Pine Forge Academy
Response to Covid-19
Thanks to your fervent prayers, Pine Forge Academy is well and looking forward to an exciting future providing excellent Christian education to students. Applications are currently being accepted for the 2020-21 academic year. The enrollment of both new and returning students will be greatly applauded in the fall. All will be warmly welcomed.
As you will now remember, on March 13, 2020, with the unanimous approval of its Board of Trustees, the Academy advanced the start of Spring Break, announced a plan to commence online virtual instruction for a 10-day period, and optimistically declared normal operations would resume on April 12, 2020.
Approximately two weeks later, as the COVID-19 virus continued its seemingly unstoppable assault on American lives, with much regret, all on-campus activities were cancelled for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. This decision proved prescient as, immediately thereafter, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issued a “two-week, stay-in-place” order for five Pennsylvania counties, including Montgomery County, immediately adjacent to Pine Forge. The “stay-in place” order has since been issued for the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania until May 8, 2020.
Although it is not possible to replicate the on-campus in-person experience of intellectual discourse and learning, or the lifetime bonds established through daily socialization, you may be assured the entire Academy’s instructors, staff, and Board of Trustees are fully committed to ensuring every student is served inspirationally and effectively through “PFA Virtual School.”
No doubt there are multiple questions to which you seek answers. Accordingly, included in this communication are frequently asked questions, FAQs, that will provide some answers, as well as inform you, about the Academy’s plans and objectives during this period of uncertainty. For convenience, the questions and answers are grouped categorically.
What is PFA Virtual School?
PFA Virtual School is a daily online instruction that replicates the best aspects of the Academy’s educational instruction and learning experience. PFA Virtual School is purposely a collaborative endeavor designed to create a dynamic learning experience for all students.
What is expected of students while participating-attending PFA Virtual School?
The Academy has fully transitioned to PFA Virtual School. Students are expected to adhere to various guidelines and expectations. Even with significant changes in how our daily lives happen, the Academy remains committed to its motto, i.e., “Excellence Is No Accident.” Accordingly, students are expected to:
- Follow the daily schedule of classes, meetings, etc., as outlined by the teacher or Dean of Instruction.
- Using the following Online Platforms: Google Classroom, No Red Ink.com, CK-12, Zoom, and Khan Academy.
- Complete all academic work in an area where study hall quiet conditions are in effect;
- Be detailed in planning for each week, looking ahead to commitments and assignments, and communicate actively with teachers in order to be organized and prepared for each class and the completion of all assignments;
- When ‘attending’ a live class, to be in a quiet and appropriate area that is respectful to a learning environment, and to use the mute button as appropriate;
- Dress in a classroom appropriate manner, a polo shirt or equivalent is appropriate;
- Recognize that all faculty and offices are accessible via emails and telephone calls;
- Communicate thoughtfully, patiently, politely, and clearly;
- Remember, rules, standards, and procedures outlined in the Pine Forge Academy Student Handbook still reasonably apply across all circumstances.
What Grading Policy will apply during the fourth quarter?
In response to the ongoing campus closure due to COVID-19, the Pine Forge Academy Administration has approved a resolution that temporarily updates the PFA Grading and Final Examination policy.
Under the updated policy, students and teachers will work together to help students achieve a passing grade of 75% or better for the fourth quarter, once they have completed all online learning requirements. This will provide students the opportunity to earn a grade of a C or better for the fourth quarter. Our goal is for students not to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Students will be allowed to make up any missing or incomplete work and are encouraged to work closely with teachers to identify deficiencies. Teachers will continue to monitor student progress and provide feedback on student performance. Progress monitoring will be done via telephone, if the student does not have reliable access to computers or Internet service. Teachers will continue to accept outstanding assignments until May 14, 2020.
Pine Forge Academy remains focused on the whole person-the mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being of each student. Nevertheless, the focus at this juncture must be each student’s mental or academic well-being. The Pine Forge Academy faculty and staff will continue to work with students and families to support student academic needs. No Student Will Be Required to Take a Final Examination. All students must complete the distance learning experience, inclusive of an essential learning assessment at the end of each course. The Essential Learning Assessments will happen during the week of May 18-22, 2020. Successful completion of all requirements will ensure that students are better prepared for the coming school year and/or graduation.
Student Affairs, Safety, and Health
What will be the availability of the Guidance Counselor during PFA Virtual School?
During PFA Virtual School, the Guidance Counselor will be available daily to assist and counsel students in organizing each day, the preparation needed for each class and completing assignments. Every Monday – Thursday from 10:30pm until 2pm the Guidance Counselor will be available to counsel with students in a Google Classroom setting. Additionally, students can schedule independent 20-minute appointments with the Guidance Counselor upon request. These meetings will be focused entirely on providing students with the support they need to succeed. Parents are also welcomed to participate in these independent student appointments. Students and/or parents may also communicate with Shari Smith, the Guidance Counselor via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone at: (610) 326-5800.
When will students be able to return to campus to retrieve their personal belongings?
When the state of Pennsylvania allows for the stay at home restrictions to be lifted in Berks County, where Pine Forge Academy is located, the Academy’s administration will allow families, on a scheduled basis, onto the campus to retrieve all personal items, to remove all dorm room paraphernalia, and to clean the room surfaces. Although the stay at home restrictions will have been lifted, social distancing protocols will be maintained as the students gather their belongings.
To keep the dormitory staff and families safe we have instituted the following retrieval process:
STEP 1: Set up your appointment by visiting our Dormitory Retrieval Scheduler page.
- Appointments have been set in a two-hour window. You must be on time and expedient in removing your child’s items as another family will be waiting to safely enter the building.
- Contact the Dean if you are going to be late. If you are more than 30 minutes late for your appointment you will have to wait until the next available time for your family to gain entrance into the dormitory. Unfortunately, the next appointment may be hours later or on an entirely different day.
- Student lockers at Wagner Hall will be opened for the retrieval of any personal items.
STEP 2: Provide your personal protection equipment (PPE). Every individual that enters our facilities must wear a mask according to Pennsylvania Help Stop the Spread guidelines.
- We will not allow entrance to the dormitories without a mask. The wearing of plastic gloves is optional.
- We DO NOT have extra masks or gloves accessible for you or other family members.
- Hand sanitizer dispensers will be located at the entrances of both dormitories for your convenience.
STEP 3: Leave any textbooks or Pine Forge Academy materials at the dormitory.
- As you return to gather your possessions, we are asking that you leave all textbooks and any other Pine Forge Academy materials in the designated areas in the dormitories or at Wagner Hall.
- Your account will be charged for any textbooks or materials that are not returned.
- You will not be allowed to gain access to another dorm room to retrieve any items.
- iPads and plugs should be returned to the Dean. Missing or broken devices will be charged to your account. Please be sure to sign out of iCloud prior to return.
STEP 4: Exit the building safely. We have set up directions for safe exiting of our buildings. You may have to enter at one end of the building and exit out another. We are asking that you follow directions closely to maintain social distancing protocols.
- Any items left behind will be discarded.
- Any discarded items left behind in a dorm room will be removed at a rate of $20 per hour and charged to your account.
- We will not be able to store refrigerators or other items in the dormitory.
STEP 5: Maintain social distancing protocols. It is possible that your family will come face to face with a fellow classmate or friend. As much as we want to hug, converse, and shake hands, these gestures are dangerous at this time. We must maintain proper social distancing protocols in order for everyone to safely return home free from the coronavirus and healthy.
Will there be Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020?
The Academy is working diligently to develop a plan for Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020. Based upon preliminary discussions with Parent Association members, several dates are under consideration. Please stay tuned for confirmation of the date and further details.
Has anyone on campus been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus?
Praise God! To our knowledge, no one on campus or directly associated with the Academy has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Will the campus be cleaned while the campus is closed?
Yes. As during the normal school year, all buildings, including dormitory rooms, and all public areas around campus, including bathroom facilities and other common areas, have been cleaned and sanitized.
What protocols will be put in place if someone tests positive for the COVID-19 virus when life on campus resumes?
The COVID-19 protocols are evolving daily. The Academy will continue to follow the guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Berks County’s Office of Public Health. Our protocol in August will reflect the most updated recommendations at that time regarding testing, isolation, contact tracing, quarantine, and cleaning.
Will Pine Forge Academy refund tuition and fees for the 2019-20 academic year?
The Academy has refunded dormitory and cafeteria charges for the months of March, April, and May. In addition, all members of the senior class received refunds for the cancelled senior class trip. However, no refunds of tuition have been credited to student accounts at this time.
Will Pine Forge Academy resume normal operations for the 2020-21 academic year?
The Academy is fully committed to resuming full operations for the 2020-21 academic year. However, given the fluid and continually evolving nature of the COVID-19 virus, the Board of Trustees and administrators will be evaluating the Academy’s plans weekly and modifying those plans as appropriate. Be assured, communication will be maintained with all students, parents, and stakeholders between now and then.
Who is the contact for questions about the 2020-21 academic year?
The following individuals should be contacted based upon your specific area of interests:
Admissions and Enrollment
Courtney Brown, Registrar
Academics and Instruction
Addriene Rhodes, Dean of Instruction
Finance and Student Accounts
Eldridge Edgecombe, Business Manager
Shari Smith, Guidance Counselor
Dean Marshall, Dean of Girls
Dean Reddick, Dean of Boys