At Allendale Columbia School, the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and entire AC community is our number one priority. We were the first school in our area to make the decision to close campus due to COVID-19, even before the government mandate, and on April 24th, we again were the first to make the decision to extend distance learning through the remainder of the school year. We are continuing to take proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of our school community, and we are closely monitoring and following the advice of local and national health professionals and guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This area of our website is dedicated to providing resources for our families and information about how Allendale Columbia School is responding to COVID-19, how we are supporting our AC families academically, socially and emotionally, and making resources available for families.
Campus Reopening Plans
In addition to following the health and safety guidelines of local and national health professionals and the CDC, Allendale Columbia’s Reopening Task Force has also surveyed parents, faculty, and staff members to gather opinions to better understand how the members of the AC community feel about returning to school in September. We appreciate your feedback. It is our intention to hold classes on AC’s campus beginning in September, however we have created contingency plans for remote learning and a hybrid model as well.
According to Governor Cuomo, a school’s region must be in Phase IV and maintain a daily infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14-day average in order for the schools in that area to reopen. However, if a spike is seen between when the announcement is made and the first day of school, schools will immediately close, if the regional rate exceeds 9% over a seven-day average.
Reopening Plans for AC
- Scenario 1: Full reopening with in-person instruction on AC’s campus
- Scenario 2: A hybrid model with a combination of in-person and remote learning to ensure a reduced capacity of people in the school buildings
- Scenario 3: Remote learning
On July 31st, all schools were required to submit their plans to NYS.
- Read the summary of Allendale Columbia’s reopening plan (1 page)
- Read the full Allendale Columbia reopening plan (39 pages)
It is expected that by August 7th, Governor Cuomo will provide specific communication about whether or not schools will be permitted to reopen. At that time, we will make the final decision on our plans to move forward for the 2020-2021 school year and share them with you.
Responsive to Parent Inquiries and Needs
Town Halls – To keep parents informed, Allendale Columbia has been hosting Town Hall meetings to share updates, decisions, and plans for the future as well as answer questions parents have about various topics about remote learning, scheduling, engaging their child, safety and socialization just to name a few.
- April 2nd Town Hall Meeting
- May 14th Town Hall Meeting
- June 12th Safety Update from AC’s Campus Reopening Task Force
Upcoming Town Halls
- August 10th Middle/Upper School Town Hall Meeting
- August 12th Lower School Town Hall Meeting
Safety measures put into place – After closing our campus on March 13th, our facilities team conducted a deep clean of the interior of all of our buildings. We are fortunate to have a large campus and smaller classes at AC, a benefit that many of the public schools are struggling with right now as they plan for the near future. While we cannot guarantee no one will get sick, we are doing everything possible to mitigate risk. At this point we have completed, or are in the process of completing, the following safety measures to safely reopen campus:
- Purchased and received donations of PPE equipment, including masks for all employees, sanitizer for each classroom, and additional sanitization stations throughout the building. (Students will be required to bring their own masks, however we will have extras available for purchase in the Wolf Den, in both child and adult sizes.)
- Ordered no-touch temperature screeners for the main campus entry ways.
- Reconfigured classroom layouts to enforce the recommended six feet of physical space between each desk.
- Changed building entrance and exit patterns along with designated stairwell and hallway flow to reduce crowding; each Division will have a designated door to enter and exit the building through.
- Updated our cleaning and building sanitization, including plans to conduct a deep clean of the buildings each day.
- Created a no visitor policy where non-student/non-employee visitors are restricted during the school day. (This includes tours, presenters, etc. Accommodations for these types of visits will be made either through video conferencing or recordings.)
- Lunch plans to move mealtime to classrooms and individually delivered meals.
Engaged in Daily, Interactive Distance Learning
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Allendale Columbia School teachers and staff were prepared for the possibility of remote learning. Our students, parents, and teachers regularly utilize two online platforms: SeeSaw (for Lower School students) and Canvas (for Middle and Upper School students) so the transition from in-person classroom learning to distance learning is seamless. As part of our regular academic program, AC invests in technology for students in all grades, so they are comfortable with utilizing technology as a learning tool and understand the difference between “academic” screen time and “leisure” screen time. This technology along with innovative teaching, consistent communication, and collaborative partnerships with our AC parents allow us to develop a robust distance learning program where students are able to continue their academic programs, while strengthening their skills in the digital landscape.
Providing Social/Emotional Support
Student support – Our number one priority has always been, and will continue to be, the health and safety of our students, physically and mentally. Our faculty work closely with students in Zoom classroom settings, and also one-on-one, to talk about, and work through, the challenges they’re facing and the emotions they’re experiencing. Our School Counselor, Kate Dunlavey, is also available for all students and their families to provide coping mechanisms, guidance and social/emotional support.
Parent support – Continuing our strong partnerships with parents and guardians during this pandemic is essential for the success of our students. We are constantly engaging internal and external health professionals to provide the best guidance and advice to our families to help cope with the stressors we all sometimes experience. Here are some examples of resources we have provided so far:
- Grade-specific Parent Support chats with Licensed Social Worker and AC School Counselor, Kate Dunlavey
- Weekly and bi-weekly or by appointment parent meetings with teachers and Division Heads
- COVID-19 Panel of Health Professionals webinar
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please reach out to your Division Head or contact Shannon Baudo.
Looking for a way to learn more about AC, here’s how!
- Virtual Open Houses – Attend one of our upcoming virtual Open Houses,Thursday, August 13th at 9:00AM, to learn more about AC and see if it is the right fit for your family. Learn more & register
- Saturday Pop-Up Classes – AC is proud to offer Saturday Pop-Up classes for students and families from ANY school! Get to know our teachers and learn something new— just for fun! Learn more & register
- Inquire Online – Submit an online inquiry to learn more about AC! A member of our admission staff will reach out to you by phone or email and will be happy to provide you with additional information and materials.
- Apply Online – Ready to apply to AC? Start your online application now!