We offer a common sense, science-informed approach.
The Knoxville School of Progressive Education was formed, in part, in reaction to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Founding members of the school take seriously the health and safety of the families and children who participate in the school.
Key Safety Features
The school defaults to science-based, research-driven practices as relates to illness. As scientific knowledge about COVID-19 changes, so, too, may the school’s best practices policies. We draw from CDC guidelines, WHO recommendations, and proven scientific research and observations when making such decisions, and our safety committee is led by a doctor.
All parents/guardians, faculty, and staff will be required to sign a Safety Contract outlining the expected protocols for keeping safe during the pandemic. The protocols outlined in this document represent the current scientific understanding of COVID-19’s transmission and risks with the knowledge that each family must still live and work in the community. By signing this document, families and faculty/staff pledge to follow best practices to keep their community safe and to commit to complete transparency if they are exposed to the virus and must be tested.
Whenever possible, students will be given the opportunity to complete lessons and coursework in a shaded outdoor classroom setting. Not only will this allow children a break from mask-wearing, but it will give them the chance to enjoy the benefits of fresh air and natural lighting.
A HEPA air filter will be used in the classroom as an additional precautionary method for maintaining air quality. Although the science isn’t fully settled on whether or not an air filter is effective, scientists agree that the Coronavirus is airborne, and as authors Joseph G. Allen and Richard Corsi point out, “A portable air purifier with a HEPA filter that is correctly sized for the room can deliver three air changes per hour of clean air, meaning all of the air in the room is cleaned every 20 minutes.”
The Knoxville School of Progressive Education is committed to remaining open while taking special care to maintain the safety of faculty, staff, families, and children. As such, we will offer online learning for children who must stay home sick. Students who complete online learning tasks will be counted as attending class and not marked absent.
Masks & shields
All parents/guardians, faculty, staff, and students are required to wear face masks and/or face shields while in an indoor setting. In addition, six feet of physical distance will be maintained by students in the classroom, and to the extent possible, children will be assigned and maintain their own desk space in the classroom. At times, the teacher or staff member will need to be in close physical proximity to your child. With appropriate masking or shielding, this is a safe activity.
The school will follow the cleaning practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Appropriate disinfectants will be used throughout the day, and faculty, staff, and students will be encouraged to wash their hands or to use hand sanitizer frequently, at least every hour if not more often as needed. A full cleaning schedule will be developed and available to families who wish to understand the precautions being taken on their child’s behalf.
Small class size
Our classroom capacity will be limited to 12 to 15 students total. Schools in European and Asian countries that have successfully reopened and remained open have the common denominator of reduced class sizes. In addition, siblings who are in close age range are encouraged to enroll together in our mixed-age classroom. Not only do children benefit from “working up” and “helping down,” but the logistics of keeping sibling sets safe are reduced. For families with middle and high schoolers, we urge you, if possible, to enroll your older children in distance/online learning while sending your younger children to KSPE.
We can — and must — reopen schools. Here’s how.
“The public health science is quite simple: The amount of virus that kids and adults are exposed to is a function of how many viral particles are emitted into the air and how many are removed. Both sides of that equation can be controlled. To do it, we need to be school SMART.”
How to Reopen Schools: What Science and Other Countries Teach Us
“So far, countries that reopened schools after reducing infection levels — and imposed requirements like physical distancing and limits on class sizes — have not seen a surge in coronavirus cases.”
This Isn’t Sustainable for Working Parents
“Child care is the immovable object around which so much else in family life orbits, and when the usual child-care options disappear, something else has to give. During the pandemic, with schools and day-care centers closed or operating at reduced capacity, many parents’ careers—particularly mothers’ careers—are getting deprioritized.”
Why Can’t We Just Have Class Outside?
“Outdoor time has always been healthy for kids, but that’s especially the case now: One study found that the odds of catching the coronavirus are nearly 20 times higher indoors than outdoors.”