Frequently Asked Questions

This document is being provided to answer common questions in regard to traditional school and Pickens Virtual Academy. Pickens County School District (PCSD) will update the document as needed. If you do not find the information you need in this document, please contact the central office at 706-253-1700. This information is subject to change based on guidance from the Department of Public Health (DPH) and other health officials.


Virtual Academy

as of July 10, 2020

The Pickens Virtual Academy is an exclusively online learning option for those guardians/students who choose to complete grade level requirements in a virtual setting as opposed to a traditional setting in a building. Pearson Connexus will be the program used for instruction.

The Pickens Virtual Academy will use the Pearson Connexus program in order to teach courses that satisfy mastery of the Georgia Standards of Excellence. Support from a grade level or content area teacher will be provided; however, the majority, if not all, of the curriculum will be provided through the Pearson Connexus program. Distance learning that was facilitated from March 16 through May 9 included students’ current teachers providing academic support through a variety of platforms in order to complete the 2019-2020 school year. The support teacher assigned to students in the Pickens Virtual Academy will have varying access to the students during the traditional school day in comparison to teachers during distance learning.

Families need to complete the Virtual learning survey/application for each child who will be attending school through the Pickens Virtual Academy. A contract between the school system and the guardian/student must be signed as well in order to ensure understanding of the expectations of the student/guardian. The contract and other important information regarding Pickens Virtual Academy will be emailed to parents who have elected this option.

Students must have reliable and consistent internet access in order to maintain pace with their assigned courses so that they can be completed within the given timeframes.

Students are encouraged to have access to an iPad/Tablet, Desktop Computer, Laptop, Chromebook, or similar device. While it is possible to access Pearson Connexus on a smartphone, it is not recommended as the primary method for completing work. All PCSD students will be provided a compatible device by the school system.

The amount of time spent on classwork and online activities will vary with every student. Guardians should observe the progress of a class regularly to ensure that students are on track to complete requirements on time (by the end of the semester/school year depending on the class).

Based on the Pearson Connexus student-centered learning model, guardians (defined as Caretakers) “typically support and motivate the student and monitor the schedule. Caretakers are also encouraged to communicate and collaborate with the teachers.”

Students who choose to participate in the Pickens Virtual Academy will continue to be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities. Standard eligibility requirements that are in place for all Pickens County Schools students continue to apply.

Much like students in a traditional high school setting participate in a variety of options related to Dual Enrollment, students aligned with the Pickens Virtual Academy will be able to enroll and participate in the dual enrollment program with support related to scheduling from their high school counselor.

Pickens County schools will be contracting with Pearson to provide Pearson Connexus to students who choose to be a part of the Pickens Virtual Academy.

Students who choose the Pickens Virtual Academy will be assigned a support teacher who is certified in the appropriate area(s).

A certified teacher will be assigned to the student; he/she will provide meaningful support as needed to students as they move through the curriculum. Families will also need to provide support to their students and advocate for them when needed.

Pearson Connexus has a variety of virtual elective courses that align with current course offerings for students in grades 9-12; guardians will work with school counselors and administrative staff to determine the most appropriate courses to take based on previous course requests and preferred pathways. K-8 students will have access to age-appropriate elective courses in a virtual setting.

At this time, Pickens Virtual Academy will be serving students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

When families choose Pickens Virtual Academy for their child who currently has an IEP or 504 plan, the student’s team will meet to determine what specialized instruction, accommodations or supports will be meaningful for the virtual environment. Families may also request a meeting before choosing the virtual option to ensure an informed decision is made for the educational model that best meets their child’s needs.

Students will receive meaningful learning support from their assigned support teacher that addresses areas where he/she is struggling.

AP courses will be offered by GA Virtual School, which is a program separate from Pearson Connexus. Honors classes are offered through Pearson Connexus. Students who are placed in the Gifted programs will receive meaningful support through Pearson Connexus supplemental materials and their support teachers.

Yes, English Learners will receive support from the Pickens County ESOL program meaningful to the virtual environment.

Yes, students will earn grades virtually that will attach to their permanent record and count as a course credit at the end of the semester/year.

Yes, your child will participate in benchmarking and Pearson assessments. Some of these assessments may be scheduled and monitored by the virtual teacher.

Students may only be enrolled in one learning model, virtual or traditional. There will be an opportunity to change learning models at the end of a semester.

A virtual open house will be scheduled. Information will be sent to the families who elected for their child(ren) to attend Pickens Virtual Academy.

Traditional School

as of July 10, 2020

Ensuring the safety of our students, teachers, and staff is our number one priority. The district will provide one cloth mask for students and staff.
  • At all grade levels, students will change classes. During transitions, it is strongly recommended that students wear a mask.
  • Schools will promote proper hygiene. Students and staff are expected to frequently wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer.
  • Students will rotate eating lunch in the cafeteria and their classroom or other designated areas, but the final determination will be made by the school principal as determined by the layout of the school.
  • Teachers and students will practice responsible distancing in the classroom when possible.

Students will change classes at all schools as determined by the school principal. During transitions, it is strongly recommended that students and staff wear a mask.

Students in elementary and middle schools will have CAMP/Connection classes and recess.

It is strongly recommended that students who choose to ride the bus wear a mask due to the inability to responsibly distance. When students load the bus, they will go to their assigned seat. Buses will use the air conditioning and heat as necessary but will also open windows on the bus to allow better air circulation. We will continue to work closely with the Department of Public Health (DPH) and other health officials and will follow their guidance related to COVID-19.

The school district will provide one mask to students and staff. It will be the responsibility of the family to care for the mask and be sure it is cleaned daily. Guidance on caring for masks is available on the CDC website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wash-cloth-face-coverings.html). If an additional school mask is needed, there will be a $3 charge. Families are also allowed to send school-appropriate masks or facial coverings from home for their child(ren), but students may not share their masks or facial coverings with other students.

The district does not require staff to be tested. Staff will be responsible for self monitoring temperature/symptoms. Protocols are in place for teachers and staff to follow if they do not feel well. We will continue to work closely with the Department of Public Health (DPH) and other health officials and will follow their guidance related to COVID-19.

Teachers and students will frequently be washing their hands and/or making use of hand sanitizer. Teachers will work with students to demonstrate/teach proper handwashing and germ prevention techniques. Increased cleaning measures will be in place throughout the buildings especially in areas where things are frequently touched (i.e., door handles). Educational posters will be placed throughout the schools to remind everyone of good hygiene practices.

The elementary schools and middle school will offer before- and after-school programs. The prices will remain the same as last year ($7 for pre-paid attendance and $9 for drop-in attendance).

The level of spread for our community is determined by the Department of Public Health (DPH) and local health officials.

Visitors to the school will be allowed on a limited basis. Visitors will be screened and their temperature taken upon entry to the building. Visitors are required to wear a mask or facial covering. Visitors should bring one from home; however, if you do not have one, the school will provide one.

Parents of students in Pre-K and Kindergarten may walk their student to class on the first day of school. A mask or facial covering must be worn. Visitors should bring one from home; however, if you do not have one, the school will provide one. Based on COVID-19 guidelines from Department of Public Health (DPH) and other health officials, the visits should be limited to no more than 15 minutes.

Pre-K students will only be served through the traditional school model and distance learning if necessary.

If your child is enrolled in traditional school, he/she must remain enrolled until the end of the semester. If there is an extreme hardship for your family, you may contact your child’s school principal for more information.

No, you can choose the model that works best for an individual child and the needs of your family (note: there are specific requirements to attend the Pickens Virtual Academy. Please visit that section.)

Students can only be enrolled in one learning model. There will be an opportunity to change learning models at the end of a semester.

The district will continue to supply the basic items needed in a class. If your child prefers specific items such as special pens or pencils, you will need to provide those items.

Students in grades K-12 will be assigned a device during the first two weeks of school.

Students who attend traditional school will transition to distance learning. Throughout the school year, students will become familiar with the expectations and procedures for distance learning. Our Pickens Educational Task Force has worked to develop both student and teacher expectations for distance learning. If distance learning is needed, each individual school will provide student expectations and other important information. During distance learning, students will continue to be taught by their assigned teachers and grades earned during distance learning will count. Students enrolled in traditional school will not become part of the Pickens Virtual Academy for distance learning.

Meals will be provided to students during distance learning. Specific details for meal delivery and/or pick-up will be provided at the time distance learning is needed for the district.

Attendance policies are being reviewed and may be adjusted. Any change will be communicated to families via Infinite Campus, district webpage, and social media outlets.

Students who need to quarantine will transition to distance learning. Expectations and procedures will be provided at that time by the building principal. Parents may be required to provide documentation from a medical provider to validate a transition to distance learning.