Fall 2020 - What are we doing?

Plan A      Plan B   |   Plan C
Updated August 18, 2020
We will be following the governor's Order requiring that all school children wear masks throughout the school day. Below are a list of frequently asked questions from the PDE website. 
  • Under the Order, we will have frequent and regular face-covering breaks in which students can remove their masks while 6-feet apart (see Question 5).
  • There are exceptions to wearing the mask (see Section 3 beginning on page 3 of the Order).

From PA Department of Education website

Answers to FAQs: Universal Face Coverings Order

On July 1, 2020, the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced an Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings. The order, signed under Secretary Levine's authority under the Disease Prevention and Control Act, outlines the situations when a mask must be worn and includes limited exceptions to the face-covering requirement. Answers to questions school leaders may have regarding the application of this order in school settings is included below. Please reference this guidance as you plan to keep your students, staff, and school communities safe.

This page was updated on August 17, 2020. The section that was updated is marked with an asterisk (*).

1. Does the Order of the Secretary of the PA Department of Health Requiring Universal Face Coverings apply to children and adults while in schools?

Yes, this order applies to all students, staff and visitors age two and older while in school entities, including public K-12 schools, brick and mortar and cyber charter schools, private and parochial schools, career and technical centers (CTCs), intermediate units (IUs); educational programming for students in non-educational placements such as residential settings (boarding schools), residential facilities, detention centers, and hospital settings; PA Pre-K Counts, Head Start Programs and Preschool Early Intervention programs; and Private Academic Nursery Schools and locally funded prekindergarten activities.

The Order was effective July 1, 2020 and will remain in effect until the Secretary of Health determines the public health risk is sufficiently reduced so that face coverings are no longer necessary as a widely utilized public health tool. For the safety of students, staff and families and to avoid community spread of COVID-19, students and staff are considered to be members of the public who are congregating in indoor locations. As such, they are required to adhere to this Order.

The order is effective immediately and applies to all children aged two and older.

2. Why did the Secretary of the PA Department of Health issue this Order?

The Secretary issued this Order to continue to protect all in the Commonwealth from the spread of COVID-19, mindful of the need to slow the increase in the number of cases as the Commonwealth reopens and in order to avoid the resurgence that is overwhelming the health care systems and public health systems in other states who have been less successful in reopening than the Commonwealth.

3. Is this Order temporary?

This Order remains in effect until further notice.

4. What type of mask complies with this Order?

The Order requires individuals to wear a "face covering." "Face covering" means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face. A "face covering" can be made of a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen, and, for the purposes of the order, can include a plastic face shield that covers the nose and mouth. "Face coverings" may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or improvised from household items, including but not limited to, scarves, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. While procedural and surgical masks intended for health care providers and first responders, such as N95 respirators, would meet these requirements, these specialized masks should be reserved for appropriate occupational and health care settings.

5. *Under what circumstances are students permitted to remove their face coverings (e.g. masks and face shields)?

Schools may allow students to remove face coverings when students are:

  • Eating or drinking when spaced at least 6 feet apart; or
  • When wearing a face covering creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task; or
  • At least 6 feet apart during “face-covering breaks” to last no longer than 10 minutes.

6. Do students with disabilities need to wear face coverings?

Children two years and older are required to wear a face covering unless they have a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school. Accommodations for such students should be made in partnership with the student’s health care provider, school nurse, and IEP/504 team.

7. Do schools need to update/amend their Health and Safety Plans if they have already been submitted to PDE?

Health and Safety Plans must reflect this Order. Understanding the volatility and uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus, plans should be flexible enough to contemplate any future change in conditions.

8. Do updated/revised Health and Safety Plans need to be re-approved by local school boards?

Yes. While the Order must be implemented immediately, plan approval, if necessary, should occur at the next board meeting.

9. Do updated/revised Health and Safety Plans need to be resubmitted to PDE?

Yes. PDE should always have the most recently approved Health and Safety Plans on file for each Local Education Agency (LEA).

10. Does the Order apply to athletes and sports activities?

Yes. Everyone must wear a face covering, such as a mask, unless they fall under an exception listed in Section 3 of the Order. Coaches, athletes and spectators must wear face coverings unless they are outdoors and can consistently maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. Athletes are not required to wear face coverings while actively engaged in workouts and competition that prevent the wearing of face coverings, but must wear face coverings when on the sidelines, in the dugout, etc. and anytime 6 feet of social distancing is not possible.

11. Must an individual provide evidence that they qualify for an exception to the Order?

Schools must require all students over 2 years of age to wear face coverings, except for any student who has a medical or mental health condition or disability that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school. Notwithstanding Section 3, Paragraph B of Secretary Levine’s July 1, 2020 Order regarding face coverings, schools may require such students to provide medical documentation. PDE recommends that any documentation that is provided be in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA of such medical or mental health condition or disability.

Updated July 28, 2020 
Due to the recent increase in COVID cases in our area, we will begin the school year with Plan B in place. It is our hope and goal to move to Plan A soon after as we see positive results of Plan B.
Updated July 22, 2020
     The following plan A is in accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued Preliminary Guidance for opening school in the Fall of 2020. 

     The following plan assumes that by August 20, 2020, the Tioga County be in the Green Phase reopening. Should that not be the case, we have contingency plans (i.e., Plan B and Plan C) to only offer a slightly more restricted plan and remote instruction.

The current Plan A outlined below is based on a “Healthy Only” framework for reopening the NCA campus. This framework requires parents and employees to ensure that only healthy individuals are entering the campus. A “Healthy Only” framework provides the greatest level of "normalcy" but depends on students and employees to remain at home if they display any flu-like symptoms or have been in contact with others who are symptomatic. Violators may lose their privilege to return to campus for the duration of the pandemic.

The school facilities will receive increased levels of cleaning and sanitizing, as well as increased containment of groupings of students for the purposes of contact tracing, which may be required at any time during the school year. However, the disruption to typical classroom routines will be minimized to the greatest extent possible in order to support student and staff socio-emotional health, as well as best-practices of instruction. 
     Below are highlights of New Covenant Academy's Preliminary Health & Safety Plan. The plan can be downloaded and viewed here.
  1. Health & Safety Coordinator (Mrs. Cathy Dunlap) - ensure that this plan is implemented to its fullest and most effective in our school’s and community’s context.
    • Track sickness and symptoms.
    • Monitor local and state news.
    • Act as point person regarding the H&S Plan.
  2. High Risk Protection
    • Communicate with local and state authorities
    • Symptomatic staff and students may stay home or will be asked to remain at home without any consequence.
    • All field trips and school-related outings will be scrutinized for safety.
  3. Response to Exposure
    • Check for signs and symptoms (a list is detailed in the H&S Plan)
    • Staff and students who are symptomatic will be sent home without consequence.
    • Staff and families will be notified.
    • Areas will be cleaned and disinfected immediately.
    • Families encouraged to check regularly for their family.
    • Staff and students are encouraged to stay home if they are sick.
  4. Signage
    • Signs will be posted throughout the school in visible locations.
  5. Cleaning and Disinfecting
    • Daily cleaning by professional cleaning services company.
    • High frequency tough areas (e.g., railings), classrooms (i.e., desks, chairs, etc.), and high office traffic area (i.e., receptionist desk) will be disinfected throughout the school day.
    • Cafeteria tables and cafeteria eating area will be cleaned and disinfected daily after each lunch time.
    • Windows and doors will remain open as possible to allow for ventilation and air flow.
  6. Congregate Settings
    • After chapel services, chairs will be cleaned. Providing a little distance between students can be done (e.g., ensuring chairs are not touching).
    • Lunches will be the responsibility of the parents. That is, hot lunch will not be served, but rather students will bring lunch from home.
    • Food for sale at lunch include items that are sealed (e.g., bag of chips, carton of milk, commercially prepackaged foods [e.g., Hot Pockets, Lunchables]).
  7. Athletics
    • Options for virtual coaching  and in-home drills will be offered.
    • Limit the geographic area of the sports schedules.
    • Limit the number of students in the locker room.
    • Stagger arrival and drop-off times or locations by cohort (team) or put in place other protocols to limit contact between groups and with guardians as much as possible.
  8. Training
    • Staff will be trained throughout the school year.
  9. Communication
    • A brochure of safe hygiene at home and home screening will be distributed to families
    • The NCA Health & Safety Plan will be available for our families on our website and in print form upon request. A digital copy will be sent to each family of New Covenant Academy and a written or verbal confirmation of receipt is mandatory.
    • In our weekly newsletter, items regarding the Health & Safety Plan will be included as needed.
  10. Hygiene*
    • Students are taught to wash their hands with soap often and especially after using the bathroom.
    • Students are taught to cover coughs and sneezes, and then to wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
    • Adequate supplies of disinfectant, hand sanitizer, soap, paper towels, and cleaning supplies are purchased and available.
  11. Cohorting*
    • Cohorting is identifying small groups and keeping them together (e.g., reduce movement of students to multiple staff). NCA has small classes and class sizes; thus, cohorting is inherent in our system. For example, we have one 5th grade class and those students do not generally interact with other classes.
  12. Sharing of Materials*
    • Clean and disinfect shared items between uses.
    • Keep each student’s belongings separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, lockers or other areas.
    • Ensure adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high touch materials to the extent possible (e.g., textbooks, art supplies, equipment etc.) or limit use of supplies and equipment by one group of students at a time and clean and disinfect between use. For devices and materials that must be shared, ensure cleaning and disinfecting between uses.
  13. Visitors and Volunteers*
    • Limit non-essential visitors, volunteers, and activities that involve other groups.
* Not required by the state guidelines, but are prudent nonetheless.
Posted June 3, 2020
     As we pursue a sense of normalcy, we are taking safety precautions while maintaining the integrity of an excellent school. The necessary measures are in place and contingencies are prepared for the 2020-2021 school year. We continue to monitor the situation, follow federal, state, and local laws, and listen to the appropriate authorities. We are deciphering the news to find facts. Just like we teach our students to go to the source, so are we. 
     It is important to note that the CDC issued "considerations" for schools", not recommendations or guidelines (here is a pdf version). It is stated that "these considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which schools must comply."  Other language used by the CDC is softer and more passive than what's reported in the news. For example, "Schools may consider implementing several strategies to encourage behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19" and "Schools may consider implementing several strategies to maintain healthy environments." Notice the terms may, consider, and several, not 'have to', 'must', or 'all'. We are prepared to follow the majority of the considerations set forth.

      New Covenant Academy has plans to implement strategies that the CDC has listed for schools to consider as we return to a typical school schedule (e.g, full-day, 5 days per week) (Here is our 2020-2021 calendar). Remember, the CDC states that schools "may" implement "several" strategies. Below is a list of the strategies that we are prepared to implement (here is a pdf version):

  • Stay Home when Appropriate (e.g., high temperature)
  • Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
  • Adequate Supplies (e.g., soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, etc.)
  • Signs and Messages
  • Clean and Disinfect (e.g., frequently touched surfaces, transport vehicles, schedules of cleaning, etc.)
  • Discourage the sharing of objects [Sharing is a key skill to teach. Many lessons require collaboration which often necessitates sharing of resources. In such cases, we will ensure cleaning of shared objects.]
  • Ventilate (e.g., increase circulation of outdoor air)
  • Water Systems (e.g., disinfect water fountains)
  • Communal Spaces (e.g., dining halls) [Modified: can spread out in dining hall.]
  • Food Service (e.g., brown bag lunches)
  • Protections for Staff and Children at Higher Risk for Severe Illness from COVID-19 (e.g., older adults or staff/students with medical conditions)
  • Regulatory Awareness (e.g., local and state regulations)
  • Gatherings, Visitors, and Field Trips (e.g., pursue virtual trips)
  • Identifying Small Groups and Keeping Them Together (Cohorting) (e.g., reduce movement of students to multiple staff) [NCA has small classes and class sizes; thus, cohorting is inherent in our system.]
  • Designated COVID-19 Point of Contact
  • Participation in Community Response Efforts
  • Communication Systems (e.g., communicating with families)
  • Leave (Time Off) Policies and Excused Absence Policies
  • Back-Up Staffing Plan (e.g., Monitor absenteeism of students and employees, cross-train staff, and create a roster of trained back-up staff)
  • Staff Training (e.g., safety protocols)
  • Recognize Signs and Symptoms
  • Sharing Facilities [We share space with Church of the New Covenant. The church is vigilant and committed to the safety and health of its members and our students.]
  • Support Coping and Resilience 
  • Advise Staff and Families of Sick Students of Home Isolation Criteria
  • Isolate and Transport Those Who are Sick
  • Notify Health Officials and Close Contacts

   Thank you for your continued support and commitment to New Covenant Academy. We continue to monitor the situation and will update accordingly. 

Distance Learning - Our Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

     Friday, March 13th, at approximately 3:30pm we were told that schools would be closed for two weeks.  Our students had gone home already and we were shutting down for the day.  But, we stayed to mobilize, plan, discuss, and strategize.
     Saturday, March 14th, we decided to move ahead with distance learning which would begin the following Wednesday. Distance learning is a blend of online and print materials. Since we are in a rural area, the internet is limited in certain places. Thus, we had to blend the use of printed packets, all created and designed by our teachers specifically for our students, and online resources. It is important to note that distance learning is not homeschooling. Our teachers are providing all the materials, instructions, assessments, and will respond when there are questions.  A list of FAQs are on our website (https://www.ncalions.org/). 
     All day Monday, March 16th, our teachers assembled plans, packets, and lists for our students. We held a brief training on distance learning which included online work, email and Jupiter (our school's LMS [learning management system]), web sites, etc., plus the use of textbooks, notes, packets, and other print resources.
     Tuesday, March 17th, parents came to the school to gather their kids' materials, books, notebooks, etc. A few came Monday to get books and things that were readily available, but packets had to be created, printed, and assembled Monday and retrieved Tuesday. Many of our parents offered to transport materials to those who live far away or who are unable to come to Mansfield to get their child's materials. Two churches graciously agreed to be pick-up and drop-off locations (East Troy Baptist Church and Ogdensburg Church of Christ). 

     Wednesday, March 18, we officially began distance learning.

     Our teachers have been in regular communication with our parents throughout. Creativity and innovation abound!

     The week of March 23 is Phase 2, since the state mandated that schools will be closed for two more weeks.  Many of our teachers have been in their rooms preparing more packets which our parents are collecting. If need be, we will drive the materials to students or to drop-off locations. A couple of our teachers have already delivered their packets to students. If that doesn't say, "I care about you!" I don't know what does.
     After Easter Break (April 6-13), students returned to distance learning. Many teachers learned and use Google Classroom while others use Jupiter. For the younger grades, packets are the primary delivery method. Two bins have been set up outside the school entrance for drop-off and pick-up. Distance learning will continue until the last day of school. 

Connect with us

310 Extension St - Mansfield, PA

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