Dear Pioneer Families,

You can find all the detailed information regarding the start of the new school year on September 1st, 2020 with our Hybrid Education model regulations, and we are hopeful that the adjustments that we have made for our school and the Hybrid Model will be an improvement for our students’ education.

We are mindful of our obligation and commitment to keep our community safe while continuing our daily regular educational activities in the best and most appropriate way.  This page also serves as a centralized location for information and updates regarding PA’s response to this rapidly evolving situation.






  • Frequent and regular cleaning and disinfecting will be a vital part of our operation during Covid-19.
  • Pioneer Academy has a contract with a third-party cleaning company to clean and disinfect our campus every day in detail using EPA-approved products that are effective for Covid-19. That service will continue with further attention to the cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces by students such as doorknobs, student desks, and chairs.
  • Recognizing that we will need more frequent and detailed cleaning and disinfecting during the school day, we are adding more custodians to our facility team for next school year to ensure a clean and healthy school environment for our students including the detailed cleaning of restrooms and isolation room using EPA-approved products that are effective for COVID-19.
  • Touch-less hand sanitizers with 60% alcohol rate will be available in areas that are used by middle and high school students for its effectiveness with Covid-19. Elementary students are discouraged to use these hand sanitizers as it may not be healthy for their skin. Instead, elementary school students are encouraged to use soap and water. We have been working with our building contractors to ensure best practices with our AC and ventilation systems.
  • In addition, we are reducing areas requiring frequent touch. Most water fountains are converted to touch-less bottle filler stations. Therefore, students are encouraged to bring their own water bottle that can be refilled throughout the day.
  • Students will be instructed on our new safety policies and teachers and staff will assimilate them into daily routines. Signs providing reminders of safety procedures will be displayed throughout the building. Reminders will be added to morning announcements as well as weekly communications so that students can become familiar with the new guidelines and comfortable in their use.
  • Students in elementary classrooms will remain with the same group for the duration of the day to minimize unnecessary exposure. Students in MS/HS are unable to stay with the same groups due to scheduling; however, all safety procedures will be followed during the school day. Students will be encouraged to wear masks, but this is optional and will not be required in classrooms that social distancing rules can be implemented.
  • To ensure safe travel in the building, traffic flow patterns will be visible and students will be instructed to adhere to these guidelines. Additionally, safe space guidelines will be expected at all times (water fountains, front desk, etc). Students will also be expected to maintain a safe space in the restrooms; therefore, only a few students will be permitted at any given time. Frequent planned breaks will be scheduled into the day and students rotated.
  • Lunches will continue to be served in the cafeteria utilizing safe spacing and routine disinfecting between rotations.
  • For recess, ES and MS students will have opportunities to play outside in open-air areas, and safe space distancing will be taught and encouraged. Students will be in smaller groups during recess times.
  • Students will use backpacks throughout the day to carry their belongings in lieu of lockers. The use of online textbooks and resources will be encouraged.

Pioneer Academy’s COVID-19 Pandemic Response Plan is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  and NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), including standards related to COVID-19; and NJ Governor’s executive orders (the Road Back Restart Plan for Education), as they pertain to COVID-19.

This plan addresses the Clinical Health and Safety procedures that PA has implemented and the responsibilities of PA and its community members, including:

  • Health Screenings and Symptom Assessment
  • Procedures for Anyone Experiencing Symptoms
  • Procedures for Anyone Tested Positive for COVID-19
  • Procedures for Anyone in Contact with Someone who is Positive for COVID-19
  • Procedures for Anyone Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms at School
  • On-Campus Periodic Screening Process
  • Protecting Yourself and Others

Health Screenings and Symptom Assessment

We are asking parents/guardians, and all members of the community, to do a self-assessment of themselves and their children, including a temperature check, before leaving home each morning. Please use the self-assessment website below provided by the CDC:

Individuals with COVID-19 may have any of the following symptoms, which may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

According to the CDC, this list of symptoms does not include all possible symptoms. Please contact your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Procedures for Anyone Experiencing Symptoms

Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate at home, contact their doctor for medical guidance, and inform the school nurse immediately. If a test is deemed necessary by the physician and a positive result is received, please follow the guidelines outlined by your physician and our Procedures for Anyone Tested Positive for COVID-19 outlined below. If a negative test result is received, please follow the guidelines outlined by your physician and provide proper documentation before being allowed to return to campus. If a test is deemed unnecessary by the physician, a written physician’s release will be required to return to campus along with meeting the following requirements:

  • Fever and fever-medication-free for at least 72 hours, AND
  • Other symptoms have improved

Procedures for Anyone Tested Positive for COVID-19

Anyone tested positive for COVID-19, should isolate and inform the school nurse immediately. A negative COVID-19 test AND a written physician’s release will be required before anyone can return to school.

  • Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.

Procedures for Anyone in Contact with Someone who is Positive for COVID-19

All students and employees should isolate at home and contact their doctor for medical guidance if they have had close contact with a person with COVID-19. CDC currently defines “close contact” as “someone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated.”

Employees and parents/guardians are asked to self-report to the school nurse. A written physician’s release will be required for the return. Quarantined students will have access to their education through our hybrid instruction model. During this time, individuals should also stay away from anyone who is at a higher risk of getting sick.

Procedures for Anyone Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms at School

If a student is sick or experiencing symptoms at school, the student will report to the initial screening area – the school nurse. If deemed necessary, the student will be moved to the isolation room. In the isolation room, every student will be provided a face covering and social distancing, and the parents will be informed right away and asked to pick up the child immediately. If not deemed necessary, then the student will be taken to the clinic for regular checks and regular clinic procedures will be followed. Employees who become sick or experience symptoms while at the school should follow the same procedures as students.

On-Campus Periodic Screening Process

First of all, it is very important that each family conduct a self-assessment before leaving home each morning. Periodic health screenings of students and employees may be conducted including random temperature checks. Students and employees with COVID-19 symptoms or a temperature of 100.4 and above will be immediately isolated and sent home.

Protecting Yourself and Others

To maintain a safe environment for everyone on campus, the school is implementing basic infection prevention measures for everyone to follow. These include, but are not limited to, the promotion of handwashing and respiratory etiquette, use of social distancing, and optional face coverings.

Handwashing. Frequent handwashing is critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. The school provides and maintains touchless soap and/or sanitizer stations. Hand sanitizer dispensers (that use sanitizers of greater than 60 percent alcohol) are at entrances and other locations throughout the school. All students and school employees are instructed to frequently wash their hands throughout the day for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, but especially at the beginning and end of their workday, before and after mealtimes, and after using the restroom. The use of soap and water is the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Respiratory etiquette. Employees, parents, students, and visitors should cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching their face, in particular their mouth, nose, and eyes, with their hands. They should dispose of tissues in provided trash receptacles and immediately hand sanitizer, and or wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Respiratory etiquette signage will be displayed throughout the school.

Social distancing. Social distancing requirements will be communicated with school community members based on the current phase of the Federal School Opening Guidelines at the time of the school opening on September 1st.

Face coverings. A face covering is strongly encouraged while on campus and is encouraged to be worn by employees, students, parents, and visitors whenever feasible. According to public health officials, individuals can spread COVID-19 to others even if they do not feel sick, and wearing face coverings mitigates this risk.

CDC guidelines also provide general considerations for wearing and maintaining a face covering,

including the following:

  • The mouth and nose are fully covered
  • The covering fits snugly against the sides of the face so there are no gaps
  • The wearer does not have any difficulty breathing while wearing the covering
  • The face-covering can be tied or otherwise secured to prevent slipping

We recognize that when we return to our physical campus, some families may prefer to have their students continue with cyber school. Our hybrid instructional model will allow us to accommodate students in-person or remotely. Classrooms are currently being updated with the necessary technology for students to join classroom instruction in real-time from home.

  • Technology – New technology is being installed into our classrooms allowing students to participate in live classes happening on campus via Zoom. These include cameras, audio, and monitors that allow the teacher to see all students in the classroom, as well as students joining from home while teaching.
  • Seating Arrangements – Based upon classroom configuration and to the extent possible, classrooms will be designed to accommodate safe space between classmates. Desks will face in the same direction.
  • Student Supplies – Individual student supplies will be utilized and classroom community supply use will be limited.
  • Field Trips & Activities – Nonessential visitors, volunteers and activities involving external groups or organizations will be limited. In lieu of field trips, assemblies, special performances, and school-wide meetings/events, virtual activities will be planned.
  • Schedules – In an effort to limit student exposure, in elementary grades, we will utilize student homeroom classes for the majority of the day. Students joining from home will follow the same schedule as students on the physical campus.
  • Break Times – Intentional break times will be built into the daily schedule for all elementary grades.

Students participating in the hybrid model from home will be required to follow the below attendance policy:

  • Attendance will be taken during Zoom/cyber education sessions.
  • Please be logged into the waiting room using your correct name by the time class starts each day, just like you would be on time at school. Schedules will mirror the regular daily schedule on campus.
  • Students will be counted as present as they enter the Zoom session for each of their class periods and they are mandated to be active participants until the end of the period and leave their cameras on during the whole session.
  • Lateness policy will be the same as our regular school day – Tardies apply as normal and being 10 minutes late or more for the first period or 5 minutes or more for the subsequent periods will be considered an absence.
  • Students are expected to complete assigned activities even in the event that they are unable to attend class physically or online. Students may refer to Alma/Google Classroom/Class Dojo/SeeSaw for any work that needs to be completed to stay up to date with their classwork and assignments.
  • If the whole school moves to cyber education, then the recordings of the classes will be available for a week on the Google Classrooms. The lessons, live sessions, are the property of PA; therefore, anyone distributing or forwarding it to anyone who is not the designated user/student will be violating the usage policy and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. PA does not provide any permission to share with others without written consent. This includes, but is not limited to, the recording of or taking images from the sessions by use of an external device.
  • In the event that a student is unable to attend a live session, communication to that respective teacher and dean of student’s office via email should be sent.
  • For the international students who are attending the classes abroad, they will be responsible for watching the afternoon classes – period 7, 8 & 9, and submitting the assignments in a timely manner.  Attendance is mandatory as per the SEVIS regulations and is the student’s responsibility to ensure that he/ she is in good standing.
  • Please refer to the student/parent handbook for the full description of the attendance policy.

We ask that all of our families follow below arrival and dismissal procedures to ensure a safe and smooth arrival and dismissal time for all of our students.

  • Please be reminded that no parents are allowed to park in front of the school at any time during the day including the after school care time. Parents should always park in designated parking areas, but not in front of the school.
  • Please be reminded that the speed limit is 15 mph on campus. Please never go above 15 mph on campus.
  • Please do not park in the teacher lot to drop your students off.
  • Cell Phone use is not permitted during drop off
  • Pre-K and Kindergarten families should follow the dismissal instructions provided by their teachers. Further announcements will be made before the school year begins.
  • Student pick-up is not allowed from the front reception areas before 3:10 pm.
  • You may only pick up your child from the designated dismissal areas.
  • Any families with doctor appointments or other pre-planned commitments should plan to come to the front lobby and pick up their child before 2:30 pm.
  • No students will be called from classes or clubs as it disrupts the learning environment.

Elementary Arrival and Dismissal

Students are able to arrive at PA as early as 8:10 am. Students will enter the building and report directly to their homeroom class. This before school time will be dedicated to quiet reading time and/or independent work time until the first period officially begins. The first period begins at 8:30 am, elementary students should arrive at school no later than 8:25 am.

In Elementary (K-4), we have a PikMyKid dismissal system. Please ensure that you use the APP and it is ready and available when you arrive to pick up your student in order for the dismissal to run quickly and smoothly. This system makes our dismissal process more efficient and safer for the students.

Students will be sent individually, directly from their classroom/hallway to the dismissal area when their parents come. Designated spots, spaced apart, will be identified in the dismissal area for students waiting to get into the car.

Middle & High School Arrival and Dismissal

School arrival begins as early as 8:10 am. Students need to report directly to their 1st-period class as they arrive at school.  Classrooms will be accessible at 8:15 am. Any student who wants to arrive earlier must register online for before school care so that proper supervision can be assigned by completing the form online

Students need to report to their homeroom classroom at the dismissal time.

5th grade through 12th-grade students will use the South Entrance to enter the school building during morning arrival. Middle and High school classes begin at 8:30 am. Therefore, Middle and High School students should be at school no later than 8:25 am.

It is very important that middle and high school students do not arrive at school any earlier than 8:10 am even if they have siblings in elementary school.

Late Pick-Up & Penalty Fees

IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT STUDENTS BE PICKED UP IN A TIMELY FASHION TO ENSURE STUDENT SAFETY AND TO AVOID INCONVENIENCES TO STAFF MEMBERS. For day students not signed up for after-school study hall, a late fee of $5.00 will be charged to parents failing to pick up their children within five minutes of the end of dismissal time. For pick-ups in excess of five minutes late, another $1.00 will be charged for each additional minute that parents are late to pick their children up. Students not enrolled in the after-school study hall must be picked up at dismissal time. Habitual late pick-up will require a parent meeting with the administration.

Further details about arrival and dismissal procedures will be shared before the school year begins.

Elementary Clubs and Academic support classes

Clubs will remain an important part of the PA daily schedule, in an adjusted format that is suitable for both campus and online learning.

A predetermined club schedule will be offered for each grade level (PK-4). If a student is not picked up during the first dismissal, students will remain with their homeroom class to participate in the club activities each afternoon using a combination of in-person and virtual club activities led by PA instructors. This club schedule will be shared once completed. Students participating in the hybrid model will be able to join their classroom’s club option each day from home. Academic support classes will continue at PA, in an adjusted format, outside of regular club time hours. Elementary academic classes will meet after school hours (depending on the class level) via Zoom.

Paid Club options will remain available for our PA students in a virtual format. More details regarding each club option will be shared at the beginning of the school year.

Middle & High School Clubs and Academic support classes

Clubs and academic support classes will be offered on campus and be available online for students attending from home unless the whole school moves to cyber school. In the case that the whole school moves online, clubs and academic support classes will continue virtually. Specific details of the academic support classes will be shared by the teachers after the school year starts.

At this time, the athletics program is planned as in prior years with some safety procedures provided by the NJ Department of Education. Please note that participating in all sports and activities is at risk (students participate at their own risk) and students cannot participate without proper waivers. If the whole school moves to cyber school due to COVID-19, we will reevaluate to determine what can be offered or not offered virtually.

We have taken enhanced health and safety measures for the children, faculty, and staff, parents, and other members of our community. We ask that everyone who visits follow our new school safety guidelines as well as any posted instructions.

An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and others with underlying health conditions are especially vulnerable.

By choosing to come to our school, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19. Help keep each other safe and healthy.  Parents or students who wish to opt-out must do so in writing and prior to entering the school building.  In the case of opting out, the student and parent must revoke their own right from entering the premises.