Ad Fontes Academy
2020-2021 School Reopening and Management Plan during COVID-19
Plan Criteria: Ad Fontes Academy Staff and Board leadership have developed this 2020-21 School Re-opening and Management Plan based on current COVID conditions, State of Virginia guidelines for reopening schools, CDC guidelines for schools, best practices from schools opening around the world, AFA parent surveys and feedback, and our current conditions in Northern Virginia. We are actively monitoring updates as more research is confirmed and conditions change in our immediate area. The Virginia Department of Health has helpful tools to monitor local conditions.
Plan Goals: Ad Fontes’ goal is to maximize the amount of in-person learning at full student capacity while providing for the health of our school community. Our first commitment to our students and families is to create a loving, healthy environment that minimizes health risk. Our second commitment is to create the best possible learning environment and community. To accomplish these goals requires some risk and a common commitment to partner together with parents to fulfill these goals. In whatever situation or mode of learning, we are confident that Ad Fontes will provide an excellent classical education while preserving our Christ-centered, grace-filled community.
Plan Process: The State of Virginia has provided guidance for the phased reopening of PreK-12 schools (based on CDC guidelines) which gradually recommends in-person instruction to resume while prioritizing the health and safety of students and staff. It is important to note that this is guidance and not a mandate or executive order, as in the Spring. The Virginia Council of Private Education (VCPE) is charged with overseeing Virginia’s private schools and has stated that “Virginia’s private schools should make their own decisions regarding operationalizing this guidance, and assuming additional risk, in consultation with school leadership, school attorneys, and local health departments.” Ad Fontes is not tied to local public school board decisions. Ad Fontes must submit a reopening proposal within 24 hours of school opening to VCPE which provides notice of their intent to vary from the State Phase Guidance to the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE). At this time, in phase 3, Ad Fontes does not deviate from the current guidance from Virginia or the CDC
Ad Fontes Reopening Plan Components
- In-person: Opening in Phase 3 with K-12 in-person school, 5-days per week with 100% attendance. Our maximum class size is 20-21 students per grade.
- Distancing: Our Lower School (Grade K-6) classrooms will maintain 3-foot distancing between students and Upper School (Grades 7-12) will maintain 6-foot distancing between students.
- Face Shields: All staff and students will wear face shields, provided by AFA. Face shields add a protective barrier to mitigate the shorter social distancing of the students following this CDC guideline: “Staff and students should use cloth face coverings when physical distancing cannot be maintained, as is medically and developmentally appropriate. Face coverings are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult.” For a school setting, we believe face shields are a more humane, appropriate, and protective choice, allows face to face communication and closer teacher support. Students will not need face coverings during outside activities. Parents can have their students wear additional face coverings as requested. Additional benefits are:
- They provide full protection of the face, including eyes and ears, from coughing, sneezing or loud talking of others, while the shield does not make contact with the person’s face.
- The face shield thus limits any droplets containing viral germs getting on another person. Wearers are able to speak easily and understandably.
- Everyone’s full face and expressions can be seen.
- They are very easy to clean, disinfect and reuse.
- They allow teachers to have closer connection to students and assist with their work or other needs.
- Class Mixing: Lower School students will stay with their class throughout the day and not mix grades. Upper School will seek to isolate grades where possible through the school day.
- Large Group Gatherings: We will eliminate large group gatherings unless social distancing or proper face covering can be followed.
- Daily Health Screening: Parents will complete a daily health screening using the Magnus Health app to assure no students or staff enter the building with any symptoms. Ad Fontes will have enhanced health guidelines for attending school for staff and students.
- Surfaces: Though the virus does not generally spread through surface contact, we will have regular handwashing, surface cleaning, and limited materials sharing.
- Guests: We will have limited guests in the building during the school day.
- Facility and Staff Changes: We have added new water bottle filling stations and upgraded to MERV 13 air filters to limit the spread. We have added an additional teacher aide at each campus to support enhanced student support and cleaning as well as have substitutes available for a sick teacher.
Ongoing Ad Fontes School Decisions: If not mandated by the State, Ad Fontes in conjunction with CPC will make the decision on school closure or offerings. This decision will weigh the following factors: multiple COVID exposures in the school, staff availability, parent concern, and student attendance. Since the Upper School has more mixing of classes and teachers, any COVID exposure may cause a larger quarantine of the Upper School. If we believe a COVID exposure is limited to one campus, we will consider keeping the other campus open for in-person learning. We have protocols in place for individual or class quarantine for positive COVID tests and direct exposure to an individual with a positive COVID test. Students on quarantine will be provided some ZOOM access to classroom instruction. If a class is on quarantine, teachers will shift to distance learning.
Distance Learning: As in the Spring, we will be ready to pivot to distance learning for a short- or long-term period using Google Classroom and Zoom for synchronous instruction (2-4 hours per day depending on the age group). All students will be required to have a laptop for distance learning. Students will continue progressing on their core subjects including typical homework.