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Reopening Guidelines

At The Oaks Academy, there is a palpable sense of joy that we experience when we walk on campus.  Fall Creek, Brookside, the Middle School… the experience is the same.  As we now begin a new and very different season, with plans for social distancing and face coverings, our first priority, in-person and online, is that your student will still feel known and loved and that they will – in person or online – still experience this joy.  Our faculty is committed to maintaining a joy-filled atmosphere this year.  And while our environment will be clean and safe, it will not feel sterile. We look forward to welcoming your students, whether online or in person, as we continue to grow in relationship with you and your family.

The guidelines are informed by the following: 

  • Continued focus on our core values including personhood of the child and relationships come first, ensuring that your child can experience the joy of The Oaks and feel known and loved in every Oaks setting
  • Reliance upon our local and national public health experts including the CDC, Marion County Health Department, Indiana State Department of Health
  • Protection of the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff by the adoption of thoughtful and expert-informed risk mitigation
To ensure all questions your questions are answered before the start of school, please feel free to submit specific questions here

In-Person Instruction

Start of School Events

To ensure students transition back to campus well, we will hold a variety of online and in-person events, including virtual teacher intros, supply pick up/drop off, school tours for new children, and meet-your-teacher opportunities for parents and children. Check your email and our website for more information soon. School will begin with two half-days on August 20 and 21. 

Symptom Tracking

Parents will be required to check-in each day via the MyMedBot app to track their child’s symptoms. The application will help you assess if your child should attend school. Because of our commitment to every child and teacher’s safety, failure to complete the assessment will mean your child will be removed from class for an administrator to check for any symptoms.   

Pick Up & Drop Off

At the Lower Schools, the pickup and drop off window will be extended to allow for more social distancing.  Drop off:  8:00 – 8:30 am. Pick up: 3:00 – 3:30 pm.  Brookside will add an additional drop off location.  Middle School drop off will be 7:55 – 8:15 am and 3:36 – 4:00 pm with new locations to accommodate social distancing.  At all campuses, parents will not be permitted to enter the building during drop off and pick up.  Further directions will be provided for walkers. 

Face Coverings

Face masks will be required for students and faculty while in the building.

  • Face masks will be provided.
  • Breaks from face masks will be incorporated throughout the day.
  • If a note is provided from a physician, a face shield could be substituted for a mask.

You can order an additional mask here or here. You can also supply your own masks, but they must be a solid color.  Disposable masks are permitted.  

Social Distancing

Orientation and spacing of desks and tables in classrooms will follow CDC guidelines. We will practice social distancing in hallways. 

Uniforms

We will only require a basic uniform, and students will not be required to wear their dress uniform this year. Students are welcome to wear their dress uniform any day as part of the dress code. 

Sanitization

We will utilize hand sanitizer and handwashing throughout the day.  Hand sanitizer stations will be available at the front door and at every classroom. There will also be regular sanitizing of restrooms, specials classrooms, and common areas

Health Office

In addition to our normal Health Office, we will establish a designated quarantine clinic where any child exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be treated. 

Before & After Care

We plan to provide before and after care, and students will remain in grade level cohorts. Before care is available from 7:00 – 8:00 am and after care from 3:30 – 6:00 pm. Students will be masked and socially distanced during before and after care. 

At Home Learning

When a lower school student is absent due to sickness or quarantine, online learning support will be provided and supported by the student’s classroom teacher. Please see Middle School FAQs for more information about at-home learning for Middle School students. 

At all campuses, a cohort model will be followed. Homeroom or class cohorts will be maintained during the school day, and cohorts will expand to grade levels during before and after school care, sports (if offered), or fine arts or math (Middle School only). If cohorts cannot be followed (ex. RTI) students will be masked and socially distanced.

Lunch will take place in classrooms or homerooms. Hot lunch will be served at all schools. 

Please arrive at school with a filled water bottle with your student’s name on it. For safety, students will not be using the water fountains.  Instead, contact-free water bottle filling stations are being installed throughout each campus.

Microwaves will be provided in classrooms for student use in the Middle School.

We will continue to explore creative ways for students to extend their learning outside the classroom until it is safe to return to our normal field trips. 

Specials will take place in designated areas. Each room will be thoroughly sanitized between classes, and students will have designated materials that are not shared between students or sanitized between use. 

Lauds and Chapel will happen each morning in the classrooms via livestream, and parents will also have access to the live stream. 

Recess and outdoor time is an essential part of a student’s experience at The Oaks and will continue to be offered. Classes will be separated to accommodate social distancing. During recess or other time spent outside, masks will not be required if students are socially distanced. 

No outside visitors will be allowed inside in the building unless necessary to support the academic program or operation of the school. Visitors will be screened, wear masks, and practice social distancing. As we always look forward to parent involvement and presence in our building, we will continue to evaluate this policy.

COVID Cases and Symptoms

We will be following the Indiana State Department of Health Recommendations (ISDH) when responding to COVID-19 exposure, symptoms, or positive test results. As ISDH recommendations change, we will also adjust how we respond. Parents will be contacted if their child is exposed to a COVID-19 positive student or faculty. 

Symptomatic with Another Explanation (Strep, Flu)

Students may return to school after 24 hours resolution of fever AND note (including email or fax) from a medical provider stating the student has an alternate diagnosis, and the medical provider believes it’s appropriate for the patient to return to school. 

Symptomatic, Not Tested without Alternate Explanation

Students must remain home for 10 days from the first day symptoms appeared AND 72 hours fever-free without fever-reducing medicine and with improvement of respiratory symptoms.

Tested and Negative

If no alternative explanation, isolate for 10 days from the first day symptoms appeared AND 72 hours fever-free without fever-reducing medications and with improvement of respiratory symptoms. A doctor’s note must be obtained stating the child can return to school and that they believe there is another explanation for symptoms. If no symptoms, they may return to school.

Tested and Positive

Must remain home in isolation for at least 10 days from the date symptoms began AND 72 hours fever-free without fever-reducing medications and improvement of respiratory symptoms. 

Close Contact with COVID-19 Postive

Quarantine for 14 days before returning to school. Students must remain symptom-free. If an individual develops symptoms, they must stay home for 10 days from the first appearance of symptoms and be fever-free for 72 hours before returning to school. 

Full guidelines will be available in the school handbook. We will continue to adapt and develop our guidelines based on guidance from the CDC, the Indiana Department of Education, and the Marion County Health Department. 

Positive Case Reporting

Please report any positive cases directly to your school, as soon as possible. 

The Oaks Online

More information about The Oaks Online can be found at TheOaksAcadmey.org/online. The enrollment deadline for currently enrolled families is August 1. You can opt to change to in-person or online learning two weeks prior to the end of the first quarter, October 13. 

General FAQ

In the Lower School, we are increasing air circulation to ensure two air exchanges per hour by adding fans in windows to help circulation and by adding free standing HEPA air purifiers in every classroom. 

In the Middle School, upgraded HEPA filters are being installed in our existing HVAC units, which provide sufficient airflow throughout the building.

While not required, masks for these grades are highly recommended. We want to start the school year with a very conservative approach, but may change this as the year progresses. 

Students will be permitted to have many mask breaks throughout the day, including when they are sitting at their desks, playing outside, or having class time outside.

If your child is exposed to a COVID positive student or faculty member (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes), they will need to quarantine for 14 days. We will be in contact if this happens. If your child has symptoms, they will need to stay at home for 10 days and be fever free for 72 hours, unless a doctor’s note can provide an alternative explanation.

Yes. However, we will work closely with the Department of Health and follow their guidance in these scenarios.

You can enroll here by the end of the day on August 1.

Yes, you can move from online to in-person or in-person to online at the start of any quarter. You will just need to inform us 2 weeks before the quarter ends.

If your child moves to online instruction they will be placed with the online teacher for their grade level. If the entire school moves online, and your child was enrolled in in-person instruction your child will stay with their in-person teacher.

Please work with your child’s teacher and communicate any allergies or concerns about eating in the classroom.

We understand any concerns about children coming into the building without parents. During orientation you will be able to come into the building with your child and see their classroom and meet their teacher. We will release more information shortly on how to help students find their classroom and be comfortable on the first day of school.

Just as we work on developing good habits every year, we will continue to provide support and gentle correction. We aim to help students understand that wearing a mask and being socially distant is a way to help themselves and others be healthy.

We are following the Indiana State Department of Health guidelines. You can review them here under back to school resources.

Yes, your child is welcome to attend half days. Dismissal will be at noon.

To ensure a timely drop off and pick up temperature screening and reporting will be the responsibility of the parents. All parents will take temperatures and report symptoms in the MyMedBot app before the start of school each day.

For a school wide closure due to a high number of COVID-19 cases we will work with the State Department of Health and Marion County Health Department to determine if this is necessary. The Marion County Health Department is using these factors to mandate a county wide school closure: 7 Day Average Positivity Rate of Marion County, Cases Per Day, Hospitalizations, and Deaths.

You can find the school supply list here

Middle School FAQ

There will not be regular passing periods. For the most part, students will remain in the same room throughout the day. Teachers will rotate to the classrooms.


Grade levels have been grouped together in areas of the building for proximity, and each grade level has an assigned restroom as well as a clearly marked path for traveling to that restroom. There will be no group restroom breaks, and students will go
individually to the restroom with limits on the number of students who may be in the restroom at one time. Restroom emergencies will be taken care of in the regular health office.


Since our classrooms are large, they provide enough room for up to 18 students to follow the CDC guidelines for social distancing. Desks will be spread throughout the entire classroom to promote this.

We do not plan to use lockers until restrictions on social distancing have been lifted. Students will be able to have their backpacks with them in the classroom at all times.

Materials will not need to be shared between students. Each student will have their own textbooks, supplies, art kit, and chromebook available to them in their classrooms.

Agreed! Providing enough time for students to move around and get physical exercise will be very important. Not only will there be opportunities for exercise and movement between each class period. Faculty will be encouraged to take their classes outside as much as possible.

Students will still have enrichment time outside each day, weather permitting. We will be utilizing the entire back parking lot to provide more space for play. One grade level will be outside at a time with each homeroom class in a designated area. Students will be able to talk to friends from other homerooms while 6 ft. apart.

The music teachers have been consulting the latest research studies on the spread of Covid -19 with singing and playing band instruments. We have made modifications to our program to promote the safest learning environment for these students.


Band
We have moved the band program to the Commons, the largest room in the school. Students will be 10 feet apart, allowing us to exceed the recommended guidelines for social distance in band. Seventh and eighth grade students will keep their instruments at home, and they will learn repertoire during band class using drum pads and other percussion instruments. Sixth grade students will learn to play their  instrument when appropriately distanced outside.

We will be providing more thorough information and a description of guidelines for middle school band before school begins.

Choir
The current choir room is large enough to allow us to exceed the guidelines for social distancing in choir. We have made numerous modifications to the curriculum to ensure a rich musical experience while not having the risk of singing in person unless outside.

We will be providing more thorough information and a description of guidelines for middle school choir before school begins.

Our math classes are differentiated, so that students are able to learn at the perfect pace for them. Bringing students from different homerooms together for math allows us to make sure that the homerooms continue to be a mix of diverse learners and allows for greater latitude in developing class lists. This is also the case for the fine arts majors. (For example – Putting all the art majors together in one homeroom does not allow us to balance the classes or ensure students are placed with friends.)


To provide extra precautions when students are brought into these classrooms, we have scheduled additional periods between classes, so that rooms can be sanitized completely. Students will be picked up from their homerooms by the teacher and guided to the classroom. Masks will be worn at all times in these classes, students will be seated by homeroom, and movement from their assigned seats will be extremely limited.

Yes. There will be assigned doors for grade level entry in the morning with accommodations for siblings from different grades and students who carpool. Specific staircases will be used, and students will report directly to their assigned homeroom. Detailed instructions with diagrams will be provided as we near the start of school.


There will be no Morning Movement this year due to the unpredictability of weather. We do not want to have the group of up to 100 students gathering in the building if the weather does not allow us to be outside.


Before care will be available from 7:00 to 7:55, and students may enter the building and report to their  homerooms beginning at 7:55 am.


Pick-up will be different this year with all students waiting in their homerooms to be called to their cars. We will add a formal pick-up line on the Columbia side of the building with a teacher calling from the sidewalk on the east side and the west side of Columbia. Students who walk, bike, or take the bus may be dismissed to leave at the beginning of dismissal. Detailed instructions with diagrams will be available closer to the start of the school year.

As our returning 7th & 8th grade parents know, the Houses and House time on Friday are a significant part of the culture of the middle school. These cross-grade level groupings of students allow students to build relationships and participate in team
building and competition with a wide variety of students at school.

We are committed to promoting the ideals that participation in the House system promote – student leadership, mentoring, creativity, belonging, and sportsmanship. Students will still be assigned to a house, and we are working through creative ways to have safe house activities. Students, particularly 8th grade students will still be called upon to mentor and lead students in their houses.

Students participating in the online option will still be a member of their house.

We are currently making plans to teach dances which do not require partners, and students will stay with their homeroom groups for this.

We are making modifications in the curriculum to ensure that our students have very limited homework this year. When they are at home in the afternoon, we want them to run around, rest, spend time with family members, and enjoy not having to wear a mask.

Our curriculum will still be full of joy, wonder, and the important rigor that challenges their thinking and promotes academic growth. There will be time built into the daily schedule to complete independent work that normally would have been homework.

Yes! Traditionally, middle school students have helped clean and organize around the building with 8th grade students getting to travel to the lower school to serve. This year provides a great opportunity for students to think creatively about how supporting one another and caring for those close around us are great ways to serve.

In 8th grade there will be the usual leadership opportunities for mentoring, leading in worship, advising the faculty, and being an ambassador for the school.

The schedule will look very similar to the regular daily schedule with their same teachers. This will be the case if a homeroom closes or the entire middle school. (See the attached sample schedules for online schedules due to closure.)

Students will be supported by their currently assigned faculty through Google classroom. Teachers will provide support just as they would any absent student in the past, but this year there will be significantly more online resources for them if they feel well enough to work from home.

The schedule will be very similar to the schedules the students will have if they are attending in person. One benefit of attending online is the flexibility this allows for students and families. There are teachers available for live support and coaching during regular class hours, but students have the flexibility to adjust their schedule based on the needs of their family. There are fewer required times to attend classes than students who are in-person, while providing significantly more available teacher time than last spring. (See the attached sample online schedule for levels of teacher availability.)

Every middle school student will be assigned an in-person homeroom, even if they select to be online for a quarter. If a child’s assigned homeroom needs to go online at any point during the school year, online students may join their homeroom in live classes if they wish.

You can find the school supply list here

Have Questions?

Change is always challenging, especially when it may effect your children. Please share any questions or comments you have using the form below, or by emailing me directly at ahart@theoaksacademy.org.

I’ll respond to your inquiry directly and as quickly as I can.