General health and safety upon re-opening
We are implementing a variety of responsible and reasonable changes to further protect the health and safety of our students and staff while minimizing the disruption to students' education. A few examples include:
- School Nurse: ULCS has hired a full-time nursing staff to assist in monitoring community health and providing needed care through the 2020-2021 school year.
- School Attendance: As we have in the past, but now more than ever, we are directing parents to keep their child home when they are sick or not feeling well. To accommodate anticipated increased absenteeism, we will make provisions for students and faculty to be able to actively participate in their classroom education via an online platform. Our attendance policies provide flexibility while maintaining an appropriate level of accountability.
- Body Temperature: Parents should take their children's temperatures prior to sending them to school. A student or staff temperature registering 100 or higher requires the individual stay home until fever-free without medication for 48 hours, and documentation of health care provider evaluation and documentation of negative COVID-19 test. As recommended by medical personnel, all student and staff temperatures will be taken at the start of the school day before entering the building.
- Personal Hygiene: Keeping hands clean and away from the face are important for maintaining good health. We are exploring our options for providing regular access to hand washing and sanitizer. Students will be directed to wash their hands prior to and after eating, as well as after recess and PE. Students are recommended to cough/sneeze into a tissue or their elbow and then wash or sanitize their hands.
- Physical Distancing: Classrooms are being reviewed to increase physical distancing between student desks. In addition, procedures are being developed to encourage physical distancing when walking between classes and when gathering in large groups.
- Wearing Masks: Face masks assist in the reduction of aerosol transmission of harmful pathogens. We do understand the challenges that come with wearing face masks, but will follow the mandates of the state, which we anticipate will require the wearing of face masks when not able to practice social distancing. More details will follow as the state determines these mandates. Regardless of the current regulations, ULCS will foster a culture of acceptance about mask-wearing. Any student or staff who elects to wear a face mask more than is required will be allowed and encouraged to do so.
- Campus Cleaning: We will be hiring a maintenance person to assist with disinfecting and cleaning. All rooms will be disinfected and ventilated after school each day. Playground will be disinfected weekly. Restrooms will be disinfected after lunch/recess and each evening.
It is our intention to keep ULCS open unless excessive absenteeism warrants closure, or governmental authorities mandate school closure. We understand families will have different thresholds for how much exposure they're comfortable with for their child, which is why flexible learning options are a critical component of our re-opening plan. If a parent wishes to keep a child home during a spike in community-wide infections, they can do so without their child losing academic ground, provided their child attends to the course requirements via our flexible learning option.
If your child develops a fever or other symptoms of illness, COVID or otherwise, during the school day, they will be brought to an isolation room to protect others. ULCS will call the parent/guardian on record. We ask that parents have 3 emergency contact numbers in RenWeb and that you do your best to pick up within 30 minutes.
Remember, parents should take their children's temperatures prior to sending them to school. A student or staff temperature registering 100 or higher requires the individual stay home until fever-free without medication for 48 hours, and documentation of health care provider evaluation and documentation of negative COVID-19 test. As recommended by medical personnel, all student and staff temperatures will be taken at the start of the school day before entering the building.
The social, emotional & spiritual well-being of our students is very important. Our teachers and administrator will provide support, whether on campus or virtually, as they maintain mentoring relationships. In addition, ULCS is committed to the development of an initiative to support those in need in this area.
A. A school climate team will be created to research best practice, assess data and address needs for social, emotional and spiritual well-being of faculty, staff, students and families. The team will be assigned the task of creating an assessment tool and possible tiered responses for those in need of support.
B. Professional development will be offered to faculty, staff, students and parents in the areas of "Relational Wisdom" and "Mental Health First Aid."
C. ULCS will use the school climate team and training to cultivate a culture of social, emotional and spiritual well-being. Our ultimate goal is to formulate a guidance department to be a regular part of our school program.
Update: 1/8/21 Our high school will initiate a small group structure, with students meeting in assigned, single-sex groups with trained leaders, beginning on 1/15/21 and meeting weekly until Spiritual Awareness Week in late March. We will evaluate this program with the possibility of continuing it.
Details about the school day and activities
Face masks assist in the reduction of aerosol transmission of harmful pathogens. We do understand the challenges of wearing face masks, but will follow the mandates of the state. Current mandates require the use of acceptable face coverings any time or place that individuals cannot reasonably guarantee appropriate social distancing of at least 6 feet. Regardless of the current regulations, ULCS will foster a culture of acceptance about mask-wearing. Any student or staff who elects to wear a face mask more than is required will be allowed and encouraged to do so.
A. Face coverings must be worn at all times while on a school bus.
B. When socially distanced (e.g. while seated in a classroom at desks spaced apart), face coverings can be removed.
C. All individuals must be prepared to put on a face covering if another person unexpectedly cannot be socially distanced.
D. Students who cannot medically tolerate a face covering are not subject to the required use of face coverings. A note from a health care provider to clarify the medical condition must be on file in the school office.
E. Face shields worn alone (without a face covering) are not considered adequate protection and should not be worn.
F. ULCS will sell school-logo face masks for $15 for those who are interested. Individuals can also supply their own face coverings. If an individual is without a face covering, ULCS will supply a disposable face mask at no cost.
G. Students, employees, parents/guardians are to take responsibility to clean or replace their face coverings.
H. Face coverings are not to be shared.
Students will be regularly encouraged and reminded that physical distance is an important aspect of reducing the transmission of harmful pathogens. We will be spacing desks 6 feet apart in classrooms. During chapel, students and staff will wear their face coverings during times of singing. In the hallways, individuals are to walk to the right hand side in a single file. High school stairs will be one-way (Inside: Up and Outside: Down). Lockers will be assigned to stagger students from different grades.
Hand washing and sanitizing will be a part of student/staff daily practices. Students are expected to wash/sanitize their hands before/after lunch, after recess and PE, and before/after touching a common use item. Students are recommended to cough/sneeze into a tissue or into their elbow and to wash/sanitize their hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing.
Instructive posters on hand washing will be posted in classrooms, restrooms and high school kitchen area.
We continue to communicate and work with public school districts to ensure the transportation of our students to school. A detailed plan still needs to be completed. Please remember that we will need to comply with the policies of the various school districts which bus our students.
Prior to the start of the school day (8:15 AM), elementary students will enter through the double doors at the elementary main lobby. High school students will enter at the lower level door. Students can begin arrival as early as 8:00 AM (for those who come via car/parent/guardian). Bus drop-off times are not yet determined.
Families who drive should line their vehicles in the bus line, and drivers should remain in their vehicles while dropping students off.
Should it become apparent that a staggered drop-off time is necessary to manage students’ arrival and the screening process, ULCS will inform school families of a new schedule.
After a temperature check, students will be directed to their first-period class after a quick stop, if needed, at their lockers/cubby area.
Students who arrive after 8:15 AM will also be given a temperature check, then students will be directed to their first period classroom.
Students will remain in their last period class at the end of the day until dismissed by group (e.g. Hyde Park bus) or by name via the intercom.
Families who drive should line their vehicles in the bus line and drivers should remain in their vehicles. Families should have a clear sign that displays the family name.
School staff will watch out the office window and will dismiss students as vehicles arrive.
Once dismissed, students will immediately exit the building through the elementary main school foyer or high school lower level door.
If students are to stay for after school for any reason, they should remain in the classroom until dismissed via the intercom.
Elementary students will eat lunch in their classrooms, socially distanced, and after washing hands.
High school students will have several classrooms open for social distancing over lunch, and hand-washing just prior.
Any faculty/staff helping with disbursement of food (e.g. pizza day) will wear masks and gloves. We will discourage the sharing of food during snack and/or lunch. At this time we would ask that any snack brought in to share (e.g. birthday celebration) would be individually wrapped.
ULCS is committed to the education and spiritual development that comes through participation in fine arts, physical education, and chapel services. Our "special area" faculty will be prepared to provide these opportunities in the same way core classes will be presented.
Art, music, Bible, and tech will be brought to the elementary classroom. PE will be done in the gymnasium with special plans to maintain social distancing and avoid sharing equipment, and no changing into gym clothes. High school music will avoid singing for this time.
The spiritual development of our children is a cornerstone of an ULCS education. Chapel seating will be spread out to be socially distanced, and maintain cohorts of classes. Masks will be worn by staff and students during worship (singing). Masks may be removed while seated during chapel presentations and teaching.
Your principal and faculty are working on ways to continue to offer these opportunities in a way that is responsible and reasonable. More information will be shared as we finalize plans throughout the summer and during the school year. We will strive to provide the best opportunities we can, by staying more local, waiting for the spring, and pursuing on-campus or online options as needed. Many decisions will be ongoing to accommodate the most up-to-date regulations.
Special events will be organized in a way to maintain the 'high school cohort' as separate from the 'elementary cohort'.
Any outside food brought in for celebrations must be purchased and individually wrapped. Staff will wear gloves to distribute food to students.
Soccer practice & conditioning will begin September 21. We hope to schedule varsity games beginning October 19, and JV will scrimmage against each other. Each participant will wear a mask, and use their own ball during practices. Please contact Mr. Barton with questions, or if you need ULCS to provide a soccer ball.
The fine arts are an important part of our students' and community's experience. We will research ways to responsibly and reasonably provide opportunities to engage in worship and participate in our worship band. If you are interested in continuing or starting up instrumental music lessons this year, click on this link for registration information for Paul Effman's online music lessons.
Flexible online learning options and attendance
Yes! ULCS will offer flexible learning options that build upon our remote learning model enacted this past spring. ULCS recognizes that throughout the 2020-2021 academic year there may be times when our students or staff need to be off campus because they or a family member are immunocompromised, are sick or not feeling well, or are uncomfortable being in a more public environment. The focus will be on offering students the opportunity to participate in classroom instruction even if symptoms or caution necessitate their absence. We will communicate more about the flexible learning options later this summer.
The fluid nature of the coronavirus pandemic is such that ULCS students, faculty, and staff must be prepared for mutiple scenarios. If a situation arises such that a government authority (e.g. health department) issues a mandatory closure for 24 hours, students will remain at home. No remote education will take place. The day will be treated as a snow day. Students will return to school the following day.
In the event that a mandatory closure is extended beyond 24 hours, remote education will commence on the second day of the closure. If the closure is extended beyond a week, we will follow a 4+1 mode of education with 4 days of instruction and 1 days used as a teacher preparation day.
During the school closure period, all students will follow an abbreviated school schedule with assigned class times. This will be more structured than what was experienced in the spring of 2020. View the high school schedule here, elementary schedule here.
Once the required period of school-wide closure has ended, on-site education will continue at ULCS.
We will notify the health department of any confirmed case of COVID-19 (staff or student) in our school, and follow their guidance on the need for closure and length of closure. As per law, we will maintain privacy of the confirmed case and encourage this same effort within our community. We will strive to cultivate a Christ-like culture of acceptance and care for those who are ill.
The ULCS community will be notified via email of any suspected exposure, suspected case and actual diagnosed case of Covid-19.
If your child or someone in your household is exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19, your child should stay at home until your physician has approved their return. Please notify the school of this situation immediately. ULCS will follow the guidance of the Health Department and will be diligent in supporting your family and preserving your privacy.
During the time a student is off-campus, ULCS will provide flexible learning options through an enhanced distance learning program. It is expected that a student who is quarantining without symptoms or in the recuperation phase of illness will keep up with classwork and assignments. Work will be provided to the students through the Google for Education platform. All students in grades 7-12 have their school-issued Chromebook to use while at home. All students in grades Kprep-6 will be loaned a school-owned device if that is necessary. Class lessons will be in real time and/or recorded by the teacher and shared within 24 hours with the student. When the class lesson is such that a recording is not necessary (e.g. an in-class workday, quiz day, classmates' presentations, etc.), assignments other than class videos will be shared with the student who is on quarantine.
Clear and timely communication is our goal, especially during these uncertain times. In every circumstance we will be communicating to parents in a reasonable and responsible manner. In particular, with every confirmed case of COVID-19 in a student or employee you will be informed via parent email and phone alert system. This email will focus on maintaining the privacy of the students and/or family that has been diagnosed, and will outline the recommendations of the health department.
ULCS expects students and staff who are under quarantine orders to stay home until they are evaluated by their primary care physician. Any individual who tests positive for COVID-19, may not return to school until after 14 days from the first onset of symptoms AND after 48 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication AND after all symptoms have improved. A doctor's note signing off on the student's return to school is required for readmittance. During the time a student is off campus, ULCS will provide flexible learning options through an enhanced distance learning program.
Any individual who is exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, may not return to school until approved by our nurse. The guideline we are following is 14 days from the last exposure AND no symptoms. This includes exposure to a relative in your home. If the relative isolates upon diagnosis, and there is no additional exposure, the 14 days begins then. If the relative does not isolate, the 14 days begins from the last day of symptoms the relative experiences.
When a student is concerned symptoms could be COVID-19 but had no known exposure to a confirmed case, and tests negative for COVID-19 and is cleared by a health care provider, they may return to school provided they are symptom-free including fever-free (without fever-reducing medication) for 48 hours. If the student is concerned symptoms could be COVID-19 but chooses not to have a test, they must quarantine for 14 days and may return to school after that if they are symptom-free for 48 hours.
A negative test can also reduce the required quarantine time after travel to a non-contiguous state if the test is administered 3 days before returning to NYS and a second test 4 days after returning to NYS and only upon receipt of both negative results.
An important component of limiting the impact of COVID-19 on our school community is parents' vigilance about their child's health. We want to affirm parental responsibility in monitoring their child's symptoms and overall health as well as parental discretion in keeping their child out of school on any given day because of suspected illness. Students at home will have access to flexible learning options, and are required to complete this work as long as they are able in the recuperation process.
Our updated student handbook says: Students must meet virtual attendance requirements unless they are actually ill and exhibiting symptoms. A doctor’s excuse is required if the illness is more than 3 days. Quarantine is not an excuse for not attending virtual classes.
For students who participate in the school day via our remote learning option, they will have a mix of synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded) participation in class instruction. Assignments will be given via our Google for Education platform. Attendance will be taken for live classes. All work will be turned in via Google Classroom.
We understand that it can be overwhelming for a student to make up several days of missed work, especially at the high school level. We intend for students to be able to more fully participate in their classes and interact with their teachers when they are absent (but well enough to work) so that they can keep pace. That does not necessarily mean they won't have any makeup work to complete when they return to school, but it should be minimized.
Additional questions related to COVID-19
We are a community that cares for one another, and if you experience financial hardship, please contact ULCS or apply for aid through our FACTS application on our website. Due to added safety expense (full time nurse and maintenance person, cleaning supplies, and technology hardware), we have limited financial support available. However, we will do our best to support those in need.
Because our expenses (faculty salaries, instructional materials and technology) will continue, regardless of the number of days we are online, we will not be able to offer tuition reductions based on mandated school building closure. Our flexible learning options are being designed to provide families and staff with safe options, but are not less expensive to create and maintain.
If you find yourself financially blessed during these times, please consider a gift to ULCS to help us keep our doors open and enable students to continue to attend.
We do not plan to adjust our stance on vaccinations should a COVID vaccination become available. We will continue to follow the regulations of NYS, as a nonpublic school. While we respect a parents' right to parent their child, we are still under the laws of New York State.
Our online flexible learning options could be utilized by families if/when a COVID-19 vaccine is mandated by NYS for in-person participation. We will explore legal options to provide families ways to continue to be part of our online community.
School nurse for the entire school day to assist in monitoring community health and provide needed care
Maintenance person to provide enhanced cleaning routines including, but not limited to, more frequent wiping down of commonly touched surfaces and the spraying of classrooms each evening with CDC recommended disinfectant.
Hand sanitizer stations in each room and throughout the building.
Handwashing and sanitizing as a regular component of daily practice (especially before and after snack/lunch, PE and recess).
Coughing and sneezing covering / tissue disposal
Increased physical distancing between student desks
Schedules and procedures to encourage the safe passing between classes and the safe gathering of students
Face masks assist in the reduction of aerosol transmission of harmful pathogens. We understand the challenges that may come with wearing face masks, but will follow the mandates of the state, which we anticipate will require the wearing of face masks when not able to practice social distancing. More details will follow as the state determines these mandates. Regardless of the current regulations, ULCS will foster a culture of acceptance about mask-wearing. Any student or staff who elects to wear a face mask more than is required will be allowed and encouraged to do so.
As we always have in the past, but now more than ever, we are directing parents to keep their child home when they are sick or not feeling well (i.e. fever, body aches or chills, cough, sore throat, headache, loss of taste or smell, upset stomach, diarrhea, etc.). At this time a temperature registering 100 or higher requires the student to stay home until fever-free for 48 hours. (This is a policy change from fever-free for 24 hours.)
Health screening will be performed before building entry each day.
Isolation pick up procedures with nursing care will be in place for those who develop symptoms during the day.
Schedule for Reopening Planning We hope to finalize our reopening plan by July 20th. The following is a point by point calendar which will guide our process.
July 1, 2020 - Reopening letter to parents
July 9, 2020 - Reopening Informational Evening, 7:00pm
July 13, 2020 - Board of Regents to meet about reopening schools
July 15, 2020 - Governor’s decision
July 20, 2020 - ULCS Parent Commitment Deadline for 2020-2021 We are starting to receive requests for registration from new families. As we rely on continuous enrollment for student calculation, we want to make sure our numbers are accurate before admitting new students.