PARENT ZOOM Q&A
Pioneer Valley Christian Academy will host two town hall style zoom meetings. The meetings are to answer parents’ concerns or questions about the return to school on Monday, August 31. Our Headmaster, Mr. Timothy Duff, Program Director, Mr. Eric Refsnider, and members of the Reopening Task Force will be in attendance to answer questions.
Wednesday, August 5, 6:30-8:30 PM
Thursday, August 6, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
To register, fill out the form. A link will be emailed the day of the scheduled zoom meeting.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the state guidance and requirement for private schools?
Private, independent, parochial, and Christian schools may use the state’s DESE documents as a guide doe.mass.edu/covid19. PVCA will be following these guidelines along with the CDC and DPH
recommendations for reopening the academy.
What is the overall goal for education in the academic school year 2020-21?
Our goal is the safe return of as many students as possible to an in-person school setting, to maximize learning
and address our students’ holistic needs which are spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical.
Why is PVCA recommending in-person learning for our students?
After weeks of discussion with our Reopening School Task Force, experts in the medical field, and PVCA
administration, and given the low transmission rates of COVID-19 among children and young people, there
is a clear consensus that in-person learning is the preferred model for educating our students.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has affirmed that children, particularly younger children, are less likely
than adults to be infected with COVID-19. Furthermore, if they become infected, children may not have the
same transmission potential as adults. The health and safety requirements for school reopening use a
combination of strategies that, together, will substantially reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 at PVCA. This combination approach includes masks/face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing or
sanitizing, and staying home when sick.
Why is PVCA not beginning the school year remotely?
We believe there is no substitute for in-person instruction when it comes to the quality of students’ academic
learning. In-person school learning plays an equally important role in supporting students’ spiritual growth,
social-emotional needs, mental and physical health, and lessening the effect of the trauma on our students.
What are the guidelines for safe distancing requirements between students?
Medical experts state the greater the physical distancing the better. Establishing a minimum physical distance
is informed by evidence and substantiated by guidance from DESE, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP),
and the World Health Organization (WHO). PVCA will seek to comply with the distance directives suggested
by these institutions.
Who will need to wear a mask or face covering, and when do they have to be worn at PVCA?
Per DESE guidelines, students in second grade and above, and all adults entering and working in the school
building, are required to wear a face mask /face covering that covers their nose and mouth at all times. There
will be designated breaks throughout the day when students will be permitted to remove their masks as long
as they are at least six feet apart. Although not required, students in preschool through first grade may be
encouraged to wear masks at their parents’ discretion. Bus students must wear a face mask /face covering
during school bus transportation. Students will wear masks as they exit and enter the building and will be
required to follow the six-foot distancing protocol while outside. Teachers and parents should reinforce maskwearing with our students.
Are there exceptions to wearing masks or face coverings at school?
An exception to face mask /face covering requirements will be made for any students for whom it is not
possible due to medical conditions, disability impact, or other health or safety factors. This will need to be
validated by a medical doctor and approved by the school administration.
Face shields may be an option for students with medical challenges who are unable to wear face mask /face
covering. Students wearing face shields will be required to distance themselves six feet or greater from
students wearing mask/face coverings.
Office personnel, working within the six-foot distancing protocol, will be excluded apart from times when
serving students, parents, and the public.
Will the school provide masks/face coverings?
It is the responsibility of the parents to provide a face mask /face covering for their child(ren). We recommend
purchasing three to five washable masks for each student. Students may want to leave an extra mask /face
covering at school. The school will provide a face/mask covering only for students in an emergency situation.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
How will arrival and departure be conducted?
In order to provide proper social distancing, there will be a designated entrance and location for students
arriving prior to 7:55 AM. The exact procedures, entrances, and locations for students will be sent home prior
to school opening.
Who will be permitted to enter the building?
Only Parents of preschool through grade one students will be permitted to enter the building at the drop-off
and pick-up entrance during the scheduled drop-off and pick-up times. All other parents and visitors will be
required to sign in and enter through the front entrance.
What will be required of students entering the building?
Upon entry to the school, students will be required to wear a face mask/face covering and properly clean their
hands at the sanitizing stations at each point of entry. Temperature checks will not be required per DESE
What will be required of staff entering the building?
Teachers and staff will be required to wear a face mask/face covering or a face shield that covers their nose
and mouth at all times, except for designated breaks or when appropriately socially distanced.
What will be required of parents and visitors entering the building?
All parents and visitors will be required to wear a face mask /face covering or a face shield that covers their
nose and mouth at all times. They will be required to sanitize their hands upon entering and exiting the school
What are the proper handwashing techniques?
When handwashing, individuals should use soap and water to wash all surfaces of their hands for at least 20
seconds, wait for visible lather, rinse thoroughly, and dry with an individual disposable towel. Hand sanitizer
should be applied to all surfaces of the hands and in sufficient quantity that it takes 20 seconds of rubbing
hands together for the sanitizer to dry. Hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethanol or at least 70 percent
isopropanol content will be used.
While handwashing with soap and water is the best option, alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60 percent
ethanol or at least 70 percent isopropanol) may be utilized when handwashing is not available. As has always
been the case, hands should be washed before food consumption, whenever visibly soiled and after using the
Should students and staff be tested for COVID-19? Is there routine testing?
Current Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidance states that anyone who shows any COVID-19
symptoms, even if mild, should be tested. Medical experts recommend that close contacts of those who test
positive should also get tested. The school reserves the right to check temperatures and require testing as
concerns are presented.
What will be done when a student, staff member, or a family member tests positive for COVID-19?
Policies and procedures are being developed to ensure the safety of the school community. DESE guidance
was just published July 22.
Does a student need to submit a doctor’s note if absent for an extended time (more than two days) not related to COVID?
Given the current health crisis with limited doctor visits, a physician’s note will not be required; however, a
parental note must be submitted and clearance from the school nurse must be obtained when the student
returns to school.
FACILITIES AND OPERATIONS
What is the maximum number of students permitted in one class in the fall?
There are no required maximums on group sizes, so long as schools adhere to physical distancing
requirements. PVCA will seek to maximize physical distancing by rearranging classrooms and using larger
spaces in the facility.
When students are in the cafeteria, classrooms, or other spaces to eat, what is the space requirement?
During meals, masks cannot be worn; therefore, six-feet physical distancing will be required. To provide
adequate distancing, there will be multiple lunch breaks and room options (e.g., cafeteria, multi-purpose room,
gym, outside, courtyards, etc.).
How will recess be conducted for preschool through grade five?
Physical movement is important for young children. As more guidance on playground equipment and outdoor
play is provided, our recess activities will adapt to provide as much physical activity for children as safely
possible. Only playground equipment which can be sanitized between groups will be utilized for play.
What will be the requirements for after-school care?
We will continue our after-school care program for the new school year with modifications made to
accommodate social distancing, minimize movement and mixing, and maintain the rigorous hygiene standards
established throughout the school day.
USE OF TECHNOLOGY
What will PVCA provide in the event that remote learning is needed?
Our goal is to primarily provide in-person learning and utilize distance learning as the individual or
community requires. For this year, our distance learning platform will be Google Classroom integrated with
our student information system, FACTS (formerly known as RenWeb). The Preschool team will use the
technology platform, Class Tag, which best aligns with the developmental philosophy of the curriculum. All
faculty are receiving training and have access to video production applications in order to provide your
students an excellent learning experience.
Our vision is to personalize each family’s educational needs, regardless of whether students or faculty are in
the classroom or accessing the class remotely. Training on Google Classroom and other learning platforms
will be made available for students and parents in the fall. Communication will be enhanced between teachers
and families to ensure all students are able to contribute and feel they are valued members of the PVCA
Can parents choose whether to send their children to school or keep them learning remotely?
In-school attendance is the intent of our re-opening because there is no substitute for the attention and
engagement possible with in-person learning. Any student requiring distant learning, due to COVID-19, must
be approved by the administration.
If my child starts the school year remotely can I send them back to in-person learning?
Parents can choose to send their children back to school to in-person learning after meeting with the school
MONDAY, JULY 27, 2020
FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 2020
A Message From the Headmaster - April 10, 2020
A Message From PVCA - We Miss You!
FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 2020
A Message From the Headmaster - April 3, 2020
FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2020
A Message From the Headmaster - March 27, 2020
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2020
A Message From the Headmaster - March 24, 2020
THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2020
A Message From the Headmaster
I want to thank you for your response to the closing of our school with little warning. Our goal is to finish the year on June 5 as long as we can accomplish the fourth quarter requirements. If we all work together, we can be successful. We appreciate your input regarding our educational procedures and the administration and teachers will be making some adjustments as a result of your feedback. Our goal is to streamline it for parents and students alike. I will communicate our changes with you on Friday.
I leave you with this promise from Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” We must continue to praise Him for his faithfulness. May God bless each of you.
In His care,
TUESDAY, MARCH 16, 2020
A Message From the Headmaster
Our Governor, Charles Baker, has mandated that all public and private schools be closed for three weeks. I completely understand and empathize with all of our families regarding the hardship this new mandate will bring to each of you. We have never been faced with a situation as serious as this in the history of our school. I realize there will be many questions and concerns, but I trust this letter is the first of several to answer some of them. We will navigate this journey together with the education of our students being the utmost priority. We do not want our students to fall behind in their academics, so our goal is to do everything we can do to stay current with the curriculum. Our teachers are prepared to continue educating your children.
Let me address some immediate questions:
- Students will continue their education by utilizing RenWeb and other online platforms as well as prepared activities.
- If you do not have access to the internet, please inform your respective principal or teacher.
- Even though students will not be in a physical classroom, they will be expected to complete all assigned work.
- If your student is ill, please contact the teacher directly. Make-up work guidelines apply.
- Teachers will be grading all assignments.
- We expect our students to maintain the same level of academic integrity regardless of their physical location.
- We are continuing the education of our students; therefore, tuition will not be refunded for the period in which we are closed.
- Students will need their textbooks and other supplies to continue their education. A plan and time is detailed below for parents to pick up the necessary materials.
- Monitoring your student’s homework will be critical for success.
- Communication will be essential for the academic success of your student. You will be receiving detailed information from your student’s teacher on a regular basis.
- Teachers will inform you of their “office hours” for your convenience.
- All extracurricular activities will be cancelled until further notice.
- The Mission Trip scheduled for June 14-19 is on hold.
It is a comfort to know that the Lord is with us and has promised to “never leave us nor forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5). We are confident that the promises of God will sustain us in the most uncertain and stressful times.
We appreciate your support as we navigate uncharted territory. Our goal is to offer excellent education in the safest environment for our students. Our response as Christians can show the world around us who is in control. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” As we are reminded in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I am confident that as we work together we will be successful in the education of your children.
May “the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).
For Christian Education,
GUIDELINES FOR THE UPCOMING WEEKS
In order for students to continue their education, it is crucial that parents pick up textbooks and/or assignments. Tables are set up in the new gymnasium with the textbooks by grade, by student.
The gym will be open:
Tuesday, March 17, 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Wednesday, March 18, 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM
We trust this will give every parent an opportunity to come and retrieve books, assignments, and materials needed for the following weeks. The teachers will be in continual contact with you regarding the student’s updated assignments.
FOR YOUR SAFETY
We are limiting the number of parents entering the building to five at one time.
We would ask that no students enter the building.
The office will be open from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM.
PVCA COVID-19 WEB PAGE
Mrs. Funchion has designed a COVID-19 web page https://pvcama.org/covid19/ to keep our parents updated.
FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2020
A Message From the Headmaster
I have just been informed that the Springfield School Department and all of the surrounding towns have closed their schools for the next three weeks through April 5. We also will be closed during this time. I realize this creates tremendous challenges for many of you, and I wish I did not have to take this action, but our first and foremost concern must be the safety of our students, staff, and our school families.
You will be informed on Monday of our academic plan for the students during this two week closure. It may necessitate your coming to the school to pick up textbooks and/or assignments. We will communicate the specific directives no later than Monday afternoon.
As you are all well aware, these events go beyond what we have ever faced before; therefore, we greatly appreciate your flexibility and patience as we work through this health emergency. We will be adjusting our school calendar and cancelling all scheduled events through May 4.
I want to thank the many parents who volunteered to assist with extra sanitizing of our facilities and who made themselves available to the teachers. Your willingness to support the school during this uncertain time in our nation with the Coronavirus is an expression of your love and support. Thank you for always being willing to lend a hand when there is a need. Please note, we may still need your help when we reconvene.
Let us pray together that this health emergency will be contained, our school family will remain healthy, and we will have a strong finish to the school year. May I encourage you with the promises of God from Psalm 91 who is greater than all or our worries and fears.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
I will be praying that God will sustained you by His mercy and grace.
In His care,