Updated Compass COVID-19 Plan
Along with every other educational program, business entity, and community group, Compass has been carefully monitoring developments related to COVID-19 so we could put forth an appropriate, responsive plan for Fall 2020. Unless state restrictions are issued to the contrary, Compass plans to offer both virtual and small group, in-person classes this fall with prudent, precautionary measures. Compass’s COVID-19 plan has been reviewed by several physicians who have been actively involved in treating COVID patients since March 2020.
Please read below for information on the Compass 6Ps: Perspective, Planning, Protocols, Personal Protection, Policies, and how you should Proceed.
The 2020 Coronavirus situation is unprecedented with no perfect model or protocol to follow. Families and community organizations must make the best possible choices for children’s education for the coming year. Because there is immeasurable value in students being able to learn and collaborate together, in small, face-to-face classes with caring, qualified teachers, we believe that working together, we can forge a way to safely return to Compass.
In order to return to in-person instruction, Compass has reviewed many health reports, studies, and statistics along with the guidelines of federal, state, and local authorities. The Compass COVID plan has been reviewed by two physicians who have worked first-hand with many COVID patients this year. Their input has helped shaped our updated fall plan. Information is still fluid, but Compass believes that conditions are improving and that community confidence is returning since new treatments have been found to be effective, vaccines are under development, and Virginia has progressed cautiously through its re-opening phases. The Compass COVID-19 Plan will be updated and refined as additional information becomes available.
1. Compass will return in September 2020 with both online and in-person classes and proactive adaptations to how we do things, including a new location. (See Protocols below).
2. Compass will continually monitor recommendations and best-practice advisories from the health organizations. Compass protocols will be updated if additional applicable recommendations for school settings are released.
3. In the event that a future government mandate requires non-essential businesses to close, Compass will comply with the law and will either delay the start of classes, postpone the continuation of classes, convert additional classes to an online platform, cancel classes, or a combination thereof.
- Class SizeThe maximum size of most classes will be reduced to 8 students instead of 10-12, and some classes will run with just 5-6 students. (The average Compass class enrollment has been 9 since the program’s inception in 2012.) This will permit students to be adequately spaced out in classes.
- Dedicated SpaceCompass’s new space is a full-time lease in a commercial suite. The space will have full oversight and management by Compass: dedicated access and Compass-directed cleaning. This will allow us to have more control over sanitation measures and to prevent additional, unknown people and outside groups passing through our space.
- CirculationCompass’s new facility is based on an open concept plan with perimeter classrooms and no hallways. This plan prevents bottlenecks and crowding that comes with narrow passageways. Students will have ample space to gather near their classrooms without crowding exiting students at the door.
- Fewer Classes, Five Days Per WeekFewer classes at any one time, reduced class enrollments, and classes spread out over 5 days means that Compass will have smaller student cohorts and overall smaller gatherings than we have had in the past. In the era of COVID, the less-populous and spread-out attendance will naturally limit large group congregation which is one strategy and preventing virus transmission.
- Limited Parent/Guest Waiting Areas Compass’s new facility will have a parent waiting area and quiet study space, but the capacity of these spaces will be reduced as compared to our former location. To keep the indoor gatherings at lower numbers, Compass will not be able to host as many waiting parents indoors, and will instead encourage waiting parents and siblings to explore the many nearby restaurants, shops, parks, library, rec center, and playgrounds. The final number of parents that can be accommodated in the building with appropriate distances among individuals will be determined when a furniture plan and occupancy permit are finalized. Priority will be given to the parents of 5-7 year-olds who must remain on the property, and Compass may have to establish a one-person waiting per student rule. As much as we like to visit with the families of our students, we may have to reduce access in the fall in order to keep our groups small.
- Room AssignmentsFinal classroom assignments will be adjusted before the start of classes based on final enrollment to allow the most space per student.
- Supplemental Air Filtration/Circulation/Ultraviolet-C SanitizerTo supplement the professionally maintained commercial HVAC system in the space, Compass will be equipping each classroom and common areas with a separate, plug-in HEPA air filtration and ultraviolet combo unit to further filter, circulate, and sanitize the air.
- Online Classes
For Fall 2020, Compass is offering more than 30 online classes which will be taught in a synchronous (live), virtual classroom. Online classes are offered primarily at the high school level to accommodate students who are not ready to return to in-person instruction and several teachers who, for health reasons, are unable to return to a group setting this fall. In the spring of 2020, Compass was able to continue 35 of our academic high school-level classes in an online format with just five day’s notice.
Compass classes have always been hands-on, interactive, engaging, and experiential classes, and classes for K-8 in particular, are designed to be face-to-face. In the event of a community mandate to close, some of our interactive classes would be able to transition to an online format temporarily, and some would not. In that event, Compass, in conjunction with instructors, would decide class-by-class whether to move the class online for a period of time, to delay the start or continuation of the class, or cancel the class in its entirety.
If a class is held in-person, Compass will not offer a concurrent, online option for that class. (i.e., Compass will not offer an option for live streaming, videotaping, or recording a class that is being held in person.)
- Cleaning/SanitizingClassrooms: Each teacher will be provided disinfectant wipes and will be asked to wipe classroom door handles and table tops with disinfectant wipes between each class, before the next group of students has entered.
Common Area Surfaces: Compass staff will wipe restroom vanities and tabletops in study and waiting areas and common area door handles throughout the day with disinfectant wipes.
Washable Surfaces: Compass’s new space is finished with resilient tile flooring which can be cleaned and sanitized more deeply than carpeted floors. Furniture surfaces have been selected to be wipeable instead of upholstered.
UV Light: A hand-held UV light will be provided for instructors’ and staff use to sanitize small supplies or shared equipment that is too difficult to wipe down.
Janitorial Services: The Compass space will have daily janitorial services.
- Classroom MeasuresLaptops: Teachers who provide laptops for students’ use will be expected to wipe keyboards down between each class.
Art Supplies/Tools: While students will begin every class with clean hands, it is not feasible for Compass instructors to sanitize every shared marker, pair of scissors, and glue stick between classes, families will have the option of sending their own supplies. For each class that ordinarily uses shared supplies and tools, a list will be provided to families who wish to send in an equivalent set of supplies just for their child’s use. Families will have the option of leaving the set of supplies at Compass in an individual, labeled gallon bag so items are not forgotten in later weeks.
Small Parts/ Components: Teachers who provide small parts, components, or embellishments that students ordinarily select by digging in bins (such as robotics, mosaics, Harry Potter projects, Legos) will either (1) create individual kits of supplies or (2) manage their classroom “supply stations” to allow only one student at a time to approach the common table and to put on a disposable glove for purpose of digging through the bin.
Labeled Seats/Spaces: Classroom tables will have a small indicator label where chairs must be placed around the perimeter of a conference-style table in order to maintain adequate distances between students. For students who typically work or build seated on the floor (such as music or young actors), Compass will supply colorful floor mats that the instructors will use a place-markers to reminder children where to sit.
Chess Dividers: As the game of chess is played between partners, typically seated 4-5 feet apart, Compass will be providing clear plastic desktop partitions, specially modified with a chess-board cut out to place between players.
- Sick PolicyThe Compass sick policy has been updated as follows: “Students, siblings, or parents/guardians should not come to Compass classes, activities, or events if they have had any signs of contagious or communicable illness such as a vomiting, diarrhea, fever, persistent cough, sore throat or runny nose within the last 48 hours. A student who becomes ill in class, has a persistent cough, or frequent sneezing will be asked to leave class, put on a disposable face mask (supplied by Compass), and be picked up.
- Parking Lot Sign-In/Daily Screening Compass will use a new student sign-in system for fall 2020. In this system, parents will sign students in using a simple phone app or webpage as they are dropping their child(ren) off. For children ages 8+, this will eliminate the need for parents to park, walk in, and sign in, only to leave again (reducing the number of extra people coming/going). Part of the daily sign-in app will include check-boxes with illness screening questions about fevers, coughs, diarrhea, etc.
- COVID ExposureStudents, siblings, parents/guardians, or instructors who have been exposed to someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are asked to self-isolate and not return to Compass for two weeks. Any student, family member, instructor, staff member, or guest who tests positive for COVID-19, with or without symptoms, are asked to advise Compass so others in classes can be notified of a potential exposure and the Health Department can be advised for reporting and contact tracing.
- COVID Closure/Deep Cleaning Based on recommendations from health authorities and requirements of Compass’s new landlord, Compass will release a plan for temporary closure and deep cleaning, in the event of a COVID-positive individual having been in attendance. Details of a temporary closure plan will be added by mid-September.
- Parental RemindersParents will be our partners in ensuring that children are reminded about refraining from touching, hugging, sharing snacks/drinks, and respecting personal space/boundaries with other students while at Compass. In addition, parents are expected to remind students about thorough hand-washing, the correct way to cover coughs/sneezes, and not to touch their mouths and faces.
- SignageCompass will post community signs and health posters reminding students to wash hands thoroughly, wear masks, cover coughs/sneezes, etc.
- Face MasksStudents, siblings, parents/guardians, and teachers be required to wear face masks. Parents will be responsible for making sure that children’s masks are properly fitted, clean, dry, have appropriate air flow, and that children can put their masks on and take off on their own, know to wash their hands before touching/adjusting their masks, and can participate in class without playing with or adjusting their masks.” The requirement for masks will be updated as state or local mandates are updated.
- Hand Washing Students will be expected to wash or sanitize their hands immediately upon entering a classroom. Before taking a seat or touching supplies, students will be expected to wash their hands with soap and water (in rooms with sinks) or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer (in rooms without sinks).
- RestroomsMulti-User Restrooms The new Compass space has self-contained restrooms that are not shared with any other building tenants. The number of plumbing fixtures exceeds code requirements. Three sinks per restroom will enable additional hand-washing. Restroom doors will have foot will pedals to allow people to open and exit restrooms from within without using the door handles.
- GlovesThe use of disposable gloves will be strongly discouraged among students, siblings, parents/guardians, or teachers except when required for a particular science experiment or art project. Frequent and thorough hand-washing or use of hand sanitizer will be encouraged over disposable gloves which can provide a false sense of security to wearers.
- Sanitary Supplies Stand-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers will be located near the entrance door. Tissues will be provided in each classroom to cover coughs and sneezes.
- Temperature ScansTemperature scans will not be routinely performed or required for daily entry. However, any Compass student, sibling, parent/guardian, teacher, or visitor can request to have their temperature taken with a no-touch temporal thermometer at the front desk as an added precaution. Any individual with a fever will be asked to leave or be picked up promptly, however, Compass takes no responsibility for interpreting the results of these measurements or making medical recommendations.
- Student Drop-OffCompass families are encouraged to drop students off for classes under our existing policies in order to reduce the number of extra people remaining on campus. Students who are age 8 and above can be dropped off for classes if they have back-to-back classes. Students who are age 13 and above can be dropped off if they have a Teen Form on file. See the Compass Handbook for a complete discussion about drop-offs and supervision.
- RefundsIn an exception to the usual Compass refund policy, if a family has a change of mind or change of schedule and must withdraw from a class before the first day of class, a credit will be issued for a later quarter with no administrative fee deducted and no stipulation about class enrollment, waitlist, etc. The offer for credits shall be in effect until 12/31/2020, and credits must be used by 5/21/2021. Credits cannot be offered for someone who decides to withdraw mid-term, after classes have begun. For those who prefer a refund, the normal Compass policy for refunds will apply. If a class(es) are cancelled in their entirety, families will be entitled to a full refund.
As with all other homeschooling decisions, each family is empowered to decide if the Protocols and Precautions outlined above are sufficient to meet their own needs, expectations, and address their own COVID concerns.
1. Families who are comfortable with the Compass plan may want to register as soon as possible, as many fewer spaces will be available in classes.
2. Families who are not yet comfortable with the Compass plan should “wait and see” and register later in August or the beginning of September when they feel more comfortable.
3. Families who have extenuating circumstances, such as underlying health concerns, should not register for Compass classes until they feel that their own risks are managed and will not be exacerbated in the Compass environment described above.