COVID-19 Back To School Plan

It appears that the Palm Beach County School District will have a delayed start for their academic school year and begin with remote instruction.  Fortunately, as a private school, we are not tied to public school district decisions.  With our intentionally limited enrollment, Potentia Academy can craft its own plan for safely reopening for the new academic year.  We have designed a plan that meets the diverse needs of our families.  This email is intended to bring you up to date on that plan.  After reading the plan below, which we have also put in the attached PDF document, please respond  with your decision as to which option you want for your student: on-ground or remote learning.

We will commence classes on Monday, August 17th at 8:00 am.  Parents will have the choice for their students to return to campus for on-ground instruction or to continue with remote learning similar to how we completed.  To safely reopen, we will only allow on-ground learning for half of the students in each learning group, i.e. middle schoolers, high schoolers and CCREST students.  Therefore, families that desire on-ground instruction will be accommodated on a first come, first serve basis.

This plan is contingent upon and will not supersede any future state or county mandates for the closing of facilities in the event of a change in the status of the pandemic.  We will, of course, comply with all governmental directives.    

This year’s academic orientation will be conducted via Zoom.     

Details below image OR download PDF by clicking on the image below:

Online Instruction

  • Online instruction will originate from the Potentia campus with live, daily instruction for the duration of each regular class period.
  • As they did in the spring, students will join classes using the Zoom application with both video and audio enabled.  The use of headphones is required. 
  • Families should provide a learning environment that is free from both visual and auditory distractions.  In other words, a quiet space away from other family members is essential.
  • Parents must ensure that students have a stable Internet connection that has the capacity for video Zoom meetings.  
  • Teachers will take attendance each day for every class and students are expected to be logged on and participate for the entire 55-minute session of each class.

 

On-Ground Instruction

Until the COVID-19 challenge has passed, the following conditions for on-ground instruction will be in place:

  • Each morning, the student (or parent on her/his behalf) will receive a text message with a weblink that takes the student (or parent) to a daily screening questionnaire.  The student must verify their body temperature that morning, answer questions about the presence or absence of symptoms, and verify they have had no known contact in the last 24-72 with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.  Depending upon the student’s (or parent’s) responses, a prompt will indicate whether permission is granted for the student to come to campus. 
  • Upon arrival to campus and before students are allowed to enter the building, their temperature will be checked using a touchless thermometer.  Students with a fever will not be admitted to the building.  Parents dropping off their student should not leave the parking lot before getting the okay by the staff member at the door. 
  • Students must use face masks at all times when on campus.  Our accommodation for students who cannot use a face mask for ADA reasons is remote learning.
  • Teachers will either use facemasks or face shields at all times.
  • Three-sided Plexiglass shields will be installed on student and teacher desks, as well as on the tables in the CCREST classroom.
  • Lunches will be conducted differently to enhance the possibility of appropriate social distancing:
    • CCREST students will take lunch at a different time than the rest of the students. 
    • We are ordering at least one additional lunch table for the back patio and the entire area will be covered with newly installed shade sails for a more pleasant outdoor eating experience. 
    • To spread students out, we will utilize both the lunchroom and outside tables for lunch.
  • Page 6 of Potentia Academy’s Student & Parent Handbook articulates our “no touching” rule.  To maintain the social distancing necessary for the health of our students and teachers, any student who does not or cannot abide by this rule will be immediately transitioned to remote learning. 
  • The water fountain will be disconnected and unavailable for use.  Students should bring at least two 16 oz. bottles of water with them each day in addition to the bottle for lunch.   
  • This year’s school supplies list will include:
    • An individual size bottle of hand sanitizer that students must carry in their backpack and refill every evening at home.
    • A small pack of sanitizing wipes with at least 10 sheets that is refilled every evening at home.  Students will wipe down their desks for each new class, as well as the table at which they eat lunch.   
    • At least one spare face mask.
  • To minimize the chances of physical contact and maximize the conditions for appropriate social distancing, family members and guests will not be allowed to enter the Potentia building.  Parent-teacher conferences will be conducted via Zoom. 
  • Parents/guardians of students returning to campus must sign a waiver of liability that specifically indicates it is their choice to return their student to on-ground learning.

 

Additional Measures

At considerable cost to Potentia Academy, we are taking the following additional measures to provide high quality and safe instruction for our students:

  • To simultaneously facilitate both on-ground and remote instruction, Potentia will convert our classrooms into “Zoom rooms”.  Teachers will be provided wireless microphones connected to computers via Bluetooth.  High definition cameras will be installed in each classroom so that remote students will be able to clearly see the teacher and the whiteboard.  As soon as possible, we will replace the 42” classroom televisions with much larger monitors so that teachers will have clear visual access to students working remotely.
  • Potentia Academy will adopt a new online learning management system (LMS) to offer additional learning resources for both on-ground and remote learners.
  • We have transitioned from a weekly cleaning schedule for the campus to daily cleaning regimen.  We are adding the daily use of an antimicrobial spray system that will disinfect all surfaces in all rooms.
  • We are upgrading our air conditioning system with the use of the highest quality filters possible and the installation of ultraviolent germicidal lights designed to kill microbial elements on the air conditioning coils. 

Finally, we will send out additional communications in the coming days that will specify the supplies list for both on-ground and remote students, the specifics of our new LMS, and the date and time for our August orientation.