Update on in person, hybrid- learning. Complete Required Survey by January 29th

Dear AF Crown Heights Elementary School Families, 

Happy Monday! Here is an update on our plans to resume in-person, hybrid learning at our schools in March of this year!

What is happening?
We are currently planning to open our schools for in-person learning for all families who need their scholar to learn in-person on Tuesday March 9th. We know current COVID-19 cases in our community are high and we are closely monitoring the trends. While we are hopeful that the infection rates will begin to decline soon, your scholar’s and our staff’s safety remains our number one priority. We will make and communicate a final decision  to you about re-opening in March no later than February 22nd. 
In the meantime, we need to know your preference for your scholar’s learning March 9th until April 30th. This information is critical to our planning for a safe and successful reopening. All families should complete the survey by the end of day on Friday January 29th. If you do not complete the survey by 1/29, your scholar will continue remote learning through the end of Chapter 3 (March 9-April 30).
As we planned for hybrid learning in 20-21, we divided the year up into “chapters” so that families have the opportunity to choose whether they wanted their child to learn remotely or in-person during each chapter. We did this because we know that circumstances with COVID-19 are frequently changing and we wanted our families to have flexibility throughout the year. 

Our TOP priority is SAFETY
We have set up all of our school buildings and classrooms to maintain 6 feet of social distancing (a requirement that goes above and beyond the state’s baseline requirements) as that is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of the virus. Please see this document for a summary of the many safety procedures we have put in place in accordance with public health guidance, and this document for more information on our mask policy.  

Maintaining 6ft of social distance means…
The consequence of this social distancing is that we can accommodate fewer scholars in each of our classrooms.

How does this affect me or my child?

While we will do everything we can to ensure that all families who want their child to learn in-person will be able to learn in-person at least 2 days / week, we may not have space to accommodate all in-person children 4 days / week. If more families want their child to learn in-person than we can safely accommodate, we will need to move to offering only 2 days / week of in-person learning.  
All scholars will learn remotely on Fridays. If you choose in-person learning, please know that you are selecting this option without yet knowing how many days of learning your child will actually be able to attend in-person. Also note that a shift to in-person learning will most likely result in your child having a new teacher from March-June. 
Additionally, to ensure that our staff and scholars can safely execute our safety procedures, families should be aware of the following: On March 3 – March 5, our staff will be in professional development preparing to reopen school; scholars will complete independent work on these days. In addition, March 8 is a day off from school.  When/if school reopens on March 9, scholars will have a half-day of learning on March 9 and March 10 so that we have time to get acclimated to safety procedures. What happens if…

I don’t complete the survey?

Your child(ren) will learn remotely from March 9 through April 30.

I take the survey?
We will accommodate your request for whether your child will learn remotely or in-person. (Reminder: we may only be able to accommodate 2 days / week of in-person learning.)

I want to change my scholar’s placement AFTER the survey ends?
Once the survey closes, we will not be able to accommodate family switches from remote to in-person learning. 
You must complete the survey by January 29th if you want your scholar to have an in-person spot for 2 days / week. 
You can always switch your child from in-person to remote.

Our ultimate recommendation:
We believe our remote program is one of the strongest in the country, and that it is continually getting better. If you have the ability to keep your scholar(s) home for remote learning, that is the safest option. 

Please complete THIS SURVEY for every scholar you have at an AF school.

As always, we remain responsive to the public health situation both within our school community and within our broader city. If, for example, case counts in the state increase, we will need to shift our plans. In these circumstances, we will continue to communicate with you as proactively as we can. 

Once we hear back from you and other families whether you need your child to learn in-person, we will get back to you with a more exact schedule by February 10th of exactly which days your scholar will learn in-person. 

Thank you so much for your continued flexibility and partnership as we navigate this together. Please reach out with ANY questions! 


Dr. Sadé Johnson (Principal) and Melissa Cantave (Director of School Operations)

📣AF School Reopening Plan Update

AF NY Families, 

We hope you and your scholars are having a great week!  We are reaching out today with an important update about our reopening plan in New York. We have decided to NOT begin hybrid learning on 11/9 as originally planned and instead plan to remain remote only in NY until January 25, 2021. 

This was a DEEPLY difficult decision to make for us. There is nothing we want more than to reopen our schools for hybrid learning in NY and provide support for those students and families who want in-person school. As we were weighing this decision, it felt like there were no “good” options available..  After reviewing all of the factors, we believe that remaining remote through January 25, 2021 is the best option available considering the circumstances.  

Our most important responsibility is to keep your scholar safe…and the truth is that we simply don’t think it’s safe to reopen in NYC right now.  Here’s why:

  • There are rising case counts – and school and non-essential business closures – in the neighborhoods surrounding our schools, where many of our families and staff members live.  There are currently over 100 NYC public schools closed due to outbreaks, with another 300+ on the “watch list” for potential closures in the coming days. All currently closed schools and schools on the “watch list” are located in Brooklyn or Queens. 
  • Given these closures, we don’t have confidence that NYC schools in our neighborhoods will remain open consistently for the next two months. We’d rather announce a closure proactively to our families rather than wait for what seems like inevitable rolling closures that will leave our families scrambling at the last minute.  Making the decision now allows our families to plan ahead – and allows us to devote our energy to ensuring remote learning in NY is really strong – as opposed to dividing efforts between on-again-off-again in-person school and remote.
  • NY’s mandatory quarantine requirements require anyone traveling from a restricted area to quarantine for 14 days, even if they have a negative PCR test result. Because we cannot and would not try to dictate to our staff what they can and cannot do over the holidays, we cannot be certain that we will have enough staff to open school for the two weeks after each break. That means we would basically be open for just two weeks in November and then have to close between Thanksgiving and Winter Break.
  • Additionally, we want to make sure that we have adequate time to confirm that our schools that are co-located in DOE buildings have functional ventilation systems installed. This work has unfortunately been delayed as the DOE has spent the fall focusing on re-opening – and we need additional time to adequately address any ventilation concerns in our buildings.
  • Finally, we want to share our reasoning for why this extends until 1/25 even though Winter Break ends on January 3. As described above, NY’s mandatory quarantine means we don’t believe we’ll have adequate staff to run our schools from January 4 – January 18, the two weeks following Winter Break. In addition, January 18 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a school holiday, and we require three days of in-person PD before starting school which would happen on 1/19-1/21. Finally, 1/22 is a Friday, which is always remote for us this year. Thus, if we are able to open, we’d do so on 1/25 (the Monday after MLK day).

As we mentioned above, this was an incredibly difficult decision to make which is why we wanted to share our thinking as transparently as we can. We commit to sharing an update with you all in mid-December about whether we’ll be able to open in January. That decision, like this one, will be based on the safety of our facilities, the prevalence of COVID in our communities, and the likelihood that we’ll be able to serve families in a hybrid learning environment. In the meantime, please reach out to your child’s school directly with any questions. 

Finally, we want to conclude with gratitude. We are incredibly thankful for ALL of your partnership and work in service of our scholars, community, and each other. If you have ANY questions about this, please feel free to reach out!

Dacia Toll (CEO), Stephanie Keenoy (Superintendent), and Richard Buery (President)