Safely Welcoming Students Back to Campus

2020 Providence Academy COVID Safety Plan

Guiding Assumptions

Wherever possible, children whose parents want them in school should be in school.  Here at Providence Academy, the intellectual, spiritual, physical, and mental health needs of children are served every day.  It’s our duty, and our honor, to be here for you.

The safety and health of our students, faculty, staff, and families is a top priority.  Whenever multiple top priorities can be pursued simultaneously, they should be.  

We must teach and model for our children the prudence of  “staying safe.”   We also must teach and model the wisdom of Christ and the Bible’s repeated injunction to “Be not afraid.”

Current Plan for Opening

Plan A: In-School Learning, 5 Days a Week


  • In-person learning, with enhanced safety and health precautions.
  • Desk distancing in classrooms, per American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines.
  • Face coverings in all grades, K through 12. Pre-K children are exempt.
  • Staggered passing times in MS and US.
  • Marked walking lanes in hallways, with social distancing indicators.
  • Weekly divisional Masses in the Performing Arts Center to ensure distancing.
  • Modified Chef Morris lunch menus and lunch-seating plans, with safe-service protocols–still featuring “main line,” “grill”, and “grab and go” options.
  • SimulClassroom technology available at home for students with risk factors, health concerns, illness, manifest COVID-19 symptoms, quarantine requirements, or who live with immunocompromised family members.
  • Parent/guest access to the building will be limited. Staff members will welcome students in early grades at school entrances and escort them to classrooms.
  • At least to begin the year, to assure habits of safe movement and distancing, students will be welcomed into the school no earlier than 8 a.m. Breakfast service will be suspended until further notice.
  • Students in all divisions are encouraged to depart campus as early as feasible after school.
  • KidVentures and MS After School Programs will continue, with modifications, for those needing extended-day services.
  • Status of interscholastic athletics is yet to be determined.
  • PA route busing will be available as usual at reduced capacity.
Alternate Plans for Opening

Plan B: Hybrid Learning

  • In-person on-campus learning blended, where needed, with SimulClassroom learning from home for LS students, and for MS and US students, either from home or alternate supervised locations at PA.
  • This could be implemented at a classroom, divisional, or school-wide level where necessary.
  • All other modifications from Plan A would apply.

Plan C: Distance Learning

  • At-home learning developed from PA’s experience in Spring 2020.
  • This could be implemented at a classroom, divisional, or school-wide level where necessary.

Plan D: Normal School

  • A full return to school and activities with no (or few) modifications.
  • Hope springs eternal!
Maintaining a Safe Environment

We strive for the highest standards at Providence Academy.  Our efforts to protect our community from Sars-CoV-2 exposure are guided by authorities including the CDC, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

We are aware, however, that policies and practices that significantly mitigate risks of Sars-CoV-2 exposure cannot eliminate the possibility of exposure.  Presence at PA this new school year signifies a family’s awareness and acceptance of that possibility.

Temperature & Symptom Screening

PA will ask that families complete an at-home, daily screening checklist for a variety of symptoms.

Hand Washing & Sanitizing

Hand sanitizer will be available in hallways and classrooms.  All students will be asked to wash hands frequently.  Signage and reminders will be posted throughout the building and restrooms.

Benefits of Spaciousness

Providence Academy features well over twice the square footage of space per student of many public institutions.  This allows flexibility in achieving distancing,  in facility usage, and enables an abundance of fresher, filtered air throughout.


    SimulClassroom technology will be available at home for students with risk factors, health concerns, illness, manifest COVID-19 symptoms, quarantine requirements, or who live with immunocompromised family members.  PA is installing high-definition video and audio webcasting in each classroom, and will use Google Meet technology, mastered during distance learning in the Spring.  We will invite students who need to be at home into classrooms “live,” with opportunities for some live participation through in-classroom teleconference interfacing. 

    SimulClassroom cannot precisely duplicate an in-school experience.  It is designed as a close approximation, as far as possible, for students who need to be at home temporarily.  While PA is not instituting a maximal use limit for students, all should be advised that SimulClassoom cannot provide the full level of interaction and engagement available in a classroom.  Division directors must be consulted about any long-term use intention.

    To facilitate demands for live-streaming and more, PA is nearly quintupling broadband internet bandwidth.

      Face Coverings

      Face coverings are required of all students in all grades K through 12.  Pre-K children are exempt.  Face coverings include a mask, a mask and face shield, or, under the following conditions, a face shield alone:

      • Where a parent of a student in grades K through 8 indicates that a mask is “problematic” for a child. 
      • Where a parent of a student in grades 9 through 12 indicates a “developmental, medical, or behavioral health condition” such that a student “cannot tolerate” a mask. (Source: MN Dept. of Health Guidelines for Schools pursuant to Walz Executive Order 20-81)

      Where distancing can be achieved, students will not be required to wear face coverings during recess, physical education or lunch.  Note that guidelines of uniform-dress-code appropriateness, as well as other specifications, are further discussed in our Frequently Asked Questions document.

      COVID-19 Diagnostic & Response Protocol

      PA has developed protocols for isolating and sending home students who become ill while at school. Families will stay in communication with the school when there is a positive COVID-19 test result in a student or family member. PA is in continual contact with the MDH and will work with them to identify close contacts at school and notify other families of the need to quarantine. 

      Please reference the items on the Understanding COVID-19 Guidelines page to better understand the circumstances in which your student should or should not come to school for in-person learning.  For additional reference, please see the most recent Decision Tree from the Minnesota Department of Health.


      The Great Room and associated spaces will be utilized so as to maximize a physically distanced lunch experience for students. Outdoor options may be available during good weather. Early grades of the Lower School will have lunch served in their classrooms.

      Lunch options will be modified so as to streamline the time spent progressing through the lunch line, and assure safe, efficient food service. Taher, Inc., with whom we partner, is a leader in the industry in making plans for this fall.

      Athletics & Extra-Curriculars

      Interscholastic athletics plans are being developed in conjunction with, and are mutually dependent on, the MSHSL and the conferences in which PA plays.  Non-interscholastic-athletic activities will proceed with appropriate protocols.

      Fine Arts

      PA will maximize use of large arts classrooms and the Performing Arts Center to maintain our premier fine arts curriculum.


      In order to reduce possibilities of Sars-CoV-2 exposure from outside, visits from PA parents, alumni, and others will be limited, by appointment.

      Clean, Filtered, Fresh Air

      PA already has a state-of-the-art HVAC system, which we are enhancing to offer still cleaner, fresher air.  Before school begins, we are:

      • upgrading our air filtration system to the CDC-recommended “MERV-13” rating, to further mitigate the low risk of virus spread in ventilation air streams.
      • modifying existing AHU outdoor air minimum and maximum volumes to enhance ventilation capacity.
      • modifying existing economizer control to enhance use of outdoor air volume.
      • adding building pressurization sensors to maintain building static pressure control.
      • adding a nightly all-building purge/flush cycle.

      • PA route busing will be available as usual, but at reduced capacity.
      • Follow guidelines from MDH and CDC.
      • Follow frequent daily cleaning protocols.
      • Face coverings will be required while on a bus.
      • Assigned seating will help ensure proper distancing on the bus
      • No food or drinks allowed on buses
      Entering & Exiting the Building

      • Separate entrances for all three divisions.
      • School doors will open at 8 am to welcome students.
      • Students in all divisions are encouraged to depart campus as early as feasible after school.

      Safely Welcoming Back Students FAQs

      For additional information related to safely welcoming students back to campus, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions.