ACA is actively monitoring the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and will be updating this website regularly to share information about the school’s preparations and responses. Should you have any questions AFTER reading, please contact us here: https://www.azcharter.com/contact We are also following the AZ Department of Health/Maricopa County Department of Health guidelines on responding to the virus.
This website has several sections. These include:
How ACA is Thinking About Coronavirus (and the different Risk Levels)
How To Talk to Children About Coronavirus
How ACA is Thinking about Coronavirus
In addition to following guidance from the AZ Department of Health/Maricopa County Department of Health/Maricopa County Department of Health and the CAZ, ACA is using a risk evaluation matrix (see below) in responding to possible impacts of COVID-19. We are meeting on a regular basis to re-evaluate the School’s risk level and will inform families as the situation changes. Different protocols will be put into place if and as the risk level changes.
We are actively planning a distance-learning program in case it becomes necessary due to an extended school closure. More details will be shared in the upcoming weeks. As this is an evolving situation, we will continue to refine the plan. We will begin to implement our distance-learning procedures if we get to risk level 3 or 4, with full implementation at risk level 4.
ACA’s Current Risk Level is LOW.
The risk matrix is as follows. Please note that these are guidelines for internal use and that it is up to ACA’s discretion—in coordination with the AZ Department of Health/Maricopa County Department of Health—whether all, some, or most of the bullet points must be made before moving to the next risk level. Actions that will be taken in case of a change in the risk level are detailed below:
Risk Level 1 (Low Risk)
No ACA cases of Coronavirus
Zero to very few reported cases of COVID-19 in Metro Phoenix Area
Some countries declare public health emergency (not the U.S.)
Airports implement screening mechanisms; some travel advisories recommended
AZ Department of Health/Marcipoa County Department of Health/Maricopa County Department of Health allows school to remain open
Risk Level 2 (Moderate Risk)
Limited cases of COVID-19 in Metro Phoenix Area
Travel advisories recommended by WHO, CAZ, government
No ACA students, families, or employees identified with COVID-19
Average student attendance remains high (90-100%)
No advisories against non-essential travel to state or Metro area
CAZ, WHO, and/or regional health authorities declare a pandemic
AZ Department of Health/Marcipoa County Department of Health/Marcipoa County Department of Health allows school to remain open
Risk Level 3 (Medium Risk)
Few COVID-19 cases within school community
Increased community spread of COVID-19 in local Area
Average student attendance below 80 – 90%
Increasing evidence of potential restrictions on airline travel/other forms of international public transportation
COVID-19 disease behavior or contagiousness changes to higher risk level
AZ Department of Health/Maricopa County Department of Health/Maricopa County Department of Health allows school to remain open and school opts to remain open
Risk Level 4 (High Risk)
AZ Department of Health/Maricopa County Department of Health/Maricopa County Department of Health closes the School or ACA leadership deems it important to close due to escalating absences
Spread of COVID-19 cases within the school community
COVID-19 cases quickly increasing in the local area rapidly increasing
Government directs that schools be closed
Evidence that hospitals are unable to manage or meet health care needs related to COVID-19
Evidence of restricted airline travel or major travel restrictions
Staffing and attendance issues at school
Practice Healthy Habits
Prevention remains the number one strategy for keeping our community healthy. Frequent hand-washing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, avoiding people who are sick, and wiping down frequently used surfaces are proven methods of keeping the community healthy. We are asking teachers to reinforce these strategies during the daytime and ask that you reinforce them at home.
Stay Home If Ill
Learn more about symptoms of the COVID-19»
ACA along with out custodian vendor have implemented numerous increased sanitizing measures during and after school wiping down door handles, water-fountains, light switches, desks, sinks, soap dispensers, water coolers, coffee and tea carafes, refrigerator doors, desks, chairs, shared computers, work stations, remote controls, common play spaces, sports equipment, and more.
Learn more about handwashing here»
We recognize many staff and students have travel plans over the break. After thorough research, meetings and receiving guidance we have decided to follow the process below. If we receive further information and need to rectify or revise the process we will continue to do so. Please everyone, enjoy the break, wash your hands and follow the CDC guidelines. As an organization we are not telling you not to travel or what to do, we are providing you as much factual information as we can. We want to be upfront and honest as to what the guidelines are. PLEASE email us with any questions and we will do our absolute best to provide answers.
Because of the rapidly changing situation, ACA currently recommends that families do not go abroad in the upcoming weeks, including for spring break. We will continue to follow CDC and Department of Health Guidelines, and students and family members who have recently traveled abroad may be asked to remain out of school for an extended period if they have recently traveled to or through any areas where COVID-19 is prevalent. Continue to check the CDC’s travel advisory website for up-to-date information. Checking the CDC website and updated web-site is the family’s responsibility.
If you travel abroad to a place that is considered a Level 3 upon return you will be quarantined from the school for 14 days.
If you travel abroad to any other place that is considered a Level 1 or 2 and you are informed you have been exposed, you will also be placed on quarantine leave for the 14 days.
If you do opt to travel in the upcoming weeks, you must inform the ACA administration if you or a family member is advised to self-isolate or self-quarantine upon your return to school.
Inclusion and Equity
As a school rooted in equity and social justice, we remind our community that no bullying, harassment, or exclusion of any kind will be permitted. In other schools, not here, there are increasing reports of bias and harassment of students who are perceived to be from countries where coronavirus is prevalent. It goes without saying that reminding students that ACA is an inclusive community and that any sign of harassment, bullying, or exclusion due to a child’s national origin, recent travel, race, ethnicity, etc. will not be tolerated.
How to Talk to Children about Coronavirus
We know that some students are feeling very anxious about coronavirus and what it means for them. When you are talking with children:
Remind students that the best way to stay healthy is to wash their hands regularly and especially before they eat.
Validate children’s feelings and answer questions with facts.
Help students to manage their feelings and focus on the present moment with mindfulness exercises and breathing strategies to help children cope. Some strategies to consider:
Mindful minute - a minute of silent time where students are guided through breathing out and in
A focus on breathing through exercises like, 5 Finger Breathing, Triangle, Square and Star breathing
Tuning in to senses (touch, see, hear, smell, taste)
There are some great resources on how to talk to children and how to reduce their anxiety levels. Included among these resources are the following:
How we can help kids increase their sense of control as the coronavirus approaches (Washington Post)
Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus: Kids worry more when they're kept in the dark (Child Mind Institute)
How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus: Keeping your own anxiety in check is key (New York Times)
Talking to Teens and Tweens About Coronavirus (New York Times)
Speaking Up Against Racism Around the New Coronavirus (Teaching Tolerance, part of the #UsvsHate Challenge)
Explaining the News to Our Kids (Common Sense Media)
How to talk to children about difficult news (American Psychological Association)
Coronavirus. Wildfires, Oh My: What to Say to a Child Who's Scared By the News (Fatherly)