Dear Friends,
In the vast ocean of stressful and often conflicting news, I would like to deliver new information to the families in our Big Apple Academy community. The students and teachers of the Big Apple Academy will be welcome onto the school premises at the start of the new academic year! We will begin the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, welcoming our entire student body. I am confident that we will provide a safe environment for our learners and teachers.

As I look forward to the beginning of the new school year, I have gathered the most frequently asked questions on making our school’s transition to its normal learning mode as smooth as possible. Please read the FAQs below; visit the school website for more information regarding the school calendar, and feel free to contact my office for all necessary inquiries.

  • Will the school open in September?

The doors of the Big Apple Academy will open wide on

Kingdergten ONLY – Wednesday, September 1, 2021. 
Classes 1-8             – Thursday, September 9, 2021.

Both school buildings will be open, and we will maintain our regular daily routine that has successfully operated for years. Classes will be held five days a week with the transportation system functioning according to its usual schedule.

For your convenience, the school will also implement its new Live-Streaming Program which will allow parents to choose between In-Person or Remote Attendance. The program establishes a “Hybrid Model” of teaching and learning where both groups of students who attend classes in person and their remotely learning counterparts can interact with their subject teachers via a live streaming platform.

During the upcoming days, our classroom teachers will contact families and present them with available attendance choices. You, as parents, can choose either Remote or In-person type of learning. Please note that you can only change the attendance type in accordance with the Life Stream Policy (https://bigappleacademy.com/links/LSP.pdf) .
All classroom teachers will provide families with necessary details during the upcoming teleconferences.

  • Will students who opted the In-person attendance be allowed to use the Big Apple Academy Live Stream Program when unable to attend school in person?

Yes, but only in accordance with the new LSP policy.  Students traveling for vacation during school days or absent for short periods of time will not be eligible to use Live Stream Program.  In order to utilize Live Stream Program, parents will need to submit a request to the school with a valid reason for switching and supporting documents.  Please see our LS policy (https://bigappleacademy.com/links/LSP.pdf ) for more detailed information.

  • Will masks and face shields be required or recommended? 

Our students are required to wear masks during instructional time. Additionally, masks are required in situations when the social distancing protocol cannot be observed (upon school arrival/ dismissal, during the bus ride.)

  1. Teacher Assistants will monitor school corridors to ensure proper social distancing protocols.
  2. Before and after meals, students under the supervision of their teachers, will be taken to hand washing stations in small groups. To ensure proper hygiene, students will be monitored by school staff members.

  • Will masks and face shields be provided by the school?

School will have masks available for students who loose their masks or become ill during the day.  However, we will not be distributing masks or face shields to all students on regular basis. 

  • Can a student be excused from wearing a mask due to medical reasons?

All students are required to wear masks. Students who cannot wear masks due to medical reasons will have the option to be fully remote learners.

  • How will social distancing requirements be implemented?
  1. We will increase the space between student desks in class when feasible.
  2.  The school opened additional Kindergarten classes to ensure proper social distancing and full attendance of all Kindergarten students.
  3. Classroom teachers will assign proper seating arrangements for students to reduce interactions between students while eating.
  4. If weather permits, we will hold lessons outside and encourage students to spread out.

  • What other safety measures will school implement? 
  1. A unique Fresh Aire UV filtration system is installed in both school buildings. This system will be able to kill mold, bacteria, viruses, and other allergens.
  2. All school buildings, including classrooms, restrooms, playgrounds, and cafeterias will be cleaned, and disinfected three times a day. Once a week (on Fridays), all school premises will be chemically disinfected.
  3. A protocol ensuring hygiene has been created to ensure that all students and teachers have access to hand soap, hand sanitizers, paper towels, etc.
  4. Clear signage will be posted in all appropriate locations of the school, instructing and reminding students about proper hygiene procedures while on school premises.
  5. Classroom teachers will ensure that every student in his/her group will be monitored while washing hands and using hand sanitizers.

  • What will be the protocol in case of a student, or a teacher being diagnosed with COVID-19?
  1. The school administration places a great emphasis on active and frequent screening. This screening will begin at the beginning of every school day when our students board the school busses and will continue throughout the day when our classroom teachers will carefully monitor students’ behaviors. Our classroom teachers will make a visual inspection of the students for signs of illness which could include flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity), fatigue, or extreme fussiness.
  2. Bus Chaperones will scan students’ temperatures using a non-contact thermometer before students will be allowed to enter a bus. They will also spray the students’ clothing with a DOH approved non-combustible spray. Attendants will be trained to look for other symptoms of illness as well.
  3. Students with higher-than-normal temperatures will be prohibited from boarding the bus. These students’ names will also be reported to the school’s main office to prevent entrance into the school building in case parents of these children choose to employ alternate transportation to school.
  4. Upon disembarking, students will be asked to enter the school premises via its outdoor side yard, where their clothing will be sprayed with a DOH approved disinfectant.
  5. Upon entry into the building, students’ temperature will be taken via TELO-VAISERS. This unique system has been installed at the entrances of both school buildings of the Big Apple Academy. Within a fraction of a second, this equipment will measure a person’s temperature and produce a signal if any fever is detected. A monitor will display a photo of a person running a fever and an accurate temperature reading.
  6. All members of staff, students, and visitors will be screened for symptoms upon arrival. 
  7. Students drop off and pick up outside the school buildings will be monitored to minimize the number of outside visitors.
  8. The entrance doors in both school buildings will be locked. This will significantly limit the frequency and duration of visitations from individuals other than students and staff.

  • Some students may develop symptoms of COVID while at school. What actions will the school administration and staff take?

We have developed the following protocol for students and staff who develop COVID symptoms in school.

  1. To minimize transmission to others, we will isolate a student who develops COVID symptoms from other students and staff.
  2. The classroom teacher will immediately notify the parents of this student. The parents must make all efforts to pick up the child as soon as possible.
  3. The child will be able to receive teaching instruction through the Live Streaming Program (in accordance with the LSP policy).
  4. The child will be able to return to school in 14 days with medical documentation.
  5. Students and staff in close contact with infected persons will self-quarantine for 14 days.
  6. In the event when the number of positive cases exceeds 3 per class, the school principal will reserve the right to close the class and transition all students in that class to Live Stream Learning. All students will be allowed to return to school in 14 days.

  • Will parents enter the school freely with their children for drop off and pick up? 

To minimize the number of individuals near the school entrances, the Big Apple Academy will develop entry and dismissal protocols consistent with the latest health guidance.

  1. Parents and caregivers will not enter the school premises to drop off and pick up their children.
  2.  Our classroom teachers and school security personnel will assist in both drop-off and pick up procedures.
  3. The entrance doors in both school buildings will always be locked.
  4.  Nonessential visitors will not enter the school buildings.
  5. We will significantly limit the frequency and duration of visitors.
  6. Parents will be encouraged to make virtual appointments with teachers and school administration.

  • Will swimming lessons take place?

Yes, all sport/swimming and gym lessons in the school program will take place in accordance with the school schedule. In September and October, most of the Gym Classes will be conducted outside on the school playground. As per New York State Department of Health Guidelines, the Big Apple Academy plans to ensure that 12 feet in all directions is maintained between individuals while participating in activities that require aerobic activity and result in gym classes. There will be no emphasis placed on team sports. Our school gym instructors will instead stress individual exercises and workouts. Games and activities requiring close physical proximity will not be allowed.

  • Will the Big Apple Academy offer any afterschool activities?

Currently, we are planning to start offering afterschool activities, starting October 4, 2021.  Please keep in mind, during afterschool activities students will be expected to follow the safety protocols put in place by the sport centers where such activities will take place.  All afterschool providers will be required to submit their safety protocols to Big Apple Academy, to be shared with the parents.  Please note, should COVID-19 pandemic worsen, we reserve the right to postpone or cancel afterschool activities. 

  • What kind of school-wide events are scheduled for the upcoming school year? 

At present, no congregate events such as plays, presentations, athletic events, or extracurricular activities have been planned for the school year 2021-2022 to minimize the risk of exposure to and/or spread of COVID-19. We hope that all annually scheduled school-wide events will resume as soon as it is safe to do so.

  • Will there be a tuition difference for students attending virtual classes vs. students attending the school physically? 

The school has recently installed enormous monetary, technical, and human resources to sustain the Live Streaming Program and ensure uninterrupted teaching instructions. All these technological innovations have been cost-demanding and will require close cooperation between the school administrators and our professional tech support team resulting in further financial contributions on behalf of the school. Therefore, the tuition will remain the same for both types of student attendance, In-person, and Remote. Please note that the school tuition, along with the school enrollment fees listed below are non-negotiable.

  • In the case of the city-wide school closures will tuition discounts be offered? 

In the case of city-wide school closures, all Big Apple Academy students will immediately transition to the Live-Streaming Program or Zoom

  1. Teaching and learning will continue in a regular format.
  2. The school will fulfill all curriculum requirements in all academic areas
  3. The school will deliver high-quality academic instructions and adhere to all educational standards.

Therefore, no discounts will be offered in case of the City-wide school closures.

  • What protocol is developed to ensure safe student transportationWill face coverings be required for students during bus rides?

The Big Apple Academy will provide students with bus services. In doing so, the following protocol and procedures will be observed to ensure the safety and health of our students and staff.

  1. All students are required to wear a mask on the school bus and will maintain appropriate social distancing.
  2. Bus drivers, monitors, and attendants who must maintain direct physical contact with a child are required to wear masks.
  3. School buses will be disinfected twice a day before student pick up and after drop-off periods.
  4. Busy contact areas will be disinfected after each pick-up and drop off.
  5. School bus drivers, monitors, and attendants will not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.
  6. Air conditioning systems and air circulation systems on the school buses will always be operational.
  7. Bus attendants will scan students’ temperatures using a non-contact thermometer before students will be allowed on the bus. They will also spray the students’ clothing with a DOH approved non-combustible spray. Attendants will be trained to look for other symptoms of illness as well.
  8. Students with elevated temperatures will be prohibited from boarding the bus. These students’ names will also be reported to the school’s main office to prevent entrance into the school building if the parents of these children choose to find alternate transportation to school.

As the new school year approaches, the Big Apple Academy is prepared to operate fully, to continue to uphold a tradition in providing excellent education. Whatever the parents’ choice may be, to enroll in In-Person or Remote attendance, our students’ knowledge, safety, and well-being will never be compromised!

In the end, I would like to stress that all health and political crises eventually subside, but the solid education that our school provides will never lose its value! I look forward to welcoming all students and teachers back to school in September!

Truly Yours,

Vlad Gorny,