Reopening FEA 2020/2021

We hope this message reaches you in good health and spirits. Over the last few months, we have been closely monitoring the situation around the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to figure out how a future “reopening” would unfold for our school. At this time it’s very hard to predict what will happen in the next few weeks. After the initial lockdown measures, the number of COVID-19 infections did go down. But as you know, as guidelines have eased we have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases again. We must always remain prepared for any kind of situation. Until a vaccine is found (and even after that), there will always be a risk of infection spreading.
That being said, we have learnt from the lockdown that practical steps can be taken to reduce this risk significantly. Measures such as social distancing, wearing a mask, regular temperature checks, regular disinfecting and other good hygiene practices can go a long way in reducing the risk of infection.
We recently sent out a survey to hear from you, our parent body on what concerns you the most about your child’s education and their future. Many thanks to all who responded. This helped shape our decision making process going into 2020-21 and we’d like to share some of the results of that survey to give you an idea of the overall feedback:
1- Overall, the staff and administration at FEA have done a good job protecting students from the negative health consequences of COVID-19 (on a scale of 1 to 5)
Survey results
2- From your observations, how well did your student cope with distance learning (March – May 2020)?

 

Survey results
3- Overall, how much stress are you feeling about the potential consequences of the spread of COVID-19?
Survey results
4- How would you feel about sending your student to start school on August 12, 2020 using a traditional, in-person, school schedule?
Survey results
5- How would you feel about having a hybrid schedule implemented? A Hybrid schedule would combine a traditional in-person school schedule AND distance learning from home.
Survey results
6- What measures would need to be in place for you to feel safe to have your student(s) return to school?
Survey results
Upon reviewing the feedback, a few themes seem to appear:
  1. FEA’s distance based learning model with Zoom and Google Classroom (apart from some technical teething pains) provided a good, alternative form of education during the school closure,
  2. This was not easy on students as well as parents. While you all worked hard and pushed through the last 3 months, we realize that this was indeed a struggle,
  3. Many parents are interested in some form of in-person teaching to be provided in the next year, but remain concerned about how to do it safely. About 2/3rds “probably would” or “definitely would” send their kids to school if we reopen on August 12th, 2020,
  4. But, most would like a hybrid model which combines some traditional, in-person teaching at the school combined with online classes and/or independent study plans,
  5. Most would like to see the school reopen in some capacity with strict measures in place to prevent risk of infection.
We have spent the last few weeks deliberating over what would be the right approach for FEA. Our decisions are based on guidelines from the Department of Public Health, CDC and the Folsom Cordova Unified School district. Alhamdulillah, FEA benefits from being a small and a much more agile organization, allowing us to react to and manage any situation quickly.
We had the following goals when coming up with our plan:
  1. Prioritize the safety of our students, staff and their families,
  2. Remain compliant with Department of Public Health guidelines.
  3. Alleviate the stress created by online teaching by creating safe ways to provide limited in-person teaching at FEA for important subjects.
  4. Offer multiple avenues of education to provide flexibility to all families and ensure no student is left behind.
We looked at several options and also reviewed what our local district is trying to do. If you have not seen it yet, we highly recommend checking out the district’s plans for reopening schools in 2020-21. Any reopening should be practical and safe, not just logistically for the school, but also for the students and their families as well. We want students to return to school and get meaningful education without risking anyone’s health. We feel that this is absolutely possible with the measures we are proposing.

School Schedule 2020/2021

In shaa Allah, FEA will be adopting a split-day, hybrid model to start in-school learning on August 12th 2020. We will be offering AM and PM in person and online sessions to reduce the student population in the school at all times. Here are the details:
  1. School sessions:
    1. School will operate two, in-person sessions (AM/PM), four days a week from Mon-Thur. Fridays will be used for online supplementary support sessions.
  2. Multiple entrances to the school:
    1. Several classrooms have direct entrances which we will use to minimize congregations and exposure
    2. Classrooms might be changed to ensure 6ft social distancing is practiced at all times (more details in the future)
  3. Safety checks:
    1. Temperature checks at entrance
    2. Increased use of disinfectants and hand sanitizers
    3. All staff members wear masks.
  4. School schedule*
    1. Pre-school  8:30 – 12:30
      1. Both classrooms have separate entrances and will be completely isolated from the rest of the school
    2. Elementary:
      1. No more than 8 students in one session
      2. AM session – 8.10 – 12.10
      3. PM session – 1.10 – 5.10
      4. Student groups for each AM/PM session will be determined by the teachers. We will try our best to accommodate siblings in the same sessions to avoid multiple pick up and drop off for parents.
    3. Middle School:
      1. Single session due to student count – 8.10 – 1.10
  5. All classes will be livestreamed:
    1. If you cannot or do not want to come to school, we will stream all classes online using high quality video and audio from the classroom and stable internet connections
  6. Google Classrooms
    1. All assignments will be online, using Google Classrooms.
  7. Islamic studies/Quran/Arabic will be taught online
    1. Islamic Studies/Quran 3 times a week, Arabic 2 times a week (no more than 1 hr of daily online classes)
    2. Students in AM in-person sessions will attend PM Islamic Studies online, and vice versa
    3. We will also add in person classes as we deem fit. 
    4. Our goal is to avoid overwhelming students and parents from the onset. Covering the essential subjects first is key.
We hope this plan allows you the flexibility to benefit from FEA regardless of what your preferences are: 
  • For those who want to come to the school (for as many days as you want), we are trying to provide a safe environment to minimize exposure and risk of infection
  • For those who would rather stay at home, all classes will be live-streamed and all assignments will be online in Google Classrooms
  • If you want to start off with online lessons first and then slowly transition to school, this plan will allow you to do that.
  • For those concerned that online only classes may hamper their student’s progress, we will closely observe the progress of each individual student and will offer small group sessions or 1:1 intervention on Fridays.
Future Stay At Home Orders
We would only move to full Distance Learning (similar to what we did after the first lockdown) if our state issues a stay at home order as it did in March of this year.
Online Town-hall
Please take some time to review the information above. There’s a lot to take in. We will be working very hard in the next few weeks to make the above plan a reality. We will also host two online town-hall sessions this week to go over this update and answer any clarifying questions, should you have any. Use the link below to register. These sessions are limited to 30 attendees at one time so please register early.
Town-Hall Registration
JazakAllahu Khair for supporting Folsom Educational Academy! May Allah SWT reward you all.
*Timings may be subject to minor changes