Our School » FAQ - Transition to In-Person Instruction

FAQ - Transition to In-Person Instruction

On an ongoing basis, questions will be answered and posted on this webpage. Please start checking this page regularly as information is being added throughout each week – especially with all the reopening news. You will probably see the answer to your question here faster than we can respond to your email.
If you did not find your question answered, then please submit your questions to Mr. Domer here

Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents


General Schedule

Phase 4 Bell Schedule


What to bring to school




Paid Supervisors

Safety Requirements & Enforcement

COVID Testing

Standardized Testing

8th Grade Promotion






2021-2022 academic year


Additional Resources: 

California Department of Education FAQs

Bell Schedule


General Schedule


Q: Where can I find the latest bell schedules?

A: The link to the latest bell schedules are here


Q: Can you explain what is Phase 3 and 4 and their corresponding dates?

A:  Phase 3 started on March 15th with orientation week. There will be several additional weeks of Phase 3. The schedule for Phase 3 can be found here. Phase 3 is the initial reopening phase designed to test the new procedures and confirm that the four pillars are in place and safety measures are working properly.


Phase 4 started on April 12 and is designed to be a hybrid reopening of academic coursework. In Phase 4, students come to school twice a week for a rotation of academic classes. Zoom classes continue on Wednesday. Phase 4 should last the rest of the school year.


Q: Why does it seem that our district has different rules to follow than others?  I don't understand why we're different.  Can you please explain?

A: Each school is governed by county requirements. Within each county, each school district has to submit a plan for reopening that must be approved. Also, each public school district must negotiate with their respective teacher’s union. As such, the combination of unique plans designed by the district and the agreed upon conditions with the unions result in different reopening approaches. Note that private schools are required to follow county laws, but operate independently. 


Q: Can we expect to go back full time like many other schools across the state and nation are doing?  Or way more in-person?

A: For the balance of this school year, Phase 4 will be the model. The approved plan that SCSD submitted to the county and the agreement with the teachers union have been key components of the plan. 


Q: What is the difference in terms of instructional time during a traditional year, vs distance learning vs this new hybrid model/Phase 4?

A:  Pursuant to EC Section 43502(d)(1), the annual instructional minute requirements are waived in FY 2020–21. However, Local Education Agencies must meet annual instructional day requirements.  


The primary difference is not in the number of minutes required, but in the way in which we are delivering instruction.  A zoom meeting counts as instructional minutes.  Having said that, the state did waive P.E. and elective minute requirements, so a student may not be attending a full day of school because she/he may not have an elective.  


Q: How does our in-person class time compare with other schools in San Mateo County?

A:  Our in person time is comparable to our neighbors who are funded in the same way from the state (LCFF). We do not have the same amount of in person time as our neighbors in San Mateo who are funded through Basic Aid.  


Q: Has there been an opportunity to talk to other middle schools that are back to school FT (one week on and one week off) in San Mateo County?

A: The district office in addition to the principals at our schools have a strong network of contacts at other Bay Area schools. Lessons learned are being shared and leveraged whenever possible. 


Q: Thoughts on polling students on what they feel their needs are with the limited time on campus?   I'm curious as to what the kids say they miss the most or find the best use of their time with their teachers.  

A:  Good idea.  We will do this in advisory.


Phase 4 Bell Schedule


Q: Can you tell us how many hours per week the students will be back on campus in phase 4?

A: For Phase 4, each student who is coming on campus for instruction will be taught in person for 2 hours and 45 minutes per day twice a week. (Total of 5 and ½ hours per week on campus)


Q: For Phase 4, what days and hours will my child be attending in-person?  How many days? How many hours?    

A: Students will come to school in person two mornings a week. A/B Group assignments were sent via email to parents on Tuesday, April 7. 3rd period teachers will check Fever Free on in-person days.  Students will fill out a template with their exact schedules for phase 4.  If you do not completely understand the schedule, do not worry, we will make sure all of our students know where they need to be and when. See the bell schedule page for printable schedules and the template.


Q: When students are on campus, what classes will they be attending?  Core?  

A:  Students will attend their math, science, history and english class once per week in person (two classes per day for the two days in-person). 


Q: For Phase 4, if a student is on campus in the morning, is online learning in the afternoon asynchronous or synchronous?

A: If the student is on campus in the morning, they are asynchronous that afternoon. Each student attends school in person twice a week from 8:45 - 11:30. This on campus instruction is followed by an optional flex period designed to provide in person office hours, extra support, and elective check ins. On Wednesday, all students will be learning via zoom from home. On the other week days when your student is not on campus, they will be learning asynchronously from home during the mornings and via zoom in the afternoons. 


Q: How do we know what group our child is in for Phase 4?  

A: A/B Grouping assignments were sent via email on Tuesday, April 7.


Q: Will the Phase 4 stable cohorts be the same ones as in phase 3 or will they be new?

A:  Advisory cohorts will no longer exist. Students will keep the academic cohorts. We have redone the A/B groups in Phase 4 because students will meet with academic teachers instead of advisory teachers.


Q: Can you be more specific about the afternoon timing on the phase 4 bell schedule?

A:  After the morning block, there will be a flex time where teachers will have the opportunity to see small groups of students for office hours, assessment, intervention, or enrichment.  Teachers will schedule this time with students and will communicate the schedule to families. From 1:00-3:00 PM students will see their teacher via Zoom or have Asynchronous learning. 


Q: In Phase 4, can my student choose to stay for the flex time if he has questions for his teachers? If so, can he pick any of his 4 teachers, or only the ones he saw that day? 

A:  No, drop-ins will not be allowed due to safety requirements. However students and teachers will work together to schedule flex time. The goal is to get as much in person time as possible - especially for students who need some extra support. 


Q: Did you mean that some teachers can opt to do simultaneous teaching (also known as room and zoom) during phase 4?

A:  It is a very specific type of teaching that does not work for every lesson and/or every child.  Simultaneous teaching can only be done through a lecture format.  This approach is at the teacher’s discretion and may be implemented based on the teacher's preference.


Q: In Phase 4, will students not have a 5th period? 

A:  For 7-8th graders, their 5th period academic class will meet in the 1st block section. 


Q: Once we're in phase 4 - if we keep our kids home because they have a symptom to be extra cautious, will they be able to join their in-person class days via Zoom, or do they need to be marked absent?

A: In person students who are staying home for a period due to sickness or quarantine simply attend all of their academic classes Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday afternoons and continue with their normal Wednesday zoom schedule. For example, If you are an A group student who misses first period Monday in person simply attend first period zoom Monday afternoon. 


Q: The CDC and now it seems like San Mateo county will adopt the 3 foot distance. Will more in person time be added for phase 4 if this happens?

A:  The plan that SCSD submitted and was approved is what will be implemented for Phase 4.  

The district office will be working with all of the SCSD schools as soon as San Mateo County aligns with the CDC requirements to evaluate what will be possible for the fall. SCSD wants as many students on campus that can be there in a safe manner.


Q: It seems as though you are able to accommodate half of the school to be on campus at one time, correct?  I’m wondering why the afternoon group is on Zoom vs In-Person. Why isn’t there a morning in-person group and an afternoon in-person group. This would allow for all students to be in camps double what they are now.

A: We really tried to have kids on campus as much as we could and would have loved to have a morning session and an afternoon session.  Ultimately, we were unable to do this because of our Connections program.  We need the Connections students to see their teachers online in the afternoon. We do not have enough teachers to hold two different schools (an online school and an in person school), so Connections students join their regular classes online in the afternoon.    



Connections Program


Q: How many Central students are in Connections vs. the rest? 

A:  We have about 23 students in each grade. This number fluctuates based on changing circumstances.


Q: For students who chose full time remote learning, are they required to attend the campus?

A: No. Students in the Connections program will continue to learn from home. However there may be situations where students will need to come in pickup materials and do assessments. Accommodations for safety will be made. 


Q: Can you discuss the Connections program in Phase 4? Which teachers will teach the Connections program? Will our children really have to switch teachers for the remaining 2 months of the year for all core subjects? I like the consistency of having the same teachers for English and Math throughout the school year. 

A: We are doing our very best to keep all students with their teachers for online classes.


What to bring to school


Q: What should students bring to school?

A: Students' backpacks need to be self-contained  - meaning, anything they might need (i.e. a water bottle) must be brought to school with them and then taken home with them. Students need to bring two masks, a full water bottle. Teachers will let them know what other class specific materials they need to bring to school. 

Q: When the students go back to the classroom in Phase 4, will Chromebooks be provided for those who have been using a personal laptop at home? It's my understanding that (non-SCSD) personal computers are blocked by the school district firewall and won't be able to access Google classroom, etc.

A: Each classroom has a chromebook cart.  Students will use the chromebooks in the classroom.  The chromebooks will be sanitized after use.



Q: Are you concerned about how many kids are leaving the school district for private schools? How will this be addressed in the Fall?

A:  We want to provide a strong, safe learning environment for our community and are working hard to provide that. We don’t want to lose students or families. Enrollment information is being monitored closely by the district office.


Q: Will core subjects be in person in Phase 4?

A:  Yes - but only part-time in person and part-time online.


Q: Has there been any consideration to shifting away from electives and PE for the remainder of the year to maximize in-person core academic instruction? 

A: In the Phase 4 schedule, academics will be the focus for in person instruction. PE and electives will stay online. 




Q: Are there any special efforts so band/music can happen?

A: Absolutely yes.  We very much value our whole-child approach to education and our music program is integral to this. Orchestra will be easier to get back in person. Band will require us purchasing additional PPE (students blowing into instruments poses a bit of a challenge).  


Q: If my daughter doesn't have any electives -what will her in person instruction look like during phase 4 - seems like she is in group A which have electives on Mondays and Tuesdays 

A:  Any student who does not have an elective can see their teacher in person during or flex/office hours times.  During elective blocks, students will have asynchronous assignments to work on. 


Q: Have you talked to SCEF about funding band filters and special masks for wind and brass instruments so band can safely resume in person? https://www.nemc.com/masks-and-bell-covers/

A:   Yes - I am working on it.  Music remains a priority.



Q: Are parents allowed to volunteer to assist students to their next class minimizing time in the halls?

A: Yes!! Central needs more parents to volunteer. Please consider helping the school by completing this application. These positions are paid.

Paid Supervisors


Q: What are the anticipated hour commitments of a Campus Supervisor?

A:  Hours are totally flexible.  For Campus Supervisors, we may need a half hour in the morning or afternoon.  What we really need is substitute teachers and paraeducators.  These people help our teachers in the classroom.  The great thing about being a substitute or even a substitute para is that you choose when you want to work.


Q: If we have applied to help on campus as Campus Supervisors, how soon will we expect to hear whether our application has been accepted?  

A: Tom is working on this.  We will reach out this week or next. 


Q: Will there be flexible week-to-week signup for shifts or would we have the same shift every week?

A: Yes 


Do you need a license or credential to be a substitute? 

A:  No.  Just to get cleared.  Please consider it - it’s fun.

Safety Requirements & Enforcement


Q: How will school staff handle “enforcement” of mask compliance (well fitted) and distancing?

A: Teachers and administrators have been trained to understand the requirements for all of the school’s safety measures. Students who do not comply will be referred to the office and routine disciplinary actions will be utilized. 


Q: Will more in person time be added for phase 4 if San Mateo county adopts the CDC 3 foot distance requirement?

A:  The plan that SCSD submitted and was approved is what will be implemented for Phase 4.  

The district office will be working with all of the SCSD schools as soon as San Mateo County aligns with the CDC requirements to evaluate what will be possible for the fall. SCSD wants as many students on campus that can be there in a safe manner.


Q: I'd like to suggest that teachers ask the students to keep talking to a minimum (just to when it's necessary) especially now that the CDC is suggesting that the minimum space apart between students is less than 6 feet. Can teachers also enforce safety practices often (proper masking with nose and mouth covered, hand washing, proper spacing distance, not touching other students' things) so that the students do not have to feel awkward about having to remind their friends and fellow students?  

A:   Yes - we are constantly stressing safety.


Q: Knowing the school windows open by a hinge at the top which does not provide a whole lot of air flow and with the CDC guidance of 3 feet, I'm on the fence about sending my kids back for Phase 4. 

A:  It is true that our windows are not great, however, we do have great filters running all day.


Q: Will some lessons be given outside or all in classrooms? (outside being safest for all)

A:  Yes - we have created several outdoor classrooms and even an outdoor science lab area.


Q: Will children be sent home if they continue to not follow protocols? 

A: Yes. Students MUST follow our safety protocols.


Q: Regarding the new schedule, when students go back to the orange tier. Will students be moving through different classrooms and sitting in different desks?  If so, will there be sanitization of all desks they sit on?  

A: Students will switch classes once per in person day. Teachers and campus supervisors will be wiping down seats. Central needs more campus supervisors.  Please consider helping the school by completing this application. These positions are paid.


COVID Testing


Refer to this resource from the SCSD District Website: https://www.scsdk8.org/apps/pages/COVID-19-Resources

Standardized Testing


Q: Will there be a smarter balance testing assessment this year?

A: SBAC (Smarter Balance) will be administered in person this year, however, the test will be truncated.  


Q: Are all the state standardized tests being waived for this year?

A: No - see above. 


***Gathering data on student learning will be critical in the months to come so that we can gauge learning loss and come up with mitigation strategies.  Teachers have already begun this process and we have some great information already.***


Q: Can we opt our child out of SBAC testing?

A:  Yes - it is possible to opt-out of SBAC.


8th Grade Promotion


Q: Can we save the date for 8th grade promotion?

A: Yes - 8th grade promotion / graduation date is June 9 at 11am.  There will be 2 guests per student. We are in the process of updating our calendar to reflect all pertinent information and events.  


Q: Are we having more than drive through promotion? 

A: It is looking like we can have some sort of in-person promotion ceremony.  I am still working out the details, but I a pretty confident that a drive through will not be necessary. In addition, there is a graduation package available for purchase. For details and other events, please see the 8th-grade promotion page



Q: Do I need to notify the school in advance of travel?

A: No. But we are asking families not to travel.  We are following the CDC guidelines for travel.



Q: What's the quarantine plan?  If there's an exposure in the classroom, (assuming it's not the teacher who's ill) does the whole class go to DL?

A:  Yes - we are working closely with our school nurses on contact tracing when/if a student gets ill.  Every student and adult who was in contact with an ill person must quarantine.  


Q: If a student has to quarantine during phase 4, how will they access the core learning that is being done in person?

A: Students will switch over to our on-line learning program while they quarantine, but they will still be working with their teachers.  Online learners will continue to work with their original classes during zoom time.



Please submit your questions to Mr. Domer here



Q: Are you and the other middle school administrators collaborating with neighboring districts to share ideas?  Is our in-person schedule aligned with other middle schools? Sequoia High School has students back on campus two full days in April, including passing periods and lunch.  According to SMCOE's Four Pillars, passing periods and lunch are NOT social gatherings.  Page 45: "Meals in designated outdoor areas on campus". Why is Central defining passing periods and lunch as a social gathering? 

A:  Yes - we have looked at several different options and met with several different principals who have reopened already.   Passing periods will be monitored to make sure students are staying safe.  Lunch is at home because our afternoons need to be online because of our Connections online offering.



Refer to this resource from the SCSD District Website on COVID-19 Resources for Families

2021-2022 academic year


Q: Can we expect to go back full time like many other schools across the state and nation are doing?  Or way more in-person?

A:  SCSD wants to teach as many students on campus and in person as possible given the safety requirements in place at that time. We are already working on the plans for the fall and will utilize the space we have to maximize on campus learning. More information will be shared on this topic as soon as it is available.


Q: Please list any/all impediments to full time in person schooling in the fall, and any solutions that parents could advocate for.

A:  The major impediment for me in devising a master schedule to bring back students in person, is the social distancing requirements and finding a solution to the online students.  


The change in the CDC guidance will not directly affect us immediately.  At this time, the Four Pillars to Reopening plan created by San Mateo County is what drives our reopening guidelines. San Mateo County updates and adjusts their guidance based on the California Department of Public Health, who updates their guidance based on the CDC. 


As I am sure you are aware, San Mateo County has announced they will be updating their guidance and it should be released shortly.  The hope is that San Mateo County will take the CDC recommendation into consideration as they review and rewrite their guidelines, and adjust their distancing requirements accordingly.  


As for SCSD, we will continue to plan around potential guidance rules based on CDC, State, and County recommendations because they change quickly and usually once one recommendation is updated, the others follow.  However, the County rules will be the ones that drive how much in person instruction we can offer next year.  


Q: Will distance learning be offered for the 2021-2022 school year to accommodate families with students that need to be vaccinated before returning to in-person learning?

A:  I do not know the answer to this question yet. Please continue to check the website. I will update this FAQ as soon as I have more information. 


Q: If the county is able to get to the 3 foot social distancing recommendation in schools, what would the academic year (2021-22) look like?  Would it be a more traditional bell schedule 8:40am-3:10pm?  

A:  I am anticipating that we will be coming back full in person for the 21-22 academic year.  Classes will be smaller numbers. We will most likely have more core academic classes and less elective offerings. 


Q: Although, I am concerned about what feels like less academic instruction in the phase 4 hybrid model, I am most concerned about the 21-22 school year. I feel strongly that these students need to be in school full-time. These years are so important socially, emotionally and academically, I am concerned of the lasting repercussions if distance or hybrid learning continues. Can you address these concerns?

A: I share your concerns.  I am hopeful that we will be able to build a robust, vigorous schedule for students.  I have a lot of ideas.



If you did not find the information you needed, please submit your questions to Mr. Domer here