Coronavirus Updates & Information
Marshall Academy's COVID Response Team
Update for Families 8/02/20
Dear MA Families,
It has come up quite a bit in discussions about why we can do five days of instruction while others cannot. Not knowing the details of other school buildings and teacher contracts, I imagine this comes down to size and Marshall Academy as a charter school. See the notes below with reasons why we feel confident in doing 5 days of instruction.
Our next installment will include more information on screenings and processes if a positive case should occur in the building, as well as safety protocols for buses, and expectations for remote or virtual learning.
Remember that any safety protocols shared now are in early stages and could, and likely will with additional feedback and suggestions, change to make for the safest environment we can. The draft will be given to the County Health Department this week for recommendations and improvements, and the School Board will vote on Wednesday, August 12th at their regularly scheduled board meeting.
Please don't hesitate to be in touch with questions or concerns. Your questions have led us to research and plan in areas we thought we were done in. We added a virtual option for 6-12 because of your questions! We can always improve! That is why this team will continue through the school year to keep you up-to-date on the latest news and guidelines.
Coordinator - Leslie Katz (Academic Officer); Teacher Representative - Lacey Ferro (3rd grade, coach); Support Staff Representative - Kathy Swett (bus, library, classroom); Front Office - Shannon Kever (Main point of contact); Board Representation - Kasey Williams (Board President; parent); Albion Community - Wanda Kemp (Kids of Hope Community Outreach); Marshall Community - Stephanie Kimball (Fountain Clinic); Parent - Niki VanLente (Marshall); Student - William Costine (sophomore)
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Why can Marshall Academy do 5 days of instruction?
Cleaning a Small Building
1. Periodic cleaning of high contact surfaces
Our chief custodian, Dylan W., will wipe down door handles, push bars, and light switches after arrival each morning and after each lunch/recess period is over. These are the only high traffic times for our students and once they are in their rooms from arrival and again after lunch, those high contact points will be wiped down.
2. Cleaning in the classrooms
Desks and common surfaces such as keyboards, phones, and light switches, are to be wiped down between use if transitioning classes. The only classes moving rooms are 9-12. In those classes, teachers can don gloves and wipe down desks between classes. In grades K-8, teachers will build in times for wiping down desks every 2-3 hours, along with washing hands. Each staff member who has a space of their own, will routinely clean/disinfect it throughout the day.
3. Night-time cleaning
Marshall Academy contracts cleaning with a community company, He Cleans Too. They will be in the building each night to clean bathrooms, vacuum, and do another wipe down.
With all of these combined, and a commitment of each staff member, we can keep the building regularly cleaned and disinfected. It's a small space, and many hands make light work.
Cohorts, Spacing and Movement
What is a cohort? A cohort is a group of students that are together. At Marshall Academy this is by grade level. Our 1st graders are a cohort, our 7th graders are a cohort. Because we can keep our students in cohorts, we can more easily monitor and make decisions about the need to quarantine in the event of a positive case in a grade level. It makes contact tracing easier when we keep them in these grade level cohorts. Even in the high school we will have grade cohorts. For those that are in a class that is not their cohort they will maintain a 6 foot distance and all will be wearing masks.
This is an important point. 6 feet of distance is recommended, but not required. We will maintain 6 feet of distance between grades, however, when in their cohort classroom there will not be 6 feet between the students. Though our classes are generally small it is not feasible to keep students 6 feet apart in a classroom. For some spaces, this would mean 6-10 students in a class. Our classes are smaller, but not that small. We will keep them apart as much as possible, face them the same way, and wash hands regularly. In 6-12 they will also have masks on. This is why the cohorts and movement are so important.
When moving out of their cohort, classes will maintain 6 feet of distance. We will stagger transitions to and from locations, especially in the MS/HS for locker trips. Prepare your MS/HS students for the inability to visit their lockers and restrooms during class time. These trips will be limited to their scheduled hallway passing time so that things can be cleaned after transitions. In general, this is the expectation, but it will be even more important to stick to it this year.
Masks - Some repeats from last week due to importance
All students K-12 will need a mask every day
6-12 students will wear masks all day. Again, try different styles until you find a comfortable one. Consider washable/reusable masks.
Style and Fit
If you have a set of 5 washable masks for the week, you can hand wash or machine wash on the weekends and be ready for the next week! Masks are to be thrown out after each use, or washed before reuse depending on the style. Some say they can be washed up to 10 times, pay attention to these directions.
Masks should fit snugly over the nose and chin. If a mask is too loose, it is not working to reduce the spread of the virus.
No bandannas will be allowed as face masked. It is part of our uniform/dress code that students do not wear bandannas. No exceptions will be made for face masks.
We do not mind if your face mask is bright, colorful, or has a panda. We do ask that you consider the style and type and whether it would be a distraction to the learning environment. Distractions to the learning environment are not permitted; be conscientious when choosing prints and writing. If you are worried, stick to basic colors and patterns and avoid sayings or pictures.
Looking for ways to help?
NEW: Pop up tents for outside. Part of getting creative is teaching outside when possible. Each classroom has an outside exit door. If we had some pop up tents outside, when the weather is nice, a few classes could go outside when it's conducive to the lesson and have some shade. Though some may just teach in the sunshine.
The following are items we will be spending a lot of "extra" money on if you would like to make a donation to the school/classroom:
Small one-time use water bottles (we are closing the drinking fountains for safety)
Masks (disposable or washable)
*any cleaning materials and hand sanitizer must be at least 60% alcohol