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COVID-19 Response

The Summit Academy Return to School

We look forward to welcoming you back to The Summit Academy as we plan to resume on-campus classes for the fall 2020 semester.

Classes will begin on Monday, August 24th.

Despite some of the COVID-19 related novelties that all educators must incorporate into their Summer planning, The Summit is at an advantage over many other school environments. We have the benefit of a learning model that hinges on smaller, more personal class structures. Likewise, our facility, which employs larger classrooms with ample space to allow for both seminar as well as hands-on work, positions us for a successful adjustment to the new considerations that the pandemic requires.

The most significant adjustments will simply be attending to proper spacing between students, increased cleaning of the school, and overall heightened awareness of symptoms of illness. Other changes will include procedures to ensure a seamless educational experience, even in the case of student/staff illness. These will consist of live video conferencing and digital resources for students who must remain at home after exposure to ensure a seamless educational experience.

Like other private schools and colleges, our plans for reopening are developed based on CDC, Virginia Department of Health guidance.  Most helpful has been our conversations with leadership from the Rappahannock Regional Health Department, who took the time to get to know our program and our unique advantage in terms of size.  With their input, we are confident that we can open in August while employing common-sense precautions and moving forward with a relatively normal academic year.

As always, we see our mission as partnering with you to help educate and form your sons and daughters.  Together, we will implement appropriate guidelines that serve our particular school community and maintain the aspects of our program that make learning at The Summit, a powerful experience for our students.

We hope that the information below will answer any specific questions you may have.

Pax Christi,


Julian Malcolm
Headmaster


COVID-19 Guidance and Key Considerations

Stay home when appropriate.

This is the most important preventative measure. We will follow the CDC guidance for ending home isolation after Covid-19. In general, returning to school after symptoms requires:

  • 3 days with no fever and
  • Respiratory symptoms have improved (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) and
  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared

Resources to Ensure Continued Learning During Isolation

In the event of illness, students should be sure to get adequate rest to aid a full recovery as quickly as possible. However, in the event of precautionary self-isolation, we will have procedures and infrastructures in place to ensure that learning will continue. Classrooms will be equipped with the proper resources to allow for video conferencing when needed. We will be using the following digital platforms:

  • Google Classroom
  • Zoom Conference App

Symptom Awareness and Preventative Measures

One of the more challenging aspects of the COVID-19 Virus is the wide and diverse range of symptoms in those who become infected. It will be most helpful if parents and students become aware of the CDC’s guidance on COVID-19 symptoms.

It is a good idea for students to check their temperatures before leaving home to come to The Summit. Even prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, students must remain at home if their temperature is above 100 degrees F.

Encourage Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette (wash hands and cover coughs)

Adequate Supplies (soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, etc.)

  • Washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water is the most effective defense.
  • Hand sanitizer may be effective when access to soap and water is limited.

Regular Cleaning and Disinfection

  • We will begin the day with disinfected surfaces and look for additional opportunities to disinfect throughout the day.

Modified Classroom Layouts to increase spacing

  • We will increase spacing in classrooms and the cafeteria.

While, not a completely exhaustive resource, the Department of Health’s guidance on cloth face coverings is thorough. It provides some helpful distinctions on when masks are and are not required, reasonable expectation of outcomes with masks and even tips on proper etiquette in relating to people who do and do not where masks. The facemask page has been updated on a roughly monthly basis.

Indeterminate Symptoms

It may well occur that a student shows symptoms related to the COVID-19 Virus but may also be a case of the common cold or seasonal allergies. In normal conditions, unless there was a fever or vomiting or some other sign of a more severe and contagious symptom, it can sometimes be appropriate for a student to “push through” in order to stay focused on the coursework.  Because of COVID-19 we need to introduce new criteria in our decision-making and advise that families err on the side of caution. In such cases, the technology features listed above will allow students to continue with their learning. If your student has ambiguous symptoms, they should just stay home until their condition meets the criteria for ending isolation and/or if a doctor has cleared them to return to school.

Resources

The following resources have helped guide and inform our planning. Changes in these documents may impact our precautions and policies.

CDC Guidance for Ending Home Isolation after Covid-19 (or the flu).

Department of Health Prevention Tips

Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 Information Hub

Based on the best available current research and a reasoned approach, we will embrace practices to reduce the risk of an outbreak in our school community. These practices cannot eliminate risk, but with a mind towards the common good, our policies will allow us to isolate and treat cases when they occur more effectively. Ultimately, our task at the school involves a partnership with parents. To that end, it will be helpful for families to familiarize themselves with these resources to aid in making informed decisions as we work together to reduce.

If you have any specific concerns or questions, please email us at info@thesummitva.org