Below you will find some of the frequently asked questions we have received regarding COVID-19. Last Updated December 2, 2020
- What are the differences between CA’s protocol and the CDC’s protocol? CDC guidelines have been fluid during this pandemic as new research emerged. On December 2, the CDC presented new guidelines of quarantine to an allowance of a 7-10 day range. According to the Associated Press, “While the CDC had said the incubation period for the virus was thought to extend to 14 days, most individuals became infectious and developed symptoms between 4 and 5 days after exposure.” With their adjustment, CA and CDC quarantine protocols are the same.
- Do we have a COVID team that determines the decision on how we handle these cases? Who serves on this? In May 2020, we formed the Health and Safety Committee advised by teacher representatives and led by our Director of Security. This team consulted with local doctors, nurses, healthcare officials, parents, the school attorney, and the administrative team at CA to construct a comprehensive Re-Opening Plan. This plan can be found on clarksvilleacademy.com/cougarcomeback. Throughout the course of the first semester, the administrative team and school nurse have remained in close consultation with local physicians and nurses, the Montgomery County Health Department, the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency (EMA,) and public and private school systems.
- What is CA’s stance on a school-wide transition to CA at Home? Clarksville Academy does not foresee a need to transition to a school-wide CA at Home model. Recently, with an uptick in Intermediate School cases, we were able to transition that division only. We will continue to follow the virtual learning model by grade level or division.
- What is the plan if we are mandated to transition to a full-school CA at Home model? Will the plan be the same for all divisions? We have always recognized a government mandate may require us to educate children from home. Based on our experience thus far, a school-wide remote learning experience is highly unlikely because we believe education is best delivered in person. We affirm our decision to continue using a hybrid model for learning to give our parents the choice that best meets their family’s needs at this time. The comments below in black are survey results and the comments in blue are our response to those results.
At the end of last school year, our parents were asked to participate in Independent School Management (ISM) nationwide survey about their CA at Home experience. Click here for more information on the CAH survey results. Upon review of the data, results indicated the following:
- Parents reported a daily schedule made the overall experience more valuable and effective. Based on this information, CA instituted more consistent synchronous schedules with intentional breaks and time for daily physical activity.
- Seeing their teachers’ faces daily alleviates fear, anxiety, and stress. CA invested in a campus-wide Zoom license, allowing for interaction with teachers and peers.
- CA at Home survey revealed dissatisfaction with students using multiple learning platforms. After researching several options, Schoology was selected as the school-wide platform. While normal learning management system implementations take a year, CA wanted to ensure our family’s concerns were addressed quickly. Over the course of the next few weeks, opportunities for additional support will be available to students, parents, and teachers.
- Parents and students report a need for predictability and support from their school community. In the spring, we began to survey parents about their schooling experience in remote learning. At the beginning of this year, we continued to utilize surveys for parents, but we added survey components for students in grades 6-12. Our goal in these surveys was to measure satisfaction in the delivery of our programs. Responses caused us to affirm current practices or shift direction and/or provide additional assistance to ensure the quality of the educational experience.
Our plan, if mandated to go completely virtual, will continue with a structured, consistent, synchronous schedule.
Grades 6-12 will continue to log-on and follow their daily class schedule, with opportunities for asynchronous learning.
Grades PreK-5 would follow a model similar to the sample schedule below:
8:00-9:15 Reading/Language Arts
30 minutes for Enrichment or Break
45 minutes for Lunch
30 minutes for Enrichment or Break
1:30-2:15 Social Studies
45 minutes for Enrichment/Break/Study/Extra Help
These longer blocks could allow for asynchronous learning as well as time for social connections.
- Other schools are utilizing school days for virtual learning practice days. Will CA do this? CA is confident in our plans for a full-scale virtual learning environment. After experiencing virtual learning in the spring and hybrid learning this year, our teachers have the expertise, resources, and professional development to continue to deliver on our promise of a college preparatory curriculum. We are able to pivot to this structured virtual learning delivery model.
- How is the school taking care of the faculty/staff during this time? We value the health and well being of our faculty/staff. In support of this, we have offered the following:
- Professional Development
- Four virtual self-help sessions with a licensed Clinical Psychologist
- Intentional morale boosting activities (provided meals, early departures, relaxed attire, class coverage, etc.)
- Stipends for teaching on a dual platform
- Three additional days added to paid time off, related to COVID absences
- Faculty/staff who are well enough, need to quarantine based on COVID, but are able to carry out their job duties remotely, can apply for a Temporary Remote Work Arrangement Request. For teachers, this means a substitute will be in the classroom for supervision and management with remote instruction delivered by the teacher.
- I see the daily dashboard, but I wonder how many cases we have had since our first case in September? When reviewing our year to date 75 positive cases, 8/185 Lower School students, 38/111 Intermediate School students, 19/175 Upper School students, and 10/103 are full or part-time employees. Since September, 65/471 of our student body have reported a positive test. Remember, our count includes students who test positive but have not necessarily been in our school environment. For example, a parent contracts the virus—the two CA children in the household quarantine with the parents. The CA students, while quarantining, contract the virus. Even though they have been out of school for more than a week, and no school contact tracing is needed, we include those two students in our positive case numbers. We believe approximately half of our recorded positive cases involve scenarios like this one. **As of November 19, 2020
- I see communication when an entire sports team is quarantined or a season is canceled. Should we be playing sports? Are sports super spreaders? Our research data reveals athletics, at this point, have not been super spreaders, and only seven positive cases could be traced to the active play of a sport and did not result in large scale spread. Due to contact tracing, however, we have suspended or ended seasons as a result of those few positive cases. It is our hope to support safe competition and allow our student-athletes to participate in sporting events.
- Speaking of sports, are there rules associated with athletics? Clarksville Academy follows the guidelines set in place by TSSAA. These include temperature checks at all sporting events, the wearing of masks by spectators, limited seating at indoor events, and physical distancing. Players who are contact traced must sit out 14 days from the date of exposure, and positive cases are not allowed to return to play for 10.
- Can my child return to school with a test pending if we have a negative rapid result? No. At the beginning of the school year, we allowed rapid tests, but we have always required a quarantine if a test result is pending. It is imperative parents let us know a test is pending. We can only respond to the information given to us.
- How is contact tracing completed? Are my child’s weekend activities relevant? When we are notified of a case of COVID-19, we immediately begin the process of contact tracing. Per our reopening plan, created after research and consultation with health professionals and officials, we trace back 48 hours from the time symptoms began or a positive test was taken for our asymptomatic individuals. We also ask parents to let us know about any non-school events that may involve our students/staff. This allows us to be thorough in our tracing. We err on the side of caution, even with barriers in place. We ask teachers for seating charts to be current and turned in at all times, guidance on movements in the classroom, and supervision at lunch.
- What does it mean when I am told my child needs to quarantine? Recently, when an outbreak occurred in our Intermediate School, we slightly modified our approach as the situation rapidly changed. We asked parents to contact their pediatrician and follow the advice on testing dates and quarantine timelines. We continue to encourage families to consult their physician. Students who have been contact traced should either quarantine away from others in their home for 14 days or wait 7-10 days to receive a PCR test. **This is subject to change based on active cases in our population. We encourage students/staff to get the PCR version of the COVID-19 test, as we have been advised this is the most accurate.
- If my child is contact traced and required to quarantine, what does that mean for the other Clarksville Academy children in my home? Rules to contact trace do not require family members to quarantine unless exposed to the positive case. The sibling would only quarantine if the traced sibling became symptomatic or positive. Some of our families have chosen, when one child is quarantined, to quarantine all children in the family. Clarksville Academy supports this decision and allows quarantined family members to move to CA at Home temporarily.
- Will school close as we did last spring? Our goal is to maintain an in-person learning environment, as well as an option for CA at Home learning. We do not anticipate a full school closure unless mandated by our local, state, or national government officials. We will continue to monitor our case numbers to determine if a small scale closure (class, grade level, or school division) is needed, much like our move to CA at Home for all Intermediate School students for a brief period of time two weeks ago.
- Would the school consider a mask mandate? It is our priority to keep our school community safe, and it is also vital for us to maintain in-person learning for our students as long as we can. Currently, students are allowed to remove their masks if physically distanced from their peers or if they are behind a plexiglass barrier. At the beginning of this year, we found this to be an effective protocol. After managing an increase in cases in the Intermediate School and seeing similar trends begin in the Upper School, starting Friday, November 20, we will institute a mask mandate in grades 6-12. During lunch, we will continue to require six feet of separation between students. This mandate will remain in effect until further notice.
- How can I help my child understand COVID-19? For LS children, we encourage you to view this video with them. This article from Fatherly, is also a great resource. For IS children, this is a great video for our pre-teen, early teen population. In US we suggest this NY Times Article .
- What are the symptoms and complications COVID-19 can cause? Current symptoms reported have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
- Who should I contact if I’m concerned about our families’ health? If anyone does not feel well, staying home is the expected course of action. Those who believe they may have been exposed to or infected with coronavirus should seek medical care right away. Call a clinic, your physician’s office, or an emergency room to let them know about recent travel and symptoms. CA families and faculty should inform their respective divisional heads.
- How can I prevent COVID-19? Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. However, simple everyday measures can be taken to slow the spread of the virus.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wear a mask.
- Practice physical distancing of 6-feet or more.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.