COVID-19: Information for Communities and the General Public

COVID-19 Updates

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 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 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

May 5, 2020

CommUNITY  Update: Re: School Closure Update

Yesterday, governor Phil Murphy announced that “All schools will remain closed for in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year – to protect the health of our children, our educators, and their families.”

CLICK TO READ UPDATE


April 16, 2020

CommUNITY  Update: Re: School Closure Update

Today we were notified by the Governor’s Office that all schools in New Jersey will remain closed until at least Friday, May 15th. Governor Murphy went on to say, “We need to be guided by where the facts on the ground, science, and public health take us. That means it will not be safe to reopen our schools for at least another four weeks.”

CLICK TO READ UPDATE


March 29, 2020

CommUNITY  Update: Re: Specials Schedules & School Closure Update

Earlier this week, the governor shared that he will not revisit school closures until April 17th, at the earliest. He has made it clear that the decision to reopen schools will be based on careful discussions with educators and public health professionals. Unity Charter School will remain closed until that time. We will monitor what is happening, assess cautiously what is in the best interest of all our stakeholders, and communicate proactively any information or decisions that are made.

CLICK TO READ UPDATE


March 25, 2020

CommUNITY  Update: 

This update addresses list of resources that may serve as mental health outlets during these uncertain, and, understandably so, stressful times.

CLICK TO READ UPDATE


March 13, 2020

CommUNITY  Update: 

This update addresses:

CLICK TO READ UPDATE


March 12, 2020

CommUNITY  Update: 

This update addresses:

  • Proactive Practices we are implementing
  • Preparedness for Extended School Closure

CLICK TO READ UPDATE


March 9, 2020

This update addresses:

  • Guidance from the DOE regarding virtual learning.
  • What parents can do to assist our efforts.

CLICK TO READ UPDATE


March 6, 2020

CommUNITY  Update: 

This update addresses:

  • Communication During Closing
  • Continuity of Operations
  • Home Instruction

CLICK TO READ UPDATE


March 3, 2020

This update addresses:

  • District procedures regarding recent travel abroad.
  • Changing daily habits to prevent viral transmission, including checking your child for fever each morning.
  • Preparing for the possibility of extended school closure.

CLICK TO READ UPDATE


February 27, 2020

CommUNITY  Update:

  • The purpose of the letter is to provide an update in light of the CDC’s February 25th announcement that schools should begin preparing in the event of an outbreak of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in the United States.

CLICK TO READ UPDATE

 

Resources on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Please click on the links below to access resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NJ Department of Health.  As we receive new information, we will add it here.

COVID-19: Information for Communities and the General Public

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals. COVID-19 (“coronavirus disease 2019”) is the disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in humans in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
At this time, most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus. This virus is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States.

Steps you can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent coronavirus:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid contact with others
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing

Currently there are no vaccines available to prevent novel coronavirus infections.

Stay home when you are sick. Earned Sick Leave is the law in New Jersey.

As of October 2018, employers of all sizes must provide full-time, part-time, and temporary employees with up to 40 hours of earned sick leave per year so they can care for themselves or a loved one.

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June 18, 2020