Acton Academy East Bay COVID-19 Reopening Plan
Considerations outlined within this COVID-19 Response Guide are intended to guide reopening our school under the current pandemic environment. The conditions, current medical landscape, and growing body of knowledge surrounding COVID-19 continue to evolve. This reality presents challenges to planning, preparing, and guiding our school operations. Therefore, expect revisions accordingly. Ultimately our goal is to provide a safe and nurturing environment where students can learn and resume normal daily activities.
Although evidence shows that most children infected with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, some children can develop severe illness, especially those children at risk because of underlying health issues. The discussion should occur with your child's health care provider to determine whether continued remote learning is the appropriate plan
Cleaning and Disinfection:
We will implement daily cleaning procedures, including midday sanitizing of high traffic areas, studios, and restrooms. The students will be sanitizing any community used objects after each use, sanitizing electronic devices at the end of each day, and sanitizing all working surfaces between activities.
At the end of the day, Staff will do a deep clean and sanitation of the entire Studio that includes
- Cloth Surfaces
- Studio Tools (Paint Brushes, Markers, Staplers, etc…)
- Studio Toys, and
- All Touch Surfaces (Door handles, tables, chairs, lockers, etc..)
To keep fresh air flowing throughout the studios we have placed fans in each room, allowing air to continuously circulate and not become stagnant. Each occupied room will contain a fan and the door must remain open. Throughout the day, each different studio will get work time outside to ensure that the Eagles have regular exposure to fresh air.
With a micro-school of < 50 students, we have each area zoned with tape on the floors, separate materials, designated hand-washing stations, and each small group works together with masks on. Groups do not mix. They are assigned in advance.
We will work to ensure that students and staff groupings are as static as possible by having the same group of children stay with the same staff member as much as possible. All breaks will be staggered to ensure that studios are not mixing while sitting at the lunch tables or while playing in the outdoor recreation area.
- The use of the playgrounds and lunchroom will be staggered between each studio and disinfected between uses.
- Downsize or cancelation of assemblies such as Exhibitions, field trips, parent events, etc. to allow for smaller groups or virtual events.
- Alternate recess to minimize the number of students on the playground allowing time to disinfect frequently touched equipment between uses.
- Increase space between students during in-person studio work.
- Move the studio outdoors whenever possible.
- Rearrange furniture to increase space between students.
- Eliminate activities that combine studios. Each studio will only be with their fellow Eagles and not combine activities with other studios.
- Conduct parent meetings via Zoom.
- Limit and screen studio visitors.
- Have adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high touch materials to the extent possible (art supplies, equipment, etc. assigned to a single child) or limit the use of the supplies and equipment by one group of children at a time and clean and disinfect between uses.
- Minimize the sharing of electronic devices, toys, books, art supplies, and other games or learning aids when possible. We ask that Eagles leave personal belongings such as toys, blankets, desk accessories, etc. at home. Minimize family visits on campus and restrict vendor access to the school to times when students are not present.
- We will not enforce a six feet apart protocol within the studios or outdoors. Students may engage with one another freely, but will be discouraged from touching each other.
To stagger our lunches and keep our classes separate we have implemented the following schedule:
Spark Studio Lunch Time: 11:30 - 12:00 - Spark Outside Lunch Zone
Elementary Studio 2 Lunch Time: 11:45-12:20 - Common Outside Lunch Zone
Elementary Studio 3 Lunch Time: 11:45 - 12:20 - Inside Lunch Zone
Middle School Studio 4 Lunch Time: 12:15 - 12:50 - Common Outside Lunch Zone
Each lunch zone will be properly sanitized and cleared out by staff before a new studio uses the space.
The following are measures that our school is taking to increase social distancing between studios while maintaining a level of face-to-face interaction. These protocols may evolve as they are implemented, and more information is obtained about COVID-19.
- The Eagles are required to stay in their assigned studios and their assigned work areas.
- We will minimize the contact with shared spaces, and any spaces that have to be shared will be properly sanitized between each group's use.
- Each Eagle will have their own workspace, with a maximum of two Eagles per table.
Entrance, Egress, and Movement Within the School:
In accordance with the California school reopening guidance we will be ensuring the separation of our classes to different studio entrances. Each studio has been allotted additional space so that learners can spread out.
- Sparks Studio will enter through the main Entrance at a staggered time frame, and will be dismissed through the same door.
- Elementary Studio will enter the school through the side entrance between 8-8:30 am and will be dismissed through the same door at 3:30 pm.
- The Middle School Studio will enter the front door of the main campus, between 8-8:30 am and will be dismissed at 3:30 pm through the main door.
Face Coverings and Other Essential Protective Gear:
Based on current state and local guidelines recently released, our interpretation of our obligation as a school is that we must require masks to be worn indoors at all times. We will also require that students wear their masks while outdoors. Staff will be required to wear a face mask at all times and sit at least six feet away from any student to eat their lunch. Our goal is to phase out mask requirements as soon as legally possible, in accordance with the California Department of Public Health.
Based on scientific research, wearing a mask does not protect the wearer from COVID-19 microscopic particles unless they are wearing a medical-grade N95 mask and gear that is being worn properly. The purpose of wearing a mask or face shield is to lessen the spread of one’s saliva or your own larger airborne droplets in particular from a sneeze or cough. Small illness-inducing particles can pass through cloth masks. Wearing a mask or face shield properly is necessary for it to be useful in protecting others from the wearer’s germs.
Clean and sanitized hands should be used when placing a mask on one’s face - the mask should only be touched by the straps avoiding touching the actual face cover to prevent contaminating the mask. The mask should not be touched unless with sanitized hands (and only by the straps), and if the mask comes in contact with non-sterile surfaces, it becomes unsanitary. If a student touches their mask with unsanitized hands, they can unknowingly place microscopic germs directly onto their mask that can travel into their nose or mouth. If the mask doesn’t cover the face adequately (covering the nose and mouth), the protective gear is not effective. When a mask is removed, hands should be sanitized.
We cannot guarantee or warrant that children will wear their masks properly during the school day or that they will refrain from wearing it below their nose or touching the face-covering with unsterilized hands. We will use reminders, modeling, and group discussions to help Eagles understand how to wear a mask or face shield properly. However, we can’t guarantee that they will use the mask properly or keep it on all day, especially for young children. Our goal and focus are on learning and the emotional and social well-being of the Eagles while still navigating the current health situation. If an Eagle struggles to comply with the mask requirements, we will work with parents to brainstorm a solution. We do not want this experience to be fear-based but rather a time to thoughtfully discuss COVID19 and work together in a warm and positive environment as a community to push through this challenge. We can have fun and keep school exciting even while working with a mask or face shield mandate.
Parents are asked to provide a clean mask for their child daily. We ask that each child have at least one backup mask left on campus in a sealed zip lock bag in case a mask is dropped or lost while on campus. Where possible, protective gear should be labeled. We will have on-campus disposable masks in case a child forgets their protective equipment.
Emotions run high over the science and necessity of face masks in our current health situation. We hope to foster a courteous, kind, and open-minded environment, allowing all a seat at the table. We hope to unite as families, with varied backgrounds and beliefs, under the unified decision to move forward and open the school knowing that ultimately, we are all doing the best we can with the situation at hand. We have the opportunity to showcase our ability as parents to engage in civil discourse.
Health Screenings for Students and Staff:
Before students and staff enter the building they will be asked a series of questions regarding their health and get a temperature check. Should a student or staff member experience any illness symptoms, they will be asked to stay home regardless of their ultimate diagnosis.
COVID-19 Symptoms Impacting Consideration for Exclusion from School
- A fever of 100.0 F or greater
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Students and employees are excluded from school if they test positive for COVID-19 or exhibit one or more of the symptoms of COVID-19 or any other illness until they are cleared to return by a qualified healthcare practitioner. If your child has a non-contagious medical condition that includes one or more symptoms, such as allergies or asthma, we ask that you provide documentation from your child’s primary medical provider that your child’s symptoms are consistent with a non-contagious condition.
We have a designated space apart from the rest of the school which is reserved for those feeling ill, while waiting to be picked up. Students who are sick will be walked out of the building to their parents. If a student or staff member has a fever, for any reason, they will be immediately sent home and should seek medical evaluation right away.
Healthy Hygiene Practices:
The priority for preventing the spread of disease in our school setting is to insist that sick employees and students stay home. Additionally, students and employees should remain home if someone in the household has COVID-19 symptoms or is being tested for COVID-19. If you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, please follow applicable CDC guidelines for self-quarantine and discuss with your doctor screening options.
Some people can be infected with COVID-19, but show no signs of illness even though they are contagious and can spread the disease to others. It is also unknown how contagious people are the day or two before they begin to exhibit illness symptoms. Thus, these employees or students may be present at school, will show no signs of illness, but be capable of transmitting the disease to others.
Handwashing and avoiding touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth are necessary steps a person can take to prevent becoming sick or spreading germs to others. We will insist that employees and students wash their hands often and if soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
We will incorporate key times into the school day when all persons should wash their hands. We ask that Eagles sanitize their hands upon entry of the school. Sanitization stations will be installed around the school. These key times should be done in a staggered studio pattern to maintain social distancing between students and include:
- Start of the school day
- Before eating
- After using the restroom
- After blowing the nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After using any shared equipment
As part of school reopen guidance published by the state of California, we will conduct visual wellness checks that include a daily temperature reading before a student or staff member may enter the building. During morning drop off, we will use a contact-free thermometer to verify that your child doesn't have a fever.
If anyone in the home has a fever or symptoms of illness, the child must stay home. Please don't send sick children to school – if you suspect your child might be getting sick, please keep them home. If a family travels to a COVID hotspot, they will be asked to remain home for two weeks. If your family plans to travel, please communicate with the head of school to determine how best to proceed with reentry.
Identification and Tracing of Contacts:
Federal law typically limits the type of medical inquiries that can be made, but given the nature of the pandemic, more leeway has been given to schools in this circumstance to make additional medical inquiries of staff and students than would otherwise be allowed.
- If a parent tells the school that a student is ill, the school may ask the parent whether the student is exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19.
- If an employee calls in sick or appears ill, the school may inquire whether the employee is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
- If a person is obviously ill, the school may make additional inquiries and may exclude the person from school property.
Even without symptoms, if a student or employee has recently had contact with a person with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, or has recently traveled from somewhere considered to be a "hot spot" by the CDC, the school will exclude the student or employee from the school building and recommend that they self-quarantine for 14 calendar days.
Persons who have not received a test proving or disproving the presence of COVID-19 but experienced symptoms may return if the following three conditions are met: They have not had a fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers); and Other symptoms have improved (for example, when a cough or shortness of breath have improved); and At least ten calendar days have passed since their symptoms first appeared.
Tested Positive- Symptomatic
Persons who experienced symptoms and have been tested for COVID-19 may return to school if the following conditions are met: The individual no longer has a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers); and Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved); and At least ten calendar days have passed since symptoms first appeared; or The individual has received two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
Tested Positive- Asymptomatic
Persons who have not had symptoms but test positive for COVID-19 may return when they have gone ten calendar days from the test date without symptoms and have been released by a healthcare provider. Students may also return if they are approved to do so in writing by the student's healthcare provider.
Staff Training and Family Education:
Staff will be trained on the reopening process and procedures in accordance with the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, the Alameda County Public Health Department, and the California Department of Education.
Family will be educated on Acton Academy East Bay processes and procedures via Head of School Communications on Slack.
Testing of Staff:
Staff will be tested before the start of each session. There are 7 sessions in a school year. Staff will test at any one of the testing centers listed here: https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/
If a member of the staff were to have symptoms of COVID-19 that staff member would immediately be sent home and quarantined until the symptoms subside and their health care provider has cleared them to return to work.
If a member of the staff were to come in contact with someone who has COVID-19, they will be required to self-quarantine and get tested. They will not return back to work until they have a negative test result or have been cleared by their health care provider.
Triggers for Switching to Distance Learning:
Acton Academy East Bay will switch over to distance learning in the event that
- Someone comes in or becomes sick/with fever
- Someone tests positive or comes in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
The Head of School or Director of Operations will utilize Slack as a way to immediately communicate to families and/or email to notify parents if there are any cases or suspected exposure. Names will not be disclosed.
If we become aware of an infected person having been in the school building, we will immediately implement a short-term closure, and notify the Alameda County Public Health Department. Parents and staff will be notified immediately. The infected person's identity will remain confidential as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
Students and most staff will be dismissed for 14 days from the date of notification. During a school-wide shut down due to COVID-19, staff, students, and their families are discouraged from gathering or socializing to limit further possible spread if they were exposed to someone who had the virus
During the short-term closure, after a 24-hour waiting period to limit air droplet exposure, we will sanitize and disinfect all areas used by the ill person, focusing primarily on frequently touched surfaces. Rooms will be aired out when possible to increase ventilation.
During school dismissals (after cleaning and disinfection), our school will reopen for key staff members (unless ill) while students stay home. Keeping facilities open:
a) allows Guides to develop and deliver lessons and materials remotely, thus maintaining continuity of learning; and
b) allows other staff members to continue to provide services and help with additional response efforts.
During the 14-day self-quarantine, distance learning will be in place until students can safely return to campus.