Reopening Our School
Reopening Plans for 2020-2021
The beauty of a small school like ours is that we are positioned to be extremely flexible and give families and staff the option of which type of learning environment they feel most comfortable with for the upcoming school year. We value every person in our community and want to make sure that everyone truly knows and feels that. We are going to great lengths to provide the safest environment we possibly can for our students and teachers, but at the end of the day, some people just do not feel comfortable with gathering at school- and you absolutely have that option, as do our staff members.
Layers of Safety
With each safety guideline we put in place, our school becomes a safer place to learn. While we cannot claim to be a bubble that can prevent COVID-19 transmission, we are taking every precaution possible to minimize risk. This is a community effort and we ask that you please treat NCCL School and everyone in it as one of your family’s priorities. As a whole school, including grades K-8 and all staff, we will be adhering to numerous safety guidelines and following safety precautions as described below:
Dedicated Group Spaces:
Outdoor Learning: NCCL School has purchased tents for outdoor learning spaces. Each group will have an outdoor classroom where they will spend the majority of their time. Groups 1 and 3 will have outdoor classroom space in the backyard of our new property and Groups 2 and 4 will have outdoor classroom space on our main campus.
Indoor Learning: For select lessons and activities, as well as during thunderstorms, Groups will come inside their regular classrooms. Classrooms will be ventilated as described below. Each Group will have a designated bathroom, with Group 3 using the downstairs bathroom at our new property, accessing the house with their own entrance/exit. Groups will enter and exit the main building at their own designated door.
Daily, in all of our indoor spaces:
To minimize the recirculation of separated cohorts’ air, no air conditioning will be used.
To increase ventilation, our many windows will remain open at all times during the school day.
To improve air circulation, the central building exhaust fan will be pulling out air from the building.
Since bathrooms do not offer window ventilation, every group-dedicated bathroom will house a portable True HEPA air purifying unit with UV-C air sanitization features.
Cohorts: To minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission, we have created small cohorts of students. Each cohort will not exceed 12 students. This will allow children the ability to adequately distance in whichever space they learn.
Adjusted Calendar: We anticipate sectioning our school year into three segments. While we have planned these segments, please understand that our schedules may change, dependent upon state mandates, community spread, and positive cases in our school community.
Segment #1: From September 8- November 25, we will be in a hybrid learning model.
Segment #2: Due to the colder temperatures mid-year and being unable to use our outdoor classrooms, we will need to take an in-person learning break after Thanksgiving. Our staff does not feel comfortable teaching in an enclosed school building without our current ventilation options, nor do we feel that it would be safe for our students. Beginning November 30, all students will be distance learning. Our scheduled Spring Break (currently April 5-9) will likely be relocated to early March.
Segment #3: Because so much is uncertain, even now, we cannot predict what the climate will be in the spring. We plan to pivot back to our hybrid learning model when feasible, but would like to to remain flexible with that date at this time.
If conditions worsen or a vaccine has been approved and is available, these plans may be altered.
Masks: All students and staff will be required to wear a mask when on campus.
Physical Distancing: Students and staff will adhere to the CDC-recommended 6 ft of distance between one another when feasible. We anticipate that this will be the biggest challenge for our youngest students. We intend to practice this safety guideline and remind students about why distancing is important to their safety.
COVID-19 Testing: Prior to re-entry in September, as well as periodically throughout hybrid learning, all participants of the in-person cohort will be required to provide negative COVID-19 test results. NCCL School is working with state officials to provide information and access to free asymptomatic testing.
Daily Health Screenings: When students arrive at school, before leaving the car, they will be asked a set of health screening questions to identify symptoms of COVID-19. Students will also have their temperatures taken before exiting the car. If students do not pass the screening, they will not be allowed in school and will be advised to consult with their pediatrician. A written note from your child’s pediatrician will need to be obtained before returning to school.
Hand Washing: Students will have hand washing breaks built into their schedules and will also have hand sanitizer available to them at all times.
Cleaning: High-touch surfaces will be cleaned throughout the day with a disinfecting cleaning solution provided by our cleaning company. Our contracted professional cleaning company will thoroughly clean our learning spaces and bathrooms Monday through Thursday evenings. Parent cleaning will be addressed and reimagined after we begin school, but families will not be responsible for cleaning classroom surfaces on weekends. All surface cleaning will be completed on a daily basis by our professional cleaners.
Visitors on Campus: Visitors, including parents, will sadly not be allowed on campus this year, unless by pre-approval from administration. All late drop-offs, early dismissals, and administrative meetings will be held at our house next door to the main campus, located at 393 Phillips Ave.
Upper and Lower School Schedules
Using our knowledge of developmentally appropriate teaching, combined with guidance from the CDC and subject matter experts, and parent feedback, we have chosen to create two separate schedules for the Upper and Lower halves of our school. While these schedules are a shift from last year and look and feel different, we want to emphasize that this is still NCCL School and learning and caring for our students will not be compromised. Our teachers are working harder than ever to make this a successful new chapter in NCCL School history.
The Lower School (grades K-4) will have the option to attend in person, Monday through Thursday, in half day grade-centric cohorts. The Lower School cohorts will be separated as follows: kindergarten and first grade combined, second grade, third grade, and fourth grade. In Group 1, some of the learning will also take place at home for those opting into in-person learning. In Group 2, the in-person cohort will be learning at school then at home in the other half of their day. For families opting into distance learning, your child will be Zooming into the live class at specifically scheduled times, as well as taking part in some learning outside of the NCCL School-based Zoom class times.
The Upper School (grades 5-8) will have the option to attend in person two full days per week and participate in distance learning two days per week. The Upper School cohorts will be separated as follows: fifth grade, sixth grade, seventh grade, and eighth grade. Each teacher from Groups 3 and 4 will be in person with each grade once per week. When not teaching in person, they will be teaching remotely with the grade that’s not in school that day. For example, fifth grade students could come to school Monday and Wednesday for the entire day and would be distance learning Tuesday and Thursday (these days are subject to change in the final plan). Just as in the Lower School schedule, families who opt into distance learning will Zoom with the in-person grade cohort when they are at school then participate in distance learning together when the in-person cohort is at home.
In all Groups, Fridays will be used for community-building, whole group virtual meetings and for teachers to be able to conference one-on-one with their distance learning cohorts. We will be suspending All-School Meeting until we are all able to meet in person again.
As a school, we understand that we may need to quickly pivot to our distance learning model. We are currently planning exactly what that looks like for each group. Thanks to your helpful feedback on the Distance Learning Reflection survey, our teachers are able to completely reconstruct what distance learning will look like this school year. They are being extremely mindful about how they’re teaching and the content that they’re teaching. What will continue to be a constant is our progressive teaching philosophy, the attention to every student’s individual needs, and teachers’ special relationship with every child.
Some of our families are experiencing unexpected financial hardships right now due to COVID-19. We want to help! NCCL School has set aside a fund to support families who are struggling to pay tuition because of a layoff, furlough, or decreased hours. If you need financial assistance, we encourage you to apply for financial aid. The form is currently accessible to you on our website. The COVID-19 Financial Aid Committee, made up of three NCCL School Board members including our Financial Director and Board Treasurer, is responsible for reviewing applications and awarding COVID-19-specific aid packages for this school year. We want to make sure that we’re making every effort possible to maintain and support our community.