2020-2021 – Update

PAPA staff and I are excited to start the 2020-21 school year! This letter contains details about our Re-opening Plan. It is lengthy and full of information! As you have heard on the news, the NM Public Education Department (PED) released its Re-entry Guidance Document that gives clarity to how schools will opening August.  PAPA’s priority is the same as PED’s – to keep students, staff and our community safe, provide quality in-person education to the greatest extent possible, and to make decisions about changes in the structure of the school setting based on data.  As a community of PAPA students, parents and staff, we  need to work together as a team to support each other and to understand that this year flexibility is the key to stability (which is our theme for the year).  It is imperative that we remain flexible and ready to learn in each of the three learning environments we may need to use this year – in-person, online/virtual, and blended/hybrid.

The PED and DOH will provide guidance based on COVID-19 transmission rates in our region to determine if and when all students can go to school full-time, use a hybrid/blended model or prohibit in-person school and hold school virtually.  I anticipate PAPA students will need to move in and out of the three settings throughout the year.  If there is a change in school settings, we will notify you as quickly as possible. We know that full-time, in-person education is most beneficial to students. PAPA staff and I encourage everyone to follow health guidelines to increase the chances of being able to have school safely and in-person.

Unless otherwise directed by the PED and the NM Department of Health (DOH), PAPA will open with a blended/hybrid model.  This model limits the number of students present in the building at any given time to ensure that appropriate social distancing can be maintained. Students will alternate days of in-person instruction on PAPA’s campus with online or virtual instruction at home. Students in each grade have been separated into either Group A or Group B.  The A Group students will attend in-person classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and every other Friday while the B Group students participate in school virtually from home those days.  B Group students will attend on campus in-person on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other Friday.  A Group students will attend virtually those days.  Attached is the academic calendar with A/B in-person days designated.  In general, students with last names at the beginning of the alphabet are in Group A and students with last names at the end of the alphabet are in Group B.  We have made adjustments for families with multiple last names so children in the same household attend on the same days.  We will let you know which group you are in during final registration.

If your child has a medical condition in which they are at higher risk to contract COVID-19 or if your family decides that in-person school is too risky, PAPA will host fully on-line school. There will be limited enrollment for students in grades 7 – 12 with priority given to medically fragile students.  Students will be required to remain in this program for the entire semester/year, will not be able to participate in performing arts electives or student clubs on campus, and will retain their PAPA enrollment status.  The BYU curriculum is rigorous, contains firm deadlines, aligns to Common Core, and offers core and elective courses.  Please contact me if you choose this option.

With that, there are important changes that parents and students need to understand regarding expectations about academics, health, and safety.  All schools in NM, especially PAPA, realize the importance of academic growth and the need to decrease the academic losses from last Spring.  PAPA is dedicated to its mission to provide a quality college-prep experience with equal emphasis and excellence in the performing arts. Our teachers will provide a rigorous curriculum that aligns with Common Core and NM State Standards that mirror the pace of full-time, in-person school.  On the virtual days, it is important that students engage in classes as scheduled and complete assignments as directed by teachers.  Students need to make the most of each day and be as productive as possible. I recommend structuring home time that mimics the school day. Students will learn better if they have a set schedule with routines for bedtime, waking up, and working on school with a dedicated learning space with minimal distractions.

If your family does not have access to internet or there are significant barriers to blended or fully on-line learning (in the event of full closure), please contact me privately.  We will try to problem-solve together!  Below are more details about the 2020-21 school year:

Technology: all students will be assigned a Chromebook and a protective cover/sleeve to take back and forth to school.  Students are responsible for bringing the Chromebook fully charged to school for their in-person school days.  Students are responsible for taking care of the computer. Parent and students will be required to sign an agreement assuring students/families are responsible for replacement or repair costs of computers.  Again, if you do not have internet access at home, please contact me.

PPE (provided by parents):  Students are required to wear a face mask (two layers) during school except when exercising and eating/drinking.  Bring at least two bottles of water each in-person day as water fountains will be closed.  Bring hand sanitizer for personal use.  Lockers will not be used unless social distancing guidelines are decreased as halls are not wide enough to maintain social distancing when students are at the lockers.  Students will need to carry school items and lunch in their backpacks.

Procedures for attending in-person classes:  Students will need to complete a daily health screening before arriving on campus.  Their temperature will be taken and recorded upon first entry to the building.  Students who are sick, have any COVID-19 symptoms or who have a fever will not be allowed in the building or will be quarantined in the office and parents will be called to pick them up. If a student feels sick, has a cough that is not attributed to a chronic condition (i.e., asthma or allergies) or has  fever, she or he should stay home.  We would rather err of the side of caution and safety than to try to have your child “muscle” through the day. The student can join the class and submit assignments virtually.

COVID-19 contamination:  In the event a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, PAPA will close for deep cleaning.  All classes will be held virtually for those cleaning days. Parents will be notified with the new mass communication tool, SchoolMessenger, (see below) if this occurs.

Social distancing and cleaning: Students will sit 6 feet apart in classes and/or barriers will be placed between desks as necessary.  Dance, band and choir classes will observe greater social distancing and may need to hold classes outside or in larger classrooms.  Students will move from class to class during passing periods using identified routes outside and in the halls.  Social distancing markers will be on floors and reminders posted on walls.

Upon arrival to class, students will use sanitizer as they walk in (there will be a station in each classroom).  Prior to leaving class, students will sanitize their work space. Teachers will wipe down door knobs and light switches at least twice each day.  Each night, PAPA custodial staff will disinfect classrooms, halls and shared spaces.  Restrooms will be cleaned and sterilized at least twice each day.

Lunch:  PAPA Food Services staff will serve hot meals to students who order each morning.  Sack lunches will be offered at the end 7th period to students to take home to eat on virtual days. They will need to order the morning of their in-person day.  Cafè tables will be marked at 6 foot increments to indicate where students may sit.  Students are encouraged to eat outside.

If you have any questions or concerns about procedures to protect students and staff from COVID-19, feel free to contact any of PAPA’s administrators.

Now for the fun part!  We are excited to welcome three new teachers to PAPA this year:  Marena Tarin, PAPA graduate 🙂 – Hip Hop, Brittany Brinker – Social Studies, Tiffany Cunningham – Science, Jody Chandler, Visual Arts.  I am sure they will be a great addition to PAPA’s team!

As we usher in a new school year, some procedures will be a bit different.  First, we will begin using SchoolMessenger to communicate to parents en masse via text, email and phone messages.  We will use SchoolMessenger for emergency notifications, changes to school schedules, snow days, etc.  If you would like to receive text messages from PAPA (through SchoolMessenger), please text the numbers 67587 and enter “Y” in the message into every phone you would like to receive notifications.  Please do this as soon as possible.  If you have not done so by July 20, we will send another reminder via text to opt in to the service. 

Second, final student registration will follow the schedule below.  All registration forms will be sent to you electronically to complete prior to final registration along with a SignUpGenius. This will decrease the amount of time you will be on campus during final registration day and decrease wait times.  If you have more than one child who will attend PAPA next year, bring them all during the oldest child’s registration time.  If you have updated medical forms or shot records, please email them to info@paparts.org before your scheduled registration appointment. It is important for a parent to attend the registration meeting to verify paperwork, approve/adjust class schedules and pay activity fees.  A Household Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals Form (one per household) is required each year.  In order to expedite the completion of the form, please bring your income amount by month.  If you are on SNAP, bring your SNAP number.

In addition to the items above (face masks, water bottles, hand sanitizer, and backpack) school supply lists are posted on PAPA’s website at paparts.org.