As of August 26 we are anticipating operating at Yellow Status. Details below.
LightHouse will re-open on September 8, 2020, offering limited onsite access and simultaneous remote learning to all students.
We recognize the unique needs of our students and the critical importance of onsite access. Our small size and flexibility offers many advantages. As such, we believe that we can safely engage small numbers of students onsite in limited ways. In order to maintain strong connections, build relationships, and offer compelling learning opportunities, we are offering a hybrid model with limited, optional, onsite access.
Conditions will vary. The situation in our community, state, and country are likely to change rapidly and in unpredictable ways in the coming months. LightHouse is committed to continuing to respond to our shifting health climate as quickly, as thoroughly, and as safely as possible, with the needs of our students as our primary focus.
The entire human population finds ourselves in unprecedented, challenging, and shifting conditions. Continual adjustments to the LightHouse schedule and interactions are near-certain. We are grateful for your patience and understanding as we respond with our utmost care and thoughtfulness.
Overall guidance for safety protocols is the responsibility of the Governor and The Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services.
LightHouse has a certain amount of autonomy regarding how we proceed under CoVid, but it is also our responsibility to comply with guidance from the Governor and/or the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Remote learning strives for the same high standard as in-person learning at LightHouse. Remote engagement will certainly have significant differences, but will strive for the same (or better) quality of instruction, engagement, and support.
Remote engagement is not a lesser version. The expectations of our students are equally demanding, if not more so. The same is true for our quality of instruction and depth of support.
Remote learning is not an ideal, long term, or complete substitution for in-person learning but will meet similar goals and standards for students.
We need to work together. Social connection, learning outcomes, and individual student progress are priorities, and requires everyone’s participation. LightHouse is proud of our deeply connected relationships with all of our students and our families. Current circumstances require all of us to draw on these connections and commit even further to frequent, open communication between staff, students, and families.
All members of our school community -parents, students, and staff- must be fully committed to our objectives for the year to be successful. While everyone must make safety choices based on individual comfort levels, the success of the LightHouse community is rooted in each of us being accountable to contributing to the overall success of each student.
Preparation and Training
Our full core staff returns to work on August 31 for a full week together of planning and training. Throughout the year we will spend every Friday afternoon together for three hours of Professional Development, in addition to our weekly group staff meeting and weekly individual meetings with each staff member and one or both of the directors. We will also have three full days of ongoing professional development as a group over the course of the year. Our professional development programs focus on standards and quality for remote learning, students’ social emotional status and development, supporting and cocreating our community norms of respect and nonviolent communication, overall academic work, instructional design, and technological tools.
Safety Status Classification
LightHouse has adopted a safety status classification system to easily indicate which level of safety protocols are currently required. Our Safety Status Protocol is based on local data, resource availability, and state and local mandates and guidance.
LightHouse site is fully closed. No students nor staff will be onsite. Classes during this status will be held entirely remotely. No safety protocol needed onsite though recommendations are made to be safe and mindful.
LightHouse site has limited access to staff. During this status, students will be fully remote but staff will teach from LightHouse and work together to sustain a rich curriculum and plan of action for students. Additionally, provided that it is safe to do so, in-person advisee meetings will be coordinated on a weekly basis. While staff and students are in the building, the strictest safety measures will be observed. Staff and students will be expected to wear masks, sanitize, observe proper physical distancing, and will meet in larger areas.
LightHouse will follow a hybrid model which will coordinate students into online and optional onsite classes. Onsite students will follow a Cohort format where each day one of the advisory cohorts (about 10 students) will be invited to attend LightHouse Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, OR Thursday to participate in their live scheduled classes in person that day and have an in-person meeting with their advisor. Attendance is entirely optional. Students and families who prefer to remain apart for now are absolutely supported and encouraged to do so. During the Yellow Status, LightHouse will be expecting around 5-8 students to be onsite per day, Monday through Thursday.
On Fridays two of the four cohorts will be invited between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm for in-person, mostly-outside activities each week, while other staff will offer online engagement for offsite students. The following week the other two cohorts are invited, so that each individual student is invited onsite every other Friday. On off-site days students will connect with their advisor daily by phone or other means and participate in classes, tutorials and other projects online.
This configuration will minimize any potential viral exposure while allowing students to engage in an in-person experience. Guests and visitors will not be welcomed onsite at this time. Parents are asked to call students downstairs during pick-ups. During Yellow Status, staff and students will be required to wear masks, sanitize, observe proper physical distancing, and will meet in larger areas.
LightHouse is almost fully onsite to all students, but students are also welcome to participate remotely if they prefer. All safety measures are still otherwise required. Guests and visitors onsite are still on hold and parents are still asked to call students downstairs during pickups.
Operations are near normal during Blue Status, but we anticipate rigorous cleaning and personal sanitation to become the new normal.
Whenever possible, we’ll be encouraging the use of outdoor spaces for classes to allow for additional physical distancing. Teachers have flexibility in regards to use of neighboring teaching spaces and off-site locations to support additional spacing between individuals.
Students will be required to observe all LightHouse safety protocols, including physical distancing, wearing masks, properly washing hands and sanitizing, and cleaning up after themselves. This applies to both classrooms and common areas.
Teachers will clean all surfaces with sanitizing wipes after every class to prepare the space for the next incoming class.
Whenever possible, we’ll be encouraging the use of safe outdoor spaces for classes to allow for additional physical distancing. Teachers have flexibility in regards to use of neighboring teaching spaces and off-site locations to support additional spacing between teachers and students.
In common areas students will be asked to observe proper physical distancing etiquette, keep their masks on, and sanitize regularly. Students who cannot abide by these expectations will not be able to remain onsite at LightHouse.
Alternate Class Spaces
We plan to use some empty, open spaces in the STEAM Building adjacent to LightHouse. We ask students to keep noise to a minimum in respect to neighboring businesses if alternate classrooms are used.
Students are asked to not use the elevator for the foreseeable future and to instead use the right hand staircase. This will ensure higher levels of safety by minimizing exposure to our Steam Building neighbors. We will use the rear hallway door at the principal entrance to LightHouse as it is closer to the stairwell.
We ask that if students need to leave the building, that they keep being safe and mindful. Upon returning, students will be required to sanitize, continue wearing their masks, and physical distancing.
LightHouse will install a number of sanitation stations throughout our space. Sanitation stations will include pump hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes.
The first station will be in the hallway at the top of the staircase. This station will be staffed in the morning. Students will be greeted, sign in, and sanitize.
All staff and students will be required to wear their face masks at all times without exception. Students are required to bring their own masks from home. No one may enter the STEAM Building without a mask. Anyone attempting to enter the building without a mask will have to be sent home.
Students who have a medical condition that inhibits them from following the safety protocol will be asked to take classes remotely in the interest of the LightHouse community. Students may choose to wear protective gloves if they like, but it is important that they still sanitize as the surfaces of gloves can also carry germs.
Physical distancing is the practice of increasing the space between individuals and decreasing the frequency of contact to reduce the risk of spreading a disease. At the moment, the state’s recommendation for physical distancing is 3-6 feet of clearance between staff and students alike. LightHouse will ensure that all staff and students abide by this protocol at all times, without exception.
Staff and students at LightHouse will be expected to read and understand this safety protocol. This protocol will additionally be covered during orientation week. We encourage staff and students to ask clarifying questions to make sure they understand these expectations.
LightHouse must follow a zero tolerance policy for all health safety practices. Failure to observe the policies will result in the student having to go home.
As part of the above expectations, students will be expected to remain physically distanced while on site, before, during, and after classes.
During lunch time, students will be expected to maintain their physical distance, especially while eating while following safety clean-up precautions before and after. Dishware will not be available at LightHouse for the time being. Students must bring in their own containers and utensils and bring them home with them. For now students will not have access to the microwave or toaster oven either. The kitchen will only be available for storing lunch in the fridge. Please bring food that is ready to eat.
Students should also bring in their own writing utensils, headphones, notebooks, and other hand-used resources.
Arrival and Departure
In the interest of mitigating any potential viral exposure, it’s important that we all work together.
Students may not congregate in the hallways before LightHouse opens. LightHouse opens at 8:30. We ask that students arrive between 8:30 and 8:55. If a student arrives before 8:30 we ask that you wait outside the building.
Students must be picked up no later than 3pm. Students will likewise be asked not to congregate in the hallways after classes are out.
Leaving the building during the day
Students with permission from their families to leave LightHouse during the day will still be able to do so for mask breaks, lunch, or other activities. They are expected to be mindful of their exposure outside of campus and will be required, without exception, to properly sanitize and wear masks before reentering LightHouse.
Parents are asked to take the temperature and/or assess any possible symptoms before sending students to LightHouse. According to the CDC, although some people who have been exposed to COVID-19 remain asymptomatic, symptoms to look out for are as follows:
Fever or chills
Cough Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing Fatigue
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting Diarrhea
Students showing any of the above symptoms must remain home until no symptoms are present. Students who stay home may participate remotely for their classes.
Students’ temperatures will also be taken upon arrival to LightHouse with a touchless infrared thermometer and asked if they are experiencing any symptoms before entering the LightHouse space. If a student shows any symptoms or has a temperature they must be picked up immediately and will be quarantined away from other students and staff until they are able to leave the building.
Parents will be advised to have the student seek medical attention and must keep the student at home taking remote classes until medical clearance is received by their health practitioners.
If a community member, student or staff, is exposed to CoVid 19 they may not attend LightHouse in person for at least 14 days. If a community member tests positive for CoVid they must stay home until all symptoms have passed and they have a negative test. If anyone connected to LightHouse, staff, students, families, or close affiliates tests positive for CoVid, our student and family community will be notified. Personal information will be held private, of course, but we will inform the community which cohorts have been exposed.
If the person who has tested positive has been physically present at LightHouse within 48 hours of either showing symptoms or testing positive, LightHouse will revert to Red Status- fully remote- for 14 days.
We are doing our best to serve our students as well and fully as we can.
We are doing our best to serve our students as well and as fully as we can. We very much want to offer as much in person, onsite time as possible. Research and data is showing that strong relationships and in-person connection is best for learning and community is essential for strong mental health. We are doing our best to balance these needs with the health and safety requirements of the moment. We appreciate your support and patience, and as always, we are open to comments, questions, and feedback.
The safety of our students, staff and larger community is paramount. Our educational philosophy is based on collaboration and transparency. This same principle applies to our approach to CoVid-19 with continued close communication and collaboration of students, their families, staff and our board of directors.
We are guided by science rather than politics. We recognize the need for continual, rapid reevaluation and modification of our operational plans. LightHouse is following direction and adhering to guidelines set forth by the Governor of Massachusetts and The Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services. We are striving for alignment with Holyoke Public Schools and The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the best possible practices for safe engagement.Block One Schedule of Classes
“I will say that I cannot imagine
any condition which could cause a ship to founder.
I cannot conceive of any vital disaster
happening to this vessel.”
any condition which could cause a ship to founder.
I cannot conceive of any vital disaster
happening to this vessel.”
-E.J. Smith, Captain of the Titanic