Navigating COVID 19
As we enter this uncharted territory of schooling while social distancing, we would like to reassure you that the health and safety of our students and staff continues to be our number one priority. Although we are not required to follow the decision of public schools, we are required to follow state guidelines, and will provide online instruction while North Carolina is considered to be in Phase 1. During Phase 2, we will consider remaining open as long as we are able to meet the conditions set forth by the CDC and our staff/students are healthy. This has required changes to our routines, procedures, and environment. We are grateful for the opportunity to be open and provide in-person instruction during this time. Please take extra precautions and limit exposure and travel as much as possible during this time to help us ensure that we can stay open. We look forward to providing a clean, organized, and joyful school experience for your children.
Changes and new protocols include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Arrival: Enter the driveway closest to Independence. When you are in front of the school, students can be dropped off at the door (smaller students will be escorted in by a teacher for safety.) Exit the driveway closest to OASIS.
- Enter/Exit doors will be color coded based on classroom assignments. Students will enter and leave through their assigned door.
- Students and staff will have their temperatures checked each morning. Any person with a temperature of 99 degrees or higher will be asked to return to their car.
- Dismissal: Enter the driveway closest to Independence. A staff member will send out and/or walk students out one at a time. Exit the driveway closest to OASIS.
Health and Wellness:
- Any student coughing, sneezing, or showing other signs of sickness at any point during the day will be sent home. If it is a chronic allergy issue, individualized accommodations can be discussed.
- If any staff member or student is diagnosed with Covid-19, we will transition to online learning for at least 2 weeks.
- If any household member of a staff or student is diagnosed with Covid-19, that staff/student will be required to quarantine for 2 weeks.
- Only staff members will be allowed to touch door handles and light switches (except in bathrooms). They will be wiped down after.
- Bathrooms will be color coded according to classroom assignment. Visits will be monitored so that proper disinfection by our staff can follow before another person needs to use it.
- High quality air filters will be used and changed frequently. We do not have windows that open and we cannot keep our doors open due to safety.
- Each student will have their own table, materials, trash can, Chromebook, and cleaning supplies. Students will disinfect their workspaces before classroom transitions, lunch, and dismissal.
- Student seats will be spaced 6ft apart, and sometimes in separate rooms, so whole group instruction will be limited. Teachers and students will wear masks during 1:1 instruction and during transitions.
- All students must bring in their personal, labelled & filled water bottle. If a student needs a refill, a staff will pour filtered water into their bottle.
- Students’ belongings (notebook, lunch, cell phone, and one personal item) must be able to fit into the 12”x12” crate that will be provided.
- Items that are not easily cleaned (plushies, etc) will not be allowed to be shared between students and must stay with the student at all times.
- Sharing of any items (pencils, pens, etc) will not be permitted.
- Travel within the school will be limited. Students that switch classrooms during the day will only switch once and students will transition through the outside area (instead of passing through Ms. Angela’s office and storage area).
- Movement breaks will still be provided at their desks and outside.
- Recess for younger students will still be provided in small groups with reminders to stay apart.
- Older students will take a daily walk while maintaining social distance. Masks will need to stay on if they are talking with other students during the walk.
- The fridge and microwave will no longer be available for student lunches. Everything a student needs for lunch and snack should be in their lunch box.
- Masks/Face shield: Students should bring their own masks or face shields to school each day. They are welcome to wear them as often as they would like, but it will be required when interacting closely with a teacher (who will be wearing one as well) or another student and when traveling within the school. We will have extras available if anyone forgets it at home.
- Extracurricular activities: There will not be any field trips, outside visitors, or after school activities until further notice. We may be able to bring 3 students to coffee club each week, but we are still in the planning phase.
- All of this sounds very restricting, and it is! However, we recognize that our students’ mental health is as important as their physical health and we will be making accommodations in this area as well. We are putting a lot of thought into how we can make this experience as enjoyable and stress free as possible. We are putting friends in the same classes, allowing time for jokes/memes, teaching strategies to deal with anxiety and depression, allowing for more outside experiences, incorporating interests, etc.
- Any students traveling out of state will be required to participate in distance learning for 2 weeks upon returning home.
- Any student that has had direct exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID 19, and is able to avoid contact with that person moving forward, will have to quarantine from school for 14 days.
- Any student that has had direct exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID 19, and CANNOT avoid contact with that person moving forward, will have to quarantine from school for at least 24 days.
- We consult the Health Department to determine the recommended number of days for students to quarantine after/during exposure.
Please leverage the visual aids and social stories as additional guides to help your child understand this unique time.
Below is a link with many resources, videos (for kids), and social stories:https://www.autismresourcecentral.org/social-stories-for-young-and-old-on-covid-19/