SHS answers distance learning FAQs

by David Miles II
| March 26, 2020 2:26 PM

We’d like to thank you all for your support and flexibility as teachers and students are getting used to our distance learning model. We understand that this is a challenging time because of concerns about how the coronavirus may impact our community and loved ones around the country and due to the fact families are entering a new educational landscape. We want you to know that our building staff remains ready to support students from afar. Here are some common questions and answers that may help as we navigate this unfolding situation.

Q: Is school still in session?

A: Yes, students continue to be in school just not physically present. Lessons are being provided remotely through Schoology or, in some cases, packets were and will be provided from the office. Every student should have a school issued Chromebook or personal device to complete these lessons. Students are still expected to continue their studies and be in contact with their teachers regularly by email.

Q: When will students return to school?

A: The earliest return date will be April 20. School will open on April 7 to allow students to turn in physical work and get the next set of lessons and assignments if you do not have internet access.

Q: Schoology is difficult to use, what can I do?

A: It is recommended students/families use the website version rather than the app. There are also help videos posted on our school technology site http://sh.lposd.org/technology which may help. Many teachers are using the “Updates” feature to post assignments and communicate with students. Another helpful site is http://techtraining.lposd.org/home/remote-learning-for-students which will have several videos on technology teachers are tyring to use.

Q: What if my child cannot make teacher deadlines/due dates or meet their expectations?

A: Please encourage them to work daily and keep up the best they can at this time. Communicating with their teacher is really important so encourage them to email their teacher with questions and just to make a connection. We are still working out how to best provide distance education to students. We will all need to be flexible and work with students and families to ensure ample opportunity is given to all students during this time. In most cases, deadlines and due dates will be extended after we return to school and opportunities will be given for students to make up assignments or complete alternatives.

Q: Are school events getting cancelled or postponed?

A: Yes, any event occurring before April 20 will be cancelled or postponed. Events planned after April 20, such as Prom, will be postponed until further clarification comes from the State Board of Education and the State of Idaho concerning best practices.

Q: I don’t have the internet, what should I do?

A: There are options:

Physically printed materials were available and another set will be available April 7 from the office.

You can use one of the many free Wi-Fi options available in the area such as the school’s hotspot from the parking lot which has recently been improved.

You can take advantage of the many internet options below.

• AT&T: AT&T COVID-19 response. AT&T will offer open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low-income families.

• Comcast: Comcast is offering an internet essentials package for free. To sign up for a free internet essentials package for 60 days, applicants can simply visit www.internetessentials.com. There are also two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

• Spectrum: Free internet access for students. Free internet for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students who don’t already have a Spectrum subscription. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395 or (855) 243-8892

• Charter: Charter is offering free internet for 2 months.

• Sprint: Sprint is providing unlimited data to existing customers, and, starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot spots for 60 days at no extra charge.

• T-Mobile - T-Mobile is offering internet at a discount and has expanded roaming access for Sprint customers to use the T-Mobile network. Sprint’s network will have expanded coverage and capacity – including in rural areas – over the next 60 days.

• Verizon: Verizon does have special offers. Two months waived internet and voice service charges for current Lifeline customers and new affordable internet option for low-income households.

Q: I have questions that were not answered in this FAQ, what can I do?

A: If it is a class/teacher question, email the teacher. If it is a more general question, email the principal at david.miles@lposd.org or call and leave a message at 208-263-3034.

David Miles is principal at Sandpoint High School.