THE SCHOOLS OF MCKEEL ACADEMY

REOPENING PLANS FOR 2020-2021

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The Schools of McKeel Academy announces two options for reopening.

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COVID-19 UPDATES

  • August 4
    Parent Call to Action

    We are calling to action every parent and guardian of our McKeel Traditional students. If we want to remain open to provide face-to-face instruction and keep our students and staff healthy, we must all come together in honesty and act responsibly for the benefit of our entire community. After choice selection and evaluating class sizes we have now determined that social distancing within the classrooms is not possible. Therefore, we are REQUIRING MASKS for ALL students and staff (K-12) at ALL times; the only exceptions to this policy will be when students or staff are outside and socially distanced, at lunch, at breakfast or if a medical exemption is provided.

    Additionally, we strongly encourage those families who have kindergarten, first or second graders to spend the time prior to school starting on August 6 acclimating your child to wearing a mask.We understand that wearing masks can be stressful and we will be encouraging ALL of our instructional staff to take outside mask breaks with their students throughout the day.

    We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you that under no circumstances should children who are sick or presenting illness come to school.

    Three ways you can help us meet this expectation:

    1. Create a new morning routine by executing our McKeel Symptom Checker, located on the mckeelcommunity.com website, prior to leaving home for school or boarding our buses. The same is expected of our faculty and staff.
    2. Know COVID-19 symptoms and other virus symptoms.
    3. Ensure that your child is fever free without the aid of pain reliever for at least 24 hours before coming to school.

    We have hired Mrs. Angel Allman, a Board Certified, registered LPN with over 25 years of healthcare experience to serve as our COVID-19 Coordinator. Mrs. Allman will serve as our liaison with the Polk County Health Department and provide guidance in the event of any COVID related incidents involving our students and staff. Please note that FERPA and HIPAA regulations prohibit TSMA from sharing private health information of students or staff. Mrs. Allman may be reached at covidcare@mckeelschools.com or by phone at 863-450-7612.

    Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we operate in this fluid environment. Whether your child is enrolled in McKeel Traditional or McKeel Virtual, we assure you that our teachers, faculty and staff will work diligently to be an anchor for your children in these turbulent times.

    Sincere regards and best wishes to you and yours as we get back to work, back to teaching and back to learning.

    Alan Black
    Director of Schools
    The Schools of McKeel Academy

  • July 15
    A message from Alan Black, Director of Schools

    The Schools of McKeel Academy (TSMA) are committed to maintaining our 2020/21 school start date and calendar for K-12 students. Teachers will return on July 30 with students returning, or beginning virtually on August 6. Our faculty and staff will be ready to launch both learning options, McKeel Traditional and McKeel Virtual as planned.

    Each campus is diligently working to prepare and share information. Please continue to frequently check emails, school based websites and social media platforms for school specific information. For additional assistance, you may contact your child(ren)’s school principal listed below. Should you wish to change your selection of traditional or virtual you may do so by contacting your school principal by 4pm Monday, July 20. After that time we will be unable to accommodate semester changes outside of health and livelihood matters.

    SMA: Mrs. Joyce Powell at joycepowell@mckeelschools.com
    MAC: Mrs. Angela Massung at angelamassung@mckeelschools.com
    MAT: Mrs. Kim Benson at kimbenson@mckeelschools.com

    TSMA continues to highly recommend the wearing of face coverings for all students and TSMA employees when on campus. Any type of face covering or mask is acceptable as long as it is not distracting to the educational process. While not a TSMA school-wide mandate, there will be times throughout the school day where face coverings will be required for all students and staff when social distancing may not be feasible.

    Face coverings will be required for all students during the following times (unless a medical exemption is provided):

    • While on a school bus
    • Changing classes
    • When going through the lunch line
    • When having a one-on-one conversation with a teacher and unable to social distance
    • Arrival and dismissal (MAC & SMA: when sitting in the gym, lunchroom, or carline and bus line; MAT: common gathering areas)

    Students and staff are highly encouraged to wear masks at times other than those required above. TSMA will revisit mask requirements and make adjustments as needed in consultation with the local health department.

    Again, we appreciate your patience and flexibility as we work to return to learning on August 6, 2020, with the overall health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and families a driving priority.

  • July 9
    A message from TSMA Director Alan Black: Selection Extension

    ANNOUNCEMENT: Selection Deadline Extension to Sunday, July 12 @ 11:59 p.m.

    Please also review a second FAQ which is linked below consisting of additional questions and answers as you work to make a decision that you are most comfortable with and that best suits your student and family needs.

    We recognize that you are tasked with a great decision that involves some level of risk. Our priority to safety and education does not change amidst the ever growing concern of the recent increase of outbreaks within Polk County. We assure you that we are in frequent contact with our local health officials and will continue to be so as we work to implement recommended protocols that contribute to the mitigation process towards reducing the spread of COVID-19 here within our community. Again, the overall health and well-being of our students, families, teachers and staff is of significant priority.

    The options of McKeel Traditional and McKeel Virtual are our best options to meet and exceed compliance with the FDOE. We understand there is much unknown. There is not a perfect solution and we regret that we are unable to offer you 100% assurance that your child will not potentially contract COVID-19 when school resumes.

    If there is one thing that we have all learned since closing our classroom doors on March 13, it's that life while different, still goes on. Learning must continue and we must not lose pace for the thousands of McKeel students with dreams of a better tomorrow. With great anticipation I am excited about the return of our students. Will there be more changes? Will there be more questions? Will we have to pivot once again? Will we get it 100% right? It is early to say and hard to predict. I do know that our faculty and staff are among the top educator's not just in Florida but in the nation. They are innovative, engaged and committed to the success of every child now and in the future.

    In closing, we continue to work towards a solution for those new and returning students that did not receive an email. It is important that all records with primary contact information is current. Please continue to visit mckeelcommunity.com for the latest COVID-19 updates and information surrounding our reopening plan & guiding principles. For all other school specific information you may visit school based websites and social media platforms.

    We look forward to August 6 and wish you and your families well.

    Sincerly,

    Alan Black
    Director of Schools
    The Schools of McKeel Academy

    View Reopening FAQ Part 2
  • July 6
    Reopening Plan FAQ

    In response to and in efforts to answer the high volume of emails we have received since announcing our TSMA reopening plan and guiding principles, we have prepared the attached FAQ document. This document has been created by capturing your most common questions.

    We value your questions and believe this FAQ document to be an efficient and effective way to answer your most common questions in an open forum that may benefit all students and families across our McKeel community in working to evaluate and select your child’s preferred learning option for Fall 2020 by Friday, July 10

    For school specific and/or course specific inquiries, please contact your respective school administration. Information surrounding school supply lists, uniforms, orientation, class schedules and the like will be forthcoming from your respective school.

    Please continue to visit your campus websites and school based social media platforms for additional information set apart from the election process of McKeel Traditional or McKeel Virtual.

    View Reopening FAQ
  • Older Updates
    Older Updates

    We have compiled a list of our older updates into an archive. They can be viewed by clicking the View Archive button below.

Reopening Plan & FAQ's

We will offer two options for students K-12, McKeel Traditional and McKeel Virtual, with both to begin on Thursday, August 6, 2020. Please tap on the below options to learn more about our reopen plan and guiding principles.

View Reopening FAQ View Reopening FAQ Part 2
  • Learn more about McKeel Traditional

    This model represents a return to the designated school campus where students will interact daily with their teacher(s) and classmates. The school day will follow the standard bell times and standard schedule that includes all core classes and other subject areas. In short, it represents a return to the traditional school environment – with several significant changes involving enhanced health and safety precautions. The goal is to create an environment that provides an opportunity for students to return to the traditional school experience, while providing effective safeguards to protect the health and safety of students and staff.

    Attendance - In person attendance is important and conducive to learning. TSMA will work with families whose student may contract COVID-19 and will develop a comprehensive care plan for returning to school.

    Learn more about our guiding principles by tapping a heading below.

    • Bus Transportation

      Face coverings can be an important mitigation tool for individuals and families when not able to maintain social distancing for activities such as riding a bus. TSMA highly recommends students wear a face covering/mask while riding a school bus.

      TSMA will disinfect school busses between routes and at the end of each school day.

    • Arrival/Dismissal

      Hand sanitizer stations will be set up at the entrance of each campus for students to sanitize their hands before they enter the campus. To decrease congregating in one location students will be encouraged to practice social distancing. Individual schools will have a plan to space students out.

      MAC Preschool parents are the only parents allowed to walk up to the campus to drop off and pick up their Preschool student and siblings of the Preschool student.

    • Food Service/Cafeteria

      TSMA cafeteria seating will resume at 50% capacity. The remaining 50% of students being served during their designated lunchtime will eat in their classroom or utilize outdoor space. The individual campuses will share school specific plans. TSMA will enhance the cleaning of surfaces between service times. TSMA will prohibit foodsharing activities.

    • Health & Safety Measures

      Health Screenings - Health screenings will be conducted regularly for individuals on TSMA property. Parents/guardians should conduct their own screenings at home each morning before the school day and must keep their child home if ill. All staff will perform a symptom self screen prior to leaving for work and will stay home if ill. Temperature checks are not mandated and therefore will not be conducted on or by TSMA staff or students as an initial screening method. Instead, wellness check questions will be used for staff and students. Wellness check questions:

      • Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 14 days?
      • Have you had a fever (100.4° or higher) or felt feverish in the last 72 hours?
      • Are you experiencing any new respiratory symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, or shortness of breath?
      • Are you experiencing any new muscle aches or chills?
      • Have you experienced any new change in your sense of taste or smell?

      Sick Individuals - Sick individuals will be refused entry into schools or buildings to reduce the risk of contamination. Employees presenting with sickness, symptoms or answering yes to any of the screening questions shall not be permitted to enter facilities. Parent/guardians presenting with sickness symptoms shall be denied entry into facilities. Students who show symptoms of sickness shall immediately be placed in a predetermined isolation area until they can be taken home.

      Should the school receive confirmation that a person infected with COVID-19 was in a school building, the school will contact the health department immediately and follow their guidance.

      Face Coverings - TSMA highly recommends the usage of face coverings. Students and staff should always have a mask with them in case their use is required (transported in a school vehicle, if an individual becomes symptomatic, before and after school, and during class changes.)

      Directional Traffic Flow - Directional hallway traffic will be implemented whenever possible.

      Classrooms - When feasible, classrooms will be arranged so that all desks face the same direction. Students will not share supplies. Supplies should be kept in an individual student container.

      Cleaning - TSMA will educate stakeholders on COVID cleaning standards through posted signage, videos and comprehensive training on best methods to protect students, families and staff. Education campaigns will include methods, frequency of cleaning, classroom protocols, and staff efforts to reduce risk, hand washing/sanitizing and physical distancing expectations.

      Cleaning protocols and chemical handling are intended for employee use only and will be provided to all facilities. Cleaning/disinfecting will take place on all high touch areas throughout each school day.

      Hand sanitizer will be made available in all schools, facilities and busses. Since proper hand sanitizing will disinfect germs present on a dispenser, touch-less sanitizer dispensers should not be necessary. The presence of sanitizer shall be prioritized over the dispenser type.

      Good Hygiene Practices -

      • Hand Washing (at least 20 seconds)
      • Cover coughs and sneezes with a flexed elbow or tissue (wash hands afterwards)
      • Stay home when ill
      • Teach and model creating space and avoiding unnecessary touching
      • Avoid touching face, eyes, mouth, or nose
      • Do not share water bottles or food with others
      • Use hand sanitizer upon entry and exiting classroom
      • Face coverings - How to properly fit, wear, and handle a mask
      • Encourage students to create appropriate hand signals to replace shaking hands, hugging, or giving high fives

      Drinking fountains will be sanitized daily but staff and students are encouraged to bring their own water bottle to minimize the use and touching of water fountains. Water bottles must be labeled with student name.

      Visitors - TSMA will minimize and/or eliminate the need for people to be in the school building other than necessary stakeholders. Lunch visitors are prohibited until further notice.

      Recess - Recess times will be staggered and teachers will encourage games that limit physical contact. High touch areas on playground equipment will disinfected between the uses of each class.

      Physical Education Class - Students will disinfect their hands coming in and out of PE class. PE equipment will be disinfected frequently and teachers will limit equipment when possible.

      MAT students will not be required to dress out as a means to minimize time in the locker room.

      Lockers - MAT students will not utilize lockers located in hallways.

    • EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES/MEETINGS

      Sports - TSMA will seek guidance from the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), the CDC and local health department as it relates to sports activities.

      Field Trips - Student travel will be handled on a case-by-case basis. TSMA will seek guidance from the CDC and the local health department guidelines for travel.

      Meetings - Meetings and gatherings shall be conducted electronically whenever possible.

      Student Functions - Student functions shall follow CDC and health department guidance. No school functions shall be scheduled or held without approval of the Director of Schools in conjunction with the regulatory agencies.

      Cat Care - TSMA is currently gathering information for our before and after school program and will provide that information in the upcoming weeks.

  • Learn more about McKeel Virtual

    This full time virtual school experience is ideal for students who wish to have more control over their learning path and pace and for whom a flexible daily schedule is important. In this learning model, students often work on assignments during hours that work best for the student. The student maintains contact with their McKeel teacher(s) using web-based class sessions, email, and phone calls. Students MUST participate in all required state assessments and meet the deadlines for assignments. Attendance will be taken weekly.

McKeel Symptom Checker

Health Screenings - Health screenings will be conducted regularly for individuals on TSMA property. Parents/guardians should conduct their own screenings at home each morning before the school day and must keep their child home if ill. All staff will perform a symptom self screen prior to leaving for work and will stay home if ill. Temperature checks are not mandated and therefore will not be conducted on or by TSMA staff or students as an initial screening method. Instead, wellness check questions will be used for staff and students. Wellness check questions:

  • Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 14 days?
  • Have you had a fever (100.4° or higher) or felt feverish in the last 72 hours?
  • Are you experiencing any new respiratory symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, or shortness of breath?
  • Are you experiencing any new muscle aches or chills?
  • Have you experienced any new change in your sense of taste or smell?

Sick Individuals - Sick individuals will be refused entry into schools or buildings to reduce the risk of contamination. Employees presenting with sickness, symptoms or answering yes to any of the screening questions shall not be permitted to enter facilities. Parent/guardians presenting with sickness symptoms shall be denied entry into facilities. Students who show symptoms of sickness shall immediately be placed in a predetermined isolation area until they can be taken home.

Distance Learning @ McKeel

Continue reading for information regarding Distance Support, tips on Distance Learning, Canvas & Zoom, and Internet Service options.

Distance Support

With Distance Learning comes the need for Distance Support. To best serve our students and families, we're launching a new support portal as a single point of entry for all of your Distance Learning support needs.

McKeel Devices is your destination for help with broken iPads, Apps, and your Wildcat Accounts. Our support teams are ready to help you!

Parents, you may sign-in with the same account that you use to access your child's grades and can report issues on their behalf. A member of the appropriate support team will respond to you about the issue in a timely manner, so keep an eye on your email in case additional information is needed.

Students may also report and handle their own issues by signing-in with their McKeel account.

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Distance Learning tips for our students and families

Please view the included documents for tips geared towards both students & families. Additional information on Canvas & Zoom is also available.

Internet Service Options

Comcast is offering free access to its Xfinity Wi-Fi hot spots for everyone, including non-subscribers, for the next 60 days. It is also providing unlimited data to its customers for no extra charge and is not disconnecting internet service or charging late fees for customers who say they can't pay their bills. The company is also offering 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service to qualifying low-income households. The service is normally $9.95/month.

Comcast has two dedicated phone numbers: (855) 846-8376 for English and (855) 765-6995 for Spanish. To view the Comcast "Get Two Months of Internet Free" flyer displayed on the Broward County Schools website, click here. This information is relevant to families throughout Florida.

AT&T is also providing free access to its public Wi-Fi hot spots. Consumer home internet wireline customers and fixed wireless internet customers will also receive unlimited data. AT&T will continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through the Access from AT&T program.

Charter Communications, the parent company of Spectrum, is offering free broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to families with K-12 students or college students who do not already have a Spectrum subscription. The company is also waiving its installation fees for new subscribers and will open Wi-Fi hotspots across the county for public use. To enroll, call (844) 488-8395.

If none of the above Internet Service Providers is in your area, please email craigblack@mckeelschools.com for additional support.

The provided information does not serve as an endorsement from The Schools of McKeel Academy, Inc.

Wellness & Self Care

  • Our Message

    Daily Quarantine Questions

    We understand this can be a period that offers adversity, creates stress, generates loss of perspective and/or depletes one’s personal strength.

    Asking ourselves what result we want to create (given the current events) helps us to re-create a larger perspective, reduce our stress, increase our energy and find meaning in what is important to us.

    Questions to reflect on and ask ourselves daily during unsettling times:

    • What am I Grateful for today?
    • Who am I Checking In On or Connecting With today?
    • What expectations of "normal" am I Letting Go Of today?
    • How am I Getting Outside today?
    • How am I Moving My Body today?
    • What Beauty am I either creating, cultivating or inviting in today?
    • What Opportunities am I taking during this time of adversity?

    McKeel Mental Health Facilitator, Angie Mudge, LMHC

  • Resources
    • A handout released by the National Assocation of School Psychologists regarding talking to children about COVID-19
    • A message from Peace River Center's CEO
    • Crisis Management Institute releases new content regularly. Topics include attitude, anxiety, coping, empowerment, filling time, and distinguising fact from hype.
    • Virtual MindPeace Rooms to learn about mindfulness techniques to calm the body, free the mind and bring inner peace.
    • Additional compiled resources
  • Disclaimer

    The apps, games, websites, & resources listed on this site are not endorsements. We have not read or thoroughly reviewed all of apps, games, websites, and resources. We take no responsibility for the consequences of any action one might take based upon reading any of the documents/resources or using any of the apps. If an individual believes a child has a need for professional support, we recommend seeking the help of a licensed health care or mental health care professional.

    We shall not be liable to the users of this site or to its listed participants for the content, quality, performance or other aspect of any information provided. We are also not responsible to any person for any damages arising in any manner out of the use of this site. The users and participants acknowledge that they assume all risk and/or responsibility for any loss or damage arising from the uses to which this site is put.

    We shall not be held liable in any way, shape, or form for the misuse or abuse of this site by any user or participant.

Useful Resources

Use these additional resources to keep the most up to date with COVID-19 and how it may impact Florida K-12 schools.

Florida Department of Education

fldoe.org

Florida Department of Health

floridahealth.gov

Polk County Health Department

polk.floridahealth.gov

Centers for Disease Control

cdc.gov
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