Hello Madison Academy Family. We hope this communication finds you and your family healthy and well in this challenging time, as we search for ways to navigate the issues brought on by Covid-19. It is our goal to help bring back at least some degree of normalcy and comfort by providing plans for the upcoming school year.
At the outset, we would like for you to know that all of our efforts are for students to be able to return to school for “On-Campus” learning this August. We feel that relationships between students and teachers, and with one another, are important in the development of children and young people. And, we also realize that it creates hardships on families trying to balance home life and work life when students are not in school. So, please know that our intention is to have a full school year as normal as we can and will work to that end. If, however, during the course of the year, the safety of our faculty, staff and students forces us to move from normal “On-Campus” learning to a “Reduced Capacity” or “At-Home” model, we have been studying and preparing for hybrid and remote models to accommodate our needs.
Information and Draft Plans
This past Friday, the State Department of Education and the State Department of Health held a briefing and provided a guiding document for schools to re-enter school this fall. This was the piece of the puzzle that we, as well as all schools across Alabama, had been anticipating. Although we have been planning throughout the summer, this provided us with a well-vetted and research-based roadmap to further develop our plan at Madison Academy. So, with this in mind, we wanted to get information and a draft document in your hands as quickly as possible for your review.
The purpose of this document is to provide you with three things:
- Information, as we know it, that we feel will be helpful to you
- An overview of our plans (that are still in draft form)
- An opportunity and vehicle for your input
You will find that the information and plans are general in nature, as we will continue to flesh out the details in weeks to come. The plans have been, and will continue to be, formulated from “best practices” research, CDC guidance and input from many other entities such as: the Alabama State Department of Education, the Alabama State and Local Departments of Health, local medical professionals, teachers, National Christian School Association, parent focus groups, as well as schools and school systems across our state.
Thank you for taking time to look at our plans. As a part of our MA family, we would appreciate you and any feed back you can provide. A survey, along with contact information of those responsible for building the plan, will be provided at the end so that you can have an easy opportunity to voice your thoughts.
Timeline - Our Plan from this Point Forward
- Information and Draft Plan Released for Review – June 29, 2020
- Teacher and Parent Input – 2 weeks
- Updated information with more detail will be released beginning July 13 and following
Our current Madison Academy calendar is set for students to begin on Wednesday, August 5. Some schools have adjusted their calendars for one or two week delays. At this point we are still planning on August 5, but a one week delay may be needed. Regardless, of whether we leave our start date at August 5 or delay for a week, the remainder of calendar holidays such as Fall Break, Thanksgiving Break, Christmas Break and Spring Break would remain the same.
The school will be equipped with hand-held thermometers to check student temperatures. At this point, we are looking at relying on parents to do temperature checks at home and not allow a child to come to school who is running a temperature above 100.4. However, teachers will be able to check randomly throughout the day as needed. As the level of infection with a grade level or school increases, we may look at morning checks before the school day begins. We are still studying this.
We are going to do all we can to teach social distancing to our students. We will also place markings as reminders in key areas.
There are many thoughts on facial coverings. At this point, masks are voluntary but strongly encouraged. However, if the level of spread increased to a level of concern, we would reconsider our policy. As always, we would take into consideration those students with special needs or situations.
Sanitation and Personal Hygiene
We will be teaching and modeling good personal hygiene to our students. In addition, we will be insuring that our facility is properly cleaned and sanitized.
Wellness Screening at Home
Our first line of defense will be for parents to screen their children at home for elevated temperature, symptoms or other information related to possible exposure. The following is a graphic that provides guidance for families in making decisions.
School and Parent Guidance for Exposures, Symptoms and Diagnoses
Director of Health Services
We are very fortunate to have Kristi Smith, RN, BSN leading our Health Services at Madison Academy. She has built our program from the ground up and has been invaluable in helping put together our plans. We also have Dr. Jackie Horton who teaches in our Medical Academy who will be providing support as needed.
Health Services will provide our day to day leadership, oversight and monitoring of all faculty, staff and students. Services will also be provided for staff development and student prevention education.
We have a clinic that is functional with restroom, refrigeration and 2 beds. In addition, we are in the process of locating and outfitting an “Isolation Area” that would serve as a supplemental space for anyone needing to be removed from the school population for a specified time.
General Levels of Infection
The State Department of Education, in conjunction with the State Department of Health, has given us this continuum as guidelines to determine the levels of risk and spread. These levels could be determined in the form of a directive from the state government or could be used locally, as needed, within by our Madison Family.
Level 1 -Minimal Risk
Level 2 - Moderate Risk
Level 3 – High Risk
Level 4 - Very High Risk
Teaching Models in Response to Levels of Spread
The Level of Risk we find ourselves in will determine the Teaching Model we will use. Our hope is to maintain an environment where we can stay in our On-Campus Traditional Teaching Model throughout the year.
1. On Campus – Traditional Learning Model
If we are in Level 1 (or lower end of Level 2), we will be using the Traditional Face to Face “On Campus” model.
2. Hybrid/Blended Models
If we were to find ourselves in the higher end of Level 2 or Level 3 at some point during the year, we would need to consider moving to a hybrid/blended model; which is a partial remote and partial on-campus model. We are exploring a couple of hybrid models that we could use as needed. The basis of this model is to significantly reduce the student population at school. Each of the following models would serve that purpose.
Hybrid Model A – This is a blended approach with students being 2 days at school doing traditional learning and 2 days at home working remotely; with one day, either a Wednesday or Friday, being used as a cleaning day for sanitization/and day for teacher office hours, special activities, clubs, etc. For example, one half of the student population goes to school on Monday and Tuesday, while the other half learns remotely at home. Wednesday would serve as a facility cleaning day. Then, Thursday and Friday would have one half in school and the other at home learning remotely.
Hybrid Model B – This is a model that keeps certain grade levels at school doing traditional learning, while other levels learning remotely at home. For example, PK-Grade 8 learning at school (spread out through the facility) and Grades 9-12 at home learning remotely.
3. Remote Learning
If we were to be placed in a high risk level 3 or 4, we would likely be looking at all schools closed much like we were in the spring. This would normally come from the governor’s office or the Department of Health as a directive. In this case, we have learned a lot from our experience this spring and have improved our delivery system, should we need to go full remote. For example, we have now purchased WebEx and other software that will improve the issues we experienced early on.
Remote Learning for Students Who May Be Quarantined Due to Exposure, etc.
We are also working on a solution whereby a student can be at home and still either be tuned in real time to their class for instruction, or have access to recorded lessons of instruction to be viewed at a time that works best for their family. We are excited about this option. This would be a combination of simulcasting and recording based on the type of class and grade level.
Graphic Illustrating Level of Spread and Corresponding Teaching Model
Navigating Large Situations
We are evaluating all of our situations where students would be in large group gatherings. These gatherings will happen, but social distancing guidelines are being applied to insure student safety. This is an example of us needing time to flesh out the details. These gatherings include, but are not limited to: Chapel, Recess, Physical Education, Lunch, Class Transitions, Corral, etc.
Student Drop Off and Entrance to Building
Student Drop Off procedures in the morning are being evaluated and fleshed out. They will be communicated later by appropriate principals. We have purchased a software program called “School Pass” that should be very helpful.
Student Dismissal and Pick-Up
Student Pick Up procedures in the afternoon are being evaluated and fleshed out. They will be communicated later by appropriate principals. We have purchased a software program called “School Pass” that should be very helpful.
Student Check-In and Check-Out
Student check-in and check-out procedures are being evaluated and fleshed out. They will be provided later by appropriate principals. The School Pass App will be helpful in the checking in and out of students. It should make it quicker and limit people coming into the building.
Field Studies and Field Trips
Field Trips and Field Studies will be looked at on a case by case basis if our school is in the minimal to moderate level. Otherwise, we will likely need to either cancel for the fall or move to the Spring Semester.
Events, such as Grandparent’s Day, etc. will be looked at on a case by case basis.
Practice and Play Resumes
According to the latest information, the ALSDE and the AHSAA say that athletic practices and games can move forward as planned and scheduled. Student athletes are already back on campus preparing for their seasons.
All coaches have certain screening protocols they use in working with their student athletes including, but not limited to, temperature checks and symptom checks. These protocols apply to the screening of coaching staffs as well.
Games and Competitions
Games are planned to go on as normal. However, things will likely look much different when considering how admissions will be handled, how concessions will be handled and what social distancing will look like in the gym or on the fields of play. We will continue to study this and will communicate procedures as they are developed.
As the summer moves forward, plans specific to the Upper School, the Lower School and Little Madison Academy will be provided by principals. The same will be for other Departments such as Health Services and Athletics.
We have worked hard to insure that our building is and will continue to be clean and sanitized with the appropriate disinfectants and procedures. Thanks to our wonderful facilities staff as they have embraced the expectations and have taken ownership of our building. The following are examples of our plans.
- Regular and Special Cleaning Schedules
- Adequate and Appropriate Materials and Supplies
- Staff Development for Best Practices in Covid-19 Prevention
- Handheld Individual Foggers
- Outside Cleaning Service - Available as Needed
- New Bathroom Dispensers
- Installation of Hand Sanitizing Stations
- Providing of Sanitization Supplies to Classrooms and Offices
- Plexiglas sheets will be located at high traffic areas such as offices, cafeteria, etc.
Your feedback is important as we continue to build our plan for a successful 2020-21 school year. We would appreciate you taking time to go to the google form linked below and provide your thoughts.
Responsibility for Building our Plan
Feel free to use this form to contact us with ideas, concerns, etc.
Terry Davis – President
Brian Privett – Upper School Principal
Missy Lusk – Lower School Principal
Jodi McCaghren – LMA Principal
Kristi Smith RN, BSN – Director of Health Services
Mark Mincher – Athletic Director