Dear Amana Families:
We hope you and your families are healthy and enjoying summer break. On June 29th Fulton County Schools announced the district’s general plan for returning to school for the 2020-2021 school year, and since there are differences with Amana Academy’s approach to teaching & learning and differences with our families’ circumstances, we are taking this opportunity to provide you an update on our school’s restart plan. Please make sure to read through this communication in its entirety and to complete the survey about your instructional choices for the coming year by July 12. A more detailed update and special one-stop information source website will be forthcoming in two weeks.
The first day of school has changed to Monday August 17, 2020.
Amana will follow Fulton County’s change to the first day of school. The change was made to accommodate the one-third of Fulton schools that serve as polling places for the August 11 election. Please note the change in the first day of school will not affect any other calendar dates, winter/spring breaks, holidays already announced, or the last day of school.
We acknowledge that many families remain concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their students and family. Therefore, K-8 students will have two options: continued virtual learning or face-to-face return to school. Both options will feature some key differences from the district’s plan in order to accommodate the integrity of our STEM-themed expeditionary learning approach to teaching and learning and the diverse needs of our families. To ensure we are prepared to meet our students’ needs, Amana Academy’s Instructional Leadership Team has devoted the spring and summer to planning for the upcoming school year; and we have sought parent input via town hall meetings and through our Board’s Covid-19 Task Force. The planning has been more creative, inclusive, and comprehensive than in past years; and we thank all those who have contributed to our robust restart plan.
Complete our Instructional Choice survey by July 12
Today we ask you to choose the instructional approach that makes most sense for your family taking into account your personal capacity and the needs of other families and students. Our instructional strategy continues the well received virtual learning approach from last spring and provides an option for returning to school for face-to-face instruction—it also contains contingency plans should COVID-19 cases continue to rise and cause interruptions to our in-person operations. Both options require a semester commitment (from August through December).
OPTION 1: Continuation of Remote Virtual Learning
Amana Academy’s pivot to virtual school last spring was lauded by parents and education agencies for its enriching approach and alignment to the expeditionary learning style, and it was referenced by schools locally and even in other states. For this fall, Amana is offering K-8 students a continuation of our remote virtual learning format (note Fulton County is not offering this option to kindergarten students, yet Amana will). As you consider this option, in addition to being mindful of your family’s circumstances and capacity, please also consider other families who may not have the same flexibility and must rely on the face-to-face option as their only choice.
OPTION 2: Face-to-Face Return to School
As in past years, Amana plans to implement our award-winning teaching and learning approach, yet we all must understand that when we come back to face-to-face school, it will not be the same due to the pandemic. Our state is still in a health crisis, and it is critical that we do whatever possible to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Safety and sanitation precautions are being taken and these will make Amana feel and look different, and social distancing will change some norms and behaviors. These changes may be difficult for some, so we appreciate your support as we put measures in place to provide the safest environment possible.
This flyer provides a summary of what our school is doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school. It is similar to the one put out by the district, but please be aware that some of Amana’s protocols will be different from Fulton County’s, such as our requirement for all adults and all students to wear masks while in school and social distancing on buses.
Amana Academy has invested in a number of sanitation measures, including air quality auto-cleaning ionization systems throughout the school and overnight UV light sanitation devices. We plan on more frequent and thorough cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces; encouraging students to wash their hands more often at easily accessible wash stations; providing hand sanitizer stations; placing physical barriers at high-volume areas; and creating isolation rooms for those who appear to be symptomatic of an illness. All persons will be temperature tested prior to entering the school; and persons who are sick are expected to stay home, and any student or staff member who becomes sick while at school will be sent home immediately.
All adults and students are required to wear a face mask while in school. Face masks are expected for students riding a school bus also, as is social distancing (students will be assigned seats and buses will be disinfected after each morning and afternoon route; and since we will have fewer students on the buses, we are investigating the possibility of running double routes).
Desks will be spaced out in classrooms and our school leaders have plans for students travelling through the building, going outside for instruction, eating their meals, and attending group gatherings, such as an assembly. The goal is to reduce the possible spread of illness, yet still give students and teachers the personal interaction they need.
Take Note – Here are some other requirements for returning for face-to-face instruction:
Uniforms will be required only on Monday & Thursday to allow parents a chance for interim washes.
Things we ask you to purchase (if you are financially able)
- Mask (no distracting markings)
- Face shield
- Chromebook (if you do not already have a device that works with iReady)
- Folding camping chair for outdoor classroom instruction
- Refillable water bottle
- Hand soap
- Paper towels
In two weeks, we will share more detailed information with you and launch a one-stop information source website. As we are all aware, the COVID-19 situation is ever changing, so we appreciate your patience and cooperation as we navigate this new normal. In the midst of this disruption, Amana has tapped into new education networks and benefited from an increased sharing of best practices. We have also learned new ways to engage with parents and stakeholders that will continue forward. As Crew, we hope to come out of this crisis stronger than ever!