Windsor Academy's 2020-2021 School Year Plan
As we move closer to the start of school, I want to prepare you all for what will be requested, required and optional in dealing with the ever changing COVID-19 guidelines.
I understand opinions about these guidelines will fall all over the spectrum in support for or against. I am tasked with what is best for Windsor Academy, its students, families, faculty and staff and their families. If we have a chance of being able to open the doors and maintain any sense of a traditional school setting this year, your acceptance and implementation of the following guidelines will be important.
Over the past weeks and months, I have attended many online workshops, SAIS webinars, e-mailed with constituents and most recently met with several Heads of Schools from Macon’s private schools to share ideas, ask questions, and listen to different opinions. The local Heads have all agreed to remain in contact with bi-weekly meetings and work with each other to ensure that our practices are sound and up to date. Still to this day I do not believe there is a “right” answer that covers all areas and a one size fits all formula. Windsor is unique in that we are small and can work with our families individually to ensure that all of our student’s needs are being met. We will continue to work through individualized plans as the needs arise.
As I stated in my e-mail last week, we will be able to offer a distance learning platform for those that need to stay home during spikes, illness or other necessary times. If you choose the at home option, you will be required to write a letter stating why you are requesting the program. (Illness, compromised immune system; family member ill. Etc.) You must give one week’s notice and you will be required to fulfill a full two week at home program before transitioning back to class if you choose. If you know that you will be out more than two weeks, please communicate with our counselor. Our teachers will be receiving training and specific instruction on distance learning guidelines during pre-planning. They will be available to you for questions, concerns and instruction throughout the process just like if your child was in class. If you plan to start the year on this program or need to exercise the option anytime during the year please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Ms. Davidson, our new school counselor, as she will provide oversight of the distance learning program.
After speaking with our Athletic Director, Leighann Newberry, it should also be understood that if a distance learning program is chosen then athletics and extra- curricular activities for the school will be suspended during the at home program. You can not choose to stay home from school and expect to participate in practices, games, or clubs as a participant or a spectator at the school.
Temperature Checks, Masks, and Sanitation
Before I dive into our requirements, I need to heavily emphasize that YOU will play a large role in helping to avoid a distance learning school wide scenario. Again, opinions will fall all over the spectrum for or against but if your child has a fever greater than 100.4 it will be imperative that you keep them home. Look for symptoms dealing with any contagious illness and do not mask it with medicine. If you do, then you risk a widespread illness and a distance learning program like we saw last Spring. Our individual families will be our greatest resource for controlling the school environment or our biggest nuisance in fighting to remain open. I beg you to take your role seriously and do not send a sick child or a child showing symptoms to school. (Symptoms for COVID-19 include fever, headaches, chills, loss of taste or smell, fatigue, body aches, runny nose, cough, respiratory distress. Anyone with FEVER ALONE or TWO or more symptoms should stay home.)
We will have four entry stations each morning before 8am to check student temperatures as they arrive to school. Any student that has a temperature of 100.4 or higher will not be allowed to enter the building. If they need a ride or if their ride has left already, then we will have a designated room for them to sit until they are picked up. After 8am, ALL students, visitors, or family members will be required to enter through the front door of the school and will be required to have their temperature checked before entering. The parking lot gates will be closed at 8 am. I would suggest checking temperatures before leaving for school in the morning to keep us from enforcing the temperature policy.
We have spent a great deal of money this summer to ensure that we can properly sanitize the school multiple times a day and during off days heavily if needed. It would greatly help with stock and cost if you can provide your student(s) with their own hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, etc. Our teachers will, no doubt, have this on their supply list. I know that this stuff is in high demand and hard to find but please help us with this as much as you can!
We will spend time early in the school year training students and faculty on wellness procedures to ensure proper sanitation and our expectations as far as social distancing in the classroom and how hallway procedures are concerned.
There will be sanitation periods built in at the beginning and end of each class (middle and high) and on a schedule for elementary classes that are self- contained.
If needed, and especially to prevent a long-term closure, we may announce sanitation days (like snow days) to allow students a day off and allow faculty and staff to deep clean and spray the facilities. More information on this later.
The mask requirement is probably one of the most debated issues I have heard. The reasoning that made the most sense to me is this; if we have a mask requirement there is a chance that we will be able to work ourselves into staying open if and when we have a case in the school. If we don’t wear masks, there is no chance that we can stay open in the long run.
With this said, masks will always be required in all hallways, bathrooms, and general population areas for grades 1-12. Students in grades 5-12 will be expected to enter the classroom after each period with masks on until the social distance requirements and sanitation expectations can be fulfilled and teachers give the ok to remove masks. In simple terms, if a child is out of the classroom a mask must be properly worn. Once in the classroom and after the teacher states they can remove them they will have the option to remove the mask if they so choose. You may want your child to wear a mask all day long. That will be honored, and we will make sure they are not ridiculed because of it. You may not want your child to wear a mask at all. I hope that you will find this general population requirement satisfactory. If you do not, please schedule an appointment to meet with me so that we can discuss your home school options.
Let me be clear, I’m not a big fan of wearing masks. I am a big fan of having kids in school and teachers healthy and ready to teach. If there is any chance that masks can ensure that we continue a traditional school year then I will err on the side of safety!
On a side note- Mask can be solid or a pattern print. No words, initials, symbols, logos, flags or other such displays can be printed on the masks. The administrative team reserves the right to decide what can and can not be worn. This will be added to the student dress code.
We are excited to announce that Windsor is taking control of the cafeteria for the 2020-2021 school year. We have contracted the food service program out the last two years. This year we have hired Amy Weiche and Ashley Weiche (both alumni and a great mother/daughter team) to lead our food service program. The Weiches’ have a long tradition of providing amazing concession stand food, cakes and special treats for faculty and students over the years here at Windsor and I am sure that our lunch program will become a popular hit with our students, faculty and families.
The August menu will be on the school’s website in the coming days.
Prices for hot meals will be:
$6.00 Middle and High
We are bringing back “Order out Fridays” where we support our community food establishments for a main dish item for lunch. Think Pizza, chicken sandwich, NuWay, etc.
A La Carte Items will be available as well….More to come
Elementary will eat in the classrooms (or assigned area by teacher) to start the year so that we can properly social distance. Food will be delivered from the cafeteria to the elementary classroom or designated area.
Middle and High will be able to spread out in three different areas during their lunch period at teacher’s discretion after going through the lunch line.
Mrs. Giles will check temperatures at the pick-up point of her route. We will have a sanitation schedule for the bus to ensure it is a healthy space.
In short, I think this is a common sense plan that allows all of our families to choose a stricter enforcement of guidelines if they choose and a minimal compromise on others. You will be our biggest advocate for staying open. Check your child(ren) for fever and symptoms. If you see signs of illness, keep them home for observation. Encourage them to follow our expectations for sanitation and masking requirements. I assure you we will enforce our expectations. This should not be any more of a distraction to the educational process as it must be. It will take self-discipline, teamwork, and everyone playing their role, but I know we can make this work.
I am positive that I will have more information on all of this before we open. Stay tuned and as always, I am here if you have questions or comments. Complaints should come with a practical solution! This isn’t easy!