The Montgomery Academy is committed to using its resources to safely offer a rich educational experience through on-campus programming while also providing virtual learning accommodations for those students who are unable to be on campus due to significant health risks of the student or a family member in the residence.
The Montgomery Academy is committed to
- Protecting the health and safety of students and employees
- Upholding our mission and core values
- Maintaining compliance with government orders
- Utilizing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)
- Establishing effective use of spaces and places to support physical distancing
- Providing students with some familiarity of school routines for learning
The information in this resource was last updated on October 14, 2020
- First Days of School & Calendar
- Health & Wellness
- Deciding When to Stay Home
- Lower School Information
- Middle School Information
- Upper School Information
- Athletics & Arts
- Our Virtual Learning Model
- How You Can Help
- Prepared for Interruptions
- Tuition and Fees
Provided that there are no governmental restrictions in place, The Montgomery Academy will hold the first day of school on campus Tuesday, August 18, 2020.
We anticipate following the published school calendar. While our priority is to be on campus as much as possible, we are also preparing for potential interruptions and may need to adjust accordingly. As always, we will communicate proactively and provide you with more information if and when needed.
- Health and Wellness Commitment - All families must commit to supporting the health of our community. Each family will be required to complete the Health and Wellness Pledge, which will be made available through the Magnus Health Portal along with the other medical documents required for the start of school.
- “Safe at School” Training - On the first day of school, students will be trained in procedures and expectations that are designed to promote health and safety on campus. This training will include:
- Healthy hygiene practices
- Arrival and dismissal procedures
- Traffic flow through the building
- Materials use
- Lunch and snack routines
- Recess and outdoor break times
- Daily Temperature Screenings - All students, faculty, and staff will be screened with a temperature check upon arriving at school each day. Those with a temperature of 100.0 or higher will not be admitted to campus.
- Social Distancing - We are using the guidance provided by the ADPH and CDC to design spaces that are safe as possible for both our students and faculty, and we are fully utilizing our campus to accommodate social distancing in classrooms. We have limited our class sizes and added new sections in grade levels as needed in order to adequately distance students. Additionally, the number of students in common spaces (bathrooms, hallways, library, etc.) will be limited. Clear, antimicrobial desk barriers will be utilized in rooms where tables are used for student seating. The main hallways will be designated for one-way traffic to prevent congestion, and floor signage will help with social distancing in places where students wait in a line (i.e. lunchroom, bathroom hallway, office, library circulation desk, etc.).
- Face Coverings - We view the use of face coverings as an important way that we, as a community, can slow/stop the spread of the virus and protect each other. Students, faculty, and staff will be required to bring a face covering to school every day. Students may wear solid-colored face coverings, neck gaiters or face coverings from an official MA source (uniform companies, spiritwear store, athletic department). All face coverings should be labeled with the student’s name, and monogramming is permitted. The CDC does not recommend the use of face shields for normal, everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. Use of the covering will be determined based on physical distancing.
- Updated Cleaning Protocols - Teachers will be given supplies to disinfect desktops daily. Manipulatives and shared devices will be disinfected before the next group of students handles them. The school has increased maintenance efforts focused on our air filtration system.
- Hygiene - Students will be taught appropriate handwashing techniques and encouraged to wash their hands throughout the day. Additionally, students in Grades K-3 will sanitize their hands periodically throughout the day. Students in Grades 4-12 will sanitize their hands at the beginning of each class.
- Sick Bay - Both campuses now have a designated sick bay where sick students will quarantine until they are able to be picked up.
- Volunteers & Guests - In order to minimize risk and maintain a healthy environment for our students and teachers, guests may be restricted and volunteer opportunities may be limited. Any volunteers and guests allowed on our campus will be required to go through a health-screening process.
- Confidentiality - The school will not divulge any confidential information about the specific diagnosis of any student or faculty member.
- Sore throat is now considered a minor symptom.
- If student had a documented diagnosis of COVID-19 in past three months and has recovered, quarantine is not required. Documentation must be provided to the school nurse to avoid quarantine.
- In accordance with recent ADPH guidelines, we have clarified the quarantine requirements for close contact with someone who is experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19. According to the revised decision chart, in situations when a symptomatic person has not tested positive for COVID-19, quarantine is only required for a close contact if the person is experiencing the loss of taste or smell. Other symptoms do not require a close contact to quarantine unless the symptomatic person is confirmed as COVID-19 positive.
- We have moved "nausea" from our list of symptoms that would automatically require remaining at home and placed that symptom on the list of symptoms that must be combined with another symptom prior to remaining at home.
- Arrival & Dismissal - Students’ temperatures will be screened by faculty and staff in the carpool line each morning as early as 7:30. Students in Kindergarten and third grade will enter through the blue doors, students in first and second grades will enter the yellow doors, and students in fourth and fifth grades will enter the red doors. Classroom teachers will supervise students in classrooms as early as 7:30. Click here to view updated carpool procedures.
- Technology - Students will receive increased, intentional technology instruction in order to support a seamless transition should he or she need to utilize our virtual learning program. This will include practicing typing skills, instruction in the use of Seesaw, assistance with school email addresses (if age appropriate), and accessing the portal (if age appropriate).
- Art, Music, Spanish, Library & STEM Lab - Enrichment classes will take place in classrooms in order to minimize shared student seating throughout the day.
- PE & Recess - Regular physical activity helps improve students’ overall health and fitness, and reduces the risk for illness. Furthermore, plenty of opportunities for both structured and unstructured movement are crucial in a child’s development. PE will be held in the gym daily, and fifth grade will receive PE instruction in two separate waves because of the size of the class. PE classes have been shortened to 35 minutes to allow for sanitizing equipment between classes, and our PE teachers are in the process of making curricular adjustments that will help maintain appropriate physical distancing. Recess has been lengthened to 30 minutes to give students more movement in the opposite time of day as PE. In order to provide a natural boundary that helps to safely accommodate each grade level, the big playground will have three different zones, and classes will rotate daily. Additional equipment has been purchased for recess, and hand washing/sanitizing will be important en route to and from the playground. Kindergarten and 5th grade will go to recess two classes at a time (rather than the entire grade level) to limit the number of children who are in the space together.
- Lunch - Kindergarteners and first graders will eat in the lunchroom, with classes using the entire dining hall and separate dining times to appropriately distance students from one another. All other grade levels will go through the lunch line and carry lunches back to their rooms to be eaten. Disposable items will be used.
- Chorus and 4th/5th Grade Leadership Jobs - We will begin the year conservatively without chorus and 4th/5th grade leadership jobs. Both of these programs bring value to our program, and we will continue to reassess our ability to safely execute them.
- MA+ - MA+ will use the lunchroom, gym, art room, and library to meet in the afternoons, and they will follow the same safety protocols that we use during the day.
- After-School Programs, Tutoring, and Private Lessons- A limited a number of after-school programs will be offered with hopes of adding more programming when we determine it is safe to do so. More information regarding tutoring and private lessons will be shared in the coming weeks.
- MS Schedule - The MS Schedule allows for a full rotation of all seven periods on Monday. The rest of the week is designed to provide longer but fewer classes to attend each day allowing for deeper dives into the content area while also decreasing the number of transitions a student has to make in a day. Additionally, the schedule advances several of the school’s strategic goals: 1.) promoting health and wellness among our student body by incorporating experiential blocks (E Block) that provide students with opportunities to explore non-academic interests as well as 2.) offering designated academic support and study time (S&S Block) four days out of the week. We will continue to institute a late start on the first Wednesday of each month to support faculty and staff professional development. Late Start dates can be found here.
- Arrival - Students may arrive on campus beginning at 7:30 a.m. Upon arrival, students will have their temperatures checked by faculty and staff in the MS carpool line. Students must have their masks on and be cleared by the attending screener before exiting the car and heading to their first class of the day.
- Dismissal - To accommodate social distancing measures on the porch, MS students will be dismissed from classrooms. All MS families must have a sign with the student’s first and last name and the grade clearly written and placed on the front windshield. As cars move through the carpool line, the faculty caller will assign the driver a station number for the car to occupy along the porch. The student’s name, grade and station number will be announced via walkie talkie so that students will know where to meet their pickup. Carpool procedures can be found here.
- Backpacks - At this time, lockers will not be utilized. Students will be required to carry or roll backpacks to each of their classes throughout the day.
- Advisory/Break - Students will no longer purchase snacks at school and may bring a daily snack from home to be eaten during advisory.
- Snack Guidelines
- We encourage healthy, nutritional foods to be sent. (Fruit, granola bars, vegetables, cheese, popcorn, pretzels, etc.)
- Avoid sugary and sticky foods like candy and cookies.
- Snacks must be brought to school when students arrive and remain in backpacks until advisory.
- Food may not be delivered to students during the school day.
- Snacks may not be brought for other students.
- Snacks may not be shared.
- Teachers have a right to refuse any snack that creates unnecessary mess.
- Individual portions should be brought each day.
- Snacks may not contain nuts.
- Students may bring reusable, resealable water bottles. Only water is allowed.
- Lunch - Lunch has been lengthened to accommodate social distancing measures with an additional serving line to allow for safer and more efficient service. In addition, there will be designated entry and exit doors for each grade level. Our lunch provider is committed to serving nutritional, hot and enjoyable meals with variety and choice. Students will receive their food on disposable items, eat in smaller groups and will be given flexibility to eat lunch outside or in classrooms.
- PE - Physical fitness is vital to the health and well being of our students. To accommodate social distancing measures, students will not change out in locker rooms. On days students attend PE, boys must wear uniform shorts or pants with either a uniform top or an MA t-shirt. Girls must wear uniform shorts or skort with either a uniform top or an MA t-shirt. The last 10 to 15 minutes of PE will be reserved for cooling down and time for small groups of students to use the restroom or visit the locker room for personal care. *On days students do not have PE, they will be given time during advisory to go outside and play games that do not require close proximity to other players (horseshoes, quoit, bocce ball, badminton, frisbee, etc.)
- Athletic Study Hall - With time for Study and Support (S&S) built into the new schedule four days of the week, students in 7th and 8th will no longer have the option to participate in ASH. PE coaches collaborate alongside many of the athletic coaches to best design a fitness program that supports the overall goals of the athlete. Students and families are welcome to communicate with coaches any additional needs or unique circumstances that may affect the way PE time is used.
- MS+ - We will continue to offer after-school care for middle school students in the Mazyck Commons. Parents should monitor school communications for updates and information about details regarding this program.
- Arrival - Students’ temperatures will be screened by faculty and staff each morning as students enter the Upper School. To ease entry and comply with distancing recommendations, each grade will enter the US through a different entry. Students will be asked to immediately move to their first period classroom to limit congregating and clustering in unsafe numbers.
- Lunch - Lunch has been lengthened to accommodate social distancing measures with an additional serving line to allow for safer and more efficient service. In addition, there will be designated entry and exit doors for specific grade levels. Our lunch provider is committed to serving nutritional, hot and enjoyable meals with variety and choice. Students will receive their food on disposable tableware, eat in smaller groups and will be given flexibility to eat lunch outside or in classrooms.
- US Schedule - The US Schedule has been adapted for 2020-2021 to reflect our commitment to our strategic plan–providing for elevated and acute attention to wellness, academic support and innovative teaching–while also providing flexibility as conditions may change through the school year. These additions and modifications include:
- Identifying and dedicating structured time for Coach classes during the day
- Lengthening lunch times to allow for cognitive rest and healthier eating
- Alternating days of 4 and 3 classes of 85 minutes designed to provide longer class times for deeper discussions and examination of course material, fewer class changes in crowded hallways and resulting in a maximum of homework in 3 or 4 classes a night versus 5, 6, or 7
- Allowing for a dedicated block to student leadership activities, provide time for student driven and student led activities and clubs, and opportunities for student driven independent studies and research.
- Ending some of the days per week with an athletic/arts period, a coach class, or special programming (more on these special programs soon).
- We will continue to institute a late start on the first Wednesday of each month to support faculty and staff professional development. Late Start dates can be found here.
- Advisory and Break - to honor COVID related concerns that are acutely present in the traditional Break model (exchange of money, exchange of items, lines difficult to keep socially distanced and the tendency of students to cluster) we are amending Break to provide safer conditions. We will combine Advisory and Break (extending the block to account for adequate time for both) and suggest students bring Break items from home - fruit, crackers, granola bars, yogurt, etc. Additionally, students should bring a water bottle for hydration as safety recommendations include shutting down water fountains, although the water bottle fill up option on the new fountain will be operational. To limit distractions and guests on campus, I am asking that parents do not bring or deliver snacks to school before Break period. Especially, please resist the pleading teenager who wants fast food or donuts delivered to their door. Thank you!
- Athletics: Athletics follows the guidelines set forth by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and, with the announcement this week, we are planning on a full fall athletic schedule. Please continue to follow school communications for updates and additional information.
- Arts: The Fine Arts Department will resume programming upon the start of school. Adaptations to programming will be made in accordance with guidance from the CDC, ADPH and arts education organizations.
- Lower School: The Lower School virtual learning program consists of both synchronous and asynchronous instruction.
- Social Emotional Learning - Each student will participate in his or her class’s daily morning meeting synchronously through Zoom. Students who do not attend the morning meeting will be considered absent for the day. Additionally, bi-weekly guidance lessons will be recorded and sent to the student through Seesaw.
- Academic Instruction - In Grades K-3, teachers will record the instructional portion of the daily reading, writing, and math lesson. In Grades 4-5 - Each teacher will record the instructional portion of the daily lesson in his or her subject area (literacy, math, science and/or social studies). Each instructional video will be sent to the student through Seesaw that afternoon, and the student will view the instruction and complete the day’s assignments on the following school day. All resources for assignments will be shared through Seesaw and the portal. Virtual coach classes will be held via Zoom and should be scheduled with the student’s teacher. The grading scale outlined in the Student & Family Handbook applies to the virtual program, and the teacher may choose to conduct some assessments synchronously via Zoom.
- Enrichment and PE - The use of instructional videos and Seesaw will afford students the opportunity to fully participate in the Lower School program. Enrichment teachers will share instructional videos at the beginning of a project, and PE teachers will work with each individual student to monitor his or her physical activity and fitness.
- Middle School: The middle school virtual learning program will consist of both synchronous and asynchronous instruction. All core subject teachers will provide live streaming and recordings via Zoom to students who are in a virtual learning environment. Videos will be made accessible via Google Classroom and teachers will work closely with those students operating in a virtual environment to craft a meaningful timeline for completing assignments. Students who have elected to participate virtually will be required to attend synchronous classes live unless previous arrangements have been made with the teacher. Enrichment and elective teachers may choose to deliver content and instruction via live streaming, recordings, and/or other delivery methods. These plans will be communicated to students and their families in advance and all expectations for a virtual learning plan will be supported and facilitated by the student’s advisor.
- Upper School: The Upper School virtual learning program is designed to parallel the classroom experience as closely as possible. Students remaining at home due to safety and health concerns, as well as those absent for other illnesses or circumstances, will utilize an online connection that will connect them to the classroom in real time. Faculty will post assignments and class activities on the portal and through Google Classroom as students receive these in the classroom. Students who have elected to participate virtually will be required to attend synchronous classes live (e.g. at the time those classes meet each day). Enrichment and elective teachers may choose to deliver content and instruction via live streaming, recordings, and/or other delivery methods.
Creating and maintaining a healthy campus environment is essential and is going to require everyone’s support and participation. Families can help reinforce safety protocols by:
Hygiene and Preventive Health Practices
- Encourage frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer.
- Practice coughing and sneezing into elbows.
- Daily temperature checks at home before arriving at school.
- Continue regular doctor visits and well-child appointments.
- Encourage plenty of physical activity and time outside.
- Ask how your child is feeling and give them space to share and ask questions.
- Provide stability by maintaining home routine.
- Reassure them that the adults in their lives are there to support their emotional and physical well-being.
- Reach out to our counseling staff for additional support.
- If someone in a class gets sick with COVID-19, will the entire class or grade level automatically have to go into quarantine?
- How will the school communicate when there is a positive case on campus?
- If someone in our household is sick with COVID-19, how will we determine if and when “close contact” occurred in order to determine when we can return to campus?
- If my child previously had COVID-19, but is later determined to be in "close contact" with another case of COVID-19, does my child need to quarantine for 14 days?
- Do siblings of a student who was sent home for being a close contact have to quarantine?
- Quarantine and Isolation Timing Clarification
That is not our position at this time. In conjunction with ADPH, we evaluate close contacts and those individuals identified as falling into close contact will need to quarantine. "Close contact" is defined by the ADPH as being within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more and includes household contacts, starting 2 days before symptoms appeared or specimen collection date (whichever was earlier). We will continue to follow the recommendations of ADPH or other health authorities. Should the ADPH recommend a wider quarantine due to the number of cases in a particular class or grade level, the school will follow those recommendations.
As a school, our goal is to protect our community to the best of our ability while also respecting the privacy of individuals within our community. Our COVID-19 policies state that the school will not share the identity of any student, faculty or staff member who has contracted COVID-19. We will respect that policy at all times. However, in an effort to be transparent with our community, we will communicate known cases to you by campus in our weekly e-bulletin communication sent by Leigh Barganier. Furthermore, in conjunction with protocols established by the Alabama Department of Public Health, the school will contact all known “close contacts” as quickly as we can when we are informed of a positive case within our community. To determine those close contacts, we are relying on information from our division directors and faculty members (including seating charts from all classes). The Alabama Department of Public Health defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet for 15 minutes and includes household contacts, starting 2 days before symptoms appeared or testing specimen collection date (whichever was earlier).
- Scenario 1: Close contact with someone who has COVID-19—will not have further close contact
The student had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and will not have further contact or interactions with the person while they are sick (e.g., co-worker, neighbor, or friend). The student’s last day of quarantine is 14 days from the date you had close contact.
- Scenario 2: Close contact with someone who has COVID-19—live with the person but can avoid further close contact. The student lives with someone who has COVID-19, and that person has isolated by staying in a separate bedroom. The student has had no close contact with the person since they isolated. The student’s last day of quarantine is 14 days from when the person with COVID-19 began home isolation.
- Scenario 3: Under quarantine and had additional close contact with someone who has COVID-19
The student lives with someone who has COVID-19 and started a 14-day quarantine period because the student had close contact. What if the student ended up having close contact with the person who is sick during their quarantine? What if another household member gets sick with COVID-19? Does the student need to restart quarantine? Yes. The student will have to restart quarantine from the last day of close contact with anyone in your house who has COVID-19. Any time a new household member gets sick with COVID-19 and there is close contact, quarantine will need to restart
- Scenario 4: Live with someone who has COVID-19 and cannot avoid continued close contact
The student lives in a household where he/she cannot avoid close contact with the person who has COVID-19. The student is either providing direct care to the person who is sick, doesn’t have a separate bedroom to isolate the person who is sick, or the student lives in close quarters where he/she is unable to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.
The student should avoid contact with others outside the home while the person is sick, and should quarantine for 14 days after the person who has COVID-19 meets the criteria to end home isolation.
According to the latest CDC guidance, someone in this situation does NOT need to quarantine if he or she:
- developed COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months and
- has recovered and
- remains without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath)
If your child falls into this category and you can produce documentation of the previous COVID-19 diagnosis, please contact school nurse Shontrice Boswell. If your child develops symptoms, they should consult with their physician for further instructions.
As our decision tree indicates, isolation for COVID positive/COVID symptoms is 10 days. Quarantine for close contact is 14 days.
We start counting "Day 1" on the next day after a positive test (if asymptomatic), after symptom onset (if symptomatic), or after close contact has been determined. The day of the positive test, symptom onset, or close contact is considered "Day Zero."
For isolation situations, a student or faculty member may return to school on the day AFTER day 10.
For quarantine situations, a student or faculty member may return to school on the day AFTER day 14.
Please know that the school can't take into account what time of day a positive specimen was collected, when symptoms began or when close contact occurred. We are only using a "day count" to make the determination of what day students can return to school and school activities.
The policies and procedures outlined in this resource are subject to change as conditions evolve.