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Reopening Schools - Frequently Asked Questions


We will be updating information on this page by Friday, August 7. If you have any questions in the meantime please email

Through feedback and surveys, we heard a wide variety of opinions and preferences from our parent community and understand there is a very different set of circumstances and comfort levels for how children should be educated during this pandemic. 

  1. Online to In-Person Learning - A Phased Approach
    For families who are interested in sending their student(s) back to school for in person learning as soon as possible. Due to current health restrictions, all students will be participating in distance learning on August 20, with the understanding that returning to in-person learning is a priority and will be done in phases.

  1. Online Only (Virtual Learning Academy) 
    For families who are not comfortable sending their children to a physical, in-person environment during this pandemic. For families who want to enroll in a virtual learning environment through December 2020, or for the entire academic school year.  Similar to the Online to In-Person model, students enrolled in the online only option will have access to the same tools and platforms as well as daily access to NVUSD teaching professionals.


What are the key differences between the distance learning during Phase One of the Online to In-Person Option and the Virtual Learning Academy?
First and foremost -- both options will have between 2 ½ and 3 hours of live instruction with NVUSD dedicated staff as well as independent study work. ALL teachers in both models will be receiving the same training and have access to all the same online tools. All work will be graded and attendance will be taken. We will also be offering lunch to all students, regardless of which model they choose.

Differences Between the Choices


Online to In-Person Learning

Virtual Learning Academy


Students are assigned by alphabet either an AM or PM schedule for live instruction with NVUSD teachers and the remaining hours are independent student work time. This same AM/PM model will apply as we move to future phases.

Based on the total number of students who enroll in this option, students will be assigned by grade and course to an NVUSD teacher. Students would attend live instruction sessions during the school day. The remaining hours will be for independent student work time. Total enrollment in the program may impact schedule offerings. 

Live instruction

Two and half to three hours of live instruction per day

Two and half to three hours of live instruction per day. Total enrollment may impact schedule offerings.


District adopted curriculum

District adopted curriculum

Additional teacher support

During scheduled student support time

During scheduled student support time

In-person Instruction

As soon as allowable

None. Commitment to virtual instruction through December 2020


In either model will "classes" be recorded so that students with working parents can watch them later in the day when parents are home and can help them?
This will be dependent on a few factors, including type of instruction and teacher preference. In many cases, classes may be recorded or links to materials will be available.

I have multiple students in my family - do they all need to enroll in the same option?
No, siblings do not have to enroll in the same option. On the enrollment form you will select an option for each student in your family. 

Why did NVUSD decide to move to an online option? I thought Napa County was in a better position than most other districts?
Our ultimate goal is to move to a 5-day hybrid in-person am/pm schedule at all 28 of our district schools. For now, this option is contingent upon public health conditions and employee negotiations on safety issues. The recent reality is that Infection rates are increasing in Napa County and our community has reverted back to increased restrictions across sectors, including schools. We also are working with our county partners to align on these stricter regulations as well as hearing a strong list of demands from the California Teachers' Association (CTA)

In addition, on Friday July 17, California Governor Newsom announced a series of guidelines and restrictions regarding reopening schools. One stipulation is that schools can open only if they have been off the Monitoring List for 14 consecutive days which is not yet the case for Napa County.

How many hours of daily instruction are there in each model? 
We will have 21/2 to 3 hours of live instructional time with NVUSD teachers. The remaining student work time will be rounded out with specific assignments and coursework in the four core content areas, and in electives and activities such as PE and art.

What tools will be used in online learning?

Both options will utilize the same tools and platforms: For elementary, SeeSaw (K-2) and Google Classroom (3-5) will be used, and for middle and high school we will continue using Google Classroom. 

In addition, we’ve been able to be more thoughtful about the distance learning tools that work best for various age groups and needs. We know that active engagement in the online environment is very important. As such, the district has purchased new tools and platforms that will enhance the teaching environment and also meet the needs of our students with Individualized Learning Plans (IEPs) and English learners. These include:

  • Dreambox Math -- personalized and individualized support for Kindergartners through 8th graders 

  • Imagine Learning -- support for English learners 

  • iXL -- support for -- support for our special education/students with IEPs 

  • Unique Learning -- support for our special education/students with IEPs 

We also added tools to address some of the concerns around increasing student engagement in an online environment. We understand that it can be challenging for parents to navigate multiple online learning platforms. These tools are more “behind the scenes” resources that will enhance learning without requiring parents to log into and learn additional platforms. These include:  

  • Peardeck and Kami are tools that help teachers easily build engagement instructional content to encourage more online conversations while learning. They provide our teachers with easy, fun and new ways to teach online in a vibrant  way that keeps kids of all ages engaged in the material.

  • Edpuzzle - Helps take Video Viewing From Passive to Active. Also has an assessment feature that tracks student progress, making it easy for teachers to differentiate their instruction while empowering students with self-paced learning for all subjects and grade levels.

  • Screencastify - helps teachers easily share and post videos for students which is especially important for asynchronous distance learning.

How will online learning be different from the spring distance learning experience?
The experience for families will be very different in a number of ways. Since Spring, we’ve been able to research best practices and had time to train and plan for how online learning and teaching can be improved. Here’s a few key differences:

  • Attendance will be taken daily

  • Daily synchronized instruction will take place for TK - 12th grade for every student and teacher access and support for families is the expectation

  • All students will receive grades and teacher feedback for all work.

Are you offering training or support for families who might be unfamiliar with online tools?
Yes. When we moved to online learning in the spring, it was very quick and we had little time to prepare and get comfortable with the technology required. We learned a lot and received feedback and recognized the challenges for students, parents and teachers alike. To prepare for fall, we will be hosting several family learning sessions, in addition to training for our own teachers and staff. 

Will the curriculum, materials and assignments for the virtual learning option, be the same as those given to in-person learning so students and friends can collaborate regardless of the option they chose?
The curriculum and materials would be the same but there may be a difference in what and when assignments are given.


Phase One Phase Two Phase Three Phase Four
  • Robust Distance Learning for “In Person Students” with support services and student engagement opportunities on campus
  • Virtual Learning Academy for families who choose remote learning for the semester during these uncertain times
  • Phased approach to in person hybrid model; implementing components of the hybrid schedule before scaling systems and operations
  • Virtual Learning Academy continues
  • Hybrid In Person 5 days a week in morning and afternoon cohorts TK-12
  • Virtual Learning Academy continues
  • In person 5 day full day schedule option
  • Virtual Learning Academy continue


What would a typical schedule look like when campuses open to in-person learning?
Each school might vary slightly due to transportation schedules and other variables, but we have created sample schedules for elementary and middle/high school, please see below. The two-hour block of time between the AM and PM sessions will allow teachers prep time and lunch while giving us sufficient time to sanitize all surfaces, clean bathrooms, etc.

In Person Elementary Sample Schedule

In Person Secondary Sample Schedule

AM Cohort 8:00-10:30

PM Cohort 12:30-3:00

(Times will vary slightly based on transportation schedules)

Students will be assigned additional work to ensure continued learning during the hours they are not on campus.

Distance Learning Platform: Seesaw K-2 Google Classroom 3-5

AM Cohort 8:00-10:45

PM Cohort 12:15-3:00

(Times will vary slightly based on transportation schedules)

Students will be assigned additional work to ensure continued learning during the hours they are not on campus.

Distance Learning Platform: Google Classroom


In Person Secondary Sample Schedule Details:

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

AM Cohort

Periods 1, 3, 5

AM Cohort

Periods 2, 4, 6

AM Cohort

Periods 1, 3, 5

AM Cohort

Periods 2, 4, 6

AM Cohort

Periods 1, 3, 5


PM Cohort

Periods 1, 3, 5

PM Cohort

Periods 2, 4, 6

PM Cohort

Periods 1, 3, 5

PM Cohort

Periods 2, 4, 6

PM Cohort

Periods 1, 3, 5


Will these schedules start immediately for the Online to In-Person option?
Yes. We will implement the AM/PM schedules starting on August 20 to familiarize students and teachers with smaller class sizes and learning in their assigned cohorts. 

Will families be able to choose whether they prefer AM/PM?
The district will be organizing learning cohorts based on the social distancing needs and capacity for in-person return to school.

Will siblings be in the same AM/PM schedule?

Will the teachers who teach students online during distance learning be the same teachers if we move to in-person?
Yes. Our goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible and having the same teacher(s) will ease the transition.

What is your expectation for NVUSD teachers/staff?
When we closed schools in March, we were operating in a public health emergency and expectations for staff and students were different. Starting this fall, and with safeguards in place, we are implementing increased accountability and expectations for students as well as NVUSD teachers, including:

  • Teachers TK through 12th grade will teach synchronously five days a week to meet instructional minutes requirements

  • Instructional staff will be available by appointment to assist students both online and in person

Once we move to in-person learning, will my child be required to wear a mask?
Yes, with a few caveats. Masks are proven to be an effective way to slow or stop the spread of COVID, so we want to make every effort to protect our students as well as NVUSD teachers and staff. In addition, on Friday July 17, California Governor Newsom announced a series of guidelines and restrictions which included that all school staff and students in 3rd grade and above must wear masks, while students in 2nd grade and below are encouraged to wear masks or face shields. Please see the current state and local requirements referenced in the Napa County Public Health Guidelines for reopening schools.

This option is for families not interested in returning in person during the unpredictable pandemic conditions:

  • No in-person classes offered

  • Fully committed to remote learning through December 2020

  • Alternative to homeschooling

  • Available year long to TK-12

  • Assigned NVUSD teachers to provide instruction

How does this option work?
This option is similar to the Online to In-Person model except it will continue the robust online learning in a virtual setting even if school resumes on campus. Both models will have 2 ½ to 3 hours of synchronous (real-time, live instruction) and asynchronous instruction (using online tools without live interaction). All materials and curriculum are standards-based and all learning is facilitated by NVUSD teachers. This option is dependent on enrollment numbers (number of students who opt for online only) therefore program and schedule offerings could shift based on resources. 

Will my student be working online with a common cohort of students in their same grade who are also enrolled in the Virtual Academy? 
Yes -- your student will be learning in a grade-specific, NVUSD-led curriculum with their peers.

Who will be teaching my child in this model?
Your child will have assigned NVUSD teachers that are familiar and trained in this instructional model. These assigned teachers will provide personalized instruction and engagement for your child. ALL teachers in both models will be receiving the same training and have access to all the same online tools.  

What curriculum will be used in the Virtual Learning Academy?
Students who are taking part in the Virtual Learning Academy will be instructed using the same curriculum as students attending school in person. Lesson content will be adapted by the Virtual Learning Academy teachers to fit an online instructional modality. 

By joining the Virtual Learning Academy are we giving up my student’s spot at our assigned school?
No. Your student will still be considered active in his/her school that was assigned. 

Can students with IEP’s/Special Ed and English learners participate in the virtual learning academy? 
Yes, the Virtual Learning Academy is available to all students. The IEP team will be meeting to plan and discuss service implementation in this new modality.

I am interested in the Virtual Learning Academy, can my student sign up and then join the in person option at a later date?
If you are enrolling in the Virtual Learning Academy, you must commit through December 2020. We need a firm commitment in order to assign the appropriate number of teachers and resources per student.

Can you join the Virtual Learning Academy at any time or vice versa?
We are asking families to commit to this option through December 2020. We need a firm commitment in order to assign the appropriate number of teachers and resources per student.

If we return to school, we are well prepared to follow all health requirements, including the California health, county health requirements and CDC safety guidelines with the top three priorities:

  1. Social Distancing and using cohorts (small groups that stay together)

  2. Wear Face Masks

  3. Good Hygiene and deep cleaning

Public Health Requirements

Elementary Schools

  • Maintain stable classroom cohorts by keeping the same students and teacher or staff together for the entire school day.
  • Students should not mix with other stable classroom cohorts.
  • Students in third grade and up must wear face coverings.

Middle and High Schools

  • Reduce disease transmission risk by maximizing the space between student desks.
  • Require face coverings for all students.


What criteria are you using to determine school opening? 
When students and staff return to schools, it will look MUCH different. Our first priority is to ensure that once we decide schools can open, we stay open so that we avoid an open/close scenario. There are clear guidelines at the national and state level that will determine our decision. 

School Decision Tree Visit the CDC website for details and text descriptions.

Will the reopening of school be any different for elementary versus middle/high school given that younger students are less likely to get or spread COVID19?
We are scenario-planning for several factors and accounting for latest research on the spread of COVID at different ages and will provide further information during Phase 2 of the Online to In-Person model.

What safety protocols are in place for the classroom if we return?
We are well prepared to execute on all CDC and EPA guidance.

Key elements:

  • Rigorous sanitization and cleaning protocol in high-touch areas throughout the school day and in the evening

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies for all teachers/staff and students (child and adult sized face masks, shields, thermometers, hand sanitizer, etc.)

  • Plexiglass shields in main offices and portable for in-person meetings when needed

  • EPA-approved mists and Electrostatic Sprayer

  • Signage for social distancing and wayfinding

  • Increased hand sanitizers and wash basins

  • HVAC units with economizers set to 100% outside air and frequent replacement of filters

What if a child or teachers tests positive for COVID?
When we reopen, we will follow the current safety protocols for schools around reporting and responding to COVID-19 positive cases. Please visit the Napa County Public Health Considerations for School Reopening Guide for more information.

How are you preparing for transportation and drop-off and pick-up if school resumes?
As a reminder, NVUSD has 34 drivers and we transport about 250 special education students with 18 routes, and 800 general education students through 12 routes. We believe the am/pm model will allow us to maintain social distancing. We will be providing more information on bus schedules and procedures for drop-off and pick-up as we move into Phase 2. 

Will Secondary students have multiple classroom changes each day or will scheduling limit movement and desk sharing between the mid- day cleaning?
Looking forward, the current plan for in-person learning will involve secondary students changing classes twice a day with cleaning taking place throughout the day as well as in the evening. 

Where can we monitor our county's place on the COVID Watchlist?
Napa County’s website has many helpful health resources and specific information on Napa County's current COVID cases, death and testing data. Also visit the Napa County Public Health Considerations for School Reopening Guide which outlines all current public health orders.

Will there still be a Period 7/Early Bird option?
Yes, we have a modified schedule to address the Early Bird and Period 7 options.  

Is NVUSD running the Food Program when students will not be on campus?
Yes -- NVUSD students will be receiving meals no matter which option they choose. This will likely be in a Grab-n-Go or Curbside pick-up model at specific sites. We are determining the schedule and will be finalizing our plans in the next few weeks.

How will food be served if we return to school?
Schedules for food service will depend on which phase we are in. So, we would start in a curbside model and also pre-packaged boxes or bags of food. If we transition, it will be then to the classroom for elementary students and a Grab & Go model from mobile carts in secondary. We are looking at best scenarios for how to utilize cafeteria vs. classrooms for eating.

How will resource/intervention be coordinated so students with IEPs get the services they need in addition to class time?
Our special education teachers and instructional services team is actively working and will be onsite to support students. A special Zoom webinar was hosted related to special education on Monday, July 27; an archive of the webinar may be viewed here.

As an essential working family, how are we supposed to be at home for our child to use virtual learning? 
We recognize the hardship that this pandemic has brought to our community, and especially to working parents. Child care is a very real concern and, as a school district, we want to offer support in any way we can. Due to the safety restrictions, we are not currently offering before or after school programs, however we are partnering with community partners such as the Boys & Girls Club to find options for our families. This is one of our priorities and we will provide more information as we have it.

The State of California has established a website to help Californians working in essential sectors during the coronavirus response to find safe, reliable, and accessible child care options.Visit

I have a specific question that is not addressed in any of the above questions - where can I get more information?