We are glad you are ready to return to campus this Fall! It has been quite the Summer, and while there are a lot of things we cannot control or address with our plans, we have been diligent in keeping up with local and national medical recommendations for schools in the midst of this pandemic. We realize that this COVID-19 virus is dynamic and novel, so by definition it will require continued vigilance and flexibility on our part to adapt, if needed, to make improvements and to keep our school as safe and healthy as possible. We are confident about our school being able to manage the challenges of this season and need everyone’s support to be behind our efforts to keep Riverhill safe and healthy! Wear a mask, wash your hands, keep some space.
Will our kids have to wear masks at school? Yes. We will require face coverings for students, faculty, and staff on campus. There will be numerous situations during the day when this will not be mandated. Those times will be during meals, organized physical education, or distanced outdoor activities. Consistently, the two most statistically significant determining factors for containment during an outbreak have been the prevalence of facial covering and regular social distancing. Our hope at Riverhill is that those two elements of our approach to managing the risk of this virus on campus will be embraced by everyone. We realize it is not optimal or very “Riverhill” to cover our smiling faces and stay distant, but it’s still better than staying home or reporting an outbreak that somehow could have been prevented with more rigorous mitigation efforts. It is also a gesture of kindness to each other and our families to outwardly show that we care about vulnerable people in our community who could be very sick if they contract the virus.
Will the school have additional cleaning? Office Pride has been wonderful to offer increased cleaning and disinfecting of our campus at minimal additional cost. This generous donation from the Winkle family is consistent with their support of keeping our campus clean and safe in years past. They will be doing multiple disinfectant cleanings during the week. We also have a specialized ventilation system that reduces contaminated air particles and has been installed since we moved into our school. Classrooms will have disinfectant wipes for common surfaces and hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol. All of our teachers and children will be using the antibacterial wipes and sanitizers during the days as a precautionary measure when coming in and out of the classrooms. Additionally, children will be asked to wash their hands when coming in and out of class.
Will our children have temperature checks to be permitted in class? Each child will have a touch-less temperature scan when they are dropped off in the morning. The acceptable temperature range is lower than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. For any children with a higher measured temperature, they will be sent home for monitoring, testing, and if they are negative for COVID, will be re-admitted after they have been fever free for 24 hours without medication.
Will our children have PE activities? We are planning to have organized PE activities both in the gymnasium and outside on our several acres of grass and our beautiful new soccer field and track. Our instruction will utilize outdoor areas of our campus as much as possible and weather permitting. We will be minimizing any games which don’t promote physical distancing or require children to touch shared objects and surfaces to play (Gaga Ball, Basketball, Dodgeball, etc.). In addition to minimizing contact and ballgames, we will be discouraging any large group gatherings in our building, so that the priority is given to classroom instruction and the school time with our children. We are also planning to use the outside areas for some of the classroom and instruction time (weather permitting).
What will happen when a child or teacher has a positive COVID test? When a child or teacher (or immediate family member) tests positive, they will be required to follow the Alabama Department of Health recommendations for self quarantine and then receive a negative test before they will be allowed to return to normal campus activities. The classroom will be sanitized and disinfected overnight. If needed, the other students will have class in our “extra” classroom space until the cleaning is completed. Parents of the class will be notified of their child’s contact with a positive case.
Will I be permitted in the building for pickup and drop off? We will not be receiving visitors on campus except for scheduled appointments with a check in at the administrative office in the front of our school building. Access to the school from the rear parking lot will be restricted this year to protect that area for outdoor activities and teacher parking. If you need to check out your student during the day, it will require calling the office and making arrangements in advance. Our efforts are to protect the students from a large number of visitors or guests during the day. We will be sending separate and more specific directions for pick up and drop off that apply to your student situation, but we will be utilizing more entrances to spread our students out across the campus.
Will there be hybrid classroom options available? Our teachers are prepared to utilize online and remote options for students who are unable to attend in-person class, similar to how we have worked with them during short term illnesses in the past. If a child has COVID or any other extended illness and needs to be quarantined at home, their individual teacher will help keep them on track with a form of remote and weekly assignments. This will be a practice we utilize for contingencies and not one that we will deliver on demand for the school year.