McKinley’s Distance Learning FAQs


When will we receive classroom teacher assignments?

Teacher assignments (with the exception of Kindergarten) were sent on Friday, August 14th. If you aren’t a kindergarten parent and didn’t receive a teacher assignment, please contact the front office at 703-228-5280.

Will all McKinley students be placed with McKinley teachers?


Some families are forming study pods of same age-kids. Is this encouraged by McKinley teachers?

APS cannot assign or reassign students based on pods that have been created by families. Given the disproportionate staff and student preferences, among other planning factors which are unique to each student, program, and school, APS will not be able to accommodate pod requests. The McK PTA is also unable – due to liability constraints – to coordinate learning pods or co-ops for your children. However, if you want to reach out to fellow parents in your child’s grade(s) to inquire about starting a pod or co-op, we recommend using AtoZ, the secure, official online McKinley directory containing students, staff, and family contact info. Once you’ve updated your info in AtoZ (including teacher assignments) you can easily search within class or by name and find other students and their specific contact and address info to coordinate local/micro-neighborhood level groups, etc.

How much time should parents expect to allocate each week to support virtual learning?

We hope you will be able to support children in their learning.  Of course, the level of support will vary depending upon a child’s specific needs. Staff will work to provide weekly assignments as early as possible to enable you to better estimate support time required for your children.

Will distance learning classroom assignments be impacted once the hybrid option is implemented?

We do not have information that we can share at this time about the hybrid option and its implementation.

Will McKinley be rotating teachers in grades 4 and 5 in the distance learning and hybrid models?

4th and 5th grades will rotate among teachers for different subjects in the distance learning environment.

How many children do we anticipate being assigned to classes made up of children and/or teachers from more than one school?

This relates to the hybrid model.  We do not have an answer for this at this time.

When is lunch and recess?

Lunch and recess will be between 11:45a-12:35p for all students.

How long is the school day?

Beginning on September 8 our day will begin at 9:00 AM and conclude at 2:20 PM, Tuesdays through Fridays.  Mondays are an asynchronous day where students may work on materials at their own pace.  Other Monday activities could include, but are not limited to, intervention groups, parent meetings, and some specials, should they need to occur.

How strictly will attendance be taken? I work during the school day and can only get my child online once I’m home.

Attendance will be taken in the same manner as if classes were in-person. The teacher or assistant(s) will reach out to the parent if the student is unable to attend and/or doesn’t participate in the learning.


What is a 504 plan?

504 plans are formal plans that schools develop to give kids with disabilities the support they need. That covers any condition that limits daily activities in a major way.

How are IEPs/504s and teacher allocation being handled or adjusted?

For students with special education needs, case carriers will reach out to individual families as needed to adjust and align your child’s current IEP with the virtual learning model.

If students are to be combined with other schools, how will programs like Gifted Services be handled?

This relates to the hybrid model.  We do not have an answer for this at this time.

If your student's teacher from last year suggested that your student receive gifted services but since then have not heard anything because the school closed. How will that be addressed? Should parents contact Mr Trainor?

Yes, please contact our gifted services lead Kevin Trainor at He’s checking email.

What sorts of things can we expect in a class like Art or PE? Do I need to be prepared to provide my child with art supplies, and/or move the computer outside so that they can do calisthenics?

Planning for the specifics of the specials’ and when they will take place at each grade level continues.  The daily rotation will contain specials blocks, however.

Will the “core topics” such as Math, English, and Science all take place in the morning with specials/PE in the afternoon or will this vary depending on the grade/class?

The master schedule will include language arts, math, science, social studies, art, music, physical education, and instrumental music (grades 4 and 5 only).  At this time, we are unsure as to when each subject will be taught during the day.


I've got the APS iPad, but should I also consider buying a laptop, monitor, or other peripherals and hardware for my child?

We understand that the idea of distance learning is hard enough without having to play tech support for your children all day. The good news is you don’t need to buy any new tech items for your child to attend school virtually – everything they need is on their iPad and/or came with it (e.g. power cord). If the iPad you have isn’t working right or you’re having issues, open a ticket for it here.   It is encouraged that you troubleshoot issues by looking at the available resources on the APS Device Support Site.  If you do decide to buy a monitor, keyboard, or any other item please know that APS cannot support or endorse these items so purchase at your own risk. Also, keep in mind that teachers will be providing directions for assignments, etc. based on the APS-issued iPad, so if you choose to use a personal device there’s the potential for additional effort in helping your child navigate other software/hardware that child needs to be throughout the day – a burden on you and potentially the teacher should there be issues.

For those parents who do still wish to purchase peripherals, the McKinley PTA Facebook page will feature a community thread for parents to share their respective configurations and products (non APS endorsed, of course) so families can make their own choices based on their individual needs and budget.

Can APS open up the technology and log-Ins so that students can use non-APS managed devices?

There will be a series of sessions specific to technology questions and use at a later time. In the interim be sure to check out the APS FAQ section specific to technology.

Will teachers be permitted to add parents as guests to the class Team in Microsoft Teams so that parents can see their child's schedule and use chat to coordinate with the teacher and other parents in a single platform?

All communication will have to happen through the students account. Parents will not have an account of their own and will need to log in as their child to see schedules and work. Teachers will be reinforcing this in their 1:1 discussions

Given the difficulties this group of adults with practice using Teams experienced getting logged in to the call, please reconsider having students log out/in to different links for 10-15 minute sessions. Perhaps only once in the morning and once after lunch, especially for younger students?

The tech issues with Microsoft Teams during the 8/12 Q&A are unlikely to occur with students. Students will access Teams directly via their iPads (vs. public access to Teams for the meeting), which should mitigate the challenges of presenting and recording many families experienced during the Q&A.

For those kids that did not have school-issued iPads last year/last spring, how do they get an iPad before school starts?

We are currently working to set up iPads and will have pick-up guidance and information at a later time.

Will a keyboard for the iPad be provided?

No, keyboards for iPads will not be provided.

Will a charger be provided with each student iPad? Sounds obvious but we did not receive one in the spring when students went virtual.

Younger students getting an iPad for the first time will get a charger; if you have a returning student who did not get a charger please contact Marnie Lewis at to coordinate pick up of a charger.

Is it possible to get a recommendation for headphones with mics that work with the iPad? And also an external keyboard rec?

For recommendations contact our technology lead Marnie at If you are considering a keyboard for the iPad then be sure it is Bluetooth and will not require the iPad to be taken out of its case. APS does not recommend peripherals, as they do not support them.

Will students be required to be on video during lessons, and how will the school address privacy issues, such as ensuring that pictures are not taken?

No, they will not be required the entire time but they will be required to be on video when doing small group work and talking.  Students are told not to take pictures of students without permission. You can contact Marnie Lewis, our IT Coordinator for McKinley, to discuss your concerns

Is it true our children’s classes are being recorded?

Classes are not regularly recorded. Exceptions are for specific course content that may require future reference (e.g. introduction of new content or a mini-lesson). See handbook for details.

Are the recordings captured locally to the teachers’ computer or into a shared platform/network/cloud?

They are stored in Stream, a Microsoft cloud-based app with strict settings in place as to who can view the videos. Staff have been given guidelines when recording video.  Per page page 9 of the Parent Remote Learning Handbook: “RECORDING LESSONS Teachers will record portions of their whole group synchronous instruction (e.g. introduction of new content or a mini-lesson) and make the video link available to students via a password protected platform (i.e. Canvas). The recording of the lessons can take place as long as there is no personally identifiable information or student records disclosed. Teachers will make these recordings available to students to refer to when they are absent or need to review the information. Families are able to opt-out of having their child recorded during instruction when completing the Annual Online Verification Process (AOVP). If families do not opt-out during the AOVP timeframe, they are able to notify their child’s school in writing at any time that they would like to opt-out their child from being recorded during instructional recordings. Parents should note that video recordings of instruction are only for educational use by students and may not be shared with others.”

Who has access to the videos?

Teacher decides who has access, but can only be to those within the APS organization. The default permissions are to those in the Classroom Team.

How long are the videos stored?

Until the teacher deletes the file.

Are students required to be present on video to be counted for attendance or may they join only by audio?

Attendance info can be found on page 15 of the Parent Remote Learning Handbook.

They do not need to be present on video, but should consider joining only by audio as everything the teacher is doing live has visuals that are usually necessary for comprehension.  If there are bandwidth issues, audio is better than no class participation at all.


Will teachers send out refreshed lists of what students will need for distance learning as opposed to the original supply kits?

APS will be sending ‘distance learning toolkits’ in the coming weeks. You can read about this here. Guidance on where to pick up the kits, etc. should be coming from Colin and team via Cardinal Notes, as well as on the PTA Facebook page. Stay tuned to Cardinal Notes and APS/ParentVue updates for info. If you want to see what the standard kits should contain, check the McKinley School site here.

Could you please publish or distribute the supply list for those of us who did not buy the kits? Thank you!

You can find the standard supply kit info on the Mck school website here.  APS will be sending a ‘distance learning toolkit’ to families in the coming weeks. More info on that is here.

If we didn't purchase the kit back in June where can we find the list of what we need to purchase? OR are you saying the county is providing school supplies for everyone.

Best answer here is ‘yes’:) Here’s the specific link on the McK school website regarding standard supply kits. APS will be sending out ‘distance learning toolkits’ as well in the coming weeks that you can learn more about here – and in Cardinal Notes once guidance is published on where/how to pick up.

Where should we go to get info that has been put out? School webpage? Sorry, we are new and don’t know about school supply kits you’ve mentioned for example

Your best sources of info are Cardinal Notes (weekly email from Colin and Jon), ParentVue, and the PTA Facebook and Email Lists. Here’s the specific link on the McK school website regarding standard supply kits. APS will be sending out ‘distance learning toolkits’ as well in the coming weeks that you can learn more about here – and in Cardinal Notes once guidance is published on where/how to pick up.

What are the 4th and 5th grade students carrying in those shoulder bags? I'm a new 4th grade parent.

4th and 5th graders rotate classes, so it is how they carry their notebooks, iPads, and materials from class to class

Who at the school can I contact to determine if I can get weekly packets of worksheets needed during the week? I'm unable to print at home.

There is no plan for worksheets to be printed. All assignments will be delivered digitally. If this is an issue you can contact the McKinley Office directly at 703-228-5280 


Is there any way the children could meet their teacher masked, at a playground/yard, with social distance etc prior to virtual learning? If not, how else can teachers establish rapport with young learners?

We cannot encourage in-person meetings of students with other students or staff to do projects.

Has anyone given thought to the role of Room parents in the virtual environment? Help with the social interactions.

The PTA will be recruiting room/class parents in a few weeks and will be working to provide ideas and support to help them foster more social interactions for each class.

My wife is a geographical single mother (I am deployed military) who has a full time demanding job. We have two children in McKinley, one in 5th and one entering K who has special needs. What resources are out there to help her make sure both children are attending and completing their assignments?

First, thank you for your service to our country. There are a few places you and your wife can go for support. For insights on our online tools and features, contact our technology lead Marnie at If you and your wife are interested in connecting with other parents for support in either 5th or Kindergarten, check out the AtoZ directory of McK families to find out who is in each child’s class.

The stress we are hearing is our kids potentially disrupted by mixing up teachers and kids when hybrid goes into effect. We know that class composition is based on really hard work in the spring, but if in November you go to hybrid then kids may be split out and moved to new teachers and classmates. That's a huge issue for some of us, which I think is why you're seeing the question posed in many different ways. What I'm hearing is "the classes are the classes. And yes, things may get mixed up a bunch if hybrid starts and some kids and teachers are still DL."

Unfortunately we don’t have a better answer to this challenge other than we’re committed to keeping as many McK kids together as possible.

The PTA and school presentation both referenced the "Reed transition". This will be a big topic of conversation in the school community this year. I feel that the reference to Reed can be isolating, confusing, and upsetting to the children that will NOT be transitioning to Reed. They will certainly feel left out from most of their friends that do move to Reed. It would be great if we could find a more inclusive way to reference the McKinley closure and related school transitions.

Thanks for this feedback; PTA leads are keen to the potential impacts and are going to work to help every student move on successfully to their next school.

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