As an independent school with a relatively small student body of approximately 100 students, APL has been able to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in a flexible manner to continue serving our students based on their individual needs.
Since the pandemic began, APL’s lead staff members have been reading, learning, and planning, as we navigated the complex and continually evolving situation. When school closures were implemented in March 2020, APL pivoted quickly to a remote education model. We also altered our methodology of providing ABA clinical support by telehealth and, in necessary cases, in person.
From our parents, we have heard the concerns about rising cases throughout the late spring and summer and the importance of keeping students safe from potential infection. We have also heard the concerns about students who cannot access education through a computer or tablet and about the significant amount of screen time during remote learning. And we have tracked carefully the decisions made by Seattle Public Schools and other independent schools about how to re-open.
It has always been APL’s priority to return to full-time in-person learning as soon as it is safe and feasible to do so. However, we know it is important to be prepared to deliver educational and clinical services safely. W weighed many options and held online Town Hall meetings with our families over the summer. From that planning, we decided that for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, APL will offer education and clinical services in a hybrid model with education and services offered in a rotating manner online and onsite.
APL’s Hybrid Model, Fall 2020
- Classes and clinical services will be provided in an alternating fashion, with students attending class onsite part of the week and online the rest of the week.
- Academic instruction online will be provided through the software platform Schoology supported by Zoom and Microsoft Teams to provide live direct instruction.
- Clinical services will be delivered in a blended in-person or online/telehealth model.
Within this framework, services will be personalized based on the individual needs of a student and their families. Beginning in November 2020, a team will work on adjustments to our schedule for the spring semester and a plan will be laid out when we return from winter break on January 4, 2021.
And as the details of the pandemic change, we have laid out contingency plans to gradually expand elements within the hybrid model to gradually allow for more in-person and onsite instruction when it is safe to do so. These decisions will be based on guidance & advice from public health authorities. In all phases of opening, APL will embrace strict social distancing, cleaning, and disinfecting procedures.
Over the summer, APL has rearranged the layout of each classroom and office space to allow for social distancing. We have reduced the number of desks and chairs in each room and arranged classes in order to maintain physical distance between students. And the school is also strictly following safety protocols designed by the University Heights Center, where we are a resident.
It was also over this summer that APL implemented the Schoology platform to more efficiently provide educational content to our students online and also enhanced our clinical software platform ReThink.
Health and Wellness Protocols
Regardless of the phase, all students and staff attending school on-site, receiving clinical services on-site, or participating in in-home clinical services will need to follow APL’s safety measures. These protocols are in line with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and WA Department of Health (DOH) recommendations and will continue to be updated based on the most current guidance. When on site, students will remain with their classroom cohort in the school building.
Safety measures that we’ve put in place for onsite services include:
- Upon arrival, all students will wash their hands.
- Also upon arrival, all staff and students will have their temperature taken and recorded.
- Social distancing measures in classrooms, hallways, and outdoor areas, including directional arrows to help guide students as they move in the building. As much as possible, students will stay to the right in hallways and avoid passing closely to others in the classroom.
- Classrooms will be limited to 6-10 students and accompanying staff.
- Students on-site must bring a clean, cloth face mask to school daily and are expected to wear it as they enter school and throughout the day. We will follow CDC and DOH guidelines about the use of masks in each phase. If a student does not bring a mask, a disposable mask will be provided.
- At lunch time, during breaks, and after going outside, students will be required to wash their hands.
- Lunch will be eaten in the classroom meeting space.
- Student desks will be spaced apart as much as possible and will face the same direction rather than clustered into small groups.
- Students will be dismissed at exits in a way that keeps grade levels separated as much as possible and dismissal times may be staggered when needed to maintain social distancing.
If you have questions, please direct them to our communications office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (206) 427-0115.
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