New Summit Return to School Plan

New Summit Return to School Plan

Over the past 3 months, our task forces, committees, and teams have worked through numerous options and plans to safely re-open our school. Although COVID-19 has changed many plans and created much uncertainty, we still remain committed to our overall objective which is to provide a safe learning environment for in-person students and to provide an effective eLearning program for online learning students.

Below is a summary of our return-to-school plan. Please be aware that there may be changes and modifications during the days and months ahead. However, we continue with gratefulness for your patience, encouragement, and support during these challenging times.

Return to School Options

** Updated August 6, 2020 **

The options below are the two options for full-time students only. The Homeschool Program is a separate program from our full-time school option and enrolling in this program will forfeit your full-time spot at NSCA. There is no hybrid option available at this time and families will be committed to whatever option they choose, for the first semester. 

Option A:

  • Five days a week beginning August 17th.
  • Students will participate in grade-level cohorts (For example, students and staff that are associated with each grade level will stay with the grade-level cohort except for office staff and special services providers). The exception will be Middle School which will be considered a cohort of their own (6th-8th is one cohort).
  • Middle School will participate in their scheduled electives.
    Students will have a rotation of specials including Music, Physical Education, Art, and Library.
  • Students will have the opportunity to have lunch in the cafeteria (Sodexo is working on the process for this).
  • Students will be able to participate in recess with their grade-level cohorts. These will not overlap with other cohorts. They will still have all their regular recess times (three for K-3 and two for 4-5th, and one for middle school).
  • Student illness processes and protocols will be available in our updated student handbook, which will be provided to families after August 3rd.

Option B:

  • eLearning will be provided by a third-party content and curriculum provider. This content and curriculum is not the same as our school curriculum but is aligned with Colorado Academic Standards. As an example of what courses will be offered can be found here.
  • eLearning students will still be assigned a regular classroom teacher as if they were attending in-person learning; however, support and mentorship for eLearning will be with another NSCA teacher or staff member, not the in-person classroom teacher.
  • If your eLearning student returns to in-person learning in the 2nd semester they will be placed into their already assigned classroom.
  • The expectations of attendance, participation, and grading will be similar to in-person learning.
  • eLearning requires the full participation and support of a responsible adult. Communication and follow-up with the eLearning teacher will be required regularly. (Details from the eLearning teacher will be sent out by August 3, 2020.)
  • Students with IEP/504 will still receive accommodations during the eLearning time.
  • If you choose this option, you will not be able to switch to in-person learning until the 2nd semester (January 19, 2021).

Alternative Plans

We are preparing “alternative plans” where instruction can quickly and seamlessly move fully online should a cohort, school, or our greater community see a COVID-19 increase, requiring students to learn at home. These “alternative plans” will also address a transition back to in-person learning, once permitted by the county or state.

  • All staff and adults in the building will be required to wear a mask (in common areas, when outside of the cohort, or within 6 feet of another person).
  • Masks are optional for students in grades K – 4th and required for students in grades 5th – 8th when appropriate social distancing is not possible.
  • Masks may be any color, pattern, or character that is socially appropriate for the educational environment. Face shields and medical masks are also acceptable. Parents are responsible to provide the mask or face shield. FAQs regarding masks will be provided on our website soon.
  • Increased hand washing will be implemented and required.
  • Social distancing will be observed and practiced to the fullest extent possible and as appropriate.
  • Classroom setups will be adjusted to reduce the risk of virus transmission.
  • School supplies will not be shared among students.
    Hallways and sections will be set up to keep cohorts together as they move throughout the school.
  • Daily symptom screening will be monitored for students and staff.
  • Enhanced daily cleaning and electrostatic disinfection of the entire facility will be done.
  • Staff or students who present with symptoms or are ill, will be required to stay home.
  • Nonessential visitors, volunteers, and outside groups will be limited on school grounds.
  • Students returning from international family travel must quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to in-person learning.
  • Students returning from out-of-state travel may be required to quarantine for 14 days, but in any case, should not return to school for 14 days if any family member shows symptoms of illness or is knowingly exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

At New Summit, it is always our desire and goal to support the mental, emotional, and psychological well-being of our community. We put daily effort into meeting the mental health needs of our staff and students. As a result, we are aware that the entire COVID-19 Pandemic and the resulting life changes have had a tremendous impact on our students.

We will strive in the Fall of 2020 and beyond to help our students recover, build resilience, and emotionally cope with the impact of their experiences.

  • Students will be instructed twice daily regarding various mindful breathing techniques and given time to practice these strategies with their classroom teacher.
  • Our goal is to provide each class with twenty minutes of Social-Emotional Learning will be included in the daily schedule.
  • Lessons will focus on mindfulness, resilience, and regulation, which classroom teachers will be teaching.
  • Availability of the full-time NSCA School Counselor as ongoing support for both students and staff members.
  • Regular needs assessments of students and staff in order to determine various needs and create ongoing plans for meeting those needs.

Following Executive and Health Orders

While our goal is to return to an entirely in-person learning environment, the greatest challenge is balancing the ever-changing health orders with normal school operations. To date, no orders or guidelines have been formalized at the state or county level regarding the return to school. Understandably, however, we are obligated to comply with all laws; including but not limited to Executive Orders of the Governor, Orders of the Colorado Department of Health and local El Paso County guidelines that may exist in August.

Important timelines

  • August 18, 2020 – Meet & Greet with Teachers in Grade-Level Cohorts for In-Person students
  • August 24, 2020 – First Day of School

In closing, we know there is no education blueprint for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, so our reopening plans require cooperation; understanding; flexibility; and adaptability of all students, staff, and families.

Any back to school information can be found here. We thank you for your grace and patience as we navigate the unprecedented times.

Click to View Presentation Slides

FAQs

Please note we will continue to update our FAQs as we have more details. Thank you for your patience!

General Questions About Learning Options

Our goal has always been to have students in the building every day. All the options presented back in June were possibilities. After looking at the operations of a hybrid model, we realized that we do not have the extra staffing that it would take to make this work. We also do not need a hybrid option due to the cohorts/groups that have been set up and the social distancing protocols that we will have in place.

IN-Person Learning

No. If you are already enrolled with NSCA, there is nothing else you need to do.

Our teachers will be prepared for a seamless transition. They are currently preparing these protocols and will be choosing a platform for students to use at home. Their in-person teacher will upload all assignments and educational resources to this platform and it will be as close to the in-person classroom support and content as possible.

We are preparing alternative plans where instruction can quickly and seamlessly move fully online should a cohort, school, or our greater community see a COVID-19 increase, requiring students to learn at home. These alternative plans will also address a transition back to in-person learning, once permitted by the county or state.

Yes. However, we are working on a schedule that will limit the amount of movement, and we will be practicing social distancing.

 All cases, mandates, research, and recommendations from experts will constantly and consistently be monitored by our team, and adjustments will occur accordingly. 

e-Learning

Using a third-party provider for curriculum is similar to purchasing the curriculum for our school for in-person learning. We are not going to utilize the CDLS staff to support the eLearning students; rather, we’ll use our own staff in a creative way to support the eLearning students. To allow the eLearning program to operate smoothly, we needed a curriculum that was already developed in order to have a full-time eLearning option. It is too much to ask our classroom teachers to teach students in-person and online simultaneously, and we do not have enough staff to do both.

Yes! Your student will be assigned to their regular in-person NSCA teacher, and there will be various opportunities to participate in and interact with other students. We understand that families have chosen New Summit and want to be engaged in New Summit’s community. We believe the mix of eLearning and connections with the classroom teacher will provide this.

No. The students will follow the pacing and curriculum map similar to the grade-level classroom they are assigned to. The Learning Coach and classroom teacher will work together to ensure that the pace and curriculum are as similar as possible. The eLearning students will still be expected to assess using our NWEA MAP test to identify the learning gaps similar to the in-person learning students and will be assigned IXL lessons in addition to their eLearning course work to fill the gaps in learning. The NSCA Learning Coach and classroom teacher will work together to ensure that the student’s needs are being met and the student is able to progress appropriately. 

 No. The student will be assigned an eLearning coach and a classroom teacher who will provide them the login information for eLearning.

Chromebooks will be issued based on need. Due to the limited number we have, some families with multiple children may have to wait for additional Chromebooks until other families have all received one themselves. Any additional Chromebooks will be issued after that.

Yes. The fees are the same for all students. Classroom supplies and uniforms can be purchased at a later date but will need to be provided if and when your students return to in-person learning.

Frequent breaks are suggested for younger students. We recommend things that would be similar to the movement breaks our teachers give to students during the school day. It is important for younger students to have a learning environment that meets their needs and an available parent to help them in the process. We will continue to look into additional resources for this.

The Core Knowledge curriculum that we use is available for free online. You can find it on our website here.

Due to the learning needs of all students, eLearning will require a parent to be available to help the student navigate the program. Exact time commitments will depend on the student and their differentiated needs.

eLearning students can keep their supplies at home until they decide to transition back to in-person learning in the second semester.

Yes. The curriculum is online, comprehensive, and interactive. There are some assignments and worksheets the curriculum allows to be done offline if chosen by the parent to enhance learning or wanting to practice offline. The curriculum in all grade levels provides various options for practice and learning.

The average for a full-time student will be 4-6 hours of on and offline work, depending on how quickly the student can get through the course work. This will vary by child. For half-day Kindergarten, time on and offline will average 2-3 hours, depending on the student. Expectations for attendance, grading, and progress will be communicated in August.

 Yes. The online demo is available through the following link, recorded from our July 29th webinar, which demos examples of the online courses.

 There is no need to register for the online program; if you have indicated your Option A or B choice, this is all you need to do. 

The eLearning curriculum follows the Colorado Academic Standards as our regular curriculum does. All curriculums offered must meet or exceed the state standards but can be adjusted to meet the needs of the school. 

All students who participate in full-time instruction, whether in-person or through eLearning, will be expected to be assessed through our assessment program, called NWEA MAP. This assessment will help identify the learning needs and gaps of each student. The regular in-person classroom teacher and eLearning Learning Coach will work together to identify and differentiate the eLearning student’s needs. The pacing of the lessons will be as similar to in-classroom instruction and pacing as much as possible so that the student is not behind or too far ahead of the regular in-person course work.

 No. New Summit is not aware of all the details of the district’s plan. We have created our own plan with the goal of making our students’ eLearning experience still meet the mission, vision, and core principals that New Summit families have come to expect from regular in-person learning. The eLearning experience will not be the same as what students did this past Spring. The eLearning experience is an enhanced and more comprehensive version and students will have the support of multiple NSCA staff members in addition to similar pacing and support to what in-person students are receiving. eLearning students will not experience the feeling of being enrolled at a different school. Your student will be assigned an NSCA teacher who will still be responsible for the success of eLearning and in-person students in their class.

cohorts & classrooms

  1. Because there has been no defined number given to schools by the state, NSCA has decided to define our cohorts by grade level. For example, all of First Grade will stay together when moving about the school. This includes the First Grade staff as well. They will all go to recess together, specials together, lunch together, and so forth. The only exception to this is Middle School. The entire Middle School will be one cohort of grades 6th through 8th. 

This will vary by grade level and how many families choose in-person learning versus eLearning.

No. We do not have the funding to do this for all of our desks. There may be plexiglass barriers in other areas of the school, however.

The current state mandate is that students who are 10 and older must be wearing masks. We will always comply with current state mandates. Due to the mandate, masks are required at this time for New Summit students in the 5th through 8th grades. However, students will be able to lower their masks if they are sitting at their desks AND are appropriately socially distanced. Teachers and staff will be able to lower their masks if they are in a room by themselves or if they are more than 6 feet from another person. Masks are optional for students age 10 and under.

For younger children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 3 feet of social distancing if feasible. We are taking measures to try to spread out the desks and face them in one direction. We are doing our best to assure the 3-foot recommendation.

Each student will have their own set of supplies, and everything should be labeled with their name. More information to come!

Specials & Electives

At this time, it could be either. Students will be attending specials with the grade-level cohorts all week. For example, they may have music every day for the first week, PE every day the next week, and so forth.

NSCA still has the desire to offer Spanish to all of our students. Our previous elementary Spanish teacher took the open middle school position, and we were unable to fill the Spanish position due to constraints because of state funding cuts.  When the budget allows, we will again offer Spanish to our elementary students.

Support Services

 This is being developed through our Continuity of Learning and Conditions for Learning committee; however, the plans and protocols will meet all regular support services. We are working with the district to determine if we will need to rewrite certain plans to reflect the special circumstances of eLearning for these students. The learning coach supporting the eLearning students will be collaborating with all support staff and the regular education teacher to ensure that the students’ needs are being met. 

NSCA has always had and will continue to have a full-time counselor on staff who is both a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed School Counselor. Mrs. Wise is visible and accessible to all students, should they desire the opportunity to process with her about anything they are experiencing, including thoughts and feelings regarding the pandemic. The students will also be given social-emotional lessons in their classroom as well as time to practice those skills with their classroom teachers

Masks

This was decided based on current research we have that children in the 5-10 age category don’t seem to be spreading the virus to others as much as older children and adults. The recommendations set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics states that children in the elementary age category should wear masks if feasible and if the benefits outweigh the risks. Since children this age are still learning to speak, read, and write English and learn basic principles of socialization, we have decided that given all this information masks should not be mandatory for them. We also chose this number based on the governor’s state mandate, which stated children under 10 do not have to wear a mask.

We have defined common areas as hallways, bathrooms, the atrium, and anywhere students will be in contact with someone other than those in their own cohort. In small groups, students may have to wear masks; however, any time they are social distancing they will not need to wear their masks. For example, If the teacher is in front of the class and the desks are socially distanced, students will not need to wear their masks. Students will not need to wear masks outside or while at recess.

Yes. When they are social distancing, they will not need to wear their masks. For example, if the teacher is in front of the class and the desks are socially distanced, students will not need to wear their masks. Students will not need to wear masks outside or while at recess.

Please email our school nurse, Mrs. Begin, at sharon.begin@newsummitcharter.org to discuss specific options for your student.

Yes, we will have a backup for students in 5th-8th grade. Masks are optional for grades K-4, so we will not provide backup masks for those grades. Parents are welcome to send an extra mask to school in their student’s backpack should they want or need them.

Health, Safety, & Screenings

The screening protocols are being developed by our health team, who will give more clarification as they create their systems and protocols. Their decisions will be guided by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Due to the ever-changing guidelines, August 3rd is the earliest we can give these updates.

We also have several experts in the field of risk management who serve on our health and safety committee. These experts have developed a risk matrix to help determine what protocols will be followed; for example, when someone has symptoms or if there is an outbreak within the school or one of the cohorts, what kind of closure will be implemented. These decisions will also be made in partnership with our local health department.

Staff and students participate in grade-level cohorts or groups will help keep the spreading of the virus at a minimum. These cohorts will stay together and not mix or overlap with other students and staff from other grades.

We also have several experts in the field of risk management who serve on our health and safety committee. These experts have developed a risk matrix to help determine what protocols will be followed; for example, when someone has symptoms or if there is an outbreak within the school or one of the cohorts, what kind of closure will be implemented. These decisions will also be made in partnership with our local health department.

At this time, any decisions made will be based on the local health department’s protocols and guidelines. Our health team will be in contact with the health department if we have positive cases within our building.

The school will be treated with an electrostatic disinfectant process, which kills 99.9% of ALL viruses for 6+ months. The electrostatic treatment is 100%, as rated by the EPA. The treatment will be completed PRIOR to school start and will be 100% dry before the students come back into the school. Regular sanitizing on a local level will continue in an even greater way, in addition to enhanced cleaning throughout our school.

Each grade level will have at least one thermometer. Grade-level teacher assistants will be taking temperatures every morning and possibly again later in the day.

Students’ temperatures will be taken with no-contact infrared thermometers. If a fever is suspected, the student will be re-checked with a hospital-grade oral thermometer with proper sanitizing protocols in place, as is normally done in the school health room

Yes. Like any other infectious disease (mainly strep and flu), we will notify parents if there are positive COVID cases within the school, a cohort, and especially with a class.

We are looking into adding additional hand-washing stations at the rear upper and lower levels of the school.

Social Distancing

We have defined common areas as hallways, bathrooms, the atrium, and anywhere they will be in contact with someone other than those in their own cohort. In small groups, students may have to wear masks; however, any time they are social distancing they will not need to wear their masks. For example, if the teacher is in front of the class and the desks are socially distanced, students will not need to wear their masks. Students will not need to wear masks outside or while at recess.

For younger children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 3 feet of social distancing if feasible. We are taking measures to try to spread out the desks and face them in one direction. We are doing our best to assure the 3-foot recommendation.

Carpool: Drop-Off/Pick-Up Process

*This process is still being determined.We will notify families soon after the final process has been determined.

Visitors/Zero Tolerance

There will be no non-essential adults or visitors in the building at this time. If a parent needs to speak with a teacher, this will be by appointment only through a virtual or phone option. 

No. This will be waived due to our being unable to have non-essential visitors in the building at this time.

Other Questions

No. Due to the current situation and the need to keep students in their cohorts as much as possible, we will not be holding any whole-school events at this time. We may be able to continue some of these opportunities virtually and then broadcast into the classrooms; however, this is yet to be determined.

Yes. We are working on some creative ideas to build up our houses within the individual classrooms.

 No. The drinking fountain will be out of order; however, the water bottle fill station will remain open so students can refill their water bottles.

We are looking into this option as a possibility, if this interests you, please email our registrar, Amanda, at Amanda.Roderick@newsummitcharter.org.

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