Covid-19 Updates

Resources for Families

General Information

___________________________________________________________________________________________

UPDATES

August 28, 2020

Dear Families,

Our instructional leadership team met today.  Next week we will host our Meet and Greets.  Parents will be required to complete all the paperwork on the parent portal before participating.  Medical forms must also be completed and received by Unity, prior to your visit.  You may drop off medical paperwork at the time of your Meet and Greet.  Students that will be learning remotely must also have all forms filed with the school office prior to beginning classes.

Meet and Greet

Our schedule is:

  • Tuesday – September 1, 2020

    • 2-2:30 Lindsey, Megan

    • 2:30-3:00 Zoe, Kelly

  • Wednesday – September 2, 2020

    • 2-2:30 Kris, Kaitlyn

    • 2:30-3:00 Jeannette, Christine

  • Thursday – September 3, 2020

    • 2:00-3:30 Judy’s students in their Kindergarten groups

    • 2-2:30 Michael, Rebecca

    • 2:30-3:00 Jeff, Lauren

 

To make the day successful, we ask that families:

  • Only have one parent attend.

  • Should have siblings remain at home and only the respective student(s) should attend.

  • Only enter the building for the Meet and Greet,if the required Parent Portal Questionnaire has been completed.

  • Park in the back parking lot.  At the backdoor (common room)  you will be greeted by Amy, Catarina and Sonia.  They will collect any outstanding paperwork you might have, including health office forms.

  • Danielle, our school counselor will be in the front hallway to assist with this process and to direct families to their respective classrooms.

  • To avoid crowding at the back door, all visitors will walk out the front door and walk to the back of the school to their cars.

 

Calendar Updates:

 

We want to remind everyone that the first day of school is September 8, 2020.  This was changed at our July Board of Trustees meeting.  To make our school schedule more predictable, we will be eliminating all 12:40pm early dismissal days.  Unity Charter School will dismiss at 1:00pm every day*.

*subject to board approval

Aftercare Information: We have created a manual with our aftercare procedures. Due to increased planning and staffing, all families taking part in aftercare should take a few minutes to review expectations and return the signed acknowledgement.  Aftercare will be available for students that are attending school in-person only.

 

Student Handbook:Attached is a copy of our updated Student Handbook that was adopted at our board of trustees meeting August 24, 2020.  Please take a few minutes to review it.

 

Health and Safety

In order to provide the safest and healthiest possible learning environment during these unusually challenging times, we are closely monitoring and abiding by standards and guidelines provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), New Jersey Department of Education and the municipal department of health to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  We are also working with our custodian to ensure that adequate precautions are taken to prevent the transmission of the virus into our School, including an enhanced daily cleaning process that has been implemented.

We cannot do this alone.  Every member of the school community must do their part, even though that involves making some personal sacrifices on behalf of us all.  The health and wellbeing of our school environment is directly dependent on adherence to preventive practices.  It is therefore vital that all school community members engage in behavioral public safety measures intended to mitigate the spread of the virus.

As the state of the pandemic is fluid and maintaining a virus free school is dependent on individual compliance with safety protocols, we are unable to guarantee with complete certainty that the school will not experience a case(s) of coronavirus contracted by a member of the school community. If such a case arises we will follow all safety protocols in place per guidance from the local Department of Health, and throughout the process we will continue to update information as it becomes available on our school’s website.

Every 2 weeks, all families will be asked to certify the  following information via the Parent and Student Portal.

HEALTH QUESTIONNAIRE

PRIOR TO THE START OF MY SERVICE, I CONFIRM THAT:

⸺ I have not been diagnosed with or cared for someone diagnosed with  COVID-19 in the past two weeks.

⸺ I have not shown symptoms of COVID-19 or come in close contact with anyone exhibiting these symptoms in the past two weeks.

⸺ I have not traveled outside of my immediate daily routine for the past two weeks.

⸺ I do not have a cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell.

⸺ If I begin to show symptoms of COVID-19 within the next two weeks, I will contact the school nurse.

⸺ I will follow all posted school rules to keep myself and others around me safe.

In thinking about keeping everyone safe, healthy, and practicing responsible local citizenship, we’d like to share a pact that has been shared with us:

As a Unity Wolf, I make this pact to:

·        Protect Myself

·        Protect Others

·        Protect our CommUnity

To do this, I will:

·        Stay home if I am sick

·        Maintain physical distance

·        Wear a face covering in school, on campus and at school sponsored events

·        Practice good hygiene and wash my hands

 

August 26, 2020

Our Official Reopening Plan can be found HERE

August 19, 2020

Announcing: 
NJ Parent Link

www.njparentlink.nj.gov

NJ’s Road to Recovery Resource for Schools, Communities, Parents and Professionals

NJ COVID-19 Guidance & Information Webpage:

www.njparentlink.nj.gov/njparentlink/current/covid-19.html

o    Includes Easy Access to NJ COVID-19 Dash Board, Weekly Activity Reports, Daily Case Summary Reports, Executive Orders and Briefings.

NJ School, Child Care & Summer Camp Re-Opening Guidance & Resources:

www.njparentlink.nj.gov/njparentlink/childcare/choices/

o    Includes Linkages to Assist with Student & Staff Support, Facilities Management and Professional Resource Needs.

Interdisciplinary Resources, Hotlines & Helplines:

www.njparentlink.nj.gov/njparentlink/how/site_instructions.html

www.njparentlink.nj.gov/njparentlink/highlights/county_local_contacts.html

o    Local, County, State & Federal Linkages to Assist with Individual & Family Challenges, Special Situations & Transitional Events.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

August 11, 2020
Re: Calendar and Reopening
Dear Families,
Last night our board of trustees met to approve a new schedule for the 2020-2021
school year. Our new first day of school for students will be September 8th, 2020.
Our date was changed, like last year, to allow our start date to coincide with Morris
School District’s. They provide buses for all Morris School District students. We
will use these additional days for professional development time with our team
members. As a reminder, lower school arrivals will take place between 7:45am –
8:00am. Middle School will arrive 8:00am -8:15am. Students will be met at the
drop off line to have temperatures taken. The school day will end at 1:00pm.
Safety:
As we plan for the safe return of our students and team members, we want to make
improvements that will be long-term, grounded in science and that protect anyone
who enters our building.
For this reason, we:
1- Are installing a plexiglass divider on our lunch counter to create a physical
barrier between students and the kitchen staff
2- Have installed hand sanitizing stations at all entrances, exits, outside all
bathrooms and outside the nurse’s office
3- Created an isolation room for anyone who may be exhibiting COVID19
related symptoms
4- Are improving our HVAC unit by adding bipolar ionization units. Bipolar
ionization technology releases charged atoms that attach to and deactivate
harmful substances like bacteria, mold, allergens, and viruses. Integrated
into HVAC systems, the technology utilizes specialized tubes that take
oxygen molecules from the air and convert them into charged atoms that
then cluster around microparticles, surrounding and deactivating harmful
substances like airborne mold, bacteria, allergens, and viruses. They also
attach to expelled breath droplets and dust particles that can transport
viruses, enlarging them so they’re more easily caught in filters. It’s an active
process that provides continuous disinfection. Air in our school is currently
recycled approximately every 30 minutes. It will go through the ionization
process every 30 minutes.
5- Have provided PPE for all employees
6- Have arranged students into cohorts by grade level. Cohorting forms groups
of students that stay together throughout the school day to minimize

One Evergreen Place, Suite A • Morris Township , NJ 07960 • 973.292.1808 • Fax 973.267.9288

• info@unitycharterschool.org

exposure for students, teachers, and staff across the school environment.
According to the CDC guidelines cohorting also:
• decreases opportunities for exposure to or transmission of COVID19,
• facilitates more efficient contact tracing in the event of a positive case,
• allows for targeted testing, quarantine, and isolation of a single cohort
instead of school-wide measures in the event of a positive case or cluster
of cases.
Survey Results:
As we continue to plan, it is important to share some of our recent parent survey
results. According to our informal survey, 66% of families plan to have their
children attend school at Unity, in person. 45% of families expressed concern over
being able to support their children in an all remote learning environment. Families
expressing interest in alternating schedules was only 8%. While alternating
schedules is one way to mitigate risk, there are additional costs related to lesson
planning for teachers and childcare costs for parents, which we considered.
Academics:
From what we did in the Spring, it was clear the mix of live classes and flipped
classroom direct instruction made our Spring instruction successful. The choice of
extending knowledge activities, expectations with flexibility, and the staff and
students feeling supported helped create this successful learning model. This
article from 2014 gives a clear picture of the data surrounding the blended model
we used- Blending Online Asynchronous and Synchronous Learning- Lisa C.
Yamagata-Lynch.
This Thursday we have an instructional leadership team meeting. Additional
information on academics will be sent over the weekend.
As always, we appreciate our families’ input, patience and dedication to the school
and its mission. Together, we will have an amazing and productive school year that
is safe, vigorous and engaging. We look forward to embarking on this journey with
you all.

Sincerely,
Connie Sanchez Michael Braverman
Connie Sanchez Michael Braverman
Executive Director Dean Of Students


JULY 1, 2020

Dear CommUNITY:

Last Friday, June 26, Governor Murphy announced that NJ schools would reopen in September for in-person instruction and operations.  He shared with us the “Restart & Rediscovery Plan for Education”.  As a school, we had already begun the conversation on how to safely open Unity Charter School, while prioritizing the well-being of our students and team members.   Last night a board meeting was held, and we shared a preliminary plan.   We want to hear from you.  Over the next week, Catarina and Sonia will be reaching out to you to hear your thoughts, ideas, and concerns.  Our plan will be stronger if we collaborate together to create it.

As you can see from the information below, there are some requirements that the state has put forth.

As per the NJ Department of Education (NJDOE), “The reopening of our schools will include necessary limitations to protect the health and safety of our students and staff.” Foremost among these provisions are:

  1. Screening students and staff for COVID-19 symptoms

  2. Social distancing in classrooms and buildings

  3. Wearing face coverings .. “When social distancing is difficult or impossible, face coverings are required for students, and face coverings are always required for visitors and staff unless it will inhibit the individual’s health.”

  4. Cleaning and disinfecting procedures

In anticipation of the guidelines that were released last night at our board meeting, I made a calendar change recommendation.  If you look at November, you will see that the week we set aside for conferences has been updated.  Our goal was to maximize the time our teachers have with your child(ren) to work proactively on closing any regression gaps that may have taken place over the summer, while also establishing the important relationships that made our virtual learning successful over the past three months.  Our reopening plan will not be stagnant. It will be a fluid document that we will continue to develop as we receive additional qualitative and quantitative data from you, our students, faculty, and staff.  We will also continue to share and learn about best practices from school leaders from across the state.  We will review updated guidelines from  CDC, the American Association of Pediatrics, local departments of health, and the NJ Department of Education.

With your feedback, over the next few weeks, the school’s instructional leadership team as well as the medical emergency response team will meet and plan for our students’ safety while maintaining the integrity of a Unity education.

Sincerely,

Connie Sanchez
Connie Sanchez 
Executive Director
MARCH 9, 2020
  • Last week the NJ Department of Education (DOE) provided guidance to school districts regarding extended closures due to COVID-19.  According to the DOE, the decision to close a district as a result of COVID-19 will be made by the local Department of Health.  As of this writing, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Morris County or in the Morris School District.
  • If the Department of Health directs us to close schools, moving to virtual instruction based on a county-approved virtual learning program is the ONLY way to have instructional time count toward the state’s 180-day requirement for public schools.
  • As communicated in the Superintendent’s February 27 update, the Morris School District has been developing plans for virtual instruction for the past month.  We have submitted our final Virtual Education Emergency Plan, or VEEP, to the Morris County Superintendent and are fully prepared to deliver remote online learning in alignment with DOE requirements.
  • Our immediate objective is to ensure that virtual online learning will be accessible, practical and provide continuity of instruction for students at each grade level.  Our plan takes advantage of the existing digital and non-digital tools that are already familiar to our teachers, students and families.
  • In the event of closure, we will send a notification alert announcing the closing of schools, outlining next steps, and providing instructions to access virtual instruction at home.  Working parents may wish to begin investigating childcare options now.

 


MARCH 3, 2020
  • As of today, there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Morris School District or in NJ.  A March 2nd memo from the NJ Department of Health states:  “Though the CDC considers COVID-19 to be a serious public health concern based on current information, the immediate health risk to the general U.S. public is considered low at this time.
  • The health and safety of our district community remains our foremost consideration. We are carefully monitoring attendance, any signs of respiratory illness, and reports of travel to countries experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks (please see below). If a student or staff member shows respiratory symptoms, our school nurses will follow standard precautions in consultation with our district offices and the Department of Health.
  • We are partnering closely with local health department officials.

Procedures Regarding Recent Travel to Level 3 Countries

  • The CDC has issued restrictions on travel to China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea, which it has identified as Level 3 countries (widespread, ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19).
  • Parents/guardians must notify their school principal or school nurse immediately if their child or member of their immediate family/household has been to one of these Level 3 countries and has recently returned to our community. This includes any siblings who have been sent home from college study abroad programs in a Level 3 country.
  • Additionally, if any member of the household becomes ill within 14 days upon returning home from any foreign country, the school must be notified immediately.
  • Based on the information we receive from students and families regarding travel to Level 3 countries, students may be required to leave school until medical clearance is obtained or a quarantine period of up to 14 days is implemented. In the case of an extended absence, the district will be flexible regarding absenteeism and will set up home instruction in accordance with our Board of Education Policy 2412.
  • Given the widespread coverage of COVID-19 in the news and the strong presence of social media, it is easy for misinformation and alarm to spread. Please help us maintain a calm and stigma-free environment by explaining to your child that their school is taking all precautionary measures for the purpose of ensuring the health and safety of everyone in the building.

Changing Daily Habits: Recommendations for Proper Hygiene to Reduce Viral Transmission

  • The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. We would appreciate your reviewing and practicing these healthy habits with your child at home:
    • Keep children home when they are sick, especially if they present with fever (above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37.7 C). Children should be fever-free (without fever-reducing medication) for at least 24 hours before returning to school.
    • Stay home when you yourself are sick.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with your bent elbow or use a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. Do not cough or sneeze into your hands.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • The CDC also recommends getting a flu shot, stating that “it’s not too late to be protected” from the influenza virus, which also causes respiratory illness.
  • Please check your child before school each morning for signs of respiratory illness, especially fever, persistent cough, or shortness of breath.​​​​​
  • In our February 27th update, we explained that the district has been preparing for the possibility of an extended closure–just as we prepare for the “worst case scenario” with respect to fire and other emergency scenarios. Because the decision to close schools in the event of an outbreak may be made without much advance notice, working parents may wish to begin investigating childcare options. 
  • The best way to help us keep our students and staff safe is by practicing good hygiene, staying home or keeping children home when sick, reporting recent travel as requested, and relying on accurate, evidence-based information.