Schaeffer Academy in Northeast Rochester has announced that it will conduct in-person classes for the start of the 2020-21 school year.
The private Christian school, which offers education for grades K-12, released a plan that details how the school intends to move forward.
“We believe that we can be most helpful to our families, our students, and our community by offering in-person education safely, as long as that’s possible,” said Keith Phillips, the school’s headmaster.
The school’s start date is Sept. 2. Last year, the school had 289 students. Phillips said they expect to have roughly the same number of students this year.
State officials are expected to release plans Thursday about whether public school students can return to classrooms or if schools have to implement distance learning or a hybrid model. However, private schools are not necessarily bound to the same requirements.
Even though it will host in-person classes, Schaeffer Academy is still offering a “partial hybrid model” for students who may have to self-quarantine.
The school also acknowledges that it may have to switch models during the year. However, the plan clarified that it will not implement distance learning or a hybrid model just because Rochester Public Schools might do so.
“We will be prepared to immediately switch to distance or full-hybrid education if viral spread within our school or lawful government authority makes it necessary,” the planning document says.
Schaeffer Academy is implementing a number of precautions to help control the spread of the coronavirus. There will not be large groups for lunch, chapel, assemblies or other events. Parents will be limited in the school. When possible, the school will stagger the use of hallways to prevent crowding.
In addition to implementing safety measures, the school’s plan also addresses the need to help students enjoy their school days. When possible, classes will be held outdoors. Choral and instrumental music will be allowed, when the safety precautions allow for it. It will also add recess times for higher grades to allow for “inter-grade social time.”
Schaeffer Academy surveyed its families in late June to find out if they preferred returning to in-person classes.
“The responses and comments to the June 26 survey of Schaeffer families gave us the strong impression that a majority of our families are in favor of having their students return to on-campus education,” the plan says.