You likely are used to hearing this, but these plans may change as the circumstances around us shift. We have heard from our community, and many of us share the aim of learning together again at school in the fall. We recognize that for some members of our community this may not be the best option. Our decisions for the academic year should maximize time spent at MKA while reducing risk as much as possible and in accordance with our strengths and mission. Our decisions will also serve individuals for whom returning to campus is not a good or viable option. All health and safety-related decisions will be considered in relation to all state and local guidance and with the help of medical professionals within our community.
We are establishing protocols for COVID-19 screening, quarantine, and isolation, in addition to more robust and daily cleaning protocols across all three campuses. PPE and additional cleaning supplies have been ordered, including hand sanitizer (we encourage students and employees to bring their own) for use throughout our buildings. All employees will submit to health screenings, including a temperature reading, each day. We will be asking families to provide similar health screening information for their children each day, including a temperature check. Students will also have their temperatures checked randomly (e.g., every 5th student) as they enter school.
We are developing a range of scenarios toward achieving full attendance at school. At this time, we are planning to return in September in a hybrid learning model, where students in grades 1-12 will attend school, physically, every other day. The alternate days will be spent in both synchronous and asynchronous learning remotely. It is likely that the Upper School letter day order will change to accommodate an every-other-day model (for example, instead of A, B, C, D… we will likely follow an A, C, B, D… order). Students in grades PK & K will be in school every day, placed into smaller cohorts that they will remain in during the hybrid model. Attendance assignments for each student will be available in August, and families with children on different campuses will be assigned to the same days. At this point, there are no plans to alter, significantly, the academic calendar. Health and safety conditions permitting, our plans include a phased increase to daily attendance at school.
Social distancing guidelines will be in effect, as dictated by state and local authorities. Even though the State of New Jersey, at this point, has not required masks of students in public school buildings in the fall, MKA will. Masks will be required for all members of the community while on campus, an important commitment for all members of the community to protect one another. Increased signage for hygiene reminders will be added to our buildings, and floor demarcations will be added to remind everyone to keep 6ft. in between persons. Classrooms will be set up to adhere to these guidelines and indoor large gatherings will not be held until we are able to do so safely.
We are following a strict return-to-play protocol for our fall Upper School athletes, provided to us by the NJSIAA, our state athletic association. Beginning July 13, we will be opening Van Brunt field at Upper School for optional fall athletic training sessions under the supervision of our training and coaching staff. All health forms on Magnus Health, including new forms related to COVID-19, must be completed before a student-athlete can participate. It is likely that Phase 1 will bring us to the end of July, at which point the state will signal our entrance into Phase 2.
Food service at MKA will not be operational until September 29, after which modified food service will be offered. For the start of school, all students and employees will be required to bring their lunches (and snacks for PS students). Each student should also bring a reusable water bottle labeled with his or her name.
- Reminders for Primary School Families: Please note that the Primary School campus is nut-free. Please clearly label your child's snack and lunch bag with his or her name. Please also send a reusable water bottle to school each day with your child's name clearly labeled on the side.
- Middle School students are also encouraged to bring their own snacks to eat at recess.
Community, Equity, and Mental Health
In addition to creating a sense of uncertainty for all involved, pandemics can lead to cultural insensitivity or bias, a lack of equitable access to resources, and increased anxiety. MKA’s missions and values compel us to anticipate such outcomes where possible and repair them when necessary. Our anti-racist and anti-bias efforts are in full bloom, focusing on the kinds of macro and microaggressions that can destabilize individuals and communities, in a time of pandemic or otherwise. Our decisions around technology continue to prioritize equal and ubiquitous access to essential hardware and software. And our counselors, grade deans, and learning specialists continue to prepare for first-rate support of the social and emotional health and wellbeing of our students and families.