Forest Path Academy

Helping families on their homeschool journey

COVID-19 UPDATES

UPDATED Aug 4th We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 crisis in Texas as we make plans for next school year.  


For the 2020-2021 school year, we have extended our school year from 28 weeks to 30 weeks.  


We are offering BOTH in person and distance learning options for Fall 2020.  All classes start Tues, Sept 8th 2020


Here is our updated FALL 2020 Calendar:  CALENDAR


OPTION 1:  IN PERSON CLASSES:   Classes will start Sept 8th and will be held in person.   In the event of a student or staff coronavirus diagnosis we will temporarily shut down to prevent further spread.  Classes will continue virtually during temporary shut downs.   Your in-person tuition guarantees a minimum of 26 in person class weeks with up to 4 weeks of distance learning classes.   In the event the school is closed to in-person classes for more than 4 weeks and all classes move to virtual classes,  any additional distance learning weeks will be charged at the distance learning tuition rate.  So, your account will be credited for the difference between your regular in person tuition rate and the distance learning rate if we have more than 4 weeks of distance learning during the school year.    


OPTION 2:  DISTANCE LEARNING:  Families may choose to start the year with  distance learning  for the fall semester.   The first 11 weeks of the year, from Sept through our Christmas break, would be completed virtually.  Students would have the option to move to in person classes in January when classes resume for 19 weeks Spring 1 and Spring 2 sessions if the Covid-19 situation is under control, or to withdraw from the school at the end of the Fall session.   Families would pay a discounted tuition for the distance learning session.   In the event that the coronavirus pandemic is still not under control in January we will continue with a distance learning option.  


For more information on Distance Learning, please click here: DISTANCE LEARNING


TUITION:

Tuition for all classes is based on a YEARLY tuition.  In the event we need to move to 100% distance learning  (such as due to a mandate from the governor) we will be prorating classes based on weekly tuition rates.

The weekly tuition for in-person Tues/Thurs is $112.50 

The weekly tuition for the virtual program is $75.00

In the event that the school is forced to shut down due to mandates from the governor, all enrolled students will be moved to the distance learning pay rate. 


COVID-19 FAQ:


Q:  What procedures are you taking to protect students against COVID-19?

A:  We are taking a variety of precautions to protect students.   

  • We will be keeping students in small "capsules" or groups of 1 or 2 grade levels,  and keeping that group together. We will be avoiding mixing between the groups. This way, if there is an exposure in one group the rest of the school will not be exposed.  
  • We will have increased sanitation and ventilation procedures
  • We will be staggering activities such as recesses to avoid mixing between the groups
  • Students will have individual supplies instead of group supplies


Q:  How are you handling procedures with the Preschool, Kinder, and First students?

A:  We will be behaving relatively normally with the youngest students in grades PreK, K, and 1st.  We will have assigned seats and individual sets of supplies, and we are rotating toys so they can be cleaned between students.  We will primarily be keeping the young students in small groups that don't interact with the other students to minimize their risk.  We do not expect them to stay 6 feet apart from each other.  Teachers will wear masks. 


Q: Do students need to wear masks?

A: Students in PreK, K, and 1st do not need to wear masks.  Students in grades 2 - high school will wear masks.  Our staff will also wear masks.  


Q:  Will students wear masks all day?

A:  Students will have opportunities to remove their masks throughout the day during times they are seated at their desks and working quietly.   They will wear masks when they are working closer to each other and when doing speaking activities. 


Q:  What about during recess?

A:  Students will not wear masks outside.  We have 2 recesses during the day.  There seems to be less risk of spread outdoors.


Q: Can my student wear a face shield instead of a mask?

A:  No, Face shields have not been shown to have any benefit.  Masks act as a filter trapping potential viral particle while allowing air to pass through.  Droplet laden air just moves around a face mask.  Several studies have found high infection rates where individuals wore shields instead of face masks.  


Q:  What type of mask should my child wear?

A:  We recommend a fitted mask with at least 2 layers of fabric, or a disposable surgical style mask.  Child size disposable masks can be purchased at Office Depot and other stores, and there are many places to purchase child size cloth masks such as Old Navy.  My personal masks come from an etsy shop called HeyBarrie.  You can tie a knot in ear straps to help masks fit more securely.   Please have your child practice wearing masks at home and see if they stay on or fall off.  One suggestion is to have children wear masks during "screen time" while at home to become used to wearing masks.  


Q:  Can my child wear a neck gaiter instead of a mask?

A: No, we ask that students wear fitted fabric or disposable masks.   **New research shows that neck gaiters are not effective due to their material and are worse than no mask at all.**    Almost all research has been done on fitted multi layer fabric masks, most research involves cotton fabric masks.   Gaiters are less fitted and are also single layer and are usually made of synthetic fabrics such as polyester.  Their design also encourages students to continually fiddle with the fit and they have a tendency to slide off the nose.  Because of this it is likely they are less effective at filtering viral particles and more likely to have cross contamination from the mask.


Q: What are your sanitation procedures?

A: We have a janitor who comes every night to clean and mop as well as clean all the bathrooms.  We use a commercial hospital grade disinfectant solution we purchase at Sams Club to clean all the floors and as a spray cleaner.   During the day we will be spot cleaning and wiping down things such as door handles, etc.  


Q:  Will children be kept 6 feet apart at all times?

A: No.  For students in grades 2 and up, we will have desks spaced out so that students will be distant from each other while seated.  However,  we will still allow students to participate for short periods in activities that are closer together such as group experiments while wearing masks so that students will still have a more normal school experience.  


Q:  Will you have partitions between students?

A:  No.  We will not have any sort of barrier.  There is not any research showing  that these are helpful.  Since most recent research shows the virus appears to be airborne, it just goes over or around barriers.  


Q:  I don't understand why you aren't doing more to keep students apart.

A:  At the beginning of the epidemic it was thought that the virus spread primarily by touching surfaces and large droplets that could only reach a few feet away. Therefore most guidelines emphasized staying 6 feet away, washing hands, and sanitizing surfaces.  However the most up to date research indicates that virus is spread through airborne exposure, smaller particles floating in the air.  Therefore wearing masks to prevent the virus from becoming airborne is the most effective intervention.   The children will all be sharing the same room, so if there is airborne spread of the virus it is likely they will be exposed whether they are 3 feet, 6 feet, or 12 feet away since they will be breathing the same air.  Preventing airborne spread of the virus through mask wearing and increased ventilation is the most important intervention.  Staying 6 feet away is important for short term interaction (such as at a store) but aren't as effective for longer exposures such as in a classroom where the same air recirculates. 


Q: What do you mean by increased ventilation?

A:  The most up-to-date research indicates the virus is spread through airborne exposure and increased ventilation may reduce the risk of spreading the disease.   We will improve ventilation by opening windows when possible, upgrading our AC filters, and adding HEPA filters in the building.  


Q: How will you handle students using the same classroom?

A:  PreK, K, and 1 students will stay in their room and will not move between classrooms.   Any teachers will come to their rooms.  2nd and 3rd grade students will share 2 classrooms and will use those rooms for all classes and move only between those 2 rooms.  Second and third will be a "capsule" that will share recess as well.   For 4th and up students who move between rooms, we will wipe down desks/tables between classes.  


Q: What about passing periods in the hallway?

A:  Our school is very small.  We don't really have that many kids in the hallway at once and it's pretty easy for them to keep their distance.


Q:  How are you handling lunch?

A: Students will eat lunch in their classrooms with their class or outside if the weather is nice.  


Q:  How will we handle getting assignments if our child is sick?

A:  We use Google Classrooms for assignments.  You can easily view assignments and keep up with work if your child is sick.


Q:  At what point will you shut down the school?

A:  If we have a single staff member or a student who tests positive for coronavirus, we will close the full school temporarily.  The length of closure will vary depending upon the dates the student and/or staff member was in attendance at the school.  


Q:  What if a family member of a student tests positive for coronavirus?

If there is any member of a family who tests positive for coronavirus, the student may not attend school until their household is free of the virus.  


Q:  If the family member of a child tests positive will the school remain open?

A: It will depend on the situation.  If it is a single member of the family exposed through work and the child is not positive and was not otherwise exposed- probably not.  If the entire family including the child was exposed through a family event or gathering- probably yes. 


FINANCIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE  QUESTIONS:


Q: Can I move from the in-person class to the distance learning class?

A:  For the fall semester,  if you select in-person learning, the last day to make a change is AUGUST 21. After that date, you are committed to  the in-person learning for the fall semester (first 11 weeks.)  You can move to distance learning but will still pay the in-person rate for the first 11 weeks of school.  This is because we will be finalizing our staffing based on number of students enrolled on Aug 21.  Our staffing levels depend on the number of students enrolled in-person.  Everyone will have the option to re-select their class in December for classes resuming in January.  


Q:  Can I move from the distance learning class to the in-person class?

A: You may move if there is space available in the in person class, however you may only move once and cannot move back and forth.   Your tuition would be prorated based on weekly rates.  Everyone will have the option to re-select their class in December for classes resuming in January.  


Q:  If my child is staying home due to a quarantine in our family or because they are sick will I be charged the distance learning rate?

A: No, if you are enrolled in the in-person classes you will continue to be charged the in person tuition rates, since your child will remain enrolled in the in-person classes and will be able to return to them.   We maintain our staffing based on enrolled number of students in each group and won't be able to continually switch back and forth with teachers.   However, you will be able to access distance learning zoom classes during the period you are home and come back to in person classes when you are recovered.  


Q: I am only interested in in-person classes. If the school moves to virtual only classes can I drop the program?

A:  Yes.  Your account will be pro-rated for the weekly in-person tuition for the weeks that you attended.


Q:  I'm enrolled for 4 days a week.  How will that work with virtual instruction?

A: Virtual instruction is a flat rate and includes lesson plans over the full week.  If the school moves to full virtual instruction all students will pay the same price.  In-person classes will have up to 4 weeks of virtual instruction during the school year.  Any Mon/Wed classes cancelled during temporary closures will be rescheduled during the makeup weeks in June.