Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions about all things distance learning
Is the recovery plan in effect now?
Yes. At this time, MSD is in Stage One.
Will we return to school in-person for sure on January 25, 2021?
MSD remains steadfast in our commitment to provide a distance learning online model through the first semester. Our plan to safely return to in-person school will be discussed frequently as state and local health officials provide more information and guidance. MSD continues to build upon the online experience from this past Spring. We will maintain a flexible and dynamic virtual learning experience for all of our students.
Is the MSD School Calendar any different now that we are fully-virtual?
No. At this time, MSD's calendar for the 2020-2021 academic year remains the same as we begin the school year remotely.
Is MSD still accepting new admissions?
Yes. MSD is currently accepting new students for the 2020-2021 academic year. MSD is a tuition-free, parent-choice school available to eligible infants through 12th grade students who are deaf or hard of hearing. To learn more, please contact Erin Buck Skees at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the adjustments to distance learning?
On October 13, distance learning moved from online modules to increased live instruction. Distance learning now takes place through synchronous daily instruction supported by posted asynchronous content for all classes and grades. Daily instruction is between 45 to 60 minutes per class depending on grade level, with additional office hours for an average of at least 3.5 hours of synchronous learning across all grade levels. Additional asynchronous is also posted in SeeSaw and Google Classroom for students to complete following live instruction.
Are live classes recorded?
Teachers record their live direct instruction (approximately 10-15 minutes from the 45-60 minute class) and post the video to their classrooms for students who are not able to attend class and/or have technical issues. These videos also serve as a resource for students and families when doing asynchronous work. Teachers do have the option to either record live, setting up their systems so that no students are recorded, or to do a pre-recorded video of their instruction that will be posted to their virtual classrooms.
What is the Attendance Policy?
While in distance learning, students are to attend all live classes on time everyday; students should be on time for their classes; students are expected to remain in their live virtual class for the entire time; if a student does not show up to their virtual class, they will be marked absent. Any student arriving after the start of class and within the first 20 minutes will be marked as tardy. After 20 minutes, any student arriving late to class is marked as absent. Students missing class or arriving late due to doctor appointments or the like will be marked as an excused absence/tardy as long as there is a note.
Attendance will be recorded on a daily basis through PowerSchool. Absences will be marked excused or unexcused, just as when we are in-person. The list of what qualifies as an excused absence can be found in our handbook on our website at www.msd.edu/handbook/.
We understand that at times there are technical issues that prevent a student from logging into their class on time. Please email your child's teacher and department secretary to alert them to this issue. We will be handling issues of technical difficulties on a case-by-case basis. If you are experiencing freezing or lagging when using Zoom or Google Meet, try the following tips to improve video quality: English | Spanish
What if my child cannot attend a live instruction class?
If your child cannot attend a life instruction class, we ask that you communicate with your child's department secretary, just as you would during in-person learning, to let them know about your child's absence.
Is Student Service-Learning (SSL) still a graduation requirement during distance learning?
Yes, SSL is still a graduation requirement during distance learning. All Maryland students must complete at least 75 hours of service in order to earn a high school diploma.
How can we earn SSL hours virtually?
The best option of earning SSL hours is through virtual service-learning activities. A great opportunity to earn these service hours is to participate in student organizations and clubs. Within a student organization or club, students are encouraged to discuss potential ideas with their sponsors for a project benefiting the community. Students are also encouraged to check with their local community for virtual service-learning opportunities. All service-learning opportunities must first be pre-approved by the campus-based SSL Coordinator. For more information on the requirement and the process, please visit www.msd.edu/SSL/.
What is the Grading Policy?
Student learning will be measured through class assignments including projects, presentations, readings, etc... and when appropriate through face-to-face assessments and conversations. Students will be graded following MSD's grading policy as printed in the MSD Handbook with two modifications. First, grading categories and weights will be 60% for assessment and 40% for classwork. Secondly, students will have the opportunity to make up any and all missing work 4.5 weeks after the end of a quarter. After that period of time, any and all missing work's zero (0) in the grade book will become permanent and the student's grade will be finalized. If needed, special consideration for an extension beyond the 4.5 weeks can be requested of the campus principal in writing.
Submission of Assignments for Middle School and High School Students (with exception for some students): Effective November 30, 2020, students will be given a one week grace period from the original due date in which to finish and submit their work without penalty. An assignment turned in during the second week after its due date will receive an 11% deduction, the third week 20%, and then after that there will be a 30% reduction. Students are still able to submit work up to 4.5 weeks after the end of the quarter to receive credit, but the late work will be deducted according to the aforementioned scale.
Verified absences will still fall under the current attendance guidelines so please contact your child's teacher if your child is struggling and needs additional support.
Will there be After School Programs?
There will be no after school programs during distance learning.
Will there be opportunities to participate in student organizations and clubs?
Yes. Student organizations and clubs will be offered to our middle school and high school students on Fridays. More details on the offerings and schedule will be shared via monthly emails.
Will there be any sports this year?
Due to the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision to postpone competition for all sports was made with the health and safety of our students, coaches, families, and campus community as its top priority. MSD is currently exploring alternative options such as shifting fall athletics to the spring. A decision on winter and spring sports will be made by December 2020.
Will there be a Homecoming this year?
Fall Homecoming is canceled. Currently, fall athletics is aiming to move their respective season to Spring 2021. This decision will impact the possibility of hosting a Spring Homecoming. More details will be shared by December 2020.
Is the 2021 Willigan Wrestling Tournament and the Clerc Classic still on?
No. Earlier in October, the NDIAA Board officially announced the cancellation of the 2021 Willigan Wrestling Tournament and the Clerc Classic. At this time, no decision has been made on the Hoy Tournament and the Berg/Seeger Meet.
Will there be any state assessments this semester?
There will be no state assessments in the fall. A determination has not been made yet about the winter administration of assessments.
How does FERPA apply to synchronous instruction?
FERPA protects a student's Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that relates to any confidential information about a student's health, or education that can be found in their records. FERPA specifically includes a child's IEP in their definition. During synchronous instruction, it is possible for third parties: a parent, sibling, family member, or another person in someone's home to identify confidential information through observing a group and the staff's special instruction (based on their IEP needs) for specific children in the live session.
What is an Amendment to the IEP for Distance Learning?
An Amendment to the IEP for Distance Learning is documentation of any modifications to the Individual Education Plan (IEP) during the prolonged school closure due to COVID-19. The Amendment targets specific academic goals and related services that families and school team members agree are critical for each child's unique, continued learning needs in virtual platforms. The Amendment explains how services and academics are delivered and how frequently they are provided for each student and family. Each student's IEP remains in place during this time, and is implemented to the fullest extent possible. Virtual IEP meetings are held for each student and family to ensure family input and participation throughout, and to ensure that when MSD reopens, a current IEP will be in effect.
What is Asynchronous Learning?
Asynchronous learning occurs online without real-time interaction or instruction by an educator. Some examples of asynchronous instruction include:
- Digital platform instruction
- Pre-recorded video lessons
- Resource videos
- Assigned readings
- Independent practice
- Paper/pencil learning activities
- Rotation/center activities
- Posted assignments
What is Synchronous Learning?
Synchronous learning happens in real-time with interaction between the teacher and students that occur in a face-to-face environment or in a virtual classroom setting. Some examples of synchronous instruction include:
- Direct teacher instruction
- Targeted small group instruction
- Teacher-led, small/large group discussions
- Collaborative groups
- Assessment/checking for understanding
- Office hours that include meeting with students
- Guided instruction