August 13, 2021
The Return to School Taskforce met on Wednesday, August 11, for our regular evaluation of the Return to School policies. The Taskforce consists of Dr. Greg Carlyle, Dawn Dawkins, Sean Harrison, Dr. Kelly Trout, Dr. Susanne Cunningham, Dr. Andrea Morris, Pam Abrams, Pam Short, Chris Ball and Douglas Ford.
Due to the surge in cases of COVID-19 in both Lowndes County and the state of Mississippi, especially in pediatric patients, the decision was made to require masks for elementary (K4-6th grade) students. This decision was not made lightly, yet it is our duty and top priority to attempt to ensure for the physical well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. It was decided that because children under 12 years of age are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination, masking, coupled with social distancing and other policies implemented by the Taskforce, is the best option to protect these students at this time. Implementing policies that allow school to be conducted as normally as possible, while simultaneously attempting to protect the health and well-being of the Heritage family during the ongoing pandemic, are top priorities for the Taskforce. As such, we will be reevaluating our policies frequently as circumstances change.
It was also decided that a change was needed in our exposure policy. Currently, any exposure should be handled by parents checking for symptoms. We have made a modification to this policy. If a household member of any student, faculty, or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, then that student, faculty, or staff member will not be allowed on campus until a note is received from that individual’s primary care physician or licensed health care provider allowing them to return to school.
You will find this year’s Return to School plan that reflects updates. These changes will go into effect on Monday, August 16, 2021. Once again, this plan may change based on guidance or mandates from local, state, or federal government officials.
Sean Harrison Dr. Greg Carlyle
H.A. Taskforce Chair H.A. Headmaster
July 31, 2020
I am excited to share our Phase II Communication with you regarding our return to school on August 10th. This document will serve as our policies and procedures when school starts. I want to thank the Heritage Academy Return to School Task Force for all of their hard work on this project.
As the situation with COVID-19 remains fluid, please remember that these policies and procedures could be changed in order to stay in line with CDC guidance. As mentioned several times, we plan to be in school August 10, 2020, and we plan to remain in school for the duration of the school year, unless directed to close by the governor or other government entity.
We are excited to welcome students back to campus!
Dr. Greg Carlyle
July 1, 2020
As mentioned in our update email last week, under Important Links you will find our Phase I communication regarding our re-entry plan for the 2020-2021 school year. Please note that this is an update for you on what the Heritage Academy Return to School Task Force has been working on and what our preliminary plans are for the school year.
Our Phase II communication is tentatively planned to go out on Friday, July 31, 2020. This plan will communicate our approved protocols for the school year. It will also answer questions for scenarios that may take place once we return to school.
We understand that everyone is anxious for clarity as to what the school year will look like, as are we. We have found that the situation and guidance continue to evolve on an almost daily basis. We want to wait to release our plans as close to the beginning of school as possible so that we have the best picture possible as to what guidance from the CDC will be once school starts.
Dr. Greg Carlyle
Instilling High Moral Character and Academic Excellence
June 26, 2020
I wanted to update you on the progress that the Heritage Academy Return to School Task Force has made in planning our return to school on Monday, August 10th. We have established many of the protocols that will be followed once we return to school. We plan to release our Phase I Re-Entry Plan to you next week. Thank you for taking the time to read and consider the entirety of this letter.
Heritage Academy’s mission and purpose remain strong during these challenging times. On March 23, we transitioned to a distance learning plan in the context of a global emergency. We are no longer in response mode for a sudden crisis. Over these past few months, Heritage has consulted with health experts and government officials, updated training for staff, and prepared our campus for a post-COVID 19 educational environment.
We have developed, and continue to refine, our re-entry plan to provide safety, learning continuity, and the difference in education our Heritage family always seeks.
Despite global uncertainty, one certainty remains, students learn best in a community of caring adults who know them and understand their needs. The core of Heritage’s community will not change. We are committed to providing your child with the experiences that are vital to successful learning: Academic Excellence, Arts Infused Experiences, Athletic Opportunities, STEM Activities, and Traditions & Celebrations.
As I stated in our last update, campus is scheduled to open for the new school year on August 10th unless authorities mandate school closures. We have set up classrooms so that students can maintain the recommended CDC guidelines of 6 feet spacing from other students. Movement around the school will be reduced, an enhanced sanitizing and cleaning process will be implemented, and interaction with hard surfaces such as water fountains and doors will be curtailed. In the elementary school, students will remain in their classrooms for specials (art, music, and STEM). The teachers will come to them. Our 5th and 6th graders will not rotate classrooms as they have in the past. Faculty will be the ones to rotate room to room. All students, elementary and high school, will need masks for the coming school year. They will be required to be worn in certain areas. The use of masks will be utilized when needed for classroom transitions or anytime 6 feet of distancing from others is unable to be maintained (class change, certain classroom activities).
Screening will take place on a daily basis of all students, faculty, and staff, as well as any visitors before they can enter the building. I am attaching the log sheet that will be used on a daily basis. If an individual does not pass the screening process, they will be required to a have a note from their health care provider clearing them for return to school.
We are currently working to provide the web-based IXL math library available to all our students K-12. This learning will be used by teachers to assign practice work in an engaging and interactive way for students throughout the year in class and if hybrid learning is needed. In addition, Canvas, our internet based learning management system that is currently used at the upper school, is being extended down to third grade to provide a consistent platform for organizing and sharing class content and assignments. These enhancements will positively impact the classroom experience and will help ensure a smooth and effective transfer to a high quality hybrid experience as necessitated.
We still plan to hold our yearly Student-Athlete Parent Orientation on Thursday, July 23rd, at 5:30pm as well as our New Student Orientation at the upper school on Friday, August 7. And, the Class of 2021 ventures to Timberlake for the Senior Retreat on Saturday, August 8. Once again, all distancing guidelines will be followed for these meetings and activities.
Thank you for partnering in your child’s education with Heritage Academy!
Greg Carlyle, PhD
June 10, 2020
As we enter the summer months, I wanted to update you on our planning for the 2020-2021 school year. Through recommendations of the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), we have assembled a Return to School Taskforce to work out safety protocols for our return to campus in August. The Taskforce began meeting in early May, and have met weekly since. The taskforce is made up of a local physician, dentist, optometrist, public official, an attorney, teachers and administrative representatives from the elementary school and high school. To date they have done exceptional work and we are grateful for their commitment to Heritage Academy.
The taskforce and associated committees are keeping close tabs on the CDC's guidance for schools and using them in the decision making process. The guidelines can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html.
I do want to be clear that we intend on being in school on August 10, 2020. We hope to be able to run a regular school day with modifications to classrooms and other safety protocols. If we are unable to run normal times, we have contingency schedules so that our students can be in school, albeit on modified schedules.
Summer athletics was the taskforce's initial item of business. Workouts commenced on June 1st, and everything is going smoothly. Our student athletes have adapted well to the new protocols (masks, screening, distancing, bringing their own water, small groups) and seem excited to return to a sense of normalcy. Our coaches have done a commendable job implementing protocols in order to keep our student-athletes safe!
In July, our elementary will host two weeks of academic camps. Mrs. Dawkins, along with the taskforce and elementary teachers, has effectively mapped out meaningful and productive camps with a focus of keeping our students as safe as possible by following all of the CDC guidelines. We look forward to hosting our elementary students back on campus! We plan to have elementary athletic camps as well. We will be releasing that information as soon as it becomes available.
Yesterday, many junior high and high school students returned to school to receive academic awards. We were excited to see everyone and honor our students for their outstanding academic achievements. A special thanks to Mrs. Perdue, Mrs. Polk and Ms. Shelton for organizing this awards distribution. It should be noted that Coach Harrison maintains hopes of holding an athletic banquet in July.
We will keep you updated about the progress of the Return to School Taskforce and preparations for the fall.
May you and your family enjoy the summer!
April 21, 2020
On behalf of the Heritage Academy faculty and staff, THANK YOU for your patience, flexibility, and assistance over the last month as we transitioned to distance learning. We could not have had as smooth of a transition as we did without your efforts to support your student(s) and partner with teachers. We wanted to reach out and share the dates for concluding the school year.
Friday, April 24 - Last day of Distance Learning activities for Seniors
Week of April 27 to May 1
Dual Credit Exams will be administered
Seniors may turn in remaining assignments
Graduation – Friday, May 15 – The school is exploring a virtual graduation by creating a filmed production of the ceremony with a drive in viewing as well as considering an option for a live graduation as pandemic protocols permit.
Elementary (K4-6) and Underclassmen: Grades 7 – 11
Friday, May 8 – Last day of Distance Learning activities. Students who have completed all assignments are academically done for the school year.
Week of May 11 to May 15
Elementary students and Underclassmen may turn in remaining assignments
Note: A schedule is being developed by which students will be permitted to clean out lockers and return textbooks. Awards for Class Day and Awards Day are in the process of being ordered. Distribution of these awards is to be determined.
April 8, 2020
I understand that during this unique situation our families are handling an enormous load at home and we appreciate your partnership now more than ever. Each day presents distinct challenges and we are here to help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Also, thank you for the response to our recent survey. Your feedback provided great information that will help us make beneficial adjustments as we move forward.
Due to the nature of the COVID-19 situation, an actual return date to school remains elusive. As a result, Heritage Academy will extend Distance Learning through Friday, April 24. This date is contingent upon updated orders from Mayor Smith, Governor Reeves, and guidance from the CDC. We plan to share a further update regarding school operations with the Heritage community on April 22, 2020.
A. Students and parents have commented that they have been able to reach teachers through Remind and email. Please let Sean Harrison (email@example.com) or Amanda Shelton (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the high school and Dawn Dawkins (email@example.com) at the elementary know should you be unable to connect with a teacher.
B. The high school is looking at special ways to recognize our Senior class members while we are away from campus. We will share more in the near future.
C. Google Classroom Video Tutorials
· Distance Learning Parents' Guide to Google Classroom (downloadable file)
D. Effectively navigating Canvas: Students will get access to all the information listed with an assignment by going through the Modules or Assignment tabs. We have noticed that several of our students new to Canvas have been accessing class assignments through the To Do Calendar in Canvas. Unfortunately, this only gives a snapshot of assignments and some important directions and resources are not available there. The URL for the Heritage Canvas is: https://heritagepatriots.instructure.com
Canvas guides: https://www.heritagepatriots.com/updates/hs-academic-information
E. If you or your child experience technical difficulties during the Distance Learning process, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again, thank you for your continued patience as we all navigate through this seemingly unpredictable time. We will continue to strive to make this a very meaningful experience for your student(s) as they progress through this phase of the academic year.
May you and your family have a special Easter weekend.
March 30, 2020
May this find you and your family doing well. And welcome to the second week of Heritage Academy Distance Learning. I wanted to pass along the information below to assist you and your student(s) with this next week of Distance Learning.
- A. As shared previously, the online component of our courses are considered an extension of Heritage Academy’s classroom courses, and the course syllabi govern the policies and procedures of the classes.
- B. In all matters not specifically addressed in the Heritage Academy Distance Learning Plan (https://www.heritagepatriots.com/updates/school-policy-information ), the 2019-2020 Student Handbook is the governing document.
- C. Should a student need assistance with an assignment, it is the responsibility of the student to contact the teacher prior to the date the assignment is due.
- D. Please help ensure that students in grades 7 through 12 are checking their Heritage Academy email account and Canvas each day. Teachers provide further information and beneficial instructions in each. Note: The login and password for the student email and Canvas access are the same. The URL for the Heritage Canvas is: https://heritagepatriots.instructure.com
- E. Further information and help with using Canvas is available through the following link: https://www.heritagepatriots.com/updates/hs-academic-information
- F. If you or your child experience technical difficulties during the Distance Learning process, please send an email to: email@example.com
- G. A reminder of student video etiquette is attached.
- H. Heritage Academy teachers typically return emails within 24 hours; however, this may occasionally be longer due to weekends. If you have not received a response in 48 hours, please contact the principal (Sean Harrison: firstname.lastname@example.org or the Headmaster (email@example.com).
We will continue to seek to make this a very positive experience for your student(s) as they progress through the academic year.
March 25, 2020
Dear Heritage family,
The transition to Distance Learning has been relatively smooth. I still marvel at the remarkable work our teachers and staff have done in such a short time in order to launch this learning initiative for our students. Thank you for the important role you have played in supporting this process. Parents and teachers alike have expressed positive responses and meaningful experiences for students. We appreciate your ongoing patience and truly view this effort as a partnership.
Many of you have inquired about our next steps moving forward and have asked for specific dates regarding our projected return to the regular school day. With the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 situation, it is not possible at this time to provide an actual return date. However, we continue to receive guidance from local, state, and national health and governmental entities. As a result, Heritage Academy will extend Distance Learning through Friday, April 10. In the interim, the situation will be closely monitored and a further update regarding school operations will be shared with the Heritage community on April 8, 2020.
Below please find information that serves as responses to recent inquiries:
1. An intense disinfection process is being completed this week of all of our classrooms and school buildings. Foggers will be utilized for this process. The fogging chemicals are similar to those used by commercial airlines when disinfecting their passenger cabins.
2. Please continue to review and follow the guidance of the Heritage Academy Distance Learning Plan (DLP) that has been referenced by many and has served as a beneficial guide in supporting our distance learning efforts. The DLP is posted on the Coronavirus Update Center under the Distance Learning Policy tab on our school website homepage (www.heritagepatriots.com). The plan includes a table that suggests times that students at various grade levels should spend working on assignments. Other valuable links found on our website Update Center:
· SeeSaw and Google Classroom (https://www.heritagepatriots.com/updates/el-academic-information)
· Canvas Information (https://www.heritagepatriots.com/updates/hs-academic-information)
· Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Frequently Asked Questions (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html)
3. Official grades are the grades recorded in PowerSchool. For high school students, grades may be given in the context of Canvas assignments, yet please know that the official grade is the one that appears in PowerSchool.
4. Should you or your child experience technical difficulties during the Distance Learning process, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our tech support personnel, Cassie Griffin and Janet Lewis, receive these emails and they will respond to these emails in a timely manner. They have been exceptional in responding to these essentially upon receipt.
With Best Wishes,
Greg Carlyle, Headmaster
March 20, 2020
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update: March 20, 2020
In uncertain times, our shared sense of community becomes even more powerful. And our mission remains to Inspire, Challenge and Motivate our students.
Throughout our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Heritage administration has remained in close consultation with public health authorities, government entities, and the MAIS. And as a result, we are making the best possible decisions for our school community.
We are proud to be launching Heritage Distance Learning for our students next week. This new platform will allow our K4 through Grade 12 students to learn from anywhere and stay on track academically.
Our staff met virtually on Wednesday and have continued to collaborate in preparation for providing quality distance learning experiences for our students. You should have heard from your child’s teacher(s) and learned further of the plans they have for moving forward with the curriculum.
I continue to be proud of the commitment of our Heritage faculty and am energized by their willingness and exemplary efforts to transition to distance learning for our students. Our Distance Learning Plan (DLP) has been finalized and will be posted on our school website under Update Center: Coronavirus (COVID-19) information. We will begin implementation on Monday, March 23 and continue all week and beyond as necessary. The school will provide weekly updates each Friday on our plans for the coming weeks.
Please note that a separate email will be sent later today with a schedule for students/families to pick up educational materials from the school.
In addition, I wanted to pass along some information released by the Mid-South Association of Independent Schools (MAIS).
MAIS Notes: All MAIS Activities and Athletic events will be suspended Monday, March 23, 2020 for one additional week and reconsidered on a week-to-week basis, additional MAIS suspension/announcements will be made on Thursday, March 26, 2020. The MAIS will continue to evaluate this fluid situation and will provide updates as the latest information becomes available. MAIS does not intend to cancel spring sports. Waivers will be granted to schools taking this course of action.
I am grateful for your understanding and patience during this transitional time.
With best wishes,
Dr. Greg Carlyle
March 16, 2020
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update: March 16, 2020
Heritage Academy and the Heritage family are in unchartered waters yet our mission remains: Inspire, Challenge and Motivate our students.
Our staff met virtually this morning and have continued to meet, talk, and plan through the day. I am proud of the commitment exhibited by the Heritage faculty and staff. They have shown great resolve, flexibility and willingness to do what it takes to continue instruction (however, that may look in the coming weeks). We are developing a Distance Learning Plan. The details should be in place by the end of the week and ready to implement on Monday, March 23 as needed.
I wanted to pass along some information shared by the Mid-South Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), one of the accrediting associations to which we belong.
MAIS Recommendation: The MAIS recommended that member schools close beginning Monday, March 16 for one week. In response, Heritage Academy extended Spring Break for students by one week. A waiver will be granted so that this week will not be required to be made up.
- The MAIS will utilize a week-to-week approach when considering additional school closures; announcements will be made on the preceding Fridays, beginning March 20. Heritage Academy will adopt the same approach.
- Beginning today, all MAIS activities and Athletic Events will be suspended and reconsidered on a week-to-week basis. Heritage Academy has done the same. This includes the suspension of sports practices at Heritage.
- The MAIS will re-evaluate this fluid situation and will provide updates as the latest information becomes available.
- Class Time: Heritage Academy will use this week (March 16-20) to prepare for implementing Distance Learning experiences for our students. Our preparations are a contingency plan that if needed will be implemented beginning Monday, March 23.
- ACT/Aspire (updated): The April 4, 2020 ACT National Test date has been moved to June 13. The ACT District/Weekday on March 24 has not been cancelled. However, Heritage has elected to give on the re-take date of April 7 should we be back in school. Information on the administration of the Aspire will be posted and will be shared out soon.
- Professional Development through the MAIS: The high school science workshop has been postponed.
- Academic Competitions: Only the district competitions have been postponed to date. The MAIS will publish guidance on Association-wide competition in the coming weeks.
- Athletics: MAIS Athletics are suspended. At the present time, MAIS does not intend to cancel spring sports.
The CDC has put out updated guidance for schools https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-schools.html around community exposure steps.
Dr. Greg Carlyle
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