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Fall 2020
Reopening Plan

We are eager to announce our reopening plans for Fall 2020! Below you will find an overview as well as a detailed description of the Bronx Charter School for the Arts Fall Reopening Plan. As always, if you have any questions please email us at info@bronxarts.net.

Our Guiding Principles

As Bronx Arts prepared for the fall and back to school plans, we had so much to consider. In addition to the requirements from the state and the recommendations from the CDC, we always centered our values as a school and what was best for our school community. Those values are expressed in our guiding principles and were central in identifying our guiding principles, outlined below:

  • The health and safety of our students and staff are of paramount importance at this time and always.
  • Relationships are the foundation for all of our work.
  • Access challenges will not get in the way of success.
  • Quality is more important than quantity.
  • All situations need to be approached with grace and flexibility.
  • Equitable learning for all Bronx Arts students.

Overview

Considering the established guiding principles, our team has worked diligently to create a plan that prioritizes our students’ and staff’s safety, continues to meet the educational needs of our students, and allows for adaptability and flexibility as the year progresses and circumstances and/or guidance evolves. You can read more about the plan below. Some highlights include:

  • We will offer two models of learning for students, online and in person, prioritizing the health and wellbeing of our students and staff above all else.
  • On-site students will be placed in “micro-communities,” grade-level cohorts that will stay together throughout the day to minimize interaction among individuals and reduce the risk of spread.
  • We will adhere to social distancing recommendations and require face coverings for students, staff, and any other personnel in the building.
  • We are mandating screening protocols: students and staff will complete the screenings at home and/or on site, including temperature checks, each day.
  • Each student will receive a device for learning remotely (iPads for elementary students, Chromebooks for middle schoolers), and we will continue to survey families to ensure they have a stable internet connection for their students.

Considerations for Planning

Key Assumptions

  • Conditions are not likely to improve quickly enough to allow schools to resume normal (pre-pandemic) operations for the 2020-21 school year.
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 will remain in circulation, and people will be susceptible to the virus until an effective vaccine is developed and widely used.
  • A vaccine is not likely to be in broad use for the next 12 months.
  • The entities that provide support services for our schools, such as the Department of Pupil Transportation and the Office of School Nurses, likely will not have a plan in place with enough time for us to plan for the 2020-21 school year.

Key Decisions

  • Bronx Arts will open schools if the NYC DOE schools reopen.
  • Bronx Arts has decided that school for the 2020-21 school year will cycle between a full day hybrid model and a fully remote model.
  • Bronx Arts will provide in school learning fo a combination of:
    • Kindergarten students
    • First grade students
    • Sixth grade students
    • Students with Disabilities
    • Siblings
    • Students who did not thrive with online learning previously
    • Homeless students

Communication

Establishing strong relationships is one of our guiding principles. We do this by providing frequent, consistent, and transparent lines of communication. This includes disseminating information to staff, families, students, the board, and other stakeholders. This commitment has only been renewed and heightened during this time. Families and staff can expect ongoing communication containing the most up to date information and opportunities for feedback.

  • The Bronx Arts website will remain updated, and Bronx Arts staff will email and call families with any important developments.
  • We will continue to survey families periodically to ensure remote learners have high-speed internet connectivity.
  • All important information for families will be available in English and Spanish.

Schedules

Given the need to follow the CDC guidelines for social distancing, we cannot welcome 100% of our students into the school buildings at this time. Given that relationships are the foundation of all of our work, our goal is to prioritize the following students, which together equal roughly one third of our student population:

  • Kindergarten
  • 1st grade
  • 6th graders who are new to Bronx Arts
  • Students with Special Education designation
  • Students for whom Distance Learning did not work in the Spring

It is also our goal to meet the needs of as many families as we can to have their children in the school building. The remainder of our students will continue to engage via distance learning for the foreseeable future.

Health and Safety

Listed as our highest priority, we take the health and safety of our Bronx Arts community seriously. Some highlights of the health and safety measures Bronx Arts will implement include:

Health Checks and Screening

All students and staff who enter the Bronx Arts building will be asked to complete a questionnaire prior to entering the premises. Students who are unable to complete the questionnaire at home or who arrive by bus will be screened upon their arrival at the school, including temperature checks.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

All staff and students will be required to wear PPE, including face coverings, unless exempt for a health reason. Bronx Arts has already secured a 3 month supply of the following PPE items:

  • Three ply medical masks
  • N-95 Masks
  • Disposable gowns
  • Gloves

Healthy Hygiene Practices

Even before the first day of school and periodically thereafter, we will train our students and staff on the best handwashing and hygiene practices. In addition to the handwashing that will follow any activity or movement within the school, time will be scheduled throughout the day for periodic handwashing. Hand sanitizing stations will also be placed throughout the building.

Cleaning

In addition to daily deep cleanings of all rooms in the building, staff will be trained to disinfect and clean commonly touched surfaces and frequently used items throughout the day. The school health office will be cleaned after each use.

Social Distancing

Bronx Arts will enforce a strict 6 foot social distancing protocol whenever possible. In addition, on-site students will be placed in “micro-communities,” grade-level cohorts that will stay together throughout the day to minimize interaction among individuals and reduce the risk of spread.

Signage

Bronx Arts has placed signage throughout the school, in both English and Spanish, to encourage best practices in preventing Covid-19 spread. The signs include:

  • Staff and students only beyond this point
  • No entry without mask
  • List of Covid-19 symptoms
  • “Did you check your temperature today?”
  • Markings for 6 feet apart
  • Sanitizing stations
  • Proper handwashing protocol
  • Max occupancy for each space

Management of Ill Persons

Bronx Arts plans to follow CDC guidance and NYSED protocol regarding management of sick people. This includes:

  • Designating a specific room for assessment for students or staff presenting with Covid-19 symptoms.
  • Sending home individuals who are suspected of having Covid-19 upon assessment.
  • Bronx Arts will follow CDC guidance for allowing a student or staff member to return to school after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If a student or staff member reports having tested positive for COVID-19, the local health department will be notified to determine what steps are needed for the school community.
  • If an individual becomes ill at school or shows symptoms, a thorough cleaning of the rooms in which the sick person was located will be conducted as well as disinfecting any surfaces and items they may have touched or used.

Operations

Facilities

Bronx Arts is committed to meeting all the requirements for the health and safety in our community. While we have traditionally been a place where all families are welcome at all times, given the complexities of operating schools in a global pandemic and our responsibility to keep students and staff safe, we will drastically limit access to the building:

  • Only staff and students of Bronx Charter School for the Arts will be allowed beyond the drop-off point.
  • Only students who are designated for on-site instruction will be allowed entrance to the building.
  • Only staff who are working will be permitted inside the building.
  • Students being picked-up early will be escorted to the main entrance.
  • Parent meetings will be held via virtual conference or outside when the weather permits.

Technology

Bronx Arts understands the important role technology plays in providing an equitable education to all students, and this need is all the more critical during the pandemic. In order to accommodate all learning models, Bronx Arts will provide:

  • An IPad for every elementary school student in grades K-2
  • A Chromebook for every student in grades 3-8
  • A MiFi device for any household without a high speed internet connection
  • Need technology to teachers and staff

Over the summer, Bronx Arts compiled data through multiple surveys to assess students’ technological and internet needs to ensure all our students would be able to learn remotely. In addition, Bronx Arts has and will continue to conduct professional development training for teachers on best practices for online delivery of curriculum.

Transportation

At this time, Bronx Arts is expecting the use of yellow school buses. Bus cleaning will be enhanced, and students on the bus will be expected to wear a mask and engage in social distancing. In addition, all students entering the school buildings on the bus will have their temperature checked and be monitored for signs of illness upon arrival at the school.

Eligible students will be offered a metro card per standard protocols.

All students will be required to have transportation pre-arranged from the school in the event they present with an elevated temperature or are otherwise suspected to potentially have Covid-19 upon a health assessment by the school nurse.

Nutrition

We are proud of our history of commitment to our students’ nutrition, and we will continue to provide healthy options and snacks to our students, both in classrooms and at home.

On-Site Learners

Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be served to students inside their classrooms. This will increase safety by limiting movement throughout the building.

Remote Learners

Bronx Arts is committed to ensuring that all students have access to healthy meals. Grab and Go meals will be provided to students who are participating in remote instruction as well as those in the building. We will coordinate with our families to determine if there is a preference to pick up meals daily or to be provided with bulk meals. We will also post information for families as to which district schools are offering grab and go meals.

Social-Emotional

Like all educators, at Bronx Arts we understand that caring for our student’s well-being and social and emotional health is a large part of what we do. Getting back to school means addressing the trauma this moment has placed on many of our students, and we will utilize our school support teams at both schools, led by our school counselors, to help students navigate this trying time. Overall, Bronx Arts’ response to our students and families’ needs is holistic and involves everyone. As we have been doing throughout the pandemic, Bronx Arts will continue to support our students’ families by offering assistance with child care, food, mental health resources, and counseling.

Academics & Arts

Our digital instruction has the same requirements to engage students while moving them toward and beyond proficiency. Thus, central to the Bronx Arts Distance Learning Plan is the focus on teacher-led, rigorous, and individualized instruction with ample and significant opportunities for student participation and engagement.

Our core focus is on students engaging in work as per the NYS Standards, and our teachers are committed to providing multiple methods of instruction and various strategies to ensure students are getting the differentiated instruction needed to be successful.

A breakdown of our plans by school:

Elementary

The length of our school day will continue at 330 minutes for ALL students; however, synchronous instruction will take place for an average of 225 minutes and teachers will then assign projects and independent or asynchronous work that students can engage with independently throughout the rest of the day with teachers facilitating small groups and one on one conferences remotely. Teachers will also arrange conferencing time with small groups or individual students to check in on progress and provide additional instruction and support. Students will still have two arts classes per day and lunch time. This schedule mimics the same schedule as students who are in our building. The quality of lesson facilitation and student expectations will not change.

Middle

Middle scholars will receive anywhere from 360-420 minutes of synchronous instruction per day. Each core academic subject is scheduled for 60 minutes of synchronous learning per day, including the Arts, which are a core academic class at Bronx Charter School for the Arts. Additional enrichment experiences are also built into the schedule in the form of elective classes coordinated by teachers, including more specialized arts instruction.

Special Education

Throughout our Distance Learning period, Bronx Arts has been in contact with and collaborated with the Committee on Special Education (CSE) for our district to ensure that individual education plans (IEP) are being addressed during school closures. Teachers will continue to provide modification and adaptations as needed to assignments that align to a student’s IEP. These supports may include, but are not limited to, extended time for assignments and assessments, accessible reading materials, highlighting, graphic organizers, charts, visual cues, and small group instruction. Teachers will utilize accessibility features available through G-Suite for Education such as text-to-speech, speech-to-text, and video captions to ensure all students can independently engage with grade-level material. Scholar will also receive additional RTI or SETSS time scheduled into their week to allow for both remediation and enrichment opportunities.

Thank you!

We are grateful to all of our community stakeholders who have and will continue to assist us in creating and implementing this plan. Nothing is more important to us than the health and wellbeing of our community, and our students and staff have been on our hearts and minds as we crafted this reopening plan. We will continue to solicit feedback and adapt as needed to ensure this reopening is as successful and seamless as possible.

To read the complete Bronx Charter School for the Arts guide document submitted to the state, please click on the button below:

Full Guide Document