This time last year, many school districts made the difficult decision to begin the school year entirely virtual. It was a school year like none other, with teachers and students alike making the best of the resources, time, and energy available to them. It was also a year in which the indispensable needs of young learners -- movement and play, structure and support, and warm, real-life interactions with peers and teachers -- became glaringly apparent.
We strongly believe that returning to in-person learning five days a week is critical to the overall success of our students and families. We know that children learn best through authentic, hands-on experiences, and our team is committed to providing a world-class education in a safe, fun, and joyful learning environment.
As we prepare to open our school for the 2021-2022 school year, Atlas Elementary is fulfilling the promise of our foundational beliefs and school values despite the present COVID-19 crisis. Keeping our students and staff safe, healthy, and engaged remains the top priority for us. We feel confident that we will be able to accomplish all of these goals with the following in place:
- All of our students and staff will be masked, regardless of vaccination status.
- All students will remain in cohorts during lunch and recess.
- While most elementary schools have nearly 500 students, we're capping our enrollment at 130 Kindergarten and First Grade students. Because our numbers are smaller, we will maximize the use of our space, allowing us more opportunities to social distance.
- As much as possible, instruction will take place outside. In addition, with our school building located in the heart of Midtown, students will be within walking distance to many resources in the area. This idea of place-based learning will get our students out into the community frequently, empowering them to be active citizens and working to make a difference
- We are incredibly fortunate that all of our home classrooms are located in the new building. These classrooms have brand new systems to ensure maximum ventilation.
- Every classroom will be taught by two teachers. This reduced student-to-teacher ratio will allow our students to receive the personalized instruction they deserve to thrive. It will also allow us to have flexible groups meaning if we need to cohort to smaller classes, we can. Ultimately, we’ll be able to more effectively support our students and meet their individual needs.
To keep our community safe, Atlas is following guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Evidence compiled by the CDC shows that schools can safely reopen and stay open with consistent implementation of prevention strategies. To read Atlas' COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan in greater detail, please visit our website HERE.
As we navigate these challenging times, we will never lose focus on the virus's impact on our students, families, staff, and community. To our Atlas Founding Families, thank you for the trust you have placed in our team.