 2, the maximum group size will not exceed 25, including the teacher/aides; and in Phase 3, the maximum group size will not exceed 50, including the teacher/aides. Teachers will adjust their classroom layout before school starts to make sure each classroom can accommodate this number of students safely.
Will my child’s temperature be taken?
Each child’s temperature will be taken, and screening protocols will be followed when they arrive in their homeroom or first period. Students will not be screened upon entry to the building to prevent students from congregating and lines to form, and instead will report directly to their classroom. If a child normally eats breakfast before school, breakfast will be served in a Grab-and-Go style to be consumed in classrooms, outdoors or in other noncongregate settings, or in the cafeteria with appropriate partitions to maintain static groups and social distancing to the greatest extent possible.
Can students in the Virtual School play sports or participate in extracurricular activities?
Limited extracurricular activities and clubs may be offered for students enrolled in the STPPS Virtual School. We are exploring options to best meet the needs of students. Due to safety reasons and requirements of the LHSAA, students will not be eligible to participate in sports at traditional brick-and-mortar schools while enrolled in the virtual school.
My child is a high school athlete. Will he/she lose their athletics eligibility if they transfer from the STPPS Virtual School back to their brick-and-mortar high school?
If the student transfers from the STPPS Virtual School to his/her high school in their attendance zone, they may be eligible. If at any time a student transfers from one LHSAA member school to another LHSAA member school in the same attendance zone, the student shall become immediately ineligible for one calendar year from the date of enrollment/attendance in the second school.
What will happen at recess?
Students will stay in their static classroom groups for recess and will be allowed to go outdoors and use playground equipment with proper social distancing practices to the greatest extent possible. If multiple classes or groups are at recess at the same time, each group will remain physically separate from the others.
Will absences resulting from COVID-19 reasons be excused?
Pursuant to BESE Bulletin 741, student attendance guidelines apply when a student misses school. Please reference the District Handbook for Students and Parents for additional attendance guidelines and procedures.
If my child has to quarantine, will he/she be able to work from home?
Should there be a need for a student, class, or school to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19, continuity of education will be provided through distance learning pending the return to class/campus. Google Classroom will be used as the learning platform for grades PK-12. Teacher webpages through the Student Progress Center will be maintained for parent/caregiver communication. Students will work independently, and teachers will be available for student support. The temporary transitions to distance learning are not part of the STPPS Virtual School.
If my child misses school due to COVID-19 illness, will he/she be able to do make-up work?
STPPS will work with families to ensure continuity of education and opportunities for make-up work when students miss school due to sickness. Pursuant to BESE Bulletin 741, student attendance guidelines apply when a student misses school. Please reference the District Handbook for Students and Parents for additional attendance guidelines and procedures.
How does the hybrid learning model work?
Students in grades 6-8 will follow a hybrid schedule consisting of learning on campus and through distance learning at home until they transition to in-person learning five days a week beginning September 30. Students in grades 9-12 will continue with the hybrid schedule until November 9. Students are split into two groups and physically attend school on alternating days. Students with the first letter in their last name beginning with A-K will physically attend school on Mondays and Wednesdays. Students with the first letter in their last name with L-Z will physically attend school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Groups will alternate attending in person on Fridays. On the days students do not report to campus in person, required distance learning will be assigned by their teacher(s) and completed online through Google Classroom or other assigned work. Assignments will be graded, and attendance will be taken on the distance learning days.
Will high school students continue the modified block schedule?
Students in grades 9-12 will remain in the hybrid model through the end of the first nine weeks. Beginning Monday, October 5, the modified block schedule will be replaced with a regular schedule where students see all of their teachers on days they attend school in person.
When will high school students return to school in person five days a week?
Our projected date for grades 9-12 to return to school in person five days a week is Monday, November 9, and at that time, we will evaluate whether a regular schedule or a modified block schedule will be used. These decisions are contingent on guidance at that time from health officials and the Louisiana Department of Education.
Why did the plan for Phase 3 change?
After discussing the needs of each school with our administrators and assessing what is best for our students, teachers, and support employees moving forward, we have modified our plan for Phase 3. This was made in collaboration with health officials and the evaluation of new guidance from the Louisiana Department of Education.
Why can’t all high school students return full time?
It would be difficult to follow safety guidelines because our high schools are so big, have more class transitions, and other logistics involving lunch.
How many students will be allowed in each classroom?
In Phase 3, class sizes and number of people in a group will be limited to 50 individuals, including adults.
Are facemasks still required?
Yes, facemasks for students in grades 3-12 and all employees are required in all buildings on campus. Face coverings can be brought from home, or disposable masks will be provided by the school. Student face masks and coverings can be patterned, have the school or STPPS logo, or be monogrammed as long as they comply with the dress and personal grooming policy stated in the District Handbook for Students and Parents.
What is the difference between the STPPS Virtual School and the distance learning model that has been considered based on the state’s phase at the time schools open?
The STPPS Virtual School is a full-time virtual school that students enroll in and receive instruction through an online learning platform. Students enrolled in a brick-and-mortar school may participate in the distance learning model or hybrid learning model as dictated by the phase the state is in. With distance learning, students receive daily distance instruction and support services online at home with a combination of real-time instruction with their teacher via Google Meet or Zoom and independent work via Google Classroom. The STPPS Virtual School began at the start of the school year, and operation will not be dependent on state phases or learning model the rest of the district is using at a given time.
I don’t feel comfortable sending my child to school. What are my options?
The STPPS Virtual School is an option for parents who do not feel comfortable sending their child to school in person. Students are asked to remain enrolled in the STPPS Virtual School for one semester. Please carefully evaluate if virtual learning is a good fit for your child and family before enrolling.
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How do I screen my child before we leave our house in the morning?
Parents and caregivers are asked to screen their child for symptoms including a fever of 100.4°F or higher, new cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, body aches, new headache, facial flushing, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, new loss of taste or smell and muscle pain. If a student has any of these symptoms and/or has a reasonable belief of possible exposure to COVID-19, they should stay home.
Are face shields allowed instead of masks?
Face shields are not allowed to take the place of face masks or coverings. Masks are required for adults and students in grades 3-12. Wearing a face shield in addition to a mask of face covering for additional protection is allowed.
Are face masks required?
Face coverings can be brought from home, or disposable masks will be provided by the school. Student face masks and coverings can be patterned, have the school or STPPS logo, or be monogrammed as long as they comply with the dress and personal grooming policy stated in the District Handbook for Students and Parents.
The Louisiana Board of Education and Secondary Education approved minimum safety standards for the reopening of public schools that include face mask and covering requirements to the greatest extent possible for all adults and students in grades 3-12. When STPPS employees are at work in person, and students attend school in person, we will follow the policy set forth by BESE.
Are neck gaiters allowed instead of face masks?
The CDC does not recommend the use of neck gaiters as a substitute for cloth face coverings. The effectiveness of neck gaiters is not known, and they should only be used until an appropriate face covering can be secured.
What should I do if my child can’t wear a face covering due to medical issues?
If unable to wear a mask, the student shall complete the Medical or Disability Impact Exceptions Request Form (located in the 2020-2021 School Year Planning Guide). The accommodation request form shall include documentation from a qualified medical professional or healthcare provider identifying the medical issue or disability that indicates the need for an exception. Get more information and access the form in the Student Safe Start Guide portion of the 2020-2021 School Year Planning Guide.
How will schools handle COVID-19 positive cases? Will parents of the students and families affected be notified?
If a student or employee at a school is or is presumed to be positive for COVID-19, they will not be allowed on campus or isolated in a sick room until they can be sent home. The school principal will notify the District Health and Safety Coordinator or designated Supervisor immediately, and the Office of Public Health will be notified. We will follow the guidance of health officials to determine any additional steps related to communication, quarantining practices, enhanced cleaning or disinfection processes, or school facility closure. State of Louisiana contact tracers will conduct contact tracing activities, including school-based contacts. Parents will be notified if their child is considered a close contact and may have been exposed to COVID-19, along with any next steps. Please see the Student Safe Start Guide portion of the 2020-2021 School Year Planning Guide and the Employee Safe Start Guide for more information.
What will be the protocol for allowing children back to school if they or a family member test positive?
Please reference the return to school/work criteria in the Student Safe Start Guide portion of the 2020-2021 School Year Planning Guide and the Employee Safe Start Guide for the most current guidelines based on guidance by governing authorities and public health officials.
Will you enforce rules for wearing face coverings, social distancing, and temperature checks?
Yes. The safety protocols are set by policies and will be enforced like any other rules.
What happens when students don’t follow the safety rules? (Refuse to wash their hands, don’t cover their cough, don’t wear a face mask)
Expectations will be clearly communicated, and school administrators will make every effort to enforce the policies and rules without disciplinary measures needing to be taken. Any disciplinary actions will follow the Uniform Discipline Code, which can be found in the District Handbook for Students and Parents.
How will students and staff be able to social distance?
Protocols and signage are in place to ensure proper distancing in classrooms, hallways, entrances, and other locations around campus. The number of people allowed in a room will be reduced in accordance with safety guidelines to allow for appropriate social distancing. Younger students who are unable to maintain a physical distance from other students or adults will be assigned static groups. Students in grades 6-12 following the hybrid schedule will reduce the number of students attending school in person in half, enabling more social distancing in classrooms and during transitions.
How can we keep children apart?
Classrooms and other facilities will be arranged to allow for appropriate social distancing. Physical barriers will be implemented where necessary; students will be trained on how to socially distance, and signage and floor markers will be posted to guide students. Younger students who are unable to maintain a physical distance from other students or adults will be assigned static groups.
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Will students enrolled in the STPPS Virtual School and students in the hybrid model be able to receive school meals?
Grab & Go meals are available through drive-thru pick-up for students enrolled in the STPPS Virtual School and students in the hybrid model on days they are not on campus in person. September 29 will be the last day Grab & Go meals will be provided for students in grades 6-8 who are returning to school in person five days a week. Beginning September 30, the pick-up location for Grab & Go meals for eligible students will be the high school in the student's learning community. Complete the form and get information.
Will breakfasts and lunches be provided for students?
Breakfast and lunch will be served Grab & Go style for traditional, hybrid, distance, and virtual learning settings. In the traditional school setting and when students in the hybrid model attend school in person, grab-and-go meals will be consumed in classrooms, outdoors, or in other noncongregate settings, or in the cafeteria in static groups or with appropriate social distancing to the greatest extent possible. Students are also allowed to bring food from home. Drive-thru pick up of meals will be available for students in the hybrid model on days they are not at school in person and for students in the distance learning model. Students attending the STPPS Virtual School will be provided a Grab & Go option for breakfast and lunch at an assigned school through drive-thru pick up.
Where will students eat meals?
Each individual school will decide where students eat meals to ensure appropriate social distancing. Breakfast and lunch will be served Grab & Go style for traditional, hybrid, and distance learning settings. Meals may be consumed in classrooms, outdoors or in other noncongregate settings, or in the cafeteria with appropriate partitions to maintain static groups and social distancing to the greatest extent possible.
How do I apply for free and reduced meals?
To apply for free and reduced meals, apply online. This is the fastest method to have your child(ren) approved. If you cannot apply online, complete an application form and submit to the cafeteria manager or the School Food Service Department in the C. J. Schoen Administrative Complex in Covington. Application forms are available at all schools and the C. J. Schoen Administrative Complex in Covington.
Has the USDA granted free meals for STPPS students?
Yes, the USDA has temporarily granted free meals for STPPS students. Free meals include both breakfast and lunch – both in-school and Grab & Go. While the free meals are temporary, parents must complete the 2020-2021 Free and Reduced Meal Application for continuation of benefits. The Grab & Go Meal Consent Form is still required prior to picking up grab & go meals for the first time. Free meals are for STPPS students ONLY.
I didn't apply for the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program in May. Can I still do so?
Eligible families who did not apply for the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program in May and June can take advantage of the second application window that opens September 8 at 8 a.m. and closes September 29 at 5 p.m. Please note, to successfully apply, the information entered in the application must match the information in school records for the children (names, dates of birth, schools, etc.). Eligible families may view the P-EBT flyer for more information and to apply online.
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What specific safety measures will be implemented to make buses safe for students and staff?
Bus capacity will be limited based on the phase the state is in at the time, passengers will be spaced to the maximum extent possible, drivers/aides and students in grades 3-12 will wear masks or face coverings, windows will be open to allow ventilation, and frequent cleaning and disinfecting will take place.
I completed the bus questionnaire and contacted the Transportation Department to reserve a seat. How do I confirm my child will have a seat on the bus?
Students will be able to ride a school bus, whether a seat has been reserved or not. Seat reservations are not mandatory. We asked parents and caregivers to reserve a seat so we would know how many riders to expect for planning and logistical purposes.
Where can I get bus stop and driver information?
A Bus Stop Locator and information is available at www.stpsb.org/transportation/.
How will carlines work if more parents are transporting their children to school instead of taking buses?
Each school is determining the most efficient way to operate carlines. We understand the carlines may be longer and may take more time, but due to reduced school bus capacity, we need as many parents/caregivers as possible to transport their children to enable schools to open for in-person instruction.
How will schools handle drop-off/pick-up?
Each school will determine the procedures that will best meet the needs of the school and campus layout. Protocols for social distancing will be implemented; signage and markers will be displayed. All individuals will wash or sanitize their hands before entering the school and adults, and students in grades 3-12 will wear masks or face coverings.
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When will Chromebooks be distributed?
Schools are distributing Chromebooks to students as soon as they are available. Schools will ask parents and caregivers to complete the Chromebook Use Policy Form in order for students to be issued a Chromebook.
How do I use a Chromebook if I do not have internet access at home?
Internet service options may be available through your cellular service company or local provider. The service providers below can assist with hotspot options in areas where broadband internet access is not an option. A mobile hotspot allows you to connect one or multiple devices to the internet. These options will be independent of the school system: AT&T, Boost Mobile, FreedomPOP, Karma, Net10, Netzero, Total Wireless, Straight Talk, T-Mobile, Xfinity, and Verizon.
What if my child does not have Internet access?
Contact your child’s school.
How do I access teacher webpages?
Supplemental online resources are available on teacher webpages, which are accessed through the Student Progress Center. View the Teacher Website Guide.
What is Google Meet?
Google Meet is a video-communication tool teachers use to communicate with students. View the Google Meet Guide for more information and tips.
How do I log into my Chromebook?
To log into your school-issued Chromebook, you will use your Student ID number and your password.
How do I log into Moodle?
Go to moodle.stpsb.org and click the login button. Your username is your Student ID (the same as last year’s; you can also find it on your report card). Your password is the one you created. Once you are logged into Moodle, you will see the courses that you are enrolled in.
How do I log into the Student Progress Center (JPAMS)?
To log into the Student Progress Center, go to jpams.stpsb.org/progress. If you have trouble logging on, please contact your child’s school for assistance.
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