Fall 2020 Reopening Status
As of September 21, 2020
ACDS has been granted a waiver by the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health to provide on-campus, in-person, full-day instruction, with County-approved health and safety protocols in place and a live-streaming (“Simulcast”) option for our home learners.
ACDS families actually have three attendance alternatives from which to select: (1) in-person learning 5 days per week, (2) Simulcast classroom live-streaming 5 days per week, or (3) hybrid of 3 days on campus and two days of Simulcast.
Our reopening plan balances student and staff safety and wellness, the social-emotional and academic needs of the children, and our best effort at providing our full program and philosophy within the constraints of the guidelines from the state and county public health guidelines. We agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics that "all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school."
To this end, since March we have invested nearly $700,000 in campus safety enhancements, chiefly featuring three separate air purification and disinfection systems that can operate simultaneously in all classrooms to support the safest possible classroom learning environment at ACDS. In conjunction with our MERV-13 filtration and HVAC disinfection systems that address both air purification and surface disinfection, we’re installing high-output portable HEPA air purification units in all classrooms. These air scrubbers will help us further optimize ventilation for indoor instruction during wildfire season.
We believe this substantial investment in protecting students and staff is vital and warranted, especially given the level of uncertainty and concern all families are struggling during the pandemic. Our goal is to provide a safe, healthy campus environment and offer all students -- whether in-person, Simulcast, or hybrid -- a challenging, stimulating, and personalized learning experience as we all adapt to the circumstances together. We have taken every possible precaution to keep our community safe, and families should expect no less.
ON-CAMPUS LEARNING AT ACDS
In September we welcomed students back to campus in a phased re-opening, with our K-2 and TLC families joining the early childhood classes on campus. Our plan calls for grades 3-5 and 6-8 to follow at approximately one-week intervals to allow our staff to monitor all the new safety protocols and instructional programming while serving a smaller student population. All of our reopening action steps are in strict compliance with the county guidelines:
- ACDS offers full-day programming, with the three attendance options described above
- Depending on the grade level, students on campus are arranged in stable cohorts or socially-distanced small groups limiting cross-grade interactions to minimize risk of spreading the virus
- As of this writing, in-person gatherings of large groups are still temporarily suspended; per the guidelines, field trips that do not mix student cohorts may be allowed. Fall overnight field trips have been rescheduled for later in the school year, if possible
- With schedule adjustments, our popular elementary enrichment classes and the middle school elective program continue on a limited basis for all students
CAMPUS HEALTH & SAFETY
In order to open our campus for in-person learning, the following action steps have been completed or are in progress:
- Parents and visitors will not be allowed on campus except for essential purposes; parents will not be allowed in classrooms
- Masks will be required for all adults on campus at all times; per CDPH guidelines, masks are required for children in 3rd grade and up and masks are strongly encouraged for younger grades to help protect the safety of the children and teachers
- Students and staff will be required to wash hands frequently and use sanitizer
- Touchless faucets have been installed wherever possible on campus
- Social distancing, as appropriate to different grade levels, will be the norm on campus
- Daily health and temperature checks are mandatory (per CDPH guidelines)
- Coronavirus-rated MERV-13 air filtration is installed in all 43 heating/ventilation systems campus-wide
- HVAC system air and surface disinfectant units added to all 43 heating/ventilation systems campus-wide to continually kill 99% of all airborne and surface bacteria, viruses, mold, fungus, and volatile organic compounds , constantly disinfecting air and surfaces throughout the day -- in addition to scheduled manual cleaning and disinfection by our staff using the Bioesque fogger backpack
- High-output HEPA portable air scrubbers have been ordered for installation in all classrooms, a third ventilation system to improve indoor air quality
- Outdoor instruction, for the appropriate grade levels, will take place whenever possible in our newly-created outdoor spaces
- Eight handwashing stations now installed around the blacktop perimeter, several with foot pedal activation and/or touchless faucets
- Drinking fountains disabled; installed two water bottle stations on either end of blacktop
- Provision for six month's supply of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, plus three electronic hand sanitizer stations
- Plastic desk shields for teacher and student use and anywhere that social distancing is impracticable, or as requested
- Renovation of our middle school science lab to allow socially- distanced occupancy and better ventilation
- Creation of "ventilation hallway" for garden side elementary classrooms to minimize construction dust and direct sun
- Installation of air conditioning units in elementary and ECE classrooms
- ACDS will follow all CDPH and Santa Clara County protocols for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases
These improvements underscore the school’s commitment to the safety and health of our students and staff. And beyond COVID-19, we see these enhancements as safety investments for the future too. All of the major projects we've undertaken since March 2020 will support generations of students and staff well after the pandemic is behind us. For example, the HVAC air and surface disinfection is expected to improve classroom comfort and health for children with asthma and allergies, and to substantially reduce the indoor transmission of cold and flu viruses.
- For the safety of our children and staff, our new drop-off and pick-up process requires parents of students in 1st grade or older to remain in their cars unless entering campus is absolutely necessary
- Lunchtime and recesses have been reorganized to restrict mixing of student cohorts
- Signage regarding distancing, hand-washing, PPEs and other safety reminders is prominently displayed on campus, along with ground markings that serve as physical distancing reminders
- We continually update our families and staff as CDPH, Santa Clara Public Health, the CDC, and other regulatory agencies revise their guidance and requirements .
Whether our families opt for in-person or online Simulcast instruction, our goal remains the same: delivering the ACDS philosophy — love and respect for childhood, a balance of rigor, joy, and character education, and having fun at school — in any learning arrangements we find ourselves throughout the 2020-21 school year.
Fall 2020 Re-Opening Plan
COVID-19 Preparedness Plans