Chapel Field plans for in-school re-opening

By Connor Linskey
Posted 7/29/20

Chapel Field Christian Schools in Pine Bush have revealed their current plans for the 2020-2021 school year. While the school has only received the preliminary state regulations for reopening school, …

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Chapel Field plans for in-school re-opening

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Chapel Field Christian Schools in Pine Bush have revealed their current plans for the 2020-2021 school year. While the school has only received the preliminary state regulations for reopening school, they feel confident in their current plans.

As school begins this fall, students as well as faculty and staff will have their temperatures taken daily. Cleaning staff and sanitation regiments will be bolstered to ensure a clean and safe environment for everyone at Chapel Field. Hand sanitizer will be dispersed throughout the school along with disinfecting wipes for faculty and staff to use for wiping classroom surfaces. Sanitization of surfaces around the building will be completed throughout the day. Outdoor spaces will be used as much as possible and when students are in spaces where social distancing is not feasible, masks will be worn.

“Though there is much uncertainty, it is our priority at Chapel Field that our families have the peace of mind in knowing that their children will be safe while attending school,” the school noted in their plan for the upcoming academic year.

Chapel Field is planning for a full re-opening for their elementary school, as many families of these students need to have their children in school in order to return to work. Teachers will be diligent in keeping their rooms clean and in reinforcing to the kids the need for hygiene and hand washing. They will wear masks when in close proximity to the students.

The school is preparing its elementary classrooms to comply with New York State requirements for social distancing. They are also making plans to spread students out in order to reduce cramped spaces and to limit intermingling between classes as much as possible. This will require splitting some classes into two groups and into two rooms.

During these cases, the head teacher will be assisted by a co-teacher who will manage classwork, recesses and specials with one group while the head teacher gives instruction to the other. The two teachers will switch groups so that the head teacher spends time with each group and every student.

Elementary classes will spend as much time as possible together as a grade. This will be accomplished by using the outdoors as often as possible. Times will also be scheduled for the entire class to be together indoors, especially as the weather grows colder. During these times requiring the use of masks might be necessary.

Class instruction will be recorded in order to provide for those students who are unable to attend or those whose families would rather take advantage of the school’s remote learning program. These recordings will be uploaded throughout the day. If the school returns at some point to full remote learning, they will post lessons by 9 a.m. the following day as they did in the Spring.

Chapel Field is currently equipping middle and high school classrooms so that teachers will be able to provide simultaneous instruction for students present in class as well as those participating remotely. The school currently has a range of possibilities for the fall from full, live on-campus education, to a hybrid model of on campus and remote learning, as well as full remote education.

Given the preliminary state regulations that have been released, a full re-open, which would have all of the middle and high school students on campus five days a week would be challenging and not optimal. Due to social distancing requirements at all times on campus, students in a full open model would be required to wear masks for the majority of the day.

In the case of a full open model, space limitations would not allow teachers to socially distance students in the classroom. In this case, students would be assigned to a cohort, a group of 20 students (made up of their grade level). Rather than socially distancing all students, the cohorts would be socially distanced.

Student intermingling would be minimized by assigning each cohort a room and rather than having students moving from class to class, the teachers will move to them. Bathroom time, locker time, lunch time and break times would be offset across the student body in order to reduce the mixing of groups. The school is also working on a schedule to provide built in breaks and time for cohorts to get out of their rooms.

Chapel Field is also proposing a hybrid model for its middle and high school (A group and B group). In this model, groups will rotate weeks on and off campus. Group A will be on campus one week, attending classes, while group B attends class remotely. The following week, group B will be on campus and Group A will be remote.

Remote students will follow their schedule from home and attend classes via their Microsoft Teams accounts. This technology allows for students to be actively involved in class. They will be able to see and hear the teacher as well as class discussions and will be able to ask questions or offer input. Teachers will be able to call on remote students and field their questions.

In this scenario, the school may be able to accommodate some students whose families would require full attendance on campus for their children. Requests would be granted depending on availability of seating.

While any family will have the ability to choose a full remote program, even on a temporary basis, this model would be implemented school-wide only as a result of the state mandating the closure of schools. In that case, teachers would provide students a combination of pre-recorded videos and live class Zoom sessions in order to balance the live interaction and instruction with allowing for students to work at the pace of their home environment and schedule.

All Chapel Field can do now is wait for guidance from Gov. Andrew Cuomo who will decide on schools reopening for the fall during the first week of August.

“In the end, whatever scenario, we will be prepared and we want to let you know that we are on it and we are here for you and here with you to accomplish the education of your children,” Head of Schools Bill Spanjer IV told parents on the school’s YouTube channel.

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