As always, the safety and health of our students, staff, and greater community is our top priority. We have created this page to address the City on a Hill’s response to COVID-19 and its effect on our community.
Weekly Community Updates
Enrichment Materials & Chromebooks
City on a Hill teachers and administrators are working to provide all students who need them with Chromebooks to be able to complete assignments during our closure. Students will be graded on these assignments, and they are encouraged to complete the work to the best of their abilities and treat this differently than they would a school vacation week.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long will City on a Hill be closed?
CoaH will be closed through May 4, in accordance with Governor Baker’s directive to close all schools in the Commonwealth.
We will be evaluating our decision whether to remain closed beyond May 4 on a week-by-week basis.
Our highest priority is the health and safety of our students and staff, so we certainly don’t want to jeopardize your health, theirs or the well-being of our families and extended families. We do have a responsibility to educate our students and we take that responsibility seriously, hence the reason we will be carefully evaluating the situation as new information becomes available.
Is Friday, April 10 a day off for Good Friday? Is April break still April 20-24?
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Jeff Riley is expected to issue guidance today giving school districts and charter public schools the flexibility to choose to continue delivering instruction during previously planned days off and breaks.
City on a Hill is choosing to honor Friday, April 10 as a day off for Good Friday and to keep the Monday-Friday, April 20-24 as April Break. Given the challenges of the 2019-20 school year, we believe that our students and staff should have the opportunity to take a well-deserved break on these days.
There will be no instruction provided on these days. Further, the email to families that would typically be delivered on Friday, April 10 will instead be sent on Thursday, April 9. Similarly the email to families on Friday, April 17 will be the last until Tuesday, April 28.
What does Governor Baker’s stay-at-home advisory mean for our students?
In addition to the precautions you are taking to protect yourself and your family from coronavirus, such as the World Health Association’s Do the Five, our school nurse has suggested these helpful tips for preventive actions.
What Distance Learning options is City on a Hill offering during the shutdown?
CoaH students in both Boston and New Bedford have been given assignments to complete through March 27. Assignments are by grade level; students should only do the sections for their specific classes. Students will receive credit for completed assignments.
Boston students: Student assignments are available on our website by grade level. If your student is unable to access the assignments online, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your students’ name(s), grade(s), and mailing address by 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 25 so that we can make arrangements to send them to you. Given Governor Baker’s stay-at-home advisory, packets requested after this time can only be downloaded from our website.
All mail requests received as of 3 p.m. on Monday, March 23, have been fulfilled and should arrive via USPS to the address on file.
New Bedford students: All students should have received their assignments.
We will share more updates in the following weeks with distance learning and assignments for the week of March 30.
When and how will chromebooks be distributed in Boston?
An email was sent from email@example.com on Thursday afternoon, March 26 to all families who indicated that they needed to borrow a chromebook to complete school work at home.
The email stated that chromebooks will be distributed on Monday, March 30 between 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Tuesday, March 31 between 2-6 p.m by appointment only. The pick-up location is City on a Hill Lower School Campus, 58 Circuit Street, regardless of which Boston school your student attends.
We will share more updates in the following weeks with distance learning and assignments for the week of March 30.
For additional information on Chromebooks, including how to receive one, please view our Chromebook FAQ.
What about students who are part of the Learning Network?
There are packets specifically for students who are members of our Learning Network. If your child is a member of the Learning Network and you have not received this packet, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are currently working with our charter peers in Massachusetts and nationally on strategies to ensure that we will be able to continue meeting all IEP, 504, and EL service delivery requirements, particularly in the event of a long term closure.
How do I return the completed assignments to my student’s teachers?
Rather than mail each completed grade level packet, we ask that students scan and return them to their teachers. The email addresses of our teachers were included on the cover page of each section of the grade level packet (e.g., English, math, history, etc.).
My student doesn’t have access to a computer. What is CoaH doing to help?
We are working through the logistical hurdles of lending chromebooks to City on a Hill Students who need them by completing this family technology survey to help us assess your individual technology situation. Please be reminded that the deadline to complete the survey is Wednesday, March 25 at 11:59 p.m. We will reach out to families separately with instructions for Chromebook pick-up.
How often can families expect to hear from CoaH?
In an effort to make our communications more predictable, families can expect to hear from me twice per week, on Tuesday and Friday afternoons, via email and robocall. The Tuesday message will contain any updates we have about our response to COVID-19 and the Friday message will answer questions raised by families that have been submitted to email@example.com that week. As our coronavirus response is a fast-moving, incredibly fluid situation we hope predictable communications will help ease anxieties.
How do these changes impact my students’ Q3 grades and transcripts?
Quarter 3 was scheduled to end in April, but like other schools, we are reassessing the end time of the quarter and start of the new one. More information will be forthcoming when final decisions have been made.
What about MCAS and AP tests?
DESE Commissioner Riley has previously indicated that the MCAS window would be pushed back. This test is part of Massachusetts’ federal and state education requirements and any changes to the test window and/or cancellation would have to be negotiated by the respective legislators. Other states are wrestling with the same issue. Similarly, the College Board has posted a message on its website saying that Advanced Placement tests may be moving in the direction of take-home tests.
As a reminder, the MCAS and AP tests are not specific to City on a Hill. We will update guidance as soon as we receive more information.
Other schools are providing meals during the school closure; will City on a Hill do the same?
In Boston, we are working with our food vendor, City Fresh, to accommodate serving meals as soon as possible, likely only from our Circuit Street location given that it is located in a residential neighborhood. The start date is not yet known. I hope to have an update in my Friday, March 20 communication.
In New Bedford, we are partnering with the New Bedford Public Schools where they are providing ‘Grab and Go’ meals during district closure.
How does this closure impact the last day of school?
Like with many of the details related to returning to normal school operations following closure, our last day of school cannot yet be known. We are working with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to understand the impact of Governor Baker’s State of Emergency Declaration on schools. At this moment, the best information is that the last day of school will be no later than June 30, 2020. We will continue to share updates throughout the spring on this topic.
Will teachers and administrators be available during the extended closure?
City on a Hill’s Network Office will operate remotely beginning March 16 to ensure our operational functions continue, and to prepare for eventual re-opening of our schools. If you have any questions during this time, please call (617) 533-9471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All teachers and school-based administrators will be out of the building for the entirety of the closure, though they will offer 5 hours per week to be available remotely to students via phone or email. Instructions on how to reach their teachers will be included in their packets.
Will we be rescheduling and/or cancelling large events and school trips (eg. prom, graduation, sports games, DC Trip, etc.)?
For events following our extended closure, we will continue to evaluate all large events and school trips on a case by case basis based on the recommendations from the WHO, CDC and Massachusetts DPH at that time.
Due to recommendations from the DC Department of Public Health and out of an abundance of caution, we will be cancelling this year’s junior trip to Washington, DC. We know this is a highly anticipated trip for our students, and we will be looking into other opportunities to connect our students with similar experiences. Students who have already provided CoaH with their trip payments will be refunded.
We will continue to update our community members on an ongoing basis as we approach other spring events and trips. If you have questions about specific events or trips, please contact email@example.com.
What are we doing to prepare staff and students to prevent an outbreak of coronavirus in our community?
In addition to extended closure to support social distancing, we have contracted with a cleaning company to sanitize the schools and our administrative offices. We will sanitize all restroom faucets, urinals, sinks and partitions, all stairway railings, elevator buttons, all student desks and chairs, conference tables, cafeteria tables, water fountains, computer keyboards, all door knobs and any other accessible surfaces.
Furthermore, our operations staff have insured all bathrooms and classroom spaces have signs reminding folks of the best practices to prevent transmission and maintain health upon return to school. These include:
- If you are sick, stay home until you have been without fever, vomiting, and/or diarrhea for at least twenty-four hours without the aid of medicine.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least twenty seconds.
- If you are unable to wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid sharing drinks, utensils, or other personal items.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and in the elbow of your sleeve – not with your hands.
Operations staff will continue to monitor bathrooms throughout the day to ensure handwashing areas are stocked and working properly in all student and staff bathrooms upon return to school.
Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
In addition to the above health and logistical concerns, we want to acknowledge that due to its origins in Wuhan, China, this virus has been racialized. There have already been incidents nationwide of increased racism and xenophobia against those of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. We want to acknowledge that CoaH community members of Asian or Pacific Islander descent may experience this, and that discrimination of any kind is not tolerated in our community.
If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH)
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- World Heath Organization (WHO)
- Internet Essentials from Comcast (FREE INTERNET) – (855) 846-8376
Articles & Flyers:
- When Xenophobia Spreads Like A Virus, NPR (March 4, 2020)
- Coping with Stress during the 2019-nCoV Outbreak, World Health Organization
- Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCoV Outbreak, World Health Organization
- Get Your Home Ready, Centers for Disease Control
- What To Do If You Are Sick, Centers for Disease Control