We are all challenged by Covid-19. The last few months have been a difficult time for our families, our communities and the entire world. Closing our buildings has helped to slow the spread of this virus, which in turn has helped protect the health of our students, their families and our staff, and helped avoid overwhelming our health care system.
At Confluence Academies, we have responded to this crisis with flexibility and innovation; we have learned a lot and redoubled our dedication to educating our students with the best tools available. For their part, our students have continued their education under often challenging circumstances. As the academic year closed, we began summer school 2020 in conditions that still did not allow for a traditional school setting.
We are providing virtual learning for grades pre-K through 12, beginning with a virtual summer school in June and July, and—should the public health environment and the safety of our students and staffpermit—a blend of traditional and virtual classes in the August session. In all cases, our students willreceive regular instruction from a certificated teacher and our teachers will continue to provide students with timely and meaningful feedback. All current Confluence students are automatically enrolled in our summer programs, and we are also providing online enrollment for students new to Confluence.
We use a combination of Google Classroom and Zoom to create instruction and feedback loops. Our teachers provide assistance when a student is struggling with the curriculum, ensuring that students are progressing and they are proactive when they observe students are not meeting goals or grasping the material. With the understanding that access to technology is essential in this virtual environment, Confluence provides Chromebooks for students in grades 3 to 12 and internet-connecting hotspots are available for checkout to students/families who are in need. Looking beyond the summer, we have adopted a 2020-2021 school calendar, available at confluencacademy.org. At this point, our intent is to begin the school year on August 25.
In addition to these immediate academic structures, Confluence is committed to providing safe and healthy learning environments for students and staff. We have increased custodial and maintenance services, purchased masks and infrared thermometers, increased sanitation methods, and updated policies and practices that will help our schools remain up-to-date on guidelines issued by local and national health officials.
We are also mindful of the needs of our students who normally rely on our schools for meals, so we will continue serving 7-day meal baskets to families on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8-noon through August. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and suppers are also being provided at Aspire, Old North, South City, and Confluence Preparatory academies.
Confluence engages weekly with other charter, public, private, and independent schools across the state and region regarding plans and best practices relative to the pandemic. We will continue these discussions and those with our parents, teachers and staff in order to ensure the health of our Confluence family while moving our educational mission forward.