August 26, 2020
Our Official Reopening Plan can be found HERE
August 19, 2020
NJ Parent Link
NJ’s Road to Recovery Resource for Schools, Communities, Parents and Professionals
NJ COVID-19 Guidance & Information Webpage:
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:
o Includes Linkages to Assist with Student & Staff Support, Facilities Management and Professional Resource Needs.
Interdisciplinary Resources, Hotlines & Helplines:
o Local, County, State & Federal Linkages to Assist with Individual & Family Challenges, Special Situations & Transitional Events.
August 11, 2020
Re: Calendar and Reopening
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
Connie Sanchez Michael Braverman
Executive Director Dean Of Students
JULY 1, 2020
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:
Screening students and staff for COVID-19 symptoms
Social distancing in classrooms and buildings
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.”
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.
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