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PK-12 Tri-Campus Information

 

Will COVID testing be required for students, faculty, and staff returning to campus?

We are working with a provider to test all MKA employees before the start of school. This testing will be carried out on the MKA campuses at the start of in-service.

We will be requiring students to be tested and to submit the results of their testing via Magnus Health to the nurse before the start of school. Please note: we are not accepting results of a COVID-19 rapid antigen test.

In regards to locations for testing - One option that is worth considering for children is the Vault saliva test. They ship to your home and walk you through how to complete the test. They definitely test minors.

Information on test locations is also available on COVID19.NJ.gov. Your pediatrician should also be able to direct you to a testing location that provides testing for children.

PM Pediatrics in Livingston offers testing for children of all ages. They also have other NJ locations.

 

How does the health screening checklist work?

This will be implemented through an app provided by Magnus Health. Families will be asked to download the app, and each day they will be required to complete the health screening questions for each of their students before 7:30 a.m. In addition, parents are required to take their student’s temperature each day before coming to campus, to help keep students with fever at home. All MKA employees will be asked to complete a similar health screening questionnaire via the same Magnus app, and will be asked to monitor their temperature before coming to work. 

 

What are the protocols when someone is suspected/diagnosed with COVID-19?

If a COVID-19 case is diagnosed in a student or faculty member, Montclair Board of Health will be notified and their guidance closely followed. Any areas used by the person identified would be closed off and after 24 hours, cleaned and disinfected. All students and staff in contact with the cohorts impacted would be instructed to get COVID-19 testing and remain quarantined at home for 14 days. Here is the COVID-19 protocol as outlined by MKA. 

 

What are the acceptable types of masks that students are required to wear?

Masks can be medical grade, but this type of mask is not required. We do not recommend an N95 mask due to the length of time it will be worn and the fact that they should be tight fitting to be effective. Masks should be multi-layer, with no vents, and at least 2 ply thickness. Gator face coverings are not permitted. Masks should not have any offensive writing, images, or political statements, but logos are permitted.

Students are expected to bring two (2) clean masks to school to wear each day (one to wear and one spare). We will provide disposable masks for children who have forgotten theirs or who need an extra.

 

What health and safety enhancements have been made?

Ventilation: The school has been working with our HVAC contractor to upgrade our ventilation and air quality wherever possible. Based upon their recommendations:

The school has installed MERV 13 filters in all our HVAC equipment.

In addition, the school is installing ionization units in all our central HVAC equipment, and in all split-system air conditioners. These systems have been shown to dramatically improve air quality and remove pathogens (including the coronavirus).

We are installing additional air conditioners, or upgrading existing systems, in several locations that were not previously air conditioned, or where the existing ventilation was not deemed adequate.

We have purchased stand-alone HEPA filtration systems for deployment throughout the campuses in locations recommended by our contractor.

We are requiring that doors and windows remain open in classrooms and throughout the school, wherever possible. 

Bathrooms: Maximum capacity in bathrooms (1-2 students), clearly marked traffic flows and waiting locations (6’ apart), where privacy is not compromised doors will be propped open (to eliminate the need to open exterior doors and make supervision easier), clear signage reminding individuals to wash their hands and follow best practices, no touch faucets, soap, flushing, wherever possible.

Lockers: PK-12, the use of lockers will be prohibited. Locker room use will also be strictly limited.

Desk Separators: Desk separators are clear plexiglass that cover the sides and front of the desktop. Desk separators will be used on all three campuses.

 

What is the latest update on bus transportation?

We are working with our busing sub-contractor to develop routes for the upcoming school year. The following measures will be in effect:

  • The bus drivers and students will be required to wear masks on buses at all times.
  • Students will be physically distanced and only students from the same household will be allowed to sit together, and buses will be cleaned and sanitized daily and after each route.
  • There will be assigned seating and protocols for loading and unloading the bus to ensure physical distancing is maintained.
  • Windows and roof hatches will be opened to increase ventilation.

 

What is the dress code this year?

The dress code across all three campuses has been modified this year to help students be more comfortable and allow for more easily washed clothing. Also, since locker rooms will be closed and bathrooms will have limited capacity, the dress code needed to be more relaxed. 

Please view the Codes of Attire for the Primary School and both Middle and Upper Schools. These documents can also be found on the Back2School site. 

 

Can families toggle between in-school and remote? What is the process?

Learning remotely is a choice available to all students. Our teachers learned a great deal about this modality last spring that will support student engagement from home while we operate school in the hybrid mode, yet learning remotely is not the same as learning on site and doing so for an extended period, particularly for younger children, requires a significant commitment of time and focus from parents and guardians. 

It is the responsibility of a parent or guardian, not the student, to inform the school by August 24 if the student is going to begin the year in remote learning. A parent or guardian will communicate that choice by email to the following administrators as appropriate:

Whether at the start of the school year or at a later date, students who opt-in to remote learning must remain in remote mode for a minimum of approximately two weeks. A schedule of specific dates will be published indicating when remote learning students can join in-person classes. 

 

Campus Specific Information 

What will lunch look like? 

Culinart will ask families and faculty to complete a menu for the week, due by Sunday night. Dietary restrictions will be considered. 

PSIndividually packaged lunches from Culinart will be delivered to classrooms. Whether children are on the school’s dining program or bring lunch from home, they will eat lunch physically distanced at their desks in classrooms. When possible, children will be able to eat outdoors on the back field, physically distanced.

MSPre-ordered, individually packaged lunches from Culinart will be available for pickup or delivery to classrooms. Students may also bring lunch from home. Lunch will be eaten in several spaces in order to maintain physical distancing - dining hall at individual student tables; classrooms; outdoors. Students will be assigned a lunch location.

USPre-ordered and pre-packed lunches from Culinart will be available for pick up at lunchtime. Obviously, students may bring lunch. Lunches can then be eaten anywhere on campus, inside the building or out, including the dining hall which will be set up with appropriate distance between chairs. 

 
What will recess look like?

PSChildren will stay with their cohorts for recess. Per recommendations from MKA’s consulting physicians, jungle gym equipment will not be used at the start of the school year. Children will wear masks at recess because when they are playing, it is impossible to guarantee that they will stay 6 feet apart. Children will have opportunities to sit or stand 6 feet apart when outside for mask breaks.

MSMiddle School students will continue to go outside for morning and lunch recess. Different areas of the playground  will have restrictions regarding the grade level and number of students permitted to allow for social distancing. All recess equipment will be cleaned in between use. Students will be asked to wash their hands before and after recess.

USWhile the US doesn’t have formal recess, we do have CWP, free periods, and lunch, where students are free to go outside and enjoy the weather (at six feet apart), especially in the fall. Van Brunt field will be available during the day for students and, in the case of inclement weather, some tent space will also be available. If more than six feet apart, students may remove masks while outside.

 
How will outside spaces be utilized?

PSOutdoor spaces will be used for physically distanced mask breaks, P.E., eating outdoors, and recess. A tent will be provided on the back field that will allow for use of outdoor space during slightly inclement weather.

 

MSOutdoor spaces will be used for PE classes, recess, and for physically distanced mask breaks, as well as for lunch when weather permits. A tent and the tennis pavilion will be available for organized teaching activities.

 

USThe entire campus will be available for student use, including the Green Roof, the amphitheater, Van Brunt field, and the front lawn, as long as none of the spaces are being used for classes. We will encourage students, especially on nice days, to use our beautiful campus as much as possible. 

 
How will my child be graded?

PSAs always, students at the Primary School will not receive grades, but they will continue to be formally and informally assessed. Student progress will continue to be communicated to parents at monthly advisor check-ins, parent teacher conferences, via Seesaw, and a yearly written narrative.

 

MSThe MS will return to letter grades, A-F, in grades 6-8. Students will be assessed using a combination of formative and summative assessments. Assessments will meet grade-level guidelines for frequency and length. Students will see all homework and assessments for all classes in one place in the Student Portal when they log in, so they know due dates and can plan work and study time. Students in grades 4-5 will receive written feedback and/or assignment-specific rubrics with clear criteria and benchmarks. 

USWe will resume our A-F grading schema and supplement our current grading policies with learning-forward assessment and instructional practices (i.e. frequent, low-stakes formative assessments, the use of notes, books, and approved online resources when working on assessments at home, regular office hours, posting assignments on the Veracross calendar, etc.) that are transparent and understandable, support a growth mindset, and accurately describe a student’s level of academic performance.

 
What will my child’s remote experience look like?

PSStudents learning remotely, either through the hybrid model or through fully remote learning will access a daily schedule through the Veracross student portal on their iPads. Students will click on the link for their class and be directed to their daily schedule. They will connect to their classroom via Google Meet for parts of each day to learn synchronously with their peers. Remote learners will complete some school work asynchronously. Students’ remote experience will require log off during snack, recess, lunch, and possibly choice and quiet times to enjoy those times at home and return to Google Meet class times as the schedule indicates.  

MSStudents at home will be expected to log into their classes that are occurring in the building in real time. Google Meet links will be posted for each class on the corresponding Class Website on Veracross. The use of OWL technology will allow the students at home a 360 degree view of the room and visual access to anyone in the room who’s speaking. Students will follow their daily schedule and log onto their class at the scheduled time. Students at home will engage then in a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning during a class period.

USUnless otherwise determined by the teacher, a student at home will be logged in to their classes that are occurring in the building, simultaneously. Google Meet links will be posted for each class on the corresponding Class Website on Veracross. The use of OWL technology will allow the students at home a 360 degree view of the room and visual access to anyone in the room who’s speaking. Much like the spring, students will follow their daily schedule and log on to their class at the scheduled time. Upper School students will engage in a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities during the class period. 

 
What will F&PA classes/electives look like?

PSStudents will be fully engaged in F&PA and all Encores throughout the year, but the curriculum may be modified for health and safety and to allow for appropriate physical distancing. For example, movement in indoor dance class may be limited by physical distancing requirements, and singing indoors and the blowing of wind instruments such as recorders is prohibited tri-campus for health and safety reasons.

MSStudents in grades 4-5 will continue to take all F&PA offerings on a quarter-rotating schedule (Music, Art, Dance, and Theater Arts). Students in grades 6-8 will continue to take one semester and one year-long F&PA course. Band and Chorus will be offered but there will be no singing or playing of brass or woodwind instruments in school. In-school classes will consist of developing music skills such as reading notes, minor and major scales, conducting, playing rhythm instruments, and the study of composers and musicians. 

USThe school prohibits the blowing of instruments indoors, so band class will take place but with a focus on music education and rhythm when students are in the building, and practicing with instruments while at home and remote. Singing is prohibited indoors, as well, so the music curriculum will be augmented and include singing outdoors, when possible. Fine art and theater classes will take place adhering to physical distancing guidelines. 

 
What will arrival/dismissal look like? 

PSTo facilitate temperature checking, arrival will be staggered. Pre-K and K students and their first-third siblings will arrive between 7:45-8:05. Students in first-third without Pre-K or K siblings will arrive between 8:05-8:15. Dismissal will not be staggered and will begin as usual at 2:20. Students attending Extended Day will remain on the Primary School campus until the end of the day. We know young children may have more difficulty separating from parents at the start of this school year; we recommend this helpful article with tips.

MSArrival begins at 7:30 a.m. Students will enter school via assigned doorways (4th & 5th grades - end of 4th grade hall; 6th grade - door outside art room; 7th grade - door outside Development Office; 8th grade - Penick Lobby). Dismissal will take place at the usual time. Students will be dismissed to the car line and bus from homerooms, using the intercom system to announce names. Faculty will supervise the process to make sure students observe proper physical distancing during dismissal.

USStudents will be assigned to doorways by grade (i.e. seniors - main entrance; juniors - arts wing entrance, etc). The first half of the alphabet (A-M) on that given day can arrive between 7:30 & 7:45, the second half between 7:45 & 8:00. Students must leave through the same door they entered. We will alternate arrival times by month. 

 
How will OWL technology be implemented in the remote learning environment?

PSThe OWL camera will provide students with 360 degree video view and audio access to learning happening in their Primary School classrooms. Students at home will connect to class via Google Meet links that will be provided by their teachers. When they connect via Google Meet, the OWL will give them the video and audio access into their classrooms.

MSMiddle School teachers will use the OWL technology to engage students at home with the teaching and learning occurring in the classroom. This may include teacher instruction, class discussion, morning meeting, read alouds, and advisor activities.

 

USUpper School teachers will use the OWL technology to engage students at home while teaching and learning is occurring in the classroom. This may include teacher instruction, class discussion, and other activities.

 
What will the homework policies be in the hybrid learning model?

PSTo prioritize children’s well-being, we plan to adjust homework expectations in first-third grade during hybrid learning or if school needs to become fully remote. It is important for children to have time to play outside, decompress, and spend time with their families after school and in the evenings. To that end, we will not assign written homework and instead expect that students read or be read to each night. 

MSThe MS will return to grade-level guidelines for homework (View Curriculum Guide for grade-level homework guidelines). Students in grade 4 will only be assigned homework Monday-Thursday. Students in grades 5-8 will be assigned homework nightly according to grade-level limits. The MS will continue to observe one No-Homework-Weekend monthly. All homework will be posted on Veracross, and students will see their homework from all classes aggregated in one place in the Veracross Student Portal.

USIn order for students in Group M and Group K to have in-school experiences in Blocks 1-4 and Blocks 5-8 will meet on two consecutive days, respectively. This will be explained more to students before the start of school. Teachers will limit homework to 2-hours per two consecutive class meetings. Homework due the following day should not exceed 60 minutes. For example, for AC consecutive class meetings: Homework due on C-day should not exceed 60 minutes. If a teacher assigns 30-minutes of homework for C-day, they may assign 90-minutes of homework for A-day. All homework will be posted on Veracross, and students will see their homework from all classes aggregated in one place with the Veracross Student Portal.

 
What is the size of the cohorts, and what is the exposure to teachers and other adults in the school?

PSPre-K cohort size ranges from 7-9, K cohort size ranges from 11-12, and first-third cohort size ranges from 7-9. Exposure to teachers and adults is limited to the classroom teacher, 1-2 Encore teachers, support faculty like the school counselor as necessary, and recess aides or others who are covering community responsibilities.

MSStudents in grades 4 and 5 will be in cohorts of from 7-9 students and will remain in those cohorts for the majority of their classes throughout the day. Students in grades 6-8 will be in classes of 7-10 students but will not remain in the same cohort throughout the day, as this would severely compromise the academic program. There will be no mingling among grades during the day, and physical distancing, plexiglass desk dividers, wearing of appropriate PPE, and sanitizing protocols will be in place to mitigate risk.

USStudents in Upper School are assigned to their classes according to the course requests they made in the spring. Given the many curricular options students have across disciplines and between levels, we cannot assign the same cohort of 8-10 students to share one classroom, without severely compromising the academic program. As students and teachers move through the building and teach and learn in different spaces throughout the day, physical distancing guidelines, plexiglass dividers, the wearing of PPE, and sanitizing protocol will minimize the risk of transmission. 

 
What happens if my child removes his/her mask and refuses to put it back on while at school?

PSMasks at school are essential for everyone’s health/safety and are now required by NJ Department of Education. If a child refuses to wear his/her mask, the child will be separated from peers (outdoors if possible) with an adult, given time and caring support to cool down, and encouraged to put the mask back on. If the child will not wear the mask, parents will be called and expected to pick up the child to support everyone’s health and safety.

MSWe expect Middle School students to follow the health and safety protocols for all members of the community. A student who removes his or her mask will be asked to put the mask back on immediately. If the student does not comply, the student will be sent to the Middle School Office so an administrator can work with the student and parent on compliance.

USOur expectation is that Upper School students will follow the health and safety protocols that MKA has established for our community. Should a situation like this one arise, the student would be sent to the Main Office so that the Dean of Students or other administrator can appropriately work with the student and parent. 

 
What is happening with Athletics?

MS USAt this point we are planning on Middle School and Upper School Athletics “officially” starting pre-season on September 14 coinciding with the NJSIAA “Return to Play” protocol and guidelines. Interscholastic games will begin on October 1 with a shortened season wrapping up by mid-November. This remains a very fluid situation that we are closely monitoring and while these are very uncertain times for all of us, the safety and well being of our MKA student-athletes and coaches will be at the forefront of any decision the NJSIAA, and subsequently MKA, makes in regards to returning to the fields and courts this fall. 

 
Will PS students be getting iPads?

PSYes, every Primary school student will be issued an iPad that includes grade level designated applications that they can access as directed by their teacher.

 

Do you have other questions? If so, please email responseteam@mka.org.

View complete newsletter from August 14