This page serves as a centralized resource with the most up-to-date information and resources available to families about our response to COVID-19/novel coronavirus. We are mindful of our obligation and commitment to keep our community safe while continuing our daily regular educational activities the best and most appropriate way. Below, please find an overview of the ongoing work Pioneer Academy is doing to respond to new developments. Please check back for the latest updates.
For current information, please see the resources section for links to a number of resources or visit the Centers for Disease Control site to review a list of frequently asked questions.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The schools will remain closed for this academic year as per the governor’s order. All instruction was shifted to cyber education for the remainder of the 2019/2020 academic year. The first day of school for the next academic year 2020/2021 is September 1, 2020.

Yes, we take attendance at the beginning of each Zoom session and record attendance on ALMA, just as a regular school day.

All sessions are recorded and uploaded to google classrooms. If a child is unable to join a live session course, they should view the recording within 8 days and complete any assigned activities. An email should be sent to the respective teacher by the end of the day, letting them know the video has been watched and assignments have been completed in order to be counted “present” for the school day.

You should expect to receive communication from your child’s teacher every day. That email will include the following day’s Zoom links, materials needed, and any other important information you may need to arrange/plan out your day. Please monitor your child’s attendance and academic data  on a daily basis, you may do so through Class Dojo (K-3) and Alma (4-12).

These are set up for students to be able to access their teachers for questions they might have about the day’s activities, as well as if they need clarification/help understanding anything that was taught that day via Zoom. These sessions are intended for student support, but they are not intended for parent conferences. Please contact us or the teachers if you have any questions.

All students (and parents) will be able to come back to Pioneer Academy to retrieve all belongings from hall lockers and classrooms.  In addition, textbooks, books, and any other school materials will be able to be dropped off at this time M-F 9 am-3 pm. Walk-ins during these hours are accepted but a pre scheduled visit is strongly preferred. Please notify us by calling or emailing Ms. Suzana at [email protected]. Please place the items in a bag, marked with the student’s name.

We have been closely following developments related to COVID-19 through Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. State Department, International SOS (iSOS), and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH).

We are also consulting with the Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG), INDEX schools, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS) to follow best practices and align ourselves, where appropriate, with our peer schools.

In addition to the School’s COVID-19 Task Force’s monitoring of federal authorities’ advisories, our School Nurses are in close contact with our local Health Departments to remain apprised of the latest recommendations.

Student class schedules are available to both students and parents on the Alma portals, Google Classrooms, and Class-Dojo/SeeSaw programs.

Teachers will give students information directly about any new books or materials they need to obtain and will post every information on their Google Classrooms, and Class-Dojo/SeeSaw programs. The School will provide digital access to materials whenever possible and permitted under copyright law.

The shift to distance learning has necessitated changes in approach from the faculty and created a variety of context-dependent issues for students. We expect that there will be new challenges that will require us to hone many of the attributes that are identified in our student handbook including self-motivation, effort, and determination. But, especially given the challenging times we find ourselves in, we will count on students and faculty alike to demonstrate several other attributes that are identified in that document: perseverance and resilience balanced with humor and joy. It is these dispositions that are going to be at a premium in terms of ensuring that the remote learning we’ll do in the weeks ahead resonates with the vitality and rigor of our physical classrooms. All we ask is that students do their best and reach out with any concerns or challenges they are facing so that we can support them effectively.

The grading policies are changed in each class; instead of relying on the tests and quizzes more percentage-wise, the importance of classroom participation and classwork is increased. The students will be graded in the same way they were being graded in the traditional way.

All Chromebooks must be returned to Pioneer Academy as per the standard agreement.  These are the property of Pioneer Academy and a hold will be placed on a student’s record in case of not returning it.  In case of a student not returning it, the parents will be responsible for the full value of the replacement of the device.

Our IT department is ready to help you if it is something that they can do. Please reach out to us via email [email protected] and they will do their best ro resolve your issues.

Yes, the form will be sent to each student in a digital format.  Please complete it to avoid a hold and additional charges. Every student is responsible for returning all items no later than 6/12/2020.

We will be providing an alternative Kindergarten (June 5th, 2020) and 8th Grade Promotion (June 5th, 2020), and Seniors Graduation (June 12th, 2020) for this year.  Families will get more information when the details are available.  We will do our best to provide a meaningful substitute for the traditional ceremony which cannot happen this year.

All classrooms and offices are cleaned and sanitized regularly. The campus is closed to the public; only the dorm students and dorm staff have access to the dorm side only. The nurse also comes to school every day to check on the dorm students from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

With both influenza and coronavirus causing concern, we encourage a continued focus on prevention. Simple steps, including frequent hand washing, avoiding touching one’s face (nose, mouth, and eyes) covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding contact with those who have cold or flu-like symptoms can make the difference in staying healthy.  It’s also important to exercise self-care; eat well, get plenty of sleep, go for a run/walk outside, use online exercise resources, try to create a schedule, and find ways to connect with others (text, telephone, video calls, online chat groups, and blogs) while practicing social distancing.

Pioneer Academy nursing staff, as part of its normal routine, has students wash their hands with soap and water as soon as they enter the Health office, before touching anything.

  • They also have been instructing students to wash their hands before leaving the Health office as well.
  • Door knobs and countertops are cleaned throughout the day with bleach disinfectant wipes.
  • Beds/pillows are always cleansed after each use.

In case if school resumes in person, and a student has a cough and/or fever, they are separated until they are taken home by a parent/guardian who is instructed that the ill student cannot return to school until they have been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.

To help our students and faculty remain healthy, the company which carries out cleaning services in our facility has implemented the following procedures to prevent the spread of germs. We schedule a member of cleaning staff to disinfect the entire campus with an electrostatic sprayer, paying particular attention to the indoor sport areas. Additionally, each evening the cleaning company:

  • Disinfects all doorknobs including a 12-inch radius around all classroom, bathroom, and exit doors
  • Disinfects all stair railings
  • Door knobs and countertops are cleaned throughout the day with bleach disinfectant wipes
  • Disinfects every student chair and desk throughout campus
  • Disinfects the indoor sport area, paying special attention due to a higher risk of saliva exposure in the air
  • Pays particular attention to the Pre-K and Elementary sections, in locations where students are more frequently on the ground and at tables.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and to adjust its guidance as needed.

On March 13, SEVP issued the following statement, which is relevant for PA international students who have returned home:

“If a school closes temporarily but offers online instruction or another alternative learning procedure, nonimmigrant students should participate in online or other alternate learning procedures and remain inactive in SEVIS. Given the extraordinary nature of the COVID-19 emergency, SEVP will allow F-1 students to temporarily count online classes towards a full course of study, even if they have left the United States and are taking the online classes from elsewhere.”

In order to re-enter the United States, the student must hold a valid visa and an I-20 signed by a Designated School Official.  Each returning student is responsible for contacting Ms. Monica to ensure that they are compliant with the Department of Homeland Security requirements.  If you need an updated signature, you may request it by emailing Ms. Monica at [email protected]. As per the SEVIS regulations, an electronic version of the signed I-20 will be emailed to you to ensure that you are in good standing.

Please contact Ms. Monica to transfer your SEVIS record to your next school. Some colleges and universities require completion of a “Transfer In” Form, which gives us the permission to transfer your I-20.   Please submit the transfer form as soon as you will finalize your higher institution to avoid any issues.  All Seniors holding F1 Visas need to provide the information to Pioneer within 30 days of graduation.  Students who do not hold valid I-20s must leave within 60 days of the program end date.  If you will not provide us the information as outlined below, your record will automatically complete itself in SEVIS and result in an automatic termination.

IMPORTANT: It is the sole responsibility of the student to ensure prompt processing, which mandates the submission of the documents by the student in order to ensure that he or she is in good standing and that the record can be transferred in an active status.  Pioneer Academy does not bear any responsibility for a student not completing those necessary steps.

In order to transfer an I-20 to a higher institution, the student must inform Pioneer Academy the information below, keeping in mind that a university may have multiple campuses and the future school needs to provide you with the SEVIS code:

  • School’s Name
  • Address

SEVIS Campus Transfer Code

In the last week of May, the counseling department will contact the students for course selection details.

All colleges have already announced their admission decisions. If an admitted student’s financial aid application is complete, they should also have received a financial aid package with their admission decision. Check your admission portal for information and let us know if you have any questions.

Yes, of course! College counselors are available as always to talk about your options, help interpret financial aid awards, and provide advice if you are staying active on a waitlist. Reach out to Mr. Adams to schedule a call or Zoom meeting.

If you have specific questions regarding your re/enrollment for Fall 2020, please contact Ms. Monica, director of admissions & enrollment. Financial Aid questions can be directed to Mr. Fatih Bulungiray, accounting manager.

We are currently committed to resuming on-campus operations for Fall 2020. However, given the fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation, we will evaluate our plans regularly and alter our offerings as needed. If and when decisions are made, we will communicate directly with new and returning students and their families.

In the meantime, if you have specific questions regarding your re/enrollment for Fall 2020, please contact Ms. Monica, director of admissions.

RESOURCES

SAFETY TIPS

  • Stay home if you can.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
  • Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.