There has been a lot of bustling about at Harmony Christian School (HCS) in Middletown, NY as preparations are being made to open for a full 5 day a week schedule on September 2, 2020. Beginning of school is always an exciting time, but everyone in the field of education knows that this year brings many new and unprecedented challenges. This is a historic moment in time and although no one can foresee the future, we have prepared for the challenge and will be as flexible and fastidious as we need to be.
The vision for this year is to provide a forum where the children have some semblance of normalcy during a time when everything seems upside down. A place where they can be comfortable and learn among their peers while staying safe and healthy.
This year at HCS there will be limited admission so that we can safely socially distance. Most of the class sizes will be limited to 14 children, with a few exceptions. In the cases of those exceptions, the children will be in larger sized classrooms within the school, which will allow for 6’ social distancing. Although the circumstances are less than ideal, we view this as an opportunity to teach, and minister to, the children in a way that larger class sizes do not allow for; more personalized attention.
As soon as the safety guidelines were released, Mr. Barry, the Principal of HCS, the administrative and custodial team began figuring out how to implement each mandate, which they did successfully. Currently there are infrared thermometers at different entrances that can scan hundreds of people at a time. Touchless hand sanitizers have been positioned in each classroom and around the school. Common areas will be sanitized 3 times a day during school days and the entire school will be thoroughly cleaned each evening. We have also acquired extra PPE equipment to have on the premises.
This year the middle and high school students will not be moving through the building and changing classrooms. The teachers will be changing rooms and will allow for short breaks in between classes. All students and staff will be required to wear masks only when they are moving about outside their classroom – such as when they go to specials or recess.
“Although this year brings obstacles, we are optimistic and committed to doing everything possible to ensure a safe learning environment for students and staff. We are fortunate to have one of the most dedicated and enthusiastic group of teachers and administrators who are willing to go above and beyond to educate your children in fun and creative ways while staying safe,” read a statement released by the school. “The rest we leave in God’s hands.”