‘Our families will also know what to expect day to day and week to week’
After watching her staff pull a rabbit out of the hat when Oasis Academy switched to distance learning in March, Melissa Mackedon was amazed once again.
“Our teachers have been phenomenal,” said Mackedon, executive director at Oasis Academy. “They have essentially been on call all summer and have attended virtual meetings throughout regarding our reopening plan, their concerns and logistics.”
With Logos Christian Academy kicking off the return to school in Churchill County two weeks ago followed by Churchill County School District on Tuesday, Oasis Academy will welcome back students on campus on Monday.
According to the approved plan from July, K-4 students will attend class from Monday to Thursday from 8-11:45 a.m. Mackedon said the students will be split into groups of 12 with an instructional aid supervising half of the class in a separate classroom. Meeting Owls – 360-degree cameras and microphones – will be used at Oasis Academy to connect classes of students to help with the learning experiences.
“The students with the IA (instructional assistant) will be able to see and interact with the classroom teacher’s room,” Mackedon said.
For the remaining grades, 5-10, Mackedon said the board determined it was better to have less interruptions and changes to students’ schedules by having instruction completely virtual. Students in grades 11 and 12 will be attending Western Nevada College and will comply with the community college’s requirements and guidelines.
“This way our teachers can put 100 percent of their energy into teaching really well online rather than constantly moving back and forth from week to week between online and in-person learning,” she said. “Our families will also know what to expect day to day and week to week. We felt like ultimately all of those changes to schedules and plans was going to lead to worse student outcomes.”
For students with special needs in these grades, Mackedon said they will be able to attend in person if necessary.
The mental health of the students and staff is a top priority at Oasis Academy.
“The leadership team has already begun to plan and meet with the counseling department,” Mackedon said.
A social, academic and emotional screener (SAEBER) will be conducted every nine weeks by Oasis Academy for grades 3-12 students. Parents will conduct the screen for K-2 students. The screener, which will help the school identify areas of concern with a student, and weekly SEH check-in will also be monitored by the counselors.
For the staff, Mackedon said the school plans to bring in a professional before school starts and every month thereafter.
Other changes to expect this school year include adherence to the guidelines and recommendations from the government regarding COVID-19. Masks will be required by all students and staff, social distancing will be enforced and health screenings will be in place. Electrostatic cleaning devices will be used to disinfect classrooms quickly in between each group of students.
Oasis Academy staff will take their own temperature and record it each morning before opening their classrooms. Students must wear a mask upon arriving at the school no earlier than 7:45 a.m. and their temperature will be checked. For both staff and students with temperature readings above 100.4, they will be sent home.
Staff may teach virtually from their homes with a substitute supervising their class.
In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the building, Oasis Academy said in the reopening plan it will assess the risk and work with local health officials to determine next steps. Per state and federal guidelines, individuals who test positive have to quarantine until they produce a negative COVID-19 test.