Opening Plans for 2020-2021
The 2020-2021 school year will be one of transition and change. As we look to the beginning of our 56th year of operation, we will be implementing steps to try to keep everyone safe. The long heritage of our academy has been to provide an environment where young people can safely receive an education, and grow into followers of Jesus Christ. We intend to do everything we can to continue to provide a safe environment. In this time of the coronavirus, staying safe requires new actions and efforts.
What is put forth now is a basic plan. For plans to be effective, they must be revisited and revised as we learn. We are in that posture. These are our plans, but they are subject to change. Until this virus has a solution (which will probably include an effective and available vaccine and quick and accurate testing), we will be constantly adjusting to do the best we can. Given the fact that because this situation is new, and information from health officials changes rapidly, we may need to pivot frequently to meet current guidelines and recommendations.
Administrators at GCA are interacting with local county and state health officials, as well as physicians and public health officials to constantly monitor and adapt our plans.
We intend to open school in August and provide a school program that is similar to what we have done in the past – with changes. As we get closer to registration, our plans will become clearer and more definitive. We fully intend to open our dormitories and food service operations. Students will participate in every aspect of all of the programs that have made GCA a good place to live and learn. Here are the changes we are working on right now as we get ready for the 2020-2021 school year:
- Expanded Health Services – GCA is currently seeking a full-time nurse for the 2020-2021 school year. Our nurse will have expanded hours of availability and will be coordinating our health monitoring and testing. We will be working with local urgent care facilities to make sure student health is constantly assessed, and that steps are taken when questions arise. We will be investing in human thermal monitoring devices that will make detecting those with a fever much quicker and more automated.
- On and Off-Campus Quarantining – As we start our new school year, we will be more aggressive in making sure students and faculty who become ill will not be in general circulation with well students. Each dormitory will have rooms available for isolation, and we will work with parents to make sure students who are ill, or who test positive for COVID-19, are taken home as quickly as possible.
- New Technology – This summer we will install new air filtering technology into our existing heat and air conditioning system. Needlepoint bipolar ionization technology is a method of reducing the presence of virus and other pathogens in the air. We are purchasing and installing units that will work with our existing systems in all major buildings and in every dormitory room. The new technology is sold by the company Global Plasma Solutions.
- Social Distancing – We will continue to expect all faculty, staff, and students to be respectful of each other’s health and safety by practicing social distancing to the extent possible. This will mean fewer people attending large gatherings, and splitting up large classes and chapel meetings. We are committed to following all State and local guidelines regarding meeting together in groups. This will require flexibility on the part of everyone, but will be important to help us reduce the likelihood of infection. Meal schedules may need to be staggered to allow smaller groups to use our dining room, and the serving of food will likely be different than the self-service method we have used in the past.
- Increased Disinfecting – GCA staff and students will be involved in greater frequency and thoroughness of cleaning and disinfecting on campus. Though recent information indicates the transmission of the virus is less frequent through hard surfaces than earlier thought, we will still make the disinfecting of all surfaces a practice repeated throughout each day. We will also encourage frequent hand washing, and keeping hands away from the face for our staff and students.
- Dormitories will continue to have two individuals to each room. However, we will use common space in the dormitories and outside for any and all gatherings. Student dorm rooms will be off-limits to everyone other than the actual student residents of individual rooms.
Please let us know if you have suggestions or concerns as we make plans for the new school year. Our goal is to minimize risk to the extent possible and continue to provide a learning environment that students will enjoy and cherish. Though some aspects of the new school year will be different, we believe the coming year will be a vibrant and exciting year that students will value. We encourage your counsel and advice and look forward to answering any questions.
Georgia-Cumberland Academy is Accredited by
- MSA – Middle States Association
- GAPSAC – Georgia Private School Accreditation Council
- Adventist Accrediting Association