Uniform (Dress Code)
Greetings from the Principal
Dear Founding Families,
As always, we thank you all for your continuous support as we open amid a global COVID-19 pandemic. Although we face many challenges, we are here to support each and every one of our families by providing as much stability as possible when we return to school in the fall.
In the current times of uncertainty, unprecedented tragedy and trauma amid the COVID-19 crisis our intention is to provide a safe and predictable roadmap to learning this year.
This begins with an acknowledgement that we all have suffered trauma these past months. Our goal is a recovery that creates stability, predictability and safety for our community. Achieving this goal will depend on all of us banding together, to help one another find creative solutions to what lies ahead.
Presently we are operating under the paradigm, COVID-19 is here to stay. This means that our students will experience learning in a manner that is different from the past. A key implication of this new “normal” is that instruction must be flexible and adaptive.
To ensure uninterrupted learning, our approach needs to be flexible enough to respond quickly and efficiently to multiple platform shifts throughout the school year. While we must understand that the very nature of uncertainty perpetuates anxiety and disruption, we must never give in and never surrender hope.
At Lyceum, our goal this year is to keep every single member of our community safe and learning in a consistent and productive manner. We believe one of the best ways to support our community is to provide education that encompasses our key designs – academic rigor, diversity and equity.
Each and every member of our instructional team is equipped with the resources they need to kick off the school year strong. We have provided ample institutional support to ensure our staff is well prepared to support our students and families.
For our families, we provide a safe and diverse learning environment, regardless of the instructional platform.
For our students, we provide the tools they need to succeed from social-emotional support to learning new technologies. No matter the learning platform, our students will thrive in a healthy and safe learning environment.
In our view, this is a “living document” that will evolve and is one part of the greater conversation with our families, staff and community. As we planned our reopening, we never wavered in our objective to (a) work with families to keep every student and staff member through our health and safety protocols and (b) ensuring flexibility in instruction so that learning will never be interrupted and our students will thrive regardless of the platforms.
- Health and Safety Protocols: Each school day we start fresh by deep cleaning every evening. We engage in regular health monitoring and screening of students and staff to ensure that everyone in the building is safe.
- Face Shields and Cloth Masks: We have invested in 2 cloth (3 layer) masks + 1 face shield for every student and staff member in addition to extra disposable face covering.
- Restriction on Shared Materials & Shared Spaces: We will limit the use of shared materials and shared spaces to reduce exposure. Students will have their own dedicated technology which they will bring to and from school.
- Daily Protocols: Our school community will follow daily protocols designed to teach students how to follow COVID-19 protocols safely and correctly.
- Small class size and fewer transitions: We minimize risk of exposure by reducing class sizes & transitions.
- Social Distancing: Lyceum is situated in a private building. We have enough space to allow our students to attend school fully in-person while maintaining healthy and safe social distance protocols.
- Flexibility in Instruction: Regardless of the platform, our mission is still to deliver culturally responsive, meaningful and rigorous instruction while providing social-emotional support.
Health and Safety Protocols
At Lyceum, the health and safety of our entire community is always our first priority. As we plan to navigate in-person learning and limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19 we incorporated guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and New York’s Department of Health (DOH) in creating our best practices. Our goal is to keep our community safe by providing resources and information.
Our health and safety protocols will include the following:
- Facilities Readiness & Targeted Cleaning Protocols
- Smaller Class Sizes and fewer transitions
- Social Distancing
- Regular Health Monitoring & Screening
- Use of PPE (Face Shields + Cloth Masks) and Gloves
- Limited Shared Materials
- Adjusted Daily Protocols to Support the Above
Facilities Readiness & Targeted Cleaning Protocols
Each school day, we start fresh as we deep clean every evening. We have secured multiple vendors to ensure a steady supply of materials & supplies to account for increased frequency of cleaning.
- Posters, decals and signs will be posted throughout our school to ensure multiple visual reminders of our cleaning protocols.
- Our school will be regularly cleaned with multi-surface cleaners that eliminate 99.9% of bacteria and COVID-19 (anti-viral). Extra special attention will be placed on high-contact surfaces and in high traffic areas.
- We are and will continue to stock supplies for good hygiene, including hand soap, no touch hand sanitizer dispenser with hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), paper towels, tissues, disinfectant wipes, and ready to use cleaning solutions in each room.
- Each classroom and frequently traveled spaces will have an installed hand sanitizer machine.
- Within classrooms, we will be asking students and staff to wipe down surfaces with frequency as detailed in campus-specific plans.
- Sneeze guards will be hung/installed in relevant locations.
- Adult bathrooms will include guidance for staff to wipe down after usage.
Smaller Class Sizes & Fewer Transitions
In the classrooms, we minimize the risk of exposure by reducing class sizes & transitions. Students will move as a pod when needed and shared spaces will be cleaned in between use.
- We are planning to limit the number of people in each classroom. Most classrooms will have 12-15 students + (up to) 2 adults at any given time. In the event we need to program slightly larger classes, we will account for this by assigning a larger room (formally used for larger gatherings).
- When transitions are needed, students will move as a pod using designated paths and stairwells.
- Where required due to mandated supports and areas of specialization, teachers will transition between classrooms.
- Large group gatherings will be suspended (including field trips).
- In keeping with guidelines for minimizing exposure, Lyceum will be limiting access to all visitors.
- This means that parental outreach and conferences will be conducted remotely.
- Vendors and deliveries will be scheduled for times that do not overlap with morning drop off and afternoon pick up.
Even with established pods and use of PPE, all staff and students will maintain social distancing.
- All staff and students will follow social distancing guidelines (CDC) when in the school building.
- Each classroom will maintain a desk configuration that enhances physical distancing, allowing scholars and staff to remain several feet apart.
- Unfortunately, no more hugs and hi-fives. Physical contact will be limited to those who need medical attention. We will continue to show school spirit and support with virtual hugs, virtual handshakes and virtual high fives.
- Decals will be placed in areas where students transition to assist in maintaining appropriate distance.
Regular Health Monitoring & Screening
We will engage in regular health monitoring and screening of students and staff to ensure that everyone in the building is healthy and safe. Monitoring and screening will help curtail unwitting transmission of COVID-19.
- First and foremost, as we engage in regular health monitoring and screening, all staff and student medical information will be kept private.
- All staff and students will have their temperature checked daily as they enter the building. Lyceum will use non-contact thermometers.
- Any child with a temperature reading of 100+ and/or who exhibits symptoms will be sent home with their parent or directed to the closest COVID-19 isolation room (in accordance with DOHMH and CDC guidelines).
- Child(ren) in an isolation room will be accompanied by an adult wearing a face mask and face shield and will await further evaluation.
- Staff or students who test positive for COVID-19 will be asked to stay home for a period of at least 14 days, and be tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible (in accordance with DOHMH and CDC guidelines).
- In the event a staff or student tests positive, Lyceum staff will implement our standard communication protocol:
- Communicate cases to the DOHMH and ensure that they can take appropriate contact tracing measures.
- Inform relevant stakeholders, taking measures to protect privacy.
- Close and isolate a specific pod of students for 14 days.
- In the event a staff or student has a family member test positive for COVID-19, they will be asked to stay home for a period of at least 14 days, and be tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible (in accordance with DOHMH and CDC guidelines).
- Anyone contacted via contact tracing and told that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive and are told to quarantine should do so.
Use of Face Shields and Cloth MasksAll staff and students will wear face coverings in order to limit exposure and unwitting transmission of the virus within our community. COVID-19 spreads mainly through transfer. When we touch and/or inhale respiratory droplets (from an infected or asymptomatic person) that are expelled into the air through coughing, sneezing or talking.
- Lyceum will distribute the following to all staff and students
- 2 x cloth (3 layer) masks + 1 x face shield
- Extra disposable face coverings will be kept on hand.
- Masks will be worn at all times, except for meal breaks where we will be seated at appropriately spaced tables and/or with sneeze partitions.
- Gloves will be available for staff (cleaning classrooms or shared items).
- Students will be reminded not to touch their faces & to wash hands frequently.
- We will provide guidance around sanitation of face coverings and reuse.
Restriction on Shared Materials & Shared SpacesWe will limit use of shared materials and shared spaces to reduce exposure, contact and transfer.
- Shared Materials will be limited.
- Lyceum will supply adequate supplies to minimize sharing materials wherever possible.
- Students will have their own dedicated technology which they will bring to and from school.
- Each staff member will have self-contained supplies.
- Shared Spaces for students will be limited
- Students will have limited access to shared spaces.
- Reading time will occur using a digital library (individual read time) and/or whole class reading (teacher facilitated through smart board).
- Shared Spaces for staff will also be limited.
- Shared spaces will have maximum capacities (ex. Main Office).
- Staff will follow the team schedule for accessing common space (e.g. copy room, staff lounge) to reduce contact.
Daily ProtocolsOur school community as a whole will follow daily protocols to ensure a safe and healthy environment. School leadership will monitor protocols and will adapt/modify our systems as needed as this is a fluid process.
- Our protocols are designed to teach students how to follow COVID-19 protocols safely and correctly.
- Posters, decals and signs will be posted throughout our school to ensure that we have multiple visual reminders of our cleaning, distancing and face covering protocols.
- Entry screening stations will be set up and we will post CDC COVID-19 symptoms posters.
- Upon entry, staff will receive a temperature check and arrival procedures will be modified to ensure that appropriate social distancing is maintained.
- Staff morning check-in and afternoon check-out will be conducted virtually.
- Student arrival and dismissal procedures will be modified to ensure that appropriate social distancing is maintained.
- Staff will perform hands-free temperature checks of students and perform visual checks to identify anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
- All students and staff will wear face masks + face shields and use hand sanitizer and maintain the requisite social distancing.
- Meals will be served in classrooms or in the cafeteria while maintaining appropriate social distancing and/or partitions.
- In-class procedures will minimize students touching the same items, any items that need to be shared will be sanitized in between use.
- Students and staff will engage in frequent hand-washing and sanitizing, and designated times will be identified in the schedule.
- Students will receive explicit instruction during the first two weeks of school about health and hygiene.
- Student bathroom procedures will be specified to ensure limited numbers of students. Bathrooms will have reminders of proper physical distancing, and hand washing hygiene posted.
Flexibility In Instruction
In addition to health and safety, our critical area of focus is instruction with an emphasis on flexibility. As we kick off this school year, we already start with many challenges. Back to school will look very different as students will either be attending school in person or remotely. Students (wearing face coverings) will be greeted by adults with smiles, albeit behind face coverings. Morning routines will include daily temperature screenings. Classwork, homework and reading will be done on an iPad and SmartBoard rather than through paper/pencil.
A lot of new protocols, a lot of changes and a lot of new things to learn and adapt to but we will work together and we will persevere. Finally, no matter what form it takes, our mission is still to deliver culturally responsive, meaningful and rigorous instruction to the whole child while providing guidance and social-emotional support.
As we dive into the school year, we have several goals in mind. Equity equals access for all is an important element in our flexible instructional design. Regardless of instructional program, we have invested in:
- One learning device per child: to fulfill our commitment to developing computer and digital literacy while imparting an early foundation for STEM.
- Our classrooms (virtual and physical): are designed to stimulate and promote problem solving through our delivery of active and inquiry based instruction.
- Institutional Support to our teachers: Over the summer we have provided ample resources, professional development and materials, so that our staff can always focus on the learning needs of our students.
One Device per Student
At Lyceum, our goal is to provide access to all our students, a 21st century whole child education, fostered by active learning to achieve Math and Computer Literacy, Cultural and Civic Literacy, Scientific and Language Arts Literacy.
In addition, we believe that equity equals access for all regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, language ability, learning needs and socioeconomic status. We understand that our students face many barriers to education as it stands and access should not be one. To that end, Lyceum has invested in our community by providing 1 electronic device (iPad) to each student. Lyceum believes in inclusion and providing instruction using multiple modalities. With their assigned electronic devices, all students can access our rich STEM focused, Dual Immersion curriculum with academic and language supports built in. School iPads will be loaded with learning platforms, digital learning materials, educational and enrichment apps to support all learners at all levels of language ability.
Ensuring that our students have their own designated device for learning means that ALL students have the tools they need to succeed, such as:
- access to digital curriculum for content area learning and supports
- learning in different modalities to provide entry points
- access to full digital libraries for “print,” read-to-me and audio books
- apps and programs to support language development for students and families (Dual Immersion Programs)
- apps and programs for academic supports (Diverse Learners)
- apps and programs for enrichment
Why Virtual: Due to the current climate, Lyceum anticipates that families may choose remote learning as their desired education pathway.
There are currently too many unknowns and we understand that safety is key, especially during a pandemic.
We understand that for some families it is too soon to return to in-school interactions.
We have developed a flexible approach that allows full-remote learning that is based on our in-school instruction format.
How we prepared for virtual: We researched the best electronic devices for our population of students. We found that iPads were the best choice because they have hi-definition displays, came in the right screen size and were compatible with many apps for education. We ordered one iPad for each student.
We also developed a comprehensive, 4 week Summer Institute to provide our teachers with professional development in order to support learning in different modes and platforms.
What Virtual looks like: Each student will have their own iPad for learning. Every morning, students will start at their homeroom launch pad. Students follow their schedule for remote learning which includes stretching and meal breaks. Most work can be completed as self-paced. Some classes will be live-streamed. Those who are interested may reach out to the school to arrange for meals.
Why In Person: There is no better way to educate young students (kindergarten and 1st grade) than through in-person instruction.
Schools are a safe space where we go to learn and socialize. Schools are places of structure, stability and safe havens.
In an attempt to “return to normal” under present circumstances, we need to do so safely. Unlike many schools, Lyceum is not co-located and we have enough space to have our students attend school fully in person while maintaining health, safety and distancing protocols.
How we prepared for In Person: We identified vendors to create a constant supply stream of resources needed to maintain a clean and safe space for in person learning.
We stocked up on face masks, face shields and gloves. We developed health screening and cleaning protocols to keep everyone safe.
We also developed a comprehensive, 4 week Summer Institute to provide our teachers with professional development in order to support learning in different modes and platforms.
What it looks like: Work will be completed on iPad rather than paper and pen. “Books” will be read in digital form (iPad for individual reading and Smartboards for whole class). Meals will now happen in small groups, either in classrooms or in the cafeteria behind sneeze guard partitions. Free play will now have to be more structured to ensure appropriate distancing.
How does this structure affect grading? While we always strive for academic excellence and accountability. We have adapted our grading policy to reflect the current climate. We have designed a grading policy that will be flexible for implementation whether we are engaging in in-person or virtual learning. We understand that flexibility in instruction will also require flexibility in grading.
This means we will provide extra help and extra time to complete assignments when needed. Work can be completed and submitted in a way that makes sense for each household. Students will also have access to a physical copy of the work which can be completed by hand. Work can be submitted by texting or emailing a photo to the teacher.
Institutional Support to Our Teachers
- We provided our teachers with resources (also in digital form) and structure to better support planning for both virtual and in-person learning.
- As we increased our student technology, we also increased our technological management support (including software updates, firewall and explicit content controls, malware removal, tech support and troubleshooting, etc) with our technology consultant.
- During the summer our teachers participated in an intensive Summer Institute Professional Development series designed to provide them with support and resources in remote learning, active learning and trauma awareness.
- During the school year, teachers will participate in weekly PD to insure that they are receiving necessary support for addressing our student’s ever changing learning needs.
- In addition, Lyceum will provide access to multiple online platforms to support instruction and provide enrichment for all learners (including but not limited to the following):
- Google Classroom
Classroom Launch Pad, where your teacher’s virtual classroom lives. This is where all students should begin daily regardless of mode of learning.
Classroom workflow. Families can access student assignments, learning goals, grades, assessments and portfolios.
- iO Messenger
Parent and community communications. Empower parents and students to chat with teachers in real-time.
Parent communication tool that facilitates easy and equitable communication, including text messages to parents in multiple languages.
- Alphabet Tracing
App for iPads, acts as a doodle pad for students to use their fingers to practice letter formation.
Fun and engaging apps to support learning a new language. Great for families to play together.
App for iPads, is user friendly providing access to digital and audio books.
- Khan Academy
Fun, educational program designed to inspire young children to become learners for life. The robust curriculum and original content make learning engaging and fun for children ages two to seven.
- Savvas Realize
Savvas digital classroom portal for our Math Curriculum, Investigations 3 by TERC.
Lyceum will use Zoom to conduct virtual classes, meetings and conferences.
- Google Classroom
Trauma Sensitive Practices
In the current times of uncertainty, unprecedented tragedy and trauma amid the COVID-19 crisis our goal is to provide a learning environment building in trauma sensitive practices. Ensuring that all children exposed to adverse experiences will succeed is an important aspect of our SEL and whole child approach to learning. This begins with an acknowledgement that we all have suffered trauma these past months and we will be providing an environment of stability, predictability and safety. Achieving this goal will depend on all of us banding together, to help one another find creative solutions to what lies ahead.
We believe that identifying and implementing research-based trauma informed practices is crucial to meeting the needs of students, staff, and families during these turbulent times. We understand that the very nature of uncertainty perpetuates anxiety and disruption.
To combat this disruptive cycle, we provide our families with all the resources and support we can to ensure that each and everyone of our students can heal, learn and grow.
In order to help traumatized children learn, we will follow: Understanding the biological and physiological response to trauma. Our trauma sensitive approach will include the following:
- A welcoming, supportive and safe community to help children begin to heal, overcome these feelings and diminish the severity of the trauma response.
- Creating a physical, social and emotional safe environment that is predictable and calm.
- Our staff will foster relationships with students and families that are compassionate as will as dependable and trustworthy.
- Ongoing staff professional development to provide resources to better support our students and families.
- Ongoing family engagement and workshops to provide steady communication and social-emotional support.
Given the current cultural climate, fraught with persistent social injustice, we are committed to providing our students with an educational experience that will prepare them to be confident, whole and prepared. We are determined to provide an equitable and safe space for students to learn and grow by providing a consistent and dependable instructional environment.
Logistics & Execution
As we planned our reopen procedures key elements were focused on to ensure the highest level of success in execution. We used the following principles to inform our design process:
- Ensuring we have thoughtfully planned the whole process using a holistic framework – from the start to finish.
- Designing our process to prioritize family accessibility so that our students and families can receive the highest quality of support.
- Ensuring equity and access in-person and with remote learning by integrating transitions across platforms in both directions.
- Operate with excellence, accountability, sustainability and transparency.
With these principle in hand, we developed our comprehensive plans:
- Re-Opening Overview
- School Calendar
- Instructional Start & End Times
- School Schedules
- Student Attendance
- Meal Service
Our decision to reopen is ultimately determined by the Governor of NYS and NYC decision-makers. Specifically:
- The Governor will open schools if NYC is in Phase IV and the daily infection rate remains below 5% or lower using a 14-day average.
- NYS will decide if we have met these criteria early August (approximately Aug 1st – Aug 7th).
- Schools will close if the regional infection rate is greater than 9% using a 7-day average after the August 1st determination has been made.
If these conditions are met, Lyceum will open for in-person instruction in September 2020. Otherwise, we will open with remote learning.
Note: Even after we do “open,” in the event of widespread virus transmission, we will follow NYS, DOH and CDC guidelines for closure of school facilities and in-person instruction and move to full remote learning until resolved.
We have developed a comprehensive school calendar that reflects relevant dates, events, and holidays. Regardless of instructional platform, our calendar is designed to create a sense of stability and consistency for families and students.
School Calendar will be released at a later date.
Instructional Start and End Time
Our schedule is designed so that regardless of instructional platform, students will have consistency and maximize opportunities for social interactions while maintaining Health and Safety protocols. Our school day start and end times were determined with the following in mind:
- Expanded morning arrival window to account for our Health and Safety protocols.
- Address the very real issue of student isolation and lasting impacts of limited social interaction with peers.
- Flexibility in design to account for unanticipated changes.
- Prepare for and anticipate that we will have some students on a fully-remote learning plan.
Currently we have planned for a school day of 8:30am – 4:30pm and morning drop off will still be open as early as 7:30am (subject to change).
We have prepared school schedules that consider fully remote and fully in-person learning so that we are prepared to switch between the two models as needed, due to change of circumstances around health and safety.
Virtual and In-Person schedules will be released at a later date.
Student AttendanceAttendance is still an important factor in academic success. Like all of our plans, we will extend flexibility to recording attendance. We have designed attendance protocols to be simple in execution and user friendly regardless of learning platform. And like all protocols it will be periodically updated as needed.
- Virtual: The purpose of an attendance system in a virtual-only setting will be to ensure students engage in live learning activities daily and that their families are informed about their participation. Students will be required to attend live stream and/or zoom class meetinsg every day. Participation will serve as attendance for the day.
- In Person Instruction: Teachers will take attendance daily using our Student Information System. Communication to parents will occur using the corresponding messenger app.
Meal ServiceWe are committed to providing all families healthy and nutritious food. We have decided to work with DOE School Food because it is our responsibility to make sure that ALL children have meals, regardless of learning platform (from home or in school). Students attending school in person will have their meals in small groups, either in classrooms or in the cafeteria behind partitions. Age-appropriate protocols for in-class lunch will be detailed in the family handbook and shared with families via email newsletter.
TransportationLyceum, like all schools, relies on the Department of Education’s Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) for student transportation needs – including MetroCards for students K-12, and yellow bus service. Our student’s eligibility for yellow bus service, and whether they receive full or half fare MetroCards depends on the distance they live from the school. Presently NYC DOE OPT has not confirmed transportation for the upcoming school year. We are working with them closely and will share their decision as soon as we have the information. As there is too much uncertainty around what bus service will look like, we will keep families informed as our plans are finalized. In the meantime, please plan to drop off your child(ren) in the morning and pick up for dismissal. We will of course be flexible with arrival times because we understand there may be delays caused by public transportation.
Staffing & Support
- Essential Staff – school will be fully staffed to support both in person and virtual learning.
- Accommodation Requests/Medical Exemptions – staff who wish to apply may do so following the protocol detailed in our staff handbook.
- Parents & Caregivers Considerations – staff who qualify should refer to the protocol detailed in our staff handbook.
- Sick Days & Sick Leave – please refer to the staff handbook.
At Lyceum, we see our families as key stakeholders in educating our students. We want to provide a means for parents to be involved as much as they are able, while keeping our students and staff safe. Due to the current climate we are moving towards facilitating communication. As we continue to engage families through our email newsletters and phone calls we understand that many of our families have either lost loved ones, lost jobs, are behind on rent, or struggling with food insecurity during this pandemic.
Lyceum in fulfilling our mission, is fully dedicated to closing the achievement gap and addressing the very real issues and obstacles caused by inequity, systemic racism and poverty. As our community is disproportionately impacted, we are mindful of providing a safe and stable environment for learning, sharing resources and support with our families through meaningful and consistent communication. Together we will get through this pandemic.
It is important to provide our families with the following:
- Resources and outlets for social-emotional and academic support, for both children and adults.
- Toolkit for families supporting students of all learning and language needs with work at home.
- Support in navigating virtual learning tools/platforms and communication protocols.
Our family engagement and communication policies includes:
- Weekly outreach from our teachers
- Attendance protocol that works with both in person and virtual learning
- User friendly communication platforms
- Regular check-ins from our Family Outreach Team
These strategies and resources will be included in our updated family handbook, to be shared at a later date. We will continue our outreach to ensure that the family’s “voice” is included in our plans and to address needs as they arise.
In addition to our family outreach protocol, we will also have in place resources and information with families in need from McKinney Vento around transportation and housing issues. We will also expand their focus on referrals for family counseling to ensure families are provided with greater support during this challenging season.
Family Workshops and Community Meetings will be conducted virtually. Schedules will be emailed to parents in our newsletter.