The Alexander Robertson School
2020-2021 Re-Opening Plan
Communication and Family/Community Engagement
The Alexander Robertson School has engaged with a wide range of community members including our Board of Trustees, Parents’ Association, faculty, administrators as well as medical and janitorial staff to develop a re-opening plan that will use best practices to protect the safety and well-being of our students and staff.
Foremost in our thoughts are plans for communicating and liaising with our enrolled families about the safety protocols described herein to ensure a thorough understanding and appreciation for the steps that are being taken, and how each member of our community must play their part in them, for the sake of everyone’s health and safety. Furthermore, families and staff members will be required to submit an acknowledgment of their understanding of, and agreement with, the school’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Policies Handbook before returning to school in September, 2020.
All students and any person entering the school building will be required to wear a mask or face covering and sanitize their hands immediately upon entry. Students will be tutored in proper and regular handwashing and how to maintain a safe distance from classmates and adults. Students will be required to wear their own face masks to school but extra Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be made available to any student or adult who needs it.
Written and verbal communication will be used to encourage adherence to CDC and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE, the importance of frequent hand sanitizing and the need to keep hands away from faces.
Health and Safety
ARS has carefully considered the size of our classrooms and overall school building and has made the decision to limit class size to 10 students in order to maintain appropriate social distancing. Outside visitors will be strictly limited to lower the risk of infections. Student drop-off and pick up will occur outside the building, and deliveries will be received at the main entrance. The school will use 2 separate entry points on 95th Street and, if needed, can arrange for 2 additional entry points on 96th Street during arrival and dismissal to limit gatherings and to encourage the swift transfer of students. The school’s leadership has procured sufficient PPE and has been assured, by local authorities, that local hospital capacity is adequate to deal with any emergencies.
Further details on applicable instructions will be made available to parents, guardians, students, staff and visitors through a series of Town Hall style Zoom meetings, written communications and signage both prior to re-opening and throughout the school year.
School staff and teachers have been instructed to observe students and colleagues for signs of illness. Anyone showing signs of illness will be sent immediately to the Nurse’s office for evaluation. If it is determined that a student or staff member has a temperature of over 100 degrees or other signs of illness they will be sent home immediately. Parents and guardians will be required to pick-up a sick child within an hour so as to limit the risk of infection to other people in the building. While awaiting pick-up students will remain in one of two dedicated isolation areas where they will be supervised by a staff member.
All students’ and staff members’ temperatures will be taken upon their arrival to school each morning. Staff will submit a daily screening questionnaire designed to ascertain whether they have had contact with any infected individuals. Parents will submit a similar questionnaire on a weekly basis. This questionnaire will be distributed electronically.
Students and staff who have been sent home due to illness will not be readmitted to school until they have been cleared to do so by a physician.
The school’s on-going communications efforts will include instructions for parents/guardians to observe signs of illness in their children that will require them to stay home from school. These guidelines are included in the 2020-21 Alexander Robertson School Health Policies Handbook. Furthermore, the school’s communications efforts will include signage to instruct staff and students in correct hand and respiratory hygiene and to maintain a safe social distance of at least 6 feet whenever possible.
Students with health conditions that put them at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness or whose families are simply uncomfortable sending them to in-person classes may choose to participate in their school work remotely. Each student will be lent a laptop computer on which they can login remotely for both synchronous and asynchronous learning.
Students will remain within their classroom “bubbles” of up to 10 students throughout the day and scheduling will be arranged so that the individual classes are not in contact. Therefore, should a case of COVID-19 be confirmed in the school, the students in the affected bubble will be required to quarantine for a period of 14 days, while the remaining classes will be able to continue in-person classes. Maintaining these so-called bubbles will support local health authorities in contact tracing efforts.
In compliance with DOH, CDC and local health department guidance individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 must complete isolation and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test plus a letter from a physician attesting to their wellness to return to in-person classes or teaching.
The Alexander Robertson School will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected each day. Additionally, high-touch areas of the school, such as doorknobs, bathroom taps, bannisters, desks and chairs will be disinfected multiple times throughout the day. When a bubble of students leaves their classroom for morning and afternoon classes outside their homeroom classrooms, the rooms will be wiped down with a disinfectant solution. Additionally, classroom items, including but not limited to books, drawing and writing implements will no longer be shared. Discrete work centers in the Junior-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classrooms will be disinfected as a child chooses to move from one activity to another.
In order to comply with social distancing protocols school lockdown drills will be conducted by the whole school simultaneously with students remaining in their class bubbles, while evacuation drills will be conducted with 6 feet of space between students and staff as everyone exits and re-enters the building.
All ARS students will arrive for classes between 8:00 and 8:25 AM. Academic classes will conclude at 3:00 PM. The Extended Day Program will operate each day from 3:00 to 6:00 PM and will comply with all of the same guidelines that apply to on site classroom learning.
Our Head of School, Brinton Parson, is designated as the COVID-19 safety coordinator and is responsible for continuous compliance with all aspects of the school’s re-opening plan, as well as any phased-in re-opening activities necessary to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activities return to normal or “new normal” levels.
The Alexander Robertson School will continue to abide by all applicable health and safety guidelines as they pertain to child nutrition. Students will eat in their classrooms or in their individual bubbles in the cafeteria while maintaining six feet of separation or employing physical barriers to limit the risk of infection while they are eating without wearing masks.
Students with food allergies will be closely monitored while eating lunch and snacks and will sit at a greater distance from their classmates to avoid exposure to allergens. Students will be tutored to pay particular attention to hand washing protocols before and after eating and the school will continue its nut and seed awareness policy that prohibits all community members from bringing nuts, seeds and other allergens into the school building. As has always been our policy, students will not be permitted to share snacks and beverages.
Attendance and Absenteeism
Teaching and Learning
Each student will be lent a laptop computer on which they can login remotely for both synchronous and asynchronous learning. Alexander Robertson School students will be instructed by their certified classroom teachers and the schools specialists whether they attend remotely or in-person.
To ensure that all ARS students will be able to continue to work remotely if the need arises, the school has conducted a survey of families to make sure that they have operational internet service and will be provided with a laptop computer that is loaded with the necessary programs to allow them to complete their work.
ARS families are encouraged to email their teachers, “specials” teachers or the administration with any questions about the technology provided to them.