Dear Pioneer Families,

You can find all the detailed information regarding the start of the new school year on September 7th, 2021 with our On-Campus Education model regulations, and we are hopeful that the adjustments that we have made for our school 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.

Please CLICK HERE to see LATEST UPDATES ON ROAD FORWARD for PreK- 12.

STAGE I

STAGE II

STAGE III

ACTION PLAN

  • 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 a 60% alcohol rate will be available in areas that are used by middle and high school students for their effectiveness with Covid-19. Elementary students are discouraged to use these hand sanitizers as they 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 Pioneer Academy’s 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.
  • 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. Teachers will be more lenient in terms of ensuring that students will be allowed to use the restrooms throughout the day; however, students who overuse the privilege may be required to bring in a doctor’s note documenting their extenuating conditions.  
  • For recess, 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.

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:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

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 who 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  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/principles-contact-tracing.html “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 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 their 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, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/cloth-face-coverings-information.pdf

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

PA strongly recommends vaccination for all eligible students. Please be aware that if PA is unable to determine the vaccination status of individual students, they will be considered not fully vaccinated as per the NJDOH guidelines and may be subject to quarantine.

As we continue to navigate this ever-evolving pandemic, preparations are being made for the upcoming school year to support the health and safety of our Pioneer Academy community.

As directed by the NJDOH and the NJDOE, Pioneer Academy is encouraging parents to voluntarily share the vaccination status of their children. This information will not only be helpful for planning preventive measures that have been outlined by the NJDOH for the 2021-2022 school year but also in differentiating those who would be required to quarantine by the School Nurse (as per guidance from the NJDOH and WDOH) in the event individuals are exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. You are asked to complete and submit one COVID vaccination status form for each child in Pioneer and submit it to the nurse. The form will be sent to the parents/ guardians prior to the start of the academic year.  You may also contact the school nurse directly at nurse@pioneeracademy.org and request a new form to ensure proper submission.

As per the Governor’s Executive Order # 251, the mask mandate is enforced.  Wearing masks is an important prevention strategy to help slow the spread of COVID-19, especially when combined with everyday preventive actions and social distancing in public settings.  All persons entering the school premises, including staff and students, are obligated to wear masks, but this is optional for physical education, keeping in mind that social distancing rules can be implemented and students are outdoors.  

  • Everyone on the Pioneer Academy campus, including all students, faculty, and staff, must have face masks (unless unable to do so due to health reasons-then a face shield will be required).
  • Masks are required at all times while indoors, except when eating and drinking during approved lunch periods.
  • When outdoors, there may be times when social distancing can be enforced, and masks may be safely removed.
  • Students will always be instructed if masks can be safely removed; students should never remove a mask without clear direction from a member of the faculty or staff.
  • Masks must be brought from home and adequately cover both the nose and mouth. Acceptable masks include surgical and cloth masks. Face shields may be worn in addition to masks.
  • Face masks may not have words, logos, or images (unless it is a Pioneer Academy logo). Patterns and designs are acceptable. 

Newline Catering will continue to serve lunch to our students in the cafeteria utilizing safe spacing and routine disinfecting between rotations.

They will be following the guidelines set forth by the NJ Department of Health – Food Preparation and Service, which include the following implemented guidelines and protocols: 

  • All NewLine Catering employees will wear face masks and gloves.
  • The service area will be frequently sanitized.
  • After use, the food-contact surfaces, food preparation surfaces, and beverage equipment will be washed, rinsed, and sanitized.
  • Provide physical guides to ensure students remain socially distanced while standing on a serving line with the cafeteria floor marked.
  • All food is covered and/or is set behind acrylic guards.
  • Disposable utensils and plates will be used.

To sign up for meal services, please use the following link:  https://newlinecatering.com/

All students are expected to return back on campus.  The only exceptions with an administrative pre-approval are the following categories: 

  • Students out of US – unable to enter the US due to travel restrictions or pending a visa appointment – subject to SEVIS regulations
  • Students living out of the state of New Jersey, subject to verification
  • Extenuating documented medical conditions, subject to verification

Please refer to the student-parent handbook on the school website for our instruction and attendance policy and procedures. Since we returned to on-campus learning, there will no longer be an online option available for absent students. The only exception to this is if the closures will be mandated by the state, and protocol may be revised accordingly.

As of now, we are planning to open the school with Stage I and reserve the right to update it in case it is mandated by the government, CDC guidelines or other conditions, subject to review and pre-approval by the Pioneer Academy Administration.  The information will be shared with all parents, and another stage may be implemented as necessary. 

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. Any updates or adjustments from the state or school will be provided to students and parents immediately.

No visitors will be allowed on campus during school hours in the areas used by the students. To continue to limit the number of visitors on campus we encourage virtual parent meetings. However, we will also accommodate requests for in-person meetings when necessary.

We have taken enhanced health and safety measures for the children, faculty, 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 on the website.

An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is a highly 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 will receive a waiver form; a hard copy must be signed and returned back to school on the 1st day of school.  PA reserves the right to refuse entry to any student not having the waiver.  The ones 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 to enter the premises.