2020-21 Campus Reopening
Welcome back to University High School! We are looking forward to beginning the 2020-21 school year on Monday, August 17.
Throughout our campus reopening planning process, two ideas have been at the forefront of our decision-making. First, University High School is our best possible school when we are able to be together on campus. And second, we can only be our best possible school if we are keeping our students, faculty, staff, and families safe.
Given the public health situation, University High School will begin the school year in a hybrid model, where approximately half of the students will be on campus each week and the other half will be in e-learning. We have split students into two hybrid learning groups (Cohort A and Cohort B, which are now visible on My BackPack), and those groups will alternate on-campus learning and synchronous e-learning on a weekly basis. The hybrid model will allow us to keep the total number of people on campus each day below 250, and it will better allow everyone to keep a more than 6’ physical distance in classrooms and common spaces.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Below please find answers to some frequently asked questions about University High School’s reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year.
A typical SChool Day
When is the first day of school?
The first day of the 2020-21 school year will be Monday, August 17.
Before we begin classes, we’d like to take time with each hybrid learning group to welcome them to campus and review new policies and procedures for the year. Therefore, the first two days of school will be seminar days. On Monday, Aug. 17, Cohort B will be on campus and Cohort A will be in e-learning. On Tuesday, Aug. 18, the groups will switch, and Cohort A will be on campus and Cohort B will be in e-learning. The rest of the week will proceed with Cohort A on campus and Cohort B in e-learning. Visit the hybrid model page for details.
To facilitate a strong start of the 2020-21 school year, we ask that all traveling families return to Indiana by Sunday, August 2 — two weeks before the first day of school. This greatly reduces the chances of introducing an infection into the school community when we begin classes.
When will everyone be on campus?
Given the current public health situation, University High School will begin the school year in a hybrid model, where approximately half of the students will be on campus each week and the other half will be in e-learning. We have split students into two hybrid learning groups (Cohort A and Cohort B, which are now visible under the “Schedule” tab on My BackPack), and those groups will alternate on-campus learning and synchronous e-learning on a weekly basis while hybrid learning is in effect. The hybrid model will keep the total number of people on campus each day below 250, and it will allow everyone to keep a 6’ physical distance in classrooms and common spaces.
Families should be aware of the possibility that as the public health situation evolves, we may move through models of all e-learning or all on-campus learning in addition to hybrid learning. The flexibility to move through learning models seamlessly is built into our new daily schedule.
What is Academic Flex Time?
Academic Flex Time is built into the schedule each day, giving students dedicated time for visiting teachers’ office hours, taking reassessments, holding club meetings, and working on small group projects. Many students utilized office hours during e-learning in the spring, which reinforced for us the importance of building in time for students to check in with teachers and take reassessments this year as well.
What is Seminar Period?
The new Seminar Period will be dedicated time for students to engage in community building, student wellness, (virtual) assemblies, and more. While the Seminar Period is not an academic course and will not have homework or traditional assessments, it is part of the daily schedule and students are expected to attend and participate. We will have specifics on how the Seminar Period will be used closer to the start of school.
How will lunch work? Can I eat at school?
Students may bring a lunch from home (no refrigerator storage will be available for student lunches) or order lunch through Schoolhouse Fare. Schoolhouse Fare lunches are individually wrapped, boxed, and labeled with the student’s name for safety. Schoolhouse Fare orders will include plastic utensils. Other students should pack needed utensils with their lunch, as no plastic utensils will be available from the school.
Each student will be assigned to one of four Schoolhouse Fare pickup locations on campus to limit lines forming.
No microwaves, vending machines, or water fountains will be available for use. Students should bring their own labeled water bottle for use during the school day. Touchless water bottle fillers have been installed at every water fountain.
Students should follow our recommended steps for hygenic eating. At the beginning of the lunch period, students should pick up their lunch, place it at their eating location, wash their hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, return to the eating area, remove face mask, and eat. After eating, students should put their masks back on, throw away their trash, and then wash their hands once again for at least 20 seconds.
Health & Safety Protocols
Will face masks be required?
Face masks must be worn by all people on the University High School campus.
Masks may be removed for eating and drinking at approved times (like the lunch period), at the direction of a teacher or coach (such as during vigorous physical activity), or in designated outdoor spaces while maintaining appropriate physical distance from others. Both cloth masks and disposable masks are acceptable, and students should provide their own masks. A small supply of disposable masks will be available for those who forget their mask or whose mask becomes damaged.
If a student has a medical condition that makes them unable to wear a mask, the family should contact Assistant Head of School Stacey Summitt-Mann. We will work with you on accommodation.
How will you handle daily self-screenings?
All students, faculty, and staff must perform a self-screening of their health each day before arriving on campus. This self-screening will be done through a Google Form, and some questions are as follows:
- Is your temperature over 100.4ºF?
- Are you vomiting and/or do you have diarrhea?
- Have you experienced a new loss of taste or smell?
- Have you experienced shortness of breath in the last 14 days?
- Have you had direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days? (Direct contact is defined as within 6’ for longer than 10 minutes.)
- Do you have three or more of the following symptoms today — cough, congestion/runny nose, nausea, sore throat, muscle pain, chills, or headache?
Anyone who marks “yes” to any of these questions is asked to stay home, contact their health care provider, and participate in classes through e-learning if they are feeling well enough to do so. Families should contact Assistant Head of School Stacey Summitt-Mann for direction on returning to campus.
Students must show confirmation that they have completed each day’s screening to their first class’s teacher. Students who ride a bus to University High School must show confirmation to the bus driver before entering the bus. If a student fails to complete the screening before arriving on campus, the student will have their temperature taken and be asked the screening questions on site that day.
Classes and activities that involve higher risk of transmission (such as after-school sports or PE classes) will do additional temperature and symptom screenings for students at the start of class or practice.
How will classrooms and common areas be set up to maximize health and safety?
University High School has implemented several facility modifications this summer and established new guidelines for our campus spaces.
In our classrooms,
- Individual desks will be used, rather than large tables shared by 2-3 students.
- Desks will face the same direction in a classroom and will be spaced at least 6’ apart.
- Low-occupancy classrooms may have desks facing one another, but a physical distance of at least 10’ will be used in these cases.
- Teachers will enforce assigned seating in classes, to support potential contact tracing. Students will also report their seating location during study hall and lunch.
- Sharing of school supplies (such as art supplies, music instruments, or science equipment) will be limited. When supplies cannot be reserved for a single student’s use, students will disinfect the supplies between uses.
- Specialized activities (such as performing choral music or completing laboratory assignments) will be modified as needed to enhance safety.
- Physical distancing will also be required and enforced in common spaces like the Fairbanks Hall lobby, Himelstein Commons, and Andrews Hall.
- Teachers and students will be encouraged to utilize outdoor spaces for class, for study hall, and for mentoring as much as possible.
During passing periods,
- Passing periods will be 15 minutes to allow for staggered classroom departure and arrival.
- Students will be asked to minimize lingering in the hallways.
- Proper traffic flow – where students walk on the right side of the hallways – will be enforced.
- Staircases will be designated for one direction only (either up or down) to better manage cross-floor circulation.
- Elevator use will be limited to one individual at a time.
Additionally, University High School has established other measures to support physical distancing on campus:
- Locker use will be limited to the designated student only; students may not share lockers.
- Certain restroom stalls, sinks, etc. will be blocked off to allow adequate spacing in restrooms.
- The daily Community Meeting will either be held outdoors or broadcast live to students in their classrooms.
- Signage will be installed throughout the school to clarify hallway traffic flow, identify where to stand for lunch pickup, and remind all community members about proper handwashing technique.
What facilities modifications are you making to enhance health and safety?
University High School has made several facility enhancements and procedural changes to maximize the cleanliness and sanitation of our school.
In our regular cleaning practices,
- We will increase the cleaning of desks and high-touch surfaces throughout the school day.
- Each evening, the buildings, classrooms, gym, and vans will be thoroughly cleaned using EPA-approved cleaners and disinfectants and a new electrostatic spray cleaning system.
- Interior doors will be propped open during the school day to minimize touching of door handles.
- Open-top trash cans will be strategically placed throughout the buildings.
- The use of water fountains, hand dryers, microwaves, and vending machines will be discontinued.
To enhance our school hygiene,
- Acrylic sneeze guards will be installed at the front reception desks in both Fairbanks Hall and The U Center.
- All of the bathroom sinks have been outfitted with new, touchless faucets.
- Each classroom will be equipped with hand sanitizer and disinfectants for students and faculty to use throughout the school day.
To promote better ventilation,
- We will adjust the HVAC system to increase the amount of outdoor air coming into the school.
- The air filtration settings will be maximized, and we will increase the rate of air changes in our classrooms.
What additional measures are you taking to enhance health and safety?
Passing periods between classes have been lengthened to 15 minutes to give students time to disinfect their work spaces as they leave and enter their classrooms and to allow for social distancing and hygienic practices in eating, drinking, walking in hallways, using lockers, or visiting the restroom.
Dedicated handwashing time is designated before and after lunch.
We have enhanced the nightly cleaning of the school buildings. And during the school day, common surfaces in both buildings will be disinfected more regularly.
Additionally, we will request that students not share lockers with one another in order to avoid contamination of their belongings.
What if I (or someone I live with) am at increased risk for severe illness?
The CDC has outlined who is at higher risk for severe illness if they contract COVID-19. If a student or a member of the student’s household is at high risk, we can work with the family to accommodate that situation. Please contact Stacey Summitt-Mann at email@example.com to discuss options.
While the school year will begin in the hybrid model, individual families may choose for their students to be exclusively in e-learning throughout the semester. There are three “opt-in” periods this fall when families can transition into or out of full e-learning. Those are:
- Before the school year begins (Aug. 17)
- Four weeks into the semester (Sep. 14)
- At midterm (Oct. 15)
Between these points, students may not change their learning model (however, the school may shift as an institution at any point in the year based on the public health situation). Families who wish to opt in to full e-learning for (at least) the first four weeks of the school year must complete the opt-in form on My BackPack by Monday, Aug. 3. The form is on My BackPack, under My Forms/Documents.
What happens if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 on campus?
If we learn of a positive case of COVID-19 in our school community, we will do the following:
- Follow the proper CDC protocols
- Notify the Hamilton County Health Department for directions on contact tracing
- Notify other University High School community members (including faculty, staff, students, and families) about the confirmed case while maintaining the confidentiality of the person infected
- Disinfect the campus
Should a confirmed case necessitate campus to close for a short period of time in order to clean and disinfect the building, we will transition to e-learning for that time.
What should I do if I am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?
Students who have a fever of 100.4 °F or higher should not report to school. A parent or guardian should report their absence to Kathy Davis for attendance purposes, and it is suggested that families confer with their health care provider.
Even without a fever, students who experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19 — shortness of breath, cough, new loss of smell or taste — should not report to school. In these cases, a parent or guardian should also report the absence to Kathy Davis for attendance purposes. But they should also contact their health care provider for instructions and then contact Stacey Summitt-Mann (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information about returning to school.
What do I do if I have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19?
If you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days, you should stay home, log into your classes through e-learning, and contact Assistant Head of School Stacey Summitt-Mann for information about when to return to campus.
What's the process for returning to campus after a positive test of COVID-19?
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, we ask that the family please notify Assistant Head of School Stacey Summitt-Mann (email@example.com) so we can notify the Health Department and perform contract tracing as necessary. Summitt-Mann will work with your family individually on a return-to-campus plan that follows the latest recommendations of the CDC.
Will January Term be impacted?
We are monitoring the public health situation as well as local and international travel restrictions, and we will adjust as needed as we get closer to January.