Login to RenWeb ParentsWeb

2020-2021 School Opening Plan

Upper Room Christian School
Fall 2020 School Reopening Plan

At this point in time (August 7, 2020), the Administration of Upper Room Christian School now knows that the state will allow public and private schools to grant in-person instruction in September under specific guidelines. These guidelines include social distancing for students and staff members, increased disinfecting and sanitizing school facilities, increased personal hygiene and training among students and staff members, including handwashing, facemasks when appropriate, limiting student movement throughout the building, conferring with faculty, staff and parents in the next two weeks, and limiting certain extracurricular activities.
We understand from comments made by Gov. Cuomo that each region of the state will be assessed independently of other regions for school reopening. We understand that Nassau and Suffolk counties are considered one region. Governor Cuomo has previously said “he will order schools to reopen if the infection level is 5% or lower now, and no more than 9% by the time school starts. New York State’s level, along with Long Island’s, has been hovering around 1% for weeks.” https://www.newsday.com/news/health/coronavirus/virus-reopenings-long-island-ny-covid19-1.47825626
Based on the guidance offered by the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Department of Education, Upper Room Christian School is hereby submitting this plan for reopening in September.

AGE AND NATURE OF THE STUDENT POPULATION
Upper Room Christian School is a small nonpublic school with enrollment expected to be about 100 students for the 2020-2021 school year. Our enrollment at the end of the 2019 - 2020 school year was 103 students. We are expecting similar enrollment for the 2020 - 2021 school year. The small size of our student body will make social distancing much easier for our school to do than most large public schools. We believe that we can safely enforce social distancing, promote personal hygiene, and incorporate distance-learning once again in addition to in-person instruction this fall.
Our school’s population may be small (in number), but we are located on a large 16-acre campus. We have a gymnasium that can seat over 300 students, a lobby sanctuary that can seat 1,000 adults, and a massive main sanctuary that is a seating capacity for 3,000 people. Our school also has a total of 18 available classrooms. We are confident that we can utilize all these spaces to achieve safe social distancing and continuity of in-person instruction at our school as we reopen, in addition to the online instruction that our school has offered from mid-March through June of this year. We are prepared to use different areas of our campus for in-person instruction to achieve social distancing if this becomes necessary. Since most of our classes are quite small – many with less than 10 students in a class, social distancing should be eminently doable for our school.
Upper Room Christian School is currently a Pre-k to 12th grade school. The majority of our student body is concentrated in grades nine through 12. We have had several hundred international students attend our school over the past 21 years, in addition to our domestic students. In the past nine years, many international students from China have attended school. Others have come from South Korea, Venezuela, Serbia, Russia, and many other countries. We had a total of 19 international students attending our school last year. Nine of them have graduated in June. We know one of our international students is transferring to another school. We expect most of the rest of our international students to re-enroll. However, with travel restrictions in effect, it may not be possible for them to physically return to the United States and study in our school this year.
We have therefore concluded that it is imperative that we plan for a hybrid opening of in-person, on campus instruction and distance-learning, via the Internet, for the fall 2020 semester. Our school had to adapt to home-based instruction via the web in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our teachers became proficient using a variety of teaching platforms to deliver lessons to students from March through June 2020 while our school remain closed. Rather than go back to all classroom instruction, we intend to continue to offer Internet-based instruction and in person, in class instruction this fall, as needed.
It is likely that some parents will not feel comfortable sending their children to an on-campus environment, no matter what safety precautions we put in place, or how we operate to contain this disease and limited spread. We understand their concerns, and that is their right. We also understand that many parents are anxious to have their children attend school in person, full-time, as normally as possible. This is their right as well. We must be flexible enough to accommodate each of these concerns simultaneously, and deliver a high-quality education to our students, despite the risks that the COVID – 19 virus presents.

EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMMING
From the fall of 2004 through June 2008, Upper Room Christian School ran a preschool program. We discontinued the program in June 2008 until the fall of 2019, when we reinstituted a small preschool. We had a total of 8 students in preschool during the 2019-2020 school year. Four of them attended school full day; four of them attended half-day. We are not certain if we are able to offer preschool again this year, based on low enrollment. 
If we offer preschool this year, we do not anticipate enrollment to be significantly larger than it was last year. If we have only 4 full time-students, we believe we can have them practice social distancing in their classroom. If we had 7-8 students, we would have to relocate them to a larger classroom. There is a distinct possibility that preschool will not be offered this year. Furthermore, it is possible that certain elementary grades may have no enrollment this year, such as second grade. August is typically a month that new students enroll in our school, and parents finalize their decisions about re-enrolling their children in our school or not. COVID-19 has significantly complicated this process for many parents. Some have lost their jobs and are unable to afford the tuition. Others are awaiting financial aid decisions from our school before committing to reenrollment. In addition, our school has been mostly closed this spring and summer, which has hindered enrollment of new students and reenrollment of existing students. These factors make planning for the 2020 – 2021 school year complicated.

EDUCATIONAL METHODOLOGY ESSENTIAL TO THE MISSION OF THE SCHOOL
One of the most important and essential components of our school is offering daily Bible classes and weekly chapel services. From mid-March through June, our school taught Bible classes on-line, as we did will all our CORE subjects (Math, English, science, social studies, Spanish, ESL) and electives. 
We are planning significant changes to the structure of the school day as a result of COVID-19 in order to facilitate social distancing. Our intention is to go to block scheduling this year, so that classes will be held in blocks of 80 minutes twice per week, and one additional class every other week on Fridays. This will permit social distancing in class, reduce hallway traffic, facilitate a cohort model by grade, and enable teachers to move from class to class, rather than students. All our classes are relatively small, typically under 10 students for grades K-8, and typically 15 or less for high school. We have two large classrooms that can facilitate a larger class, which may be needed for our senior class. 
Our weekly chapel services are essential to the methodology of the school. We met for chapel once per week in our church lobby. This area holds 1,000 people, so arranging chairs to facilitate 6-foot social distancing will be easy to accomplish in this large room. Dismissal on Friday after chapel will take place in the lobby. During Friday dismissal, large buses will be dismissed individually, while students are minibuses may be dismissed in groups. All students will be required to wear face coverings when leaving the building and entering onto their buses, as well as traveling home by bus.
The state education department has granted schools flexibility in meeting laboratory science requirements for Earth Science and Living Environment. Our school has a small science lab located in the Senior 2 classroom Depending upon the class-size present at the time of any particular lab, it will be necessary to allow 2 to 3 students at a time to participate in the lab, or to mandate that all students participating in the lab wear masks. Students have also been given the option of doing labs virtually to complete the state lab requirements for the subjects.
Upper Room Christian School has had a robust special education program for the past 30 years. We have a resource room that is staffed by a highly qualified special education teacher from the Half Hollow Hills school district. The resource room is rather small, and has no more than five students in it, with the teacher, at any given time. Our guidance counselor and resource room teacher will work together to devise a workable schedule to accommodate the needs of our special education students. Some of the students are receiving speech and language services 1 to 2 times per week in a separate location. This room is a larger area where social distancing is practical. Perhaps 2 to 3 students can be in the resource room at the same time and maintain social distancing. We will work toward creative scheduling solutions to meet this challenge.
We are pleased to see the waivers and flexibility coming from the state education department and the New York State Board of Regents in addressing problems in curriculum and instruction caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. We believe the state is listening to the concerns of parents, students, and educators in implementing reopening plans for schools throughout the state. 

CONTAINMENT OF THE CORONAVIRUS
It is imperative for our school and all New York State schools to create an environment that is as free of coronavirus as possible. In one of his news conferences, Gov. Cuomo discussed the use of H-13 HEPA filters as a way of filtering coronavirus out of the air. Upper Room Christian school has purchased H – 13 air filters for all our HVAC systems. These filters will screen out viruses, bacteria, and particles as small as .1 µm. This is sufficiently effective to screen out the coronavirus. Most of our classrooms are located in the basement of our campus, and the classrooms do not have windows. We will utilize our air-conditioning system for ventilation when appropriate, and keep the doors to our school open as often as is practical to bring in fresh air. We have also purchased for four ultraviolet lamps which we will use it night in classrooms to kill any viruses and bacteria that may exist in the air or on surfaces in our classrooms.
Concerning face masks, students will be required to wear facemasks on the bus to and from school. They will wear facemasks as they enter school and proceed to their homerooms. Students will be permitted to remove facemasks in classrooms during instructional time and when eating lunch. Students will be required to wear face coverings if and when they are changing classes, are located in a classroom or area where social distancing is impractical or impossible, and while going to and from the restrooms.
Because most of our classrooms are located in the basement of our main building that have no windows, our school is considering purchasing one or more tents to use as outdoor classrooms for the fall 2020 semester. This would give students exposure to fresh air and sunlight which we believe would be very beneficial to them in the current environment. We are mindful of the need for building permit for the town of Huntington for any such structure and will make proper applications if we deem such tents to be an effective means of teaching beyond our permanent classrooms. We are concerned with the practicality of outdoor tents in inclement weather, and during the wintertime when it may become too cold to use them, even if we provide outdoor heating. Such a tent or tents may be useful in the fall or the spring but proved impractical during the winter. On a positive note, such tents may help with social distancing, provide fresh air to our students and staff, and become a welcome change to students that would otherwise be confined to the same classroom throughout the school day.

MONITORING STUDENT HEALTH
Before being permitted to go to their homerooms, a temperature check will be performed on each student using a head scan thermometer. We have purchased three of these devices so that multiple students can be screened at the same time. If a student has a temperature of above 100°F, that student will be screened again by the school nurse. If the school nurse determines that the child has a fever, his or her parents will be called, and the school will require the parents to come and pick up their son or daughter. A student with a fever of above 100°F will be isolated from the rest of the student body and held in quarantine until a parent or guardian is able to pick up that child.
Additionally, parents will be instructed in screening their own child before sending them to school. We would like to make sure that students coming to our school are healthy and are not feverish or sick. It is easier, with proper parental training, to prevent sick children from coming to school than it is to identify sick children and send them home after they arrive.
Students will be instructed to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly. Hand sanitizers will be available in each classroom throughout the day. Students will receive comprehensive instruction in good hygiene at the beginning of the school year to hinder transmission and reception of this virus. Parents will be instructed to monitor their child’s health at home, and not send their son or daughter to school if they are feverish, appear to be ill, or coughing, or show any symptoms of COVID-19.
For security purposes, we typically have students enter and leave the building through one main exit, which is located on the right side of our church/school campus. We will modify this to allow students to enter the building through the front doors, since there are six of them – three on the north side and three on the south side. This will better facilitate multiple staff members performing temperature checks on students as they enter the building. We will also modify how we receive students into the building. Students will be required to wait on their buses until all the students from the next bus in line have entered the building. In previous years, students would answer through the main school entrance, which is located on the right side of the building, down the concrete steps. Social distancing is impractical if we permit all students to enter the building at 7:45 AM as in previous years. By allowing one bus at a time to enter, we expect to avoid students congregating in groups prior to performing a head scan temperature check.

FACEMASKS AND OTHER PPE
Upper Room Christian School will provide facemasks to all our students, faculty, staff, school administrators, and visitors. We are installing hand sanitizing dispensers in all our classrooms and bathrooms. Our school nurse and other staff members that perform temperature checks on incoming students will also be given face shields and rubber gloves while performing temperature checks using three recently purchased head scan thermometers.
Our faculty and staff will be trained in cleaning and sanitizing facemasks and other PPE and will be given new facemasks by our school administration to replace worn out equipment, as necessary.
Our school has been stockpiling hand sanitizing solutions and equipment, facemasks, face shields and other PPE in anticipation of our reopening.

SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM
Concerning meals, our school does not have a breakfast program and does not participate in any federal or state lunch program. Our school typically offers hot lunches to students that are catered from an outside vendor. We will suspend this practice during the COVID-19 outbreak. Students will be required to bring their own lunches from home. Students will be required to eat in their own classrooms, rather than eat in our cafeteria. This will limit student interaction in the lunchroom, in the hallways, and will facilitate social distancing.

SCHOOL NURSE
Upper Room Christian School is staffed by a highly qualified registered nurse provided by the Half Hollow Hills school district. Her name is Mrs. Ellen Verdille. She works at our school full-time. She will be an integral part of training our faculty staff and students in proper sanitation, hand washing, use of PPE, facemasks, disinfecting hard surfaces and frequently shared items, contact tracing, identifying staff members and students that are sick, notifying parents if and when their child is sick, and performing daily temperature checks with other staff members on our entire student body, faculty, and staff.
It may be necessary to relocate the school nurse’s office, since it is rather small. It would be impossible to practice social distancing in her existing office if there is more than one sick child in it at the same time. It is likely that we will use a classroom, such as Primary 1, for the nurse’s office. This is a much larger classroom and can be converted into an office for the school nurse if necessary. The existing office for the school nurse will become the isolation room for any student or staff member that has a fever of over 100°F, or who must be sent home for any other medical reason. 
We anticipate doing morning temperature checks in the vestibules by the front entrance to our building. At least three students can be checked at the same time, using social distancing between students as they wait to be scanned. This is currently how airlines are screening passengers at the gate. Passengers line up 6 feet apart, and the airline employee performs a temperature head scan on each passenger before they are permitted to board the plane. If any passenger has a fever, they are prohibited from boarding. This process is performed quickly and efficiently by the airline crew. Although planes are not at full capacity, dozens of passengers can be effectively screened in a few minutes. We intend to copy this model for screening faculty, staff, and students entering the building.

SIGNAGE
Our school administration will post signs throughout the building reminding students to practice social distancing, wash their hands frequently, use hand sanitizers, and wear a facemask when entering the building, traveling through the halls, or leaving the building. Our school is also adding markers for social distancing that are frequently used in stores and supermarkets to make it easier for students to remain 6 feet apart from each other while waiting to enter bathrooms if they are occupied. Our school business office has been ordering signage, as well as sanitizing dispensers, facemasks, other PPE, HEPA-13 filters, UV lamps, cleaning and disinfecting supplies in preparation for our school reopening.

CLASS ORGANIZATION BY COHORT
This year, our school is organizing students into cohorts by grade, from Pre-k (or K) to 12th grade. Students in grades pre-k (or K) to 10 generally have the same classes and follow the same basic schedule. Students in grades 11 and 12 have certain graduation requirements to meet, and the schedules may vary from student to student. It is more difficult to keep students in these two grades in a cohort all day. However, to the degree to which this is possible, we will keep these students together as well throughout the school day. Whenever possible, students will remain in the same classroom in each cohort, and teachers will move from room to room to limit hallway traffic. We expect that students will eat lunch in their classrooms, in a cohort, rather than in the cafeteria as they typically do.


CONTACT TRACING
Upper Room Christian School intends to comply with requests from the state health department regarding contact tracing for any student, faculty or staff member, or school administrator that is tested positive for COVID-19. We are familiar with contact tracing protocols, including protocols to ensure student and adult privacy.
For purposes of communication with parents and guardians, our school utilizes Ren Web, a cloud-based educational management system, that enables us to send emails to individuals or groups in real-time. We are able to quickly notify parents of mandatory school closings, confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our student population or employees, and provide them with real-time information concerning changes in instructional policy, health and safety issues, home and in-school screenings for symptoms of the virus, and other pertinent information.
Our school nurse and school secretary will be instrumental in the process of contact tracing for any staff member or student that test positive for COVID-19. They will coordinate with county or state health department officials in the process of contact tracing through phone calls and emails, the purpose of identifying who these infected staff members or students came in contact with in order to hinder the spread of this disease further.

CHANGES TO THE SCHOOL CALENDAR
Upper Room Christian School was scheduled to begin classes on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Our administration has elected to delay our school’s re-opening by two days. This will allow our faculty and staff additional time to receive training in all school safety protocols, personal hygiene, New York State mandates and requirements concerning nonpublic school reopening, and how our school will be implementing these requirements throughout the 2020 – 2021 school year. We have allowed six days of in-service training of our staff, instead of the three days of training as originally planned.
We will devote Friday, September 11 to student orientation, in which we will teach and train our students about our reopening plan and how it will affect each of them. This will include the use of PPE, facemasks, social distancing, personal hygiene, and changes to the structure of the school day and class organization. We will need to explain to them how the cohort model will work, changes in the lunch program, morning screenings and temperature checks before students are permitted to attend school, contact tracing for those the test positive for coronavirus, and other safety measures.
Students will begin their regularly scheduled classes in full on Monday, September 14. On the evening of September 14, parents and guardians of our students will be required to attend our parent orientation. We typically do this event on the first Monday night after school opens. We will use this event to train our parents and screening their children at home before they send them to school, care of facemasks and other PPE equipment, changes to the school schedule, various modes of instruction that a school will offer, and answer their questions regarding our reopening.

PHYSICAL LAYOUT OF THE CAMPUS AND ITS STRUCTURES
Upper Room Christian school has one campus, which is located at 722 Deer Park Rd., Dix Hills, NY 11746. Most of the school classrooms are located within the basement of our facility. One classroom is located in a classroom inside our gymnasium. Two additional classrooms are located up the stairs, above the platform, in the main lobby. Our gymnasium and our lobby are both utilized by the school. Both these classrooms are located on the main level.
Upper Room Christian School is a private day school. We have never been a boarding school. We have hosted many international students that have lived in host homes. For the past several years, some of our international students (seniors) have lived in leased dorms at Five Towns College. This year, no international student will be staying at Five Towns. Any of our international students physically attending our school will reside in host homes either provided by the school or by their parents.

CLOSURE OF THE SCHOOL IN CASE OF INFECTION
In the event that Upper Room Christian school has a confirmed case of COVID-19 among our student body, our faculty, staff, administration, we will close the school for 24 hours and perform deep cleaning of the entire facility. We will cooperate with the state or county health department with contact tracing to hinder others from being infected. A student or staff member with COVID-19 symptoms will be required to remain quarantined at home for a minimum of 10 days. Such a student or staff member should arrange for diagnostic testing of COVID-19 at a nearby emergency care facility, local hospital, pharmacy providing screening, or other healthcare professional or lab capable of identifying infected patients.
If there is a larger outbreak, we will cease in-person instruction, and revert to the distance-learning via the Internet that our school practiced from mid-March through June. We would make this decision in coordination with state and county health department officials, the state education department During those three months, our faculty became proficient in offering distance-learning through Ren Web, ZOOM, and several other learning platforms. We are likely to also utilize Google classroom this fall. One of the reasons we cannot completely adopt this platform is that Google is banned in China. Use of this platform would prevent our Chinese students that stay in mainland China from participating in our classes.
In the event of sudden closure of school, parents would be notified via Ren Web by direct email from the administration. We would use the same basic procedures we use when announcing school closings due to inclement weather such as heavy snowstorms. This information would be posted on our school website, on social media, and posted on the News 12 website of Long Island school closings.
After such a closure we would announce an approved reopening in the same ways we announce the closing. This would include direct email via Ren Web, posting the information on our school website, and posting this information on social media.

REOPENING INSTRUCTION MODELS FOR UPPER ROOM CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
After careful consideration of various options, the administration of upper room Christian school has concluded that a hybrid approach of in person instruction and distance-learning is best to meet the various needs of our student body. Some parents want schools to be open five days a week, as normally as possible. Other parents are concerned with the risk posed by the coronavirus and are not comfortable sending their children to school in person. 
We know from several of our international students they want to attend our school but may not be able to return to the United States from their home country, due to travel restrictions imposed by the US government. 
We know that various local school districts on Long Island plans to offer in-person instruction, five days a week for all students. Some districts are opting for two days a week of in person instruction in another 2 to 3 days per week of distance-learning. Parents of these students that need to get back to work will be looking for somewhere to teach their children on the days their school is not offering in-person instruction. We see this is a critical need in our community and would like to be able to meet this need as well. 
We have looked into multiple models for school reopening and believe this hybrid approach best serves the needs of our student body and our community.
Therefore, our plan contains the following elements of school reopening:
⦁    Traditional in person instruction, five days per week, 35 hours per week. The students will arrive at our school between 7:45 AM and 8 AM. They will be screened for temperature and rescreened if a fever is initially detected. Those that are sick will be sent home by the school nurse. Students that are cleared will be permitted to enter their homeroom and wait for the beginning of the first, which was started 8:15 AM. The students will attend block classes Monday through Friday. They will essentially have four classes per day, plus lunch, from 8:15 AM to 3 PM. Our students typically had a nine- period day, weekdays from 8 AM to 3 PM. These modifications are necessary to facilitate social distancing, limit hallway traffic, and hinder any large-scale outbreak at our school.
⦁    Online instruction only. The students will have the option of remaining home and receive all their instruction online as they did from mid-March through June 2020. We will be videotaping and or live streaming many of our classes to these students so that they can either participate in the class in real time or watch the videos later and be responsible for the work. These classes are organized more like college or university than the typical elementary, middle, or high school. One advantage of this arrangement is that we will truly be preparing our students for college studies where many classes today are offered entirely online. This trend is likely to continue and accelerate due to the coronavirus. We anticipate that many of our international students will continue to study with us online until they are permitted to re-attend our school in person by the United States government. 
⦁    Hybrid approach. We anticipate that some students and their parents will prefer this option. They will be able to attend school in person on certain days but will not be penalized if they opt to stay home, view the class online, and complete the required work. This will require training for faculty and technological upgrades for our school so that we can videotape each class and stream it live in addition to recording these classes and disseminating them to parents and students via the Internet. If a student is sick for any reason, they will be barred from attending school. In these cases, it will be necessary for students to learn home until they have been cleared by the doctor to attend school in person once again. 
⦁    Homeschool support. From what we have heard from parents of public-school children, many are dissatisfied with the reopening arrangements that public school districts or local schools have put in place. Some parents will choose to homeschool their children rather than send them to a public school where social distancing is likely to be quite difficult to do because of the size of the school and the classes. They are not comfortable with requiring their children to wear masks all day, or to only attend school in person to three days per week. Some parents I know are organizing their own homeschooling groups of several students with one teacher. Such groups of homeschoolers may need additional support from state approved private schools such as Upper Room Christian School. Our school has offered to various homeschool groups in the past. Parents of homeschoolers often find it relatively easy to educate young children. However, as the children grow older the curriculum becomes more difficult and parents that are not professional teachers experience problems adequately teaching their older children, particularly in subjects such as math and science. In addition, these students often have limited social interaction. Parents of homeschoolers may not want their child to attend a private school full-time any more than a public school. On the other hand, they often welcome support with difficult subjects such as advanced math, science, foreign language, physical education, and others. 
Upper Room Christian School wishes to provide support to these parents and students via distance-learning or by offering them a limited number of classes that would otherwise be difficult or impossible for parents of these homeschoolers to teach.

FEEDBACK FROM PARENTS
In mid-July, I sent out the following letter via email to the parents and guardians of all our students, explaining our preliminary plans for reopening our school. The text of this email is as follows:
Dear URCS Parents, Guardians, Students, Faculty, and Staff:
In the midst of our summer vacation, the school administration at URCS is working on plans for our fall 2020 reopening! The state of New York is still determining if, when, and how public and nonpublic schools can safely reopen in September during the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. The State has informed us that a final decision will be issued by Governor Cuomo between August 1 and August 7. In the meanwhile, schools throughout the state have been formulating plans to safely reopen, typically in one of the following ways:
Option 1
1) Reopen all grades, five days per week, as close to "normal" as possible, which changes to safety protocols student and staff hygiene, schedule modifications, etc.
Option 2
2) Open schools on a more limited basis. Some students would attend school in person 2-3 days per week; the balance of their time would be spent in distance learning via the internet.

Option 3
3) A hybrid of #1 and #2.

Option 4
4) Keep schools closed for the time being, and continue with remote learning, as we did from March through June.

At URCS, we are favoring a hybrid approach to learning this fall, if we are so permitted by the Governor. This means:
1) URCS would be open to all students, five days per week, beginning September 11, 2020.
2) Online learning would be available in all CORE subjects, for all grades, including Bible, Math, English, Science, Social Studies, Spanish, ESL, Health (grade 8 and high school), Art, P.E., and any other electives that we are able to provide over the web. This option would be for any student who is sick, any of our international students unable to return to the US, for children of parents that are not comfortable with sending their children to school in person, or any other such issues.
3) All students may be able to attend our school in person and also utilize our online learning platforms for enrichment or extra help.

We will implement new stringent cleaning and disinfecting protocols, which include sanitizing classrooms daily, using ultraviolet light at night in the classrooms to kill viruses and bacteria on surfaces and in the air, and installing H-13 air filters in our A/C system which filter out 99.95% of all particles that are .1 microns in diameter. These filters will trap all COVID-19 viruses in the air, along with other airborne pathogens.
Students will practice social distancing in school; they may be required to wear masks when going to and from school and at other times when social distancing is not possible. We will limit hallway access to students to reduce traffic. Students and staff members will be given temperature checks at the opening of each school day. Those with a confirmed fever of over 100 degrees F will be sent home. Hand sanitizers will be available in every classroom. At the opening of school, students will be required to bring lunch from home as we will not offer a catered hot lunch option. Vending machines and water fountain use will not be permitted. The school schedule may have to be altered to accommodate social distancing, temperature checks, and changes in students arriving and being dismissed from school. School busing will be up to each individual district, as always. If a public school district is closed for a certain day or days, that district may choose not provide bus transportation to and from our school. 
We will send to you a comprehensive reopening plan when it is approved by NYSED and the State Board of Regents. We will be finalizing financial aid in the next several days and will announce aid and scholarships through individual letters. For those of you who have not yet re-enrolled, I urge you to do so ASAP. If you have any questions, please email them to me directly. Office hours and staffing in the building are very limited at this time. Thank you for your cooperation and support! God bless each one of you!
Sincerely,
Dr. Gregory Eck, Headmaster
Upper Room Christian School

We received feedback from some of our parents and guardians concerning this plan to reopen. Most of our parents and guardians were very supportive of these plans and were looking forward to sending their children back to school on a five day per week basis. A few parents expressed concern about COVID – 19 and were not comfortable sending their children back to school. These comments from the parents of our students have helped us to formulate this plan for reopening, and to be sensitive to the thoughts, concerns, and feelings of the families that send their children to our school. Like much of Long Island, New York State, and the rest of this nation, parents are divided about sending their children back to school. There carefully weighing the risk associated with the coronavirus with the long-term damage that their children may suffer by being out of school for prolonged periods of time. While distance learning may work well for some students, it does not work well for everyone. Students with learning disabilities, ADD, ADHD, autism, and other forms of disability frequently struggle to work independently. While all students need personal, face-to-face interaction with qualified teachers, students with disabilities need this personal interaction all the more.
We believe that our school is small enough to practice social distancing effectively to ensure the health and safety of all our students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
As per Gov. Cuomo, our school will meet with our faculty and staff in person and via ZOOM during the week of August 10, on or before August 14. The following week, we will meet with parents and guardians of our students both in person and via ZOOM to explain our reopening plans and to begin the process of training of our new safety protocols and teaching methodologies (in person and online) for the coming school year. 
It will be necessary for us school to hire a pool of substitute teachers since we expect teacher absenteeism to become more common in the wake of COVID -19. For example, if a teacher becomes ill, and begins to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, they will need to be tested and received medical clearance by their doctor to return to school, even if they do not have the disease. If that teacher tests positive for COVID-19, they will be quarantined until their doctor certifies in writing they are able to return to work. We may also need one or more per diem substitutes to facilitate classrooms where lessons will be presented online from teachers that are quarantined at home. 
A challenge that schools will face is the current policy of quarantining state residents that visit any one of 34 states and Puerto Rico. For example, if a student attends a wedding or funeral in Maryland, he or she will be forced to quarantine at home for 14 days when they returned to New York. If a teacher were to visit a sick relative in Georgia, he or she likewise would be quarantined for 14 days, unable to return to work until the quarantine was over. This will create significant disruptions for both teachers and students. It will require significant online instruction, and personnel inside the school to facilitate that instruction if the teacher is home quarantined.
While it is impossible to foresee all of the consequences, including unintended consequences, of current state health and educational policies due to COVID-19, I am confident that our school will rise to the occasion and do whatever is necessary to provide a safe learning environment and quality education for our students throughout the duration of this pandemic.
 
Upper Room Christian School – Original School Calendar
 
Upper Room Christian School – Revised School Calendar
 
Classroom Map #1 - Basement Level from the 2019-2020 School Year
 
Classroom Map #1 – Basement Level from 2019-2020 School Year