We have created a Frequently Asked Questions document regarding technology and virtual learning.
Again, we are asking our families to commit to either the traditional (in-person) model or virtual model by July 31.
If a family has already submitted the survey that was shared earlier and want to change their model option, please email the child’s principal and let them know of the change.
Also, we ask that families commit to a choice for a nine-weeks grading period. If a family decides to change to another model, they will be able to re-evaluate their choice after the grading period ends.
Is a laptop required for virtual instruction?
Families that choose the virtual learning option will need to have adequate access to the Internet and a computing device to complete the required instruction.
How will the laptops be distributed if you choose the virtual option?
Laptops for students in grades 7-12 will be distributed and available for pickup at each middle and high school on Aug. 10, Aug. 11 and Aug. 12. The schools will communicate with families the pick-up times and procedures. If students in grades 10-11 already own their laptop through the district, this will be the laptop they will use for instruction. Student equipment agreement forms will be available beforehand and must be returned and signed by both students and guardians before a laptop is released to them.
Will laptops be available for students in grades 5-6 when school opens?
We have purchased laptops for students in grades 5-6 this year. Due to an increased demand globally for student laptops because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these laptops will be delivered after the start date of school. If you are in grades 5-6 and have a personal device, you are welcome to use it until the district-issued laptops arrive.
Will laptops be available through the district for students in grades K-4 if they chose the virtual option?
No. Students in elementary school will have to provide their own device for at-home use.
What if you don’t have Internet?
We are working with local utility companies to mount 18 hotspots/routers on utility poles around Cheatham County to boost connectivity in neighborhoods that have cellular phone service, but no broadband Internet connection. We are also purchasing 100 hotspots for students who live in areas that have cellular connectivity, but don’t have a broadband Internet connection. These hotspots will be distributed across the middle and high schools and can be checked out by students. Students who have selected the all-virtual learning option will not be eligible to receive a hotspot. Additionally, several Cheatham County businesses, government entities and churches that offer free public WiFi have partnered with the district to help students who need access to the Internet. A list of community partners can be found here.
Does it matter what device we use for virtual instruction?
Devices that support data capability are required. In most cases, mobile apps are accessible for the web-based resources we will utilize such as Microsoft Teams (grades K-4) and Schoology (grades 5-12). The preferred device would be a laptop with web-cam and microphone capabilities. These will work with Apple devices, Android devices, Window devices and Chromebooks.
A schedule will have to be worked out among family members as to who uses the computer at what time each day. If the students are in middle and high school, then they should each have their own device. Otherwise, families will have to either provide a device for each child or arrange a schedule for each one to have time to do their classwork.
Will there be training sessions for families to understand how to use devices and digital learning platforms?
Yes. We plan to host virtual parent trainings to learn how to use both Microsoft Teams and Schoology, which are the district’s online platforms for virtual communication between students and schools. Additionally, middle and high school students will be trained in the classroom on how to use Schoology and elementary school students will be trained in the classroom on how to use Microsoft Teams so they will be familiar with them if we move to the hybrid or remote models.