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2020-2021 School Year Information

2020-2021 School Year Information

Dear TAS Parents,

Few things shine perspective on life quite like a pandemic. I find myself - still - chagrined at how much I took for granted prior to March 12th. The faculty and staff grieved the loss of a normal end to the school year with your children. We mourned the inability to educate them in person, in the classroom.  Education is, after all, our purpose in life and our reason for being. We have spent the last few months taking numerous steps to ensure the physical safety, mental, social and emotional well-being, and academic success of our students. We would like to share our plans with you - as they stand now - for the 2020 - 2021 school year.

Dr. Beth Storm Rule, Dr. Scott K. Darnell and Mary Shannon Metrailer, RN, serve as our medical advisors, and we continuously look to them (and the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics) for their guidance when it comes to requirements and recommendations regarding the virus. As recommendations change, this plan will be updated accordingly. In late July, I hosted grade level Zoom meetings with parents. Listed below, you will find the plan that was shared in early July as well as the "Frequently Asked Questions" from our late July parent Zoom meetings.

I cannot express my gratitude to you for choosing to partner with The Anthony School in your child’s education. We are honored to weather these waters with you this year.

We cannot wait to welcome your student back in August!


Shana Nolen
Head of School

Initial Plan: Click here to view our initial plan (shared July 2, 2020).
Drop-off/Dismissal Plan: Click here to view our morning drop-off and afternoon dismissal plan.
Aftercare Plan: Click here to view our aftercare information.

Read below for updates and information discussed in our grade-level parent meetings at the end of July.


Frequently Asked Questions

Face Coverings and Outdoor Time
Will everyone be masked? 
Kindergarten through 8th grade students will be masked, in addition to all teachers and staff. We will ask PreK students to wear masks when traveling indoors and visiting common areas such as hallways and bathrooms. Masks must cover the mouth and nose at all times. We ask that you provide your student with three clean masks each day. Soiled or worn masks will be sent home to be washed at the end of each school day. 

At this time, the only restrictions on specific face coverings are (based on physician recommendations): one-way valve masks, open faced handkerchiefs, and face shields (without a mask on underneath).

Will there be mask breaks?
Yes, mask breaks will naturally occur during PE classes, lunch, and all recesses. Mask breaks will also be taken when needed.  

Will my child get ample outdoor time? 
Every grade level has added recess breaks as well as access to various outdoor locations throughout each day.

Virtual Learning
Can you talk about the virtual learning choice?
We are utilizing the Zoom K-12 platform in classrooms from Transition through 8th grade. This version of Zoom enables FERPA/HIPAA/COPPA compliance and provides 256-bit AES encryption. Utilizing Zoom allows for live, real-time instruction. It is a two-way feed allowing students and teachers to see and hear each other regardless of learning location.

As mentioned before, students learning in-person/in-classroom will be taught in contained classrooms, and our teachers will do the moving. This change means that virtual students will simply sign into their homeroom classroom for their virtual learning experience.

Will virtual learning be too much screen time for my child?
While students who are learning virtually will be in front of a screen for a large portion of the school day, they will not necessarily be looking at the screen for the whole day. In the classroom, students are busy working, interacting with other students, reading, etc., with periods of watching the teacher mixed in. The same will be true virtually; students will watch the screen sometimes, but much of their time will be spent reading or looking at what they are working on. Virtual students will also take breaks (recess, lunch, etc.) just like students learning in-person/in-classroom.

Are there resources for parents that could help with the virtual learning option?
Your teacher will likely have suggestions on specific websites or videos that will help your student work virtually. If you are not familiar with the Google Classroom platform (which will be used by 3rd-8th grade), there are many tutorials for using this platform (this tutorial is a great one!). 

If at any point during the year we decide to go virtual, what do we do?
A simple email to your child’s homeroom teacher is all that is needed.

Exposure, Closures and Cleaning
What happens if I am exposed to a positive case?
If a parent or someone in the household has been made aware they have been exposed to a positive case, their student(s) should remain home until receiving further guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). 

If a parent or someone in the household tests positive for COVID, the entire household should remain quarantined for 14 days, or as directed by the ADH. We ask that you notify our school nurse (Mary Shannon Metrailer) of any positive cases in your household.

What happens if a student in my child’s homeroom tests positive?
The school will contact the ADH in each individual case for guidance. As of today: if a student or staff member is determined as a close contact (within 6 feet for greater than 15 minutes) to a positive case, they will be instructed to quarantine at home for 14 days. You will be notified via email that a student in your child’s homeroom has tested positive, and we will give you detailed instructions.

What would need to happen to make TAS close its entire campus down? 
The ADH will be notified of each positive case, and they will determine class vs school closure. If the Governor instructs all schools in Arkansas to teach remotely, we would close our campus to students. Our teachers, however, would still come and instruct from within the empty classroom. 

Is my child going to be sent home for a runny nose? 
If your student exhibits two or more COVID symptoms from the current COVID symptom list, he or she will be sent home and may return after being symptom free for 48 hours without use of medication. We will require notification (phone call, letter, fax, or email) from your pediatrician stating the student did not need to undergo COVID testing. If testing was recommended, the student must remain home until there is a negative test result. Documentation must be provided in all instances to our school nurse, Mary Shannon Metrailer.

Current COVID symptom list:
* Fever (100F) or chills
* Cough
* Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

* Fatigue
* Muscle or body aches
* Headache
* New loss of taste of smell
* Sore throat

* Congestion or runny nose
* Nausea or vomiting
* Diarrhea

Students with a history of breathing problems or asthma must have an updated Asthma Action Plan (these plans are good for one calendar year). Students with seasonal allergies are recommended to have an updated appointment with their healthcare provider to ensure preventative medications are in use as needed. 

Can you describe the cleaning and sanitization procedures?
TAS has hired two new employees to manage our janitorial services and to oversee our cleaning and sanitization procedures. We are utilizing a Stabilized Aqueous Ozone (SAO) cleaning system from Tersano, Inc.  

Benefits of SAO:
* Eliminates germs, odors, stains, mold, and mildew.
* Quickly kills viruses and bacteria including E.coli, Salmonella, MRSA and more (within 60 seconds).
* Safe and effective with no toxins, carcinogens, or chemical residue.
* Converts safely back to tap water and oxygen.

Deep cleaning has occurred during the summer and cleaning schedules are currently being created to address common areas such as bathrooms and high touch surfaces such as door knobs, light switches and handrails. 

How is Aftercare going to be structured?
Aftercare will be separated by grade level. A wide variety of activities will be offered to students each week, including outdoor time, gym time, study hall and extended learning centers, gardening, yoga, book club, chess club, lego club, board games, origami, art and drawing, and much more! Each activity will be age appropriate, and the options will rotate so as to ensure a productive, fun, high-quality, creative time until children can be picked up. Aftercare will be staffed primarily by classroom teachers
. Click here to review the aftercare details (emailed to parents on August 6, 2020).

“Typical” Back to School Information
When is the first day of school?
Middle School students’ first day of school (orientation) is Monday, August 17th. Please note the staggered orientation times for August 17th (8th grade: 8-10am; 7th grade: 9-11am; 6th grade: 10am-12noon). PreK3-5th grades will begin Tuesday, August 18th.

When will we learn of our homeroom teacher and see our class list?
Your homeroom teacher will be reaching out to you during the week of August 3rd - 7th.

What about the dress code? Will it be relaxed?
We are allowing students to wear athletic gear this year, which we have not done in the past. Shorts must be longer than the t-shirts worn with them. Closed toed shoes are still required for all students.

Will there be lunch service?
Yes. We have partnered with new TAS parent, Jacquelyn Compton, for lunch service. Jacquelyn will provide lunches Monday - Thursday. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has more than a dozen years of catering experience. She currently owns a local restaurant: The Pizzeria. TAS staff will be delivering lunches to classrooms. We will share more details about ordering and options as soon as possible. TAS will continue to offer Pizza Fridays.

Will water fountains be open?
Our traditional water fountains will be turned off. Our touchless fountains (we use to refill water bottles) will be open.  For early childhood students, teachers and staff will refill bottles when needed. 

What will the classroom look like?
There will be some clear differences in the school environment, like desk shields, masks, and less travel around the school building. However, the classroom climate will be largely unchanged. Our teachers will continue to focus on excellent instruction and strong relationships with students. 

What will drop-off and pick-up look like?
We will be assigning students a specific entrance based on their grade level. At each entrance, staff will be present to check temperatures and ensure students get to their classrooms. Dismissal will also be run by grade level. Details and instructions about drop-off and pick-up were emailed to parents on August 5. Click here for the details.

Will someone be available to walk my student into his/her classroom?
Absolutely!  Staff members will be at each entrance to walk your student to his/her classroom. 

Since parents/visitors can’t come into the building or office, what do I do when my child forgets his lunch/laptop/backpack?
We will have a table set up right inside the main lobby for parents to drop off forgotten belongings.

What if I ordered school supplies online and have since decided to start the year virtually?
If you ordered supplies through ParentCrew and will be participating in our virtual option, please reach out to ParentCrew President Jeremy Teeter . ParentCrew will schedule a time for you to pick up your school supplies. 

When may I drop off school supplies?
For those students participating in in-school/classroom learning, school supply drop-off will be Thursday, August 13th from 1-3pm. If you ordered supplies through the ParentCrew fundraiser, those supplies will be delivered to your child’s classroom. 

Does TAS have substitute teachers available?
We do. We will prefer to staff internally when possible but have several substitutes available.

What are your plans to address teachers’ and students’ mental health and wellbeing?
We have a task force (including Caitlin Watt, Jamie McGarry, Eden Raines, and Carolyn Caig) focusing entirely on the mental/emotional health of our students and staff. We are partnering with local professionals to address the needs of our teachers and staff. We are also partnering with the Behavioral and Mental Health Team from Access to specifically provide support and guidance with regards to our students. Our task force is gathering ideas and resources to provide support for our TAS community; these resources include mindfulness activities for kids, tools to help teachers reduce stress and anxiety both in their own lives and in their classrooms, and strategic break times throughout the school day to increase healthy interaction and relax students. 

Extracurricular Activities & Speciality Subjects
Will there be sports this year?
Yes. TAS will hold tennis and cross country club for grades 5th - 8th in the fall since they are outdoor sports.  Coaches Wink and Jeremy will ensure athletes are physically distanced during practices and training sessions.  Volleyball has moved to the spring. We anticipate holding track and soccer in the spring as originally scheduled. We will monitor basketball, our one winter sport.

What about drama, music, and art?
Music will look slightly different this year with the absence of singing. That does, however, present us the opportunity to focus on concepts such as beat, rhythm and creative movement while delving further into composing music and note reading. While we cannot currently rehearse for, and perform, musical productions, we will still find ways to introduce drama and theater to our students. Art classes will be held at their regularly scheduled times in the students’ homerooms.

American Academy of Pediatrics Guidance for School Re-Opening
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - School Re-Opening 
Keeping Your Hands Clean
How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings (CDC)
Google Classroom Tutorial for Parents