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American Academy

American Academy Back to School Plan 2020

Thank you for taking the time to read over our Back to School Plan 2020. We have made these decisions based on the information we currently have, and with the best interest of our students and families in mind.
Graph with two blue circle showing things we can control and things we can not control.

Parents may select their preferred option:

1.Full-time Remote Learning
2.Full-time In-Person Learning

Option Selection Considerations:

  • Parents will select their mode by July 31, 2020 and commit through Fall Break.
  • Parents will be allowed to select again for Fall Break to Winter Break (if applicable).
  • Administrative approval will be required for switching from one mode to another (except quarantine).
  • Remote learning will require parent training and a contract defining expectations (similar to in-person).

Remote learning and in-person learning will be as aligned as possible.
Academics will be data-driven to ensure any learning gaps are covered.

This is temporary – ideally we go back to normal after Fall Break or after Winter Break.

The following students will be able to participate in Remote Learning:

  • Students whose parents designate them as remote for whatever reason.
  • Students who are required to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure.
  • All students in the case of a school closure.

Remote Learning Considerations:

  • The goal is to align with and keep up with in-person learning so expectations and grading will be similar.
  • Elementary students will be assigned a remote learning teacher based on grade-level (ideally one per grade depending on numbers; might be one for primary and one for intermediate).
  • Middle school students will have a remote learning facilitator (content will come from content-area teachers).
  • STEM and Specials will be offered to Remote Learners as possible
  • Special education and additional support services as appropriate will be delivered through consistent scheduled virtual appointments according to student plans and feasibility of the remote learning environment.   Student Support Services will continue to collaborate with general education teachers to support students. 
  • Students will be issued a laptop (if needed).
  • Parents of designated remote learners must take virtual training and sign an agreement that they have read and understand the expectations.
  • There will be a consistent technology platform for remote learning and consistent expectations including live virtual sessions daily (if feasible depending on numbers per grade level) and recorded lessons.
  • Remote learning will be based on best practices and parent feedback.
  • Students may need to come to the building to take assessments (sessions will maintain social distancing and be outside normal school hours).

The following students will be able to participate in In-Person Learning:

  • Students whose parents designate them as in-person.
  • Only healthy students may come to school (some kind of verification will be required).

In-person learning will either follow a normal schedule with some adaptions or a cohort schedule depending on the restrictions in place at the start of the school year. See graphic below:
A graphic with two lines and one pointing to a normal schedule for students and one pointing to a cohort model for students, returning in the fall of 2020.

Normal Schedule Considerations: 

  • Homerooms, ability groups, and middle school schedules will be assigned as usual.
  • Grade levels will be socially distanced from other grade levels.
  • There may be a reduction in number of students in one place at the same time (cafeteria, playground, etc.).
  • Elementary STEM and Specials will be conducted as normal
  • Middle School Specials will be in 6-week rotations rather than mixed-grade-level electives
  • Student Support Services will implement all programs (SPED, MTSS, GT, ELD, MH), READ Act) as normal.

Cohort Schedule Considerations: 

  • Students will be in cohorts of around 25 students (the school has a plan for 15, if absolutely necessary).
  • Elementary cohorts will generally follow ability grouping, but there will be two or more ability groups represented in each cohort.
  • Middle school schedule will be normal with the exception of math (to social distance cohorts) and specials (6-week rotation instead of mixed-grade electives); middle school will use flipped classroom model when possible.
  • Elementary STEM and Specials will be conducted by cohort
  • Middle School Specials will be in 6-week rotations by cohort rather than mixed-grade-level electives
  • Student Support Services will implement special education services and MTSS both in and outside of the general education setting taking into account guidelines for maintaining the integrity of student cohorts and student/staff safety in small group or one-on-one environments.  GT and ELD programming will also follow cohort restrictions.
  • All cohorts will be together all day and socially distanced from other cohorts.
  • The mental health team is focused on addressing the anxiety and many questions that students will have as they return to the school setting that is our new normal for now. 
  • Social-emotional support will continue in a normal and cohort environment through in-class lessons and check-ins, as well as student access for direct counseling support. 
  • Mental health small-groups will continue, taking into account guidelines for maintaining the integrity of student cohorts and student/staff safety in small groups and one-on-one environments. 
  • For remote students, mental health services will be available through virtual appointments for students on plans or those that require additional support. Small group support may be available through virtual participation with in-person students. 
  • Please refer to the Mental Health page on our website for contact info and additional information.
Extracurricular Activities (ECAs) will proceed as long as regulations allow. Children participating in ECAs will be required to stay 6 feet apart where possible or wear masks. These precautions will minimize cohort "cross-contamination".

Nursing Support

  • Increasing staffing to one full-time nurse at each campus.

Sick Students and Staff:

  • Screening: Parents and staff will sign an agreement that they will check temperatures daily and verify no symptoms are present. Temperature and symptom checks may be part of the carpool process and staff arrival if required by the health department. The school may check temperatures at any time during the school day.
  • Students with suspected COVID-19 symptoms will be quarantined in a designated space until parent comes to pick up.
  • Staff with suspected COVID-19 symptoms will be sent home.

Case Coordination and Communication:

  • Should a member of our school community (student or staff) test positive for COVID-19, our school nurses will work with Tri-County Health to assist with contact tracing and to determine next steps.
  • Waiting on state and legal guidance with how/what will be required for school communication regarding positive COVID-19 cases.

Cleaning and Hygiene:

  • One custodial worker will be added (temporarily) at each campus to assist with additional regular cleaning throughout the day of high-touch areas such as restrooms, lobby, and playground equipment.
  • The school has provided additional hand-sanitizing stations at all campuses.
  • Classrooms/spaces used by multiple cohorts will be sanitized between cohorts
  • Every classroom has a high-efficiency diffuser that pumps in fresh air at breathing level, forcing old air upwards and out of the room. Our buildings maintain 20% fresh air (the recommendation is 12%).

Cohort Safety:

  • Teachers that cross cohorts will practice distancing and protective measures
  • Classrooms/spaces used by multiple cohorts will be sanitized between cohorts

Masks and Protective Equipment:

  • Students will not be required to wear masks unless required by public health order.
  • Staff will be provided with masks and face shields; use will be recommended or required based on public health orders.
  • Other protective equipment will be provided for office staff for working with sick students.


  • Lunchtime may be rotated between cafeteria and classrooms to maintain social distancing between cohorts.
  • Lunch areas will be sanitized in between cohorts as required.
  • Playground/turf/blacktop would be partitioned as needed and cohorts will switch out.
  • Playground equipment will be sanitized in between cohorts as required.


  • Cohorts will generally remain in the classroom with teachers rotating. Teachers who see multiple cohorts will use distancing and protective measures as necessary to minimize cross-contamination of cohorts.
  • Cohorts will be distanced from other cohorts when it is necessary to travel.
  • Lockers will be separated by cohort or not used at all.
  • Restrooms will be sanitized frequently.

Visitors and Volunteers:

  • Generally, parents, visitors and volunteers will not be allowed in the building (beyond the lobby) to limit exposure.
  • All visitors entering the lobby are asked to wear a mask.
  • Pre-scheduled parent meetings will be conducted with distancing and protective measures in place.
  • All parents and visitors with appointments will be required to undergo a temperature and symptom check before entering.
  • Volunteer positions that occur outside of the building (Watchdogs, Carpool, and Playground) are still very much welcome and needed.
  • June 30: Publish high-level plan on the AA Website.
  • Early July: Second parent survey to gage interest in remote learning (with student names but no formal commitment).
  • July 27: Publish final plan with additional details based on the current state of the pandemic.
  • July 31: Parents select in-person or remote learning to start the school year through Fall Break.
  • Oct 2: Based on the state of the pandemic, we either announce a return to normal after Fall Break or ask parents to select in-person or remote learning through Winter Break.
  • Dec 4: Hopefully we announce a return to normal after Winter Break if not already there.

Dates are tentative and subject to change slightly.

What is a flipped classroom? Many middle school classes will be using a flipped classroom model. This means that students listen to the lecture (a video) at home and use class time to ask questions and work on assignments that apply the lecture with the direct support of the teacher.

Are “cohorts” the same as homerooms? Yes, for Elementary students. If a cohort schedule is necessary to start out but we are able to return to our normal schedule, elementary “cohorts” become the homerooms. Remote learners will be assigned to a homeroom so that they know where they will land upon their return.  In Middle School, the cohort will be their assigned ability group, which will also be their homeroom.  Upon arrival to school, students will report to their first period class for homeroom time.

What about small-group ability group classes? Generally speaking, the very small group AG classes will be in the same cohorts so they can go to their small AG classroom for literacy and math. In middle school, students in small group classes will break from their ability group cohort to attend their small group for literacy and math.

Will the school take parent requests for cohort assignments? No – as with homeroom assignments, we cannot take parent requests due to the extreme complexity. However, if you feel that your child and another child should not be together due to potential issues, email your thoughts to your principal to take into consideration.

How much parent time is involved in remote learning? This is entirely dependent on the age of your children. The best source of information on this is your principal.

What will “ability grouping” look like for remote learners? Assignments and work will be differentiated to account for each student’s ability, consistent with what ability group assignments look like in person.

Is there a plan for remote learning for all learners if the school is forced to close? Yes. All teachers are receiving training on remote learning over the summer including the technology platform, expectations, and standards.

Will there be accommodations for allergies while eating in the classroom? If eating in a classroom is necessary, accommodations will be made for allergies such as requiring nut-free lunches for all students. Feel free to contact the school nurse with specific concerns.

Will families who travel for Fall Break be asked to quarantine? Only if the state or local health department require quarantine.

When will cohort/homeroom lists be available? Parents will receive assignments for their student(s) the first week in August. For privacy reasons, we cannot release the names of the other students without family permission.

Please note changes to the upcoming school year calendar - three cross campus planning days have been added; all students (remote and in-person) will be learning at home on these days. For all school calendars, please see webpage:
Picture of 20-21 School CalendarSecond page of school calendar, spelling out the dates and events.