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Return to Learn 2020-21
Frequently Asked Questions


July 13, 2020

Dear GJPS Families,

We know the timeline for the learning model selection was short and has caused a lot of stress and pressure for our families. We also know our school community has many questions and additional information is needed for some of you to feel comfortable with your decision.

Many of you have reached out to our leadership team over the past several days with questions and concerns. There are many aspects of the plan we are still working on, but we have created a Frequently Asked Questions document to help you process the options further. If you have additional questions that were not answered in our FAQ, please submit them here.

Thank you,

Steve Barrett




This is a big decision for my family. When does the learning model selection need to be submitted?
We understand this is a big decision that has caused stress and pressure to families. The goal of our short timeline was to allow our groupings and staffing arrangements to be made as quickly as possible so we could notify families of their hybrid schedule for family planning. Our original completion date was Tuesday, July 14, however, we are extending our due date to Sunday, July 19th at midnight.

What if I already submitted a learning model selection for my student, but the information in this FAQ makes me want to change my choice?
If you have already made your learning model choice, but would like to make a change based on information in this document, you can email our Assistant Superintendent, Jill Elliott, at to make that change. Please note we can only allow these changes until the selection form closes, Sunday, July 19th because plans for staffing adjustments will begin the following day.

Will I have the option of changing my child’s learning model at any point during the school year?
The two learning models we are using for the 2020-21 school year require major staffing and curriculum adjustments. Families will be making their choice for the entire year, however, if our county alert level changes, we will work with the health department to transition our model.

As shared in the chart below, should the Franklin County alert level go to purple (4), we will transition to an all distance learning model. If the Franklin County alert level improves to orange (2) or yellow (1), we will work to transition back to a full-time, face-to-face model. If we change our model as a district, all families, even those on the distance learning model, will have the opportunity to make that change.

Why do families need to commit to a full year when making their learning model selection(s)?
We understand the length of this commitment is difficult. Because we are working hard to ensure our Gahanna teachers are delivering instruction in both models, we will have to make staffing adjustments to accommodate our families’ choices. It will be extremely difficult to accommodate changes once staffing and student assignments are determined. We will work with families on an individual basis to ensure extenuating circumstances are addressed.

Will there still be a need for masks and social distancing if we return to school under the orange or yellow alert level?
Yes. Even if our alert level improves, we will still be under a public health emergency and the risk of exposure and spread will remain. Cautionary measures will still be important. We would still require masks and we would practice social distancing of 3ft. instead of 6ft.

How will the high school experience be altered in these two learning models?
We would like to offer all the typical opportunities/experiences we normally have available for high school students such as AP/Honors courses, electives, performing arts, College Credit Plus, and Eastland-Fairfield classes. We are working hard on details that would allow us to continue offering all of these opportunities and will share more information at a later time. 

Will special services such as EL, special education, and gifted support be provided in both learning models? 
Yes. We will continue to provide support to students in our EL, special education and gifted programs. Services will be modified to match the model of choice and GJPS teachers will work with families to ensure support is in place. 

What will be done to support students with significant disabilities in these two learning models?
Our special education administrators and staff will be working diligently to create a safe learning environment (distance learning & hybrid), communicate with families, and maximize learning for our students. Additional communication was sent to parents of special education students and special programming options will be considered as appropriate. We understand students in special populations require specialized support and additional information will be forthcoming.



What cleaning protocols will be used to ensure students and staff are safe?
We will use CDC recommended disinfectants to clean, and we will increase the frequency of cleaning, especially in high traffic areas. Our cleaning protocols include wiping of surfaces in common spaces throughout the school day, disinfecting classrooms in an ongoing manner, and implementing a targeted cleaning routine in the evening.

Why is GJPS requiring ALL students, with the exception of preschoolers, to wear masks? Will students have to wear masks all day or will there opportunities for masks to be taken off?
Current Franklin County mask mandates require individuals age 10 and older to wear masks; however, it is recommended that everyone wear masks to help slow the spread of the virus. In an effort to further protect our staff and students, we believe it is necessary for masks to be worn.

We recommend that families begin working on mask training with students you predict may have difficulty wearing them at school.
We will work in mask breaks for students when possible.

What kind of mask is required? Are face shields acceptable?
There are no specific requirements for mask type and shields are acceptable. Students are encouraged to bring their own; however, masks will be available for students and staff who forget to bring their own.

Will there be a health assessment of students before entering the school building each day?
Yes. Each day parents will need to assess their children before school for the following symptoms:

 Fever or chills Cough Loss of taste or smell
 Difficulty breathing Fatigue Sore throat
 Muscle or body aches Headache Nausea
 Congestion or runny nose Diarrhea Vomiting


Students should stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms listed above or if they have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher. We are still working on details with FCPH regarding temperature monitoring at school.

Parents should notify the school nurse or school office immediately if someone in their family has tested positive for COVID-19.



Will breakfast and lunch be available to students on days when they are not physically in the building?
Yes. Our Child Nutrition Department will operate a Grab & Go meal program like we did in the spring. Families in need will have the opportunity to receive meals for their school age students. More details will be shared closer to the start of school.

How will lunch look in the hybrid model?
Our goal is to keep the school experience as normal as possible for our students. Right now we are developing plans that will allow lunch to take place in the cafeteria and extended spaces throughout our buildings as needed. We will implement social distancing during the lunch periods. Special health and safety protocols will be implemented for lunch purchasing, clean up, and entering/exiting the lunch spaces.

How will recess look in the hybrid model?
We know recess is very important and we are working to create safe ways to allow for play outside, which could include rotation stations to allow for social distancing on playground equipment. We will work with the FCPH to outline our plan for approval. Each school building may have a slightly nuanced plan to accommodate their spaces and schedule.



If I choose the hybrid model for my children, will they be placed on the same schedule?
Yes. We understand how important it will be for students from the same family/household to be on the same schedule. We will work very hard to ensure siblings are in the same group with the same in-building and at-home learning days.

How will students be split into groups for the hybrid model?
There will be many factors for us to consider as we assign students to their hybrid learning group. We will work diligently to keep siblings/households together on the same schedule. Other considerations include staffing, course offerings, special programming, and transportation. It is important to note that this process will take quite a bit of time to complete and it is imperative that Learning Model Selection Forms be completed as soon as possible so this process can begin.

Can I request a hybrid learning group?
Though we would love to accommodate family requests, the size of our district and current constraints of operation will not allow for that. 

What will the school day look like in the hybrid model? 
Our goal is to keep the school experience as normal as possible for our students. Students will continue to have their regular academic offerings in language arts, math, social studies and science. Students can also expect to have their related arts/elective classes; however, there may be an adjustment on time and format. It is important to note that some course offerings may need to be canceled due to the schedule, staffing, and enrollment.

On at-home learning days students will work on activities and assignments assigned to them by their teacher. They will receive guidance for these learning opportunities in class. We will work with our teachers to find ways that virtually engage students at home with what is happening in face-to-face instruction (ex. morning meetings, writing partners, strategy groups, math game partners, book clubs, project-based learning groups, etc.).

What will the hours of operation be in the hybrid model?
Face-to-face days in the hybrid model will operate on normal school hours. The at-home days will more than likely end up having shorter engagement expectations.

Will students still be permitted to use lockers?
Students will not be permitted to use lockers. We will not be able to allow them to congregate in hallways.

What will transportation look like for students in the hybrid model? Will all students previously in the busing zone still be able to ride a school bus?
All students and bus drivers will be required to wear a mask while riding the bus. At this time we will transport two students per seat, which is the recommendation of the FCPH. Cleaning protocols will be implemented after each route is completed.

Our goal is to continue transporting as many students within our busing zone as possible within safety guidelines. We will utilize the learning model selection forms to determine need, and we will communicate with families as quickly as we can should busing not be available. We encourage parents who are able, to transport their children to school.



What will the school day look like in the distance learning model?
Many districts are considering online platforms from third party vendors. At this time, we are planning to use our own GJPS teachers to deliver instruction in the distance learning model. However, we will need to look at how many students have chosen this model and determine if we have the ability to staff it. Depending on student enrollment and course needs, we may need to consider a third party vendor to support these efforts, but we will not know for sure until selection forms are complete and staffing considerations have been made.

Distance learning expectations and engagement will definitely increase from last spring; however, we are still working with the teachers to outline specific hours and a detailed schedule. We are trying to balance acceptable screen time while ensuring students are engaged in as many rich learning opportunities as possible. Parents should expect to see an increase in expectations, engagement time, and accountability.

Students will continue to have their regular academic offerings in language arts, math, social studies and science. Students can also expect to have their related arts/elective classes; however, there may be an adjustment on time and format. It is important to note that some course offerings may need to be canceled due to the schedule, staffing, and enrollment.

What will the hours of operation be in the distance learning model?
The distance learning model will operate within the normal school day hours, but student engagement times may vary slightly depending on grade level and learning activities for the day. A SAMPLE schedule for each level has been included below. We are still finalizing details with our teachers and official schedules will be shared at a later time.


Will athletics and other extracurricular activities be held during the 2020-21 school year?
We intend to move forward with all middle school and high school athletics and extracurricular activities. Each group will follow an approved plan that outlines guidelines and protocols for safe operations. We will continue to follow guidance provided by the Franklin County Health Department (FCHD) and the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) and will make adjustments as necessary. More information about contests and spectators will be shared at a later time.

If I select the distance learning model for my student, will he/she be permitted to participate in athletics, band and other after school activities?
Yes. Students utilizing the distance learning options will be allowed to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities.

Will field trips be permitted during the 2020-21 school year?
We know students looked forward to field trips as part of their educational experience. However, field trips will not be permitted for the 2020-21 school year. We will re-evaluate this component of our plan should our alert level improve and the health risk decrease.



What happens if a student or staff tests positive for COVID-19 during the school year?
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, we will immediately contact the FCPH for guidance. FCPH may begin a regimen of contact tracing and may make a recommendation on whether a classroom or school building should be closed. We will follow these recommendations.

Will parents be notified if there is a student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19?
Yes. We are working with the FCPH to identify a step-by-step process that includes notifying parents.

If a school building needs to be closed related to COVID-19 based on recommendations from FCPH, how will instruction happen?
We will put protocols in place to move to online instruction temporarily should a classroom or building need to close based on recommendations from the FCPH.


GJPS Athletics and Extracurricular Suspended

GJPS Athletics and Extracurricular Suspended

Date: 7/30/2020

GJPS will follow guidance from FCPH, suspending all athletic, band and extracurricular activities.

Change in Return to Learn Plan

Change in Return to Learn Plan

Date: 7/28/2020

GJPS moves to Distance Learning for Fall Start

Return to Learn Board of Education Presentation

Return to Learn Board of Education Presentation

Date: 7/17/2020

This presentation about the GJPS Return to Learn 2020 Plan was given to the Board of Education on July 16, 2020.

Return to Learn FAQ

Return to Learn FAQ

Date: 7/13/2020

GJPS answers your most frequently asked questions about Return to Learn 2020-21.

Learning Model Selection Form

Learning Model Selection Form

Date: 7/10/2020

Fifteen things to know about GJPS Return to Learn and Selection Link.

GJPS Back to School Learning Models

GJPS Back to School Learning Models

Date: 7/8/2020

Important message from Superintendent Barrett outlining GJPS Fall Learning Models.

Back to School Update from Superintendent Barrett

Back to School Update from Superintendent Barrett

Date: 7/6/2020

A message from Superintendent Barrett about the GJPS plans for Back to School

End of Year Information for Families

End of Year Information for Families

Date: 5/7/2020

Calendar updates and end of school year information for our GJPS families.

May Grab & Go Meals Offered

May Grab & Go Meals Offered

Date: 4/30/2020

GJPS will continue to provide meals for GJPS students in need through May.

GJPS School Buildings Closed through End of 2019-20 School Year

GJPS School Buildings Closed through End of 2019-20 School Year

Date: 4/21/2020

An update from Mr. Barrett about school closure.