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COVID-19 Response

School Announcements

In response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the Atlanta area and in response to the spike in student anxiety about being in group settings, we will move to remote learning to help protect the health of the school community.  Our teachers are prepared, as I described in my last letter, to communicate with each of their students daily by email, moving them through their individualized weekly, monthly, and semester plans.

Read More about COVID-19 Temporary School Closure Announcement

COVID-19 (NOVEL CORONAVIRUS) INFORMATION

In order to stay abreast of the complex and evolving situation in the United States and to exercise best practices in safeguarding our community, Ben Franklin Academy is remaining in constant communication with governmental and educational organizations. For the most detailed and up-to-date information on COVID-19, we encourage you to bookmark this page, watch our school calendar, and monitor the following websites. We will update this page with information about COVID-19 as it relates to Ben Franklin Academy.

Those who believe they may have been exposed to or infected with the novel coronavirus should seek medical care right away. Before you go to a clinic, doctor’s office, or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ben Franklin Academy closing?

BFA will remain temporarily closed and will reassess resuming classes by April 13th.

How will the decision be made to close the school?

The health and safety of our students, staff, and families is our top priority. While BFA monitors other school closings including the Metro Atlanta Public School District and other independent schools, BFA makes decisions independently based on the school’s unique needs and situation, as well as guidance from external agencies.

In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in our community, the school will work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Georgia Department of Health, and health professionals to determine the best course of action, following all public health protocols.

Under what circumstances will the school close?

If a case of COVID-19 is identified in the BFA or surrounding community, we will follow local and/or state health authorities’ recommendations or orders to close. We may, out of an abundance of caution and in consideration of the school’s unique needs and situation, close even if health officials don’t deem it necessary.

What can a parent do to prepare for a school closure?

We encourage you to follow this advice:

●     Plan alternative childcare arrangements for children in case school is dismissed early and/or closed.

●     Talk to friends, neighbors, and other parents about sharing childcare duties if your children are well, but school is closed.

●     Talk to your employer about working from home or shifting schedules in the event of a school closure.

What about school events, gatherings, and trips?

We will make decisions about holding or canceling events based on the updated information from health officials. Please watch for messages from the Head of School with important updates. Any changes will also be noted on our school calendar. In the event of an outbreak, to increase your chances of staying healthy, it is best to avoid crowded settings, especially if you are over sixty years of age or have chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or a weakened immune system.

What can a parent do to prepare for an outbreak of COVID-19?

Because the situation is very dynamic, we encourage you to stay up to date with the latest information and recommendations from health officials (see list of Health Organizations, above).

How will my child’s education continue in the event of an extended school closure?

Our teachers will send individual assignments by email so that students can continue to complete their work.  Since each student has an individualized plan, teachers will respond to each student individually and daily in the event of an extended school closure.

When should I keep my child home from school?

Do not send your child to school if you suspect he or she may be ill or has exhibited any of the following signs or symptoms:

●     An elevated temperature of 100 degrees or more during the last 24 hours.

●     Vomiting within the last 24 hours.

●     Repeated episodes of diarrhea within the last 24 hours.

●     Chills, loss of appetite, unusual fatigue, and/or lingering headache.

●     A significant amount of nasal discharge, particularly if the discharge is yellow or greenish in color.

●     A persistent cough.

●     A significant sore throat.

●     An earache.

If you suspect that you or your child has a serious communicable disease, you must notify the school so we can comply with reporting requirements.

What happens if my child feels sick while at school?

While we usually monitor ill students for a period of time, given the circumstances, parents will be immediately called to pick up their child as quickly as possible.

What can families, students, and school personnel do to keep from getting sick and spreading COVID-19?

The CDC recommends the following actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

●     Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

●     If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water when your hands are visibly dirty.

●     Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

●     Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

●     Stay home when you are sick (and do not return to school until you are fever-free for 24 hours without medication). We ask you to strictly adhere to this policy.

●     Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands.

●     Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

What additional steps is the school taking at this time?

BFA will take extra care with the cleaning and disinfection processes, with particular attention to common surfaces.

●     Additional cleaning of common surfaces by faculty and staff is happening at regular intervals throughout the school day.

●     The evening cleaning crew has implemented a disinfectant protocol in addition to the regular cleaning.

●     All faculty and staff are required to maintain appropriate handwashing and sanitizing protocols upon entering the building and throughout the day.

Resources

Health Organizations

●     World Health Organization (WHO): This website has general information on the novel coronaviruses, a video, and an infographic about preventing the spread of  viruses.

●     The Centers for Disease Controls (CDC): This website covers symptoms and diagnosis, transmission, presentation in children, and prevention and treatment. It also has travel updates.

●     Johns Hopkins Interactive and Updating Outbreak Map

●     U.S. State Department

●     Georgia Department of Health COVID-19 Information Page is found here.

 Additional Resources

●     Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS)

●     How to Talk to Children About Difficult News

●     Explaining the News to Our Kids

●     How to Talk to Kids About the Coronavirus Outbreak

●     How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus

 

We continue to be in close communication with government agencies as well as other independent schools and closely monitor the situation .