Q&A: Everything Manual students need to know about school closure

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Photo by Tyler Lericos

Outside the front entrance door of Manual, exit 1. This serves as the primary entrance for parents and visitors heading to the main office.

By RedEye Staff, duPont Manual High School

You asked and we answered. We’ve compiled a list of the questions Manual students had pertaining to school closure, Manual’s plans, scheduling, AP exams and much more. Let us know what questions you have here.

Note that no Manual student, parent or teacher is allowed in the building during the cancelation. If needed, you can still email faculty members or call the school at (502) 485-8241.

Why is it important for schools to close?

Because COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus, the long-term effects for those that are infected are not yet known. The CDC has said “social distancing”, including school closures, can slow the spread of the disease in local communities. Younger people appear to be less vulnerable than older people in terms of both showing symptoms of the disease and the severity of their symptoms. Currently, the mortality rate is estimated to be anywhere from 1% to 4%, but is higher among those over the age of 60, those that are immunocompromised, and those with respiratory conditions.

Are masks effective means of protection against the virus? What about gloves?

The COVID-19 is mostly proven to be transferred from hard surfaces and direct contact. Washing your hands, wearing gloves and avoiding direct contact with other people as much as possible are the most effective means of protection. Avoiding large group gatherings and events can help prevent transmission. The COVID-19 is not proven to be airborne according to the CDC’s definition but can be transferred by water droplets. Coughing, sneezing and in some cases, breathing on other people can transfer this virus so it is best to avoid this and take preventative sanitation when it comes to interaction and your everyday environment.  

Is the work teachers assign today mandatory?

Unless assignments had been previously assigned, on the class syllabus or it is a dual credit class, JCPS schools and teachers will be required to follow the current snow day policy, not making this assigned work mandatory. The additional days at the end of the year will either get waived or not get waived, a decision that is independent of students doing work over the break. Students will not be required to complete this new work as it serves more as a supplemental resource, rather than an assignment. 

Will work be given to students before Monday 3/16 be counted as extra credit?

Unless a specific teacher tells you that the work assigned for their class will be counted as extra credit in the grade book, these assignments won’t inherently be extra credit. If a teacher assigned work before JCPS announced that school would be closed, it’s reasonable to assume it is due for credit after the break unless the teacher tells you otherwise. This is not an expectation set by the administration towards teachers and their plans for each class.

What will happen for freshman, sophomore and junior scheduling?

Submitting scheduling requests through Campus Portal is still required by Friday, March 20, by all students. Below are instructions on how to complete this submission.

[pdf-embedder url=”https://manualredeye.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Entering-Requests-on-the-Portal-2021.doc.pdf” title=”Entering Requests on the Portal 2021.doc”]

Will JCPS have to make these nine days up?

House Bill 461 would allow schools to close up to 30 days (without needing to make up the days) if they utilize nontraditional instructional curriculums. However, the most recent amendment to the bill would allow the education commissioner to waive makeup days for schools that go past June 12 for makeup days. JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio said that he has no plans for the district to develop nontraditional instruction, and if House Bill 461 passes and is closely followed, JCPS will need to make up any days they miss. With this bill, there’s a decent chance that JCPS’s last day will be June 10 despite their request to keep the May 28 date, but anything is possible.

Are all spring-season sports being canceled?

The Kentucky High School Athletics Association (KHSAA) announced earlier today that all sports would be canceled and declared a dead period through April 12. While schools are out, after-school activities are canceled, including many athletic spring break trips. Sports may be permitted to resume, depending on the recommendation from the governor’s office, after that date. Manual Athletic Director David Zuberer did not make this decision but can be a resource for any questions. 

https://twitter.com/ManualAthletics/status/1238490438417494023

Can athletic teams have unofficial meetups?

If a coach isn’t present and student-athletes organize the meetups on their own at non-JCPS locations, there’s very little Manual or JCPS can do to prevent it. Be cautious of large-group meetups, practice social distancing and stay home if you feel sick. Coaches are not to be in official contact with teams until April 12, per dead period regulations. 

What will happen to the AP testing schedule in May?

The College Board has not made any decision to change the scheduled dates of AP tests. AP teachers are encouraged to send work home to help supplement students during the break. As of right now, AP testing is sticking to the original schedule. 

Could we end up going to school until August?

As of right now, the last day of school is June 10 if the missed days are not waived. If more school days are missed, most Kentucky schools will probably not have to attend past June 12 (assuming House Bill 461 becomes law) because of the education commissioner’s ability to grant waivers. 

How will finals week be affected by the missed days?

As of right now, it is unknown how the end of the year will play out. If the nine missed days get waived, finals week is assumed to be on schedule as normal. If the days don’t get waived, finals week will later be adjusted by the administration and tests will most likely fluctuate depending on the teacher. 

Could the rest of the school year be canceled?

Due to such little information right now, that possibility is not completely ruled out but it is way too early to tell if that will happen. As of right now, JCPS schools will be out until April 6 and students are to return to school on that Monday. 

Is there an estimated date for the creation of a vaccine?

While a vaccine is just beginning development, there are already partially developed vaccines for fellow coronavirus strains SARS and MERS that could expedite research and production. Currently, a vaccine is expected to take at least 12 to 18 months before it is available to the general public.

If I am enrolled in an online course through JCPS Blackboard, are there any changes in the class completion date?

According to Manual’s counselors, if a student is already enrolled in an online class, there will be no change in the schedule. They are still expected to complete all required aspects and extensions won’t be given out. These classes are not put on pause as this gives students more opportunities to work on their online requirements that were previously assigned. 

How can I learn from home while school is closed?

If you are in an AP class, many teachers are encouraging students to visit AP Classroom to find practice tests and questions to prepare for the upcoming AP exam, as well as studying any content that has not yet been covered on their own. Other resources like Khan Academy and the supplemental homework packet students received in homeroom will also facilitate out-of-classroom learning, should students want to complete it. Manual is providing a supplement handout during homeroom to tell spark ideas of how to fill the next two weeks with an educational purpose called a “choice board”.

Manual handed out this reference sheet to students during homeroom to provide families with information about the closure.

Are dual-credit classes and UofL Academy students still expected to complete previously and newly assigned work during these next two weeks?

Yes, any student enrolled in a University of Louisville affiliated class is still expected to uphold their current work schedule. Teachers of dual credit classes are still allowed to give work to their students during this time. If you attend a UofL class, their online schedule is to be followed. 

What do I do if I am applying for Louisville Academy?

All student and parent portions of this application should be emailed or mailed to Ms. Vicki Lete at Manual by March 25. The application is available here.

What about field trips/school events?

All field trips affiliated or through JCPS are canceled until further notice. YPAS performances are all canceled, as well as other events hosted by the school and/or JCPS. All activities scheduled to take place after spring break are still on as planned.

When is graduation?

JCPS is keeping their current graduation schedule, approved at a board meeting earlier this month, in hopes of the state waiving the nine missed days. If the state does not waive the days, JCPS will likely vote on a new graduation schedule for the days following June 10 at a future board meeting, presumably after students return to school.

Will senior events still happen?

It’s too early to tell. Manual’s 2020 class sponsors said that if we are in school during those days, the events will occur. Students interested in registering for Project Graduation can mail permission slips to Manual. Seniors who want to purchase yard signs can also mail the forms to the school or purchase them online.

What about prom?

It’s too early to know about events that far in the future. If the virus progresses or doesn’t improve, it’s likely that many of the district policies preventing large social gatherings will remain. If the situation improves, it’s likely that prom will still happen. Decisions pertaining to events like this will come closer to the event dates. They still plan to sell tickets beginning after spring break.

Do you have questions that you want us to answer? Let us know here. We will update this story with our answers.

This story was originally published on Manual RedEye on March 13, 2020.