As the start of the 2020-21 school year draws near, Summit Charter School stands ready to move forward with a plan to reopen its doors for its 24th school year.
Now, with updated guidelines and requirements issued by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper's office on July 14 about how schools will proceed in the fall, Summit must determine which of their three reopening plans they will follow.
These scenarios include:
• Plan A: on-campus learning with minimal social distancing restrictions
• Plan B: on-campus learning with moderate social distancing restrictions
• Plan C: remote learning.
Summit plans to open in the fall, but with social distancing restrictions as set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Summit’s Plan A supports on-campus learning at 50 percent occupant capacity in all classrooms,” Pusch said, “With procedures in place for daily health screening of faculty and students, hygiene practices, cleaning and sanitization of all campus spaces at multiple points throughout the day.”
Pusch said the school has implemented social distancing measures in place to restrict group gatherings and limit exposure during transitions. Masks are required to be worn by all faculty and staff, and middle and high school students when within six feet of others. Plexiglass shields have been installed at Summit’s reception desk and administrator offices. The schools visitor’s policy has been adjusted to admit essential visitors only.
Plans B and C
Summit’s Plan B supports on-campus learning with the same safety measures as Plan A, and with the addition of social distancing procedures within classrooms to further limit exposures.
Summit’s Plan C supports remote learning, and ensures all students are equipped with a personal device and access to curriculum materials and both synchronous and asynchronous instruction on a daily basis. Summit will also work with individual families to coordinate student access to the internet as necessary.
Throughout the spring and summer of in-person inactivity, Pusch has kept the Summit community informed and recently provided families with the latest update.
“On July 7 we shared our three potential reopening plans with families, and invited our families and faculty to share feedback through surveys and virtual town hall sessions,” Pusch said. “We will continue to seek feedback from our faculty and families to ensure our plans best support the health and safety of all members of the Summit family, and the continuing education of our students true to Summit’s mission.”
“We are grateful for the shared commitment and responsibility of our Summit family during this unprecedented time to keep our campus healthy and safe for our students and teachers,” he said.
Now that Gov. Cooper has confirmed how schools are able to reopen, SCS will provide all families and students a recorded video training that can be accessed from home on the relevant procedures for opening school.
The school’s goal is to open its campus for students as safely as possible.
“As we prepare for next year, maintaining our utmost diligence in protecting the safety and well-being of our students, families, and faculty remains an equal priority to ensuring the continued education of our students with integrity to our mission,” Pusch said. “We want to maintain the health and safety of students, faculty, and families – and to the fullest extent possible, keep our campus open for learning throughout the school year.”
With this goal in mind, “Summit’s campus operating plans will reflect careful review and deliberate adoption of the state’s health and safety guidelines and requirements for the reopening of schools,” Pusch said.
Prior to Governor Cooper's July 14 guidance for reopening, Pusch said the school was committed to making whichever plans were allowed viable options for Summit students.
“If based on the Governor’s decision we are able to open school under either Plan A or Plan B, our team will be prepared to host student learning on Summit’s campus for the full school day, and to the highest standards of health and safety as required by the state,” he said. “Additionally, regardless of the determined reopening plan for the school, every family will have the opportunity to elect a ‘Remote Learning Only’ plan for their individual child.”
Pusch said keeping students healthy and safe will require a shared commitment.
“We are indeed all in this together, and we will all have to make sacrifices and be flexible to new protocols and procedures to keep our campus safe and open for learning,” he said. “And, doing so does not have to mean sacrificing who we are at Summit.
“We are fortunate that the many qualities that make Summit unique as a school will also benefit us in adapting to the guidelines in this next year – small class sizes, high quality facilities, expansive outdoor learning spaces, and most important of all, a deep sense of community among our faculty, students, and families.”
Pusch said these are unprecedented times.
“This next year will be different, but I have full faith that, together, we will ensure Summit continues to be the school that we know and love,” Pusch said.