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235 Hope Road, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724  /  732.542.4777

Fall 2020 COVID-19 Updates

Dear Ranney Community, 
We reopened campus on September 8 for in-person instruction, 5-days per week, while also allowing families the flexibility to opt for their children to continue distance learning from home. Our Reopening Task Force, comprised of members of the Board of Trustees, Medical Advisory Board, and administrative leadership team, developed a thoughtful, prudent, and comprehensive strategy to bring the community back together on campus. Please note that all of our reopening plans are subject to changes in executive orders.
Our primary concern is to maintain the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. We are keenly aware of the risk posed by COVID-19, and also understand that the safety protocols we must implement will have a profound impact on almost every aspect of school life. We will all have to continue to be flexible and patient. We will have to return with a collective sense of shared responsibility for other members of the community. We must understand that our individual actions on and off campus will affect the health and well-being of our friends and colleagues. 

Whether students are on campus or learning remotely, we will continue to deliver the best of Ranney School and will continue to maintain our absolute commitment to know and value every child.

Frequently Asked Questions - Academics and Student Life

List of 12 items.

  • Will Ranney open campus in September 2020?

    We plan to re-open campus in September for in-person instruction, 5-days per week for all students in Beginners (Age 3) through Grade 12. While campus will be open,  families will have the option to keep their children at home to continue distance learning. Both Middle and Upper School will be moving to a block schedule with 70-minute classes (four blocks per day) to allow students who are distance learning to participate in class along-side their peers. Lower School will continue with its regular schedule and day rotation, but specials teachers will come to the homeroom classroom. Please see our July 24 Reopening Roundup for details about the changes to the academic schedule and the plan for simultaneous distance learning. Whether students are on campus or learning remotely, we will continue to deliver the best of Ranney School and will continue to maintain our absolute commitment to know and value every child.
  • Will there be planned changes in the 2020-21 Academic Schedule?

    We have designed the academic schedule for 2020-21 to allow for simultaneous in-person and distance learning. The goals of schedule for all three divisions are to: (i) provide (approximate) equivalency in time to our regular academic schedule; (ii) simplify the schedule to reduce stress on students and faculty; (iii) allow for "seamless" transitions between on-campus instruction and distance learning; and (iv) reduce the number of daily transitions to cut down on contact points between and among people. Dr. Greg Martin, Assistant Head of School for Academics and Upper School Head, shares his thoughts on the goals of the modified schedule in this video . Both Middle and Upper School will continue with a class schedule similar to the last quarter of the school year with 70-minute classes, while Lower School students (both on campus and distance learning) will also have a full-day of classes including specials. 
    • Upper School Schedule (PDF). Dr. Martin explains the US schedule in this video
    • Middle School Schedule (PDF). Middle School Head David Ketcham explains MS the schedule in this video
    • Lower School Schedule (Sample PDF). Our Lower School will also offer a full-day of classes on a six-day cycle. Specials teachers will come to the homeroom classrooms to minimize transitions. Teachers will share the detailed weekly schedule with parents so those learning from home can plan ahead. Students who are distance learning will have planned breaks from the computer. Students will not engage in swim for at least the first trimester. 
  • How will simultaneous distance learning work?

    We will simulcast the on-campus classroom experience to students who are distance learning so that they can participate in real-time with their teachers and peers. iPads will capture faculty lectures and instruction. Webcams in every classroom will capture students engaged in group discussions and activities. Interactive TVs in every classroom can be used as a whiteboard or to feature students participating through GoogleMeet. When faculty use TVs as whiteboards, this will be simulcast to the GoogleMeet for students learning remotely. By way of example, we envision two primary learning formats: 
    • Faculty lecture/lessons (PDF). Faculty teaching the lesson will be captured by iPad and this video stream will be accessible to students on GoogleMeet. Teachers will also be able to share the Interactive TV screen with remote learners. 
    • Collaborative discussion (PDF). A webcam will capture the classroom view for students participating remotely and students on campus will be able to see their peers learning from home in the GoogleMeet screen presented on the Interactive TV. 
  • What will Performing Arts look like this year?

    Ranney Performing Arts are a vital part of our community and it is the department’s goal to continue to nurture the full range of artistic talent in every child. The faculty has been preparing modifications to the curriculum and its delivery to ensure the health and safety of all students. Band and Chorus classes, as well as woodwind and brass Orchestra instrumentalists will move to designated outdoor teaching spaces, weather permitting. The outdoor and indoor instruction will follow and adhere to the most current CDC guidelines of distancing, as well as most updated NAfME, ASTA, ACDA Arts Ed NJ, and other performing arts organizations' recommendations regarding safe indoor and outdoor performance. We are also prepared to use various web-based technology as an aid in instruction and assessment methods. Although there will not be any traditional concerts in the first semester, there will be a focus on student growth in skills, musicianship, understanding of the art of music and its interdisciplinary character. Extracurricular opportunities in theater will be modified to virtual or distant learning and performance, but will still give our students room and place to explore their talents, express themselves through performance, and work on their stagecraft.
  • How will the school handle athletics?

    NJSIAA is the governing body of High School sports in New Jersey and we are following their guidelines closely. They recently released the Return to Play Fall Sports Model 1, which pushed back the official practice start date for all sports to September 14th. Our Athletic Department has been working in conjunction with our Upper and Middle School administration to create a safe plan to return to Fall sports on September 14th.  In light of recent challenges faced by other athletic programs, we have decided not to hold in-person summer workouts for any of our teams, although athletes and coaches across all three seasons will have the ability to interact virtually during this timeWe will mirror the Middle School athletic schedule to the emerging plans for High School sports. Stay tuned for more about the return to athletics in upcoming communications.
  • When does school start and will there be any changes to the school calendar?

    The first day of school is Tuesday, September 8. We are finalizing details regarding a soft start schedule for the first week to allow students, families, faculty and administrators to get used to our new reality: daily Health Certifications and check-in, staggered class dismissal, one-directional hallways, and more. The first week of school we will have a shortened schedule with dismissal at noon.
    We are also adding six professional development days to the Revised 2020-21 Calendar to allow faculty to plan from home and the campus to be sanitized thoroughly. Students will not have classes on the following days:
    Friday 9/25
    Friday 10/16
    Friday 12/4
    Friday 2/26
    Friday 3/12
    Friday 4/23
  • How will lunch work this year?

    Our lunch partner, FLIK, is re-imaging lunch delivery so lunches are pre-ordered and individually prepared rather than served buffet-style in the dining hall. Parents will be able to setup an online account with FLIK to order lunches in advance. Students will be given both cold and hot lunch options. The typical daily menu will include eight choices (one hot entree, one vegetarian hot entree, one salad with protein, a vegetarian salad, three cold sandwiches / wraps, and a bagel option). In the first two weeks of school, FLIK will only provide cold options and will add hot options thereafter. Cold boxed Lunches will include a fresh fruit cup & a side salad (pasta or grain). Hot lunches will include one or two sides depending on the entrée of the day. Chips, dessert and bottled water will be available as well.
    Lower School lunches will be delivered to homeroom classrooms. Middle and Upper School students will pick up their boxed lunches at designated pick up points in waves. Students will be allowed to eat in small groups, ideally outdoors or in socially distanced larger spaces on campus. Each division will assign faculty and administrators to monitor lunchtime.
  • How will student morning drop off work?

    Every morning, you will need to complete the AUXS Health Certification for each of your child(ren). If your child(ren) is/are cleared to come to school, you will receive a green pass via email. Please come to school prepared to display this pass to administrators as you are dropping off your children.
    For all three divisions, parents will be asked to drive up to designated drop off points. Please keep your child in the car until you reach the drop off point. As your child gets out of the car, an administrator will check the student's green pass and take the student’s temperature. For Middle and Upper School, parents can also forward the green pass to their child(ren) to display on their phones or the student can bring a hard copy print out of the pass. Please note that if a child does not pass the Administrator screening (because they do not have a valid green pass or they present with a temperature), we will immediately call you to bring them home. Once the student clears check-in, they will proceed to the designated school entrance. Adults are to remain in their cars at all times. As the first day of school approaches, we will communicate suggested drop off times based on family last name to alleviate traffic flow. 
  • What will happen with after school extracurricular activities?

    We are committed to the robust student life experience we offer to our students and are looking for creative ways to deliver these activities while following safety protocols. Our first priority, however, is the safe transition back to the academic schedule. To allow for this transition, we plan to wait until October to begin Middle and Upper School after-school activities. Lower School after-school activities will be postponed to the second trimester.
  • Will Lower School still offer Before Care and After Care?

    We will offer both Before and After Care. Parents will be required to register on a first-come, first served basis as there will be a limited number of students permitted. Both Before Care and After Care will be held in Panther Hall. Students will be grouped in grade/class cohorts, socially distanced and will be able to work on age-appropriate activities. Before Care will begin at 7:30 a.m. and After Care will run until 5 p.m.
  • What is the 2020-21 dress code?

    The realities of the new school year will be challenging for all of us. We have decided to relax the dress code for the 2020-2021 school year as a concession to this difficult reality for our students. We will be keeping windows to classrooms open, so students should plan to dress accordingly. Students will no longer have access to locker rooms to change for PE or athletics, so students should also dress to be able to transition to these activities without changing. Students in Middle and Upper school will be allowed to wear casual clothes (jeans, sweatpants, t-shirts, and Ranney gear). In Lower School, we will encourage students to come to school dressed for PE on those days when it is scheduled. On alternating days, we encourage Lower School students to wear the uniform (we find that it is helpful to students at these ages to have consistency in these expectations). We will, however, be flexible in enforcing the Lower School uniform policy. Polos will be acceptable without the logo.

    While we will be more flexible on dress code, we will require students to wear masks at all times, with the exception of when students are eating or outside and socially distanced. We will also require that students come to school dressed with clean, neat attire. Each division will send more details about the dress code for the 2020-2021 school year in upcoming communications.
  • Have there been changes to bussing?

    Ranney School does not directly hire the busses that are used for transportation to and from campus, but we work closely with the Board of Education and MOESC (Monmouth Ocean Educational Services Commission) to secure bussing. Unfortunately, the challenges created by COVID-19 have meant that bus companies are not willing to bid on non-public school routes. As a result, a number of our families who typically rely on bussing will need to find alternative transportation. Please contact Renee Racanelli, Operations Coordinator, at 732-542-4777 ext. 1167 or rracanelli@ranneyschool.orgfor more information.

FAQs - Health and Safety of our Community

List of 18 items.

  • What will happen if a student or faculty member tests positive for COVID-19?

    No matter how well we execute our Reopening Plan, and no matter how careful each of us are in our daily lives, there remains the possibility that a member of our community could test positive for COVID-19. To prepare for this possibility, we have prepared a detailed Quarantine Policy in collaboration with Ranney’s Medical Advisory Board and Board of Trustees. This Quarantine Policy was informed by administrator participation in COVID-19 Case Response and Contact Tracing training, as well as close review of CDCNJ Department of Health and Monmouth County Department of Health guidelines regarding safe school opening.
  • Will Ranney require COVID-19 testing for students and faculty before the start of school?

    The CDC and Monmouth County Department of Health do not currently recommend universal testing, particularly in non-boarding environments like Ranney. However, we certainly would not discourage families from testing their child(ren) prior to the start of school. We ask you to keep in mind that COVID-19 testing reflects a moment in time. Unless you are quarantined prior to and after testing, the testing may not accurately reflect exposure that is not yet detected by testing or exposure subsequent to testing. For this reason, everyone should follow social distancing and mask protocols as if they were asymptomatic carriers regardless of test results. To find a testing center, please contact your pediatrician or visit: How to get tested for COVID-19 in New Jersey.
  • How will the daily morning Health Certification process work?

    We will require parents to submit a Health Certification for each of their children on a daily basis. To make this process as streamlined and effective as possible, we are leveraging an application developed by AUXS (Auxiliary Services Organization), an organization that advises and supports independent schools, colleges and universities in the areas of campus safety and operations. We rolled out the AUXS Safety App last fall to provide faculty and staff with a tool to request emergency assistance and to stay informed in times of emergency. AUXS has now rolled out an app for COVID-19 health screening.
    To submit the Health Certification, parents will be able to access the COVID Safety App on their phones or through a website portal (You will receive login instructions in the coming weeks). In line with our Sick Policy, families will be required to certify that their students do not have any of the symptoms or circumstances that would require their child to stay home from school. 

    When parents submit the certification and affirm that their child(ren) do/does not have any of the specified symptoms or circumstances, the parent will receive an email with a green Safety Pass. When the child gets to school, they will be required to show this green Safety Pass to enter the building. Students can show this pass on their phones (parents can forward the email to their child), or they can bring a printout of the email. Parents of Lower School students can show the green Safety Pass to administrators at drop off.
    If your child has any of the symptoms or circumstances listed in the Sick Policy, for example a fever of 100.4 or more, a new or worsening cough, or a loss of taste or smell, you must keep your child home from school. Please notify your Division's assistant (find details in the Sick Policy) that your child will stay home sick. The Health Office will follow up with you regarding next steps.
    Administrators and faculty will check students’ temperature during the school day to ensure compliance with our Sick Policy as well as to identify students who might begin to develop symptoms of illness while at school.
  • What investments are you making to the Health Office to prepare for reopening?

    We are expanding Health Office staffing such that at the start of the year we will have three nurses available. The Heath Office, located in the Commons, will take over select performing arts classrooms (these classes will be relocated to larger spaces). The auxiliary Health Office spaces will be transformed into quarantine and isolation rooms to support sick students waiting for parent pick up. We will designate a private area for our Health staff to confidentially notify families in the event of suspected exposure. We have invested in additional equipment including no-touch thermometers, PPE, and other supplies to outfit the additional health spaces. 
  • Will Ranney strictly enforce the Sick Policy?

    We have updated our Sick Policy in collaboration with pediatric specialists on our Medical Advisory Board. In an abundance of caution, we will strictly enforce our updated Sick Policy. If children are sick, and exhibit any signs of illness, they must stay home. If children exhibit any signs of illness while at school, they will be sent home immediately. Families who repeatedly violate the Sick Policy by sending their children to school when they are sick, or who fail to comply with any of the school’s policies related to health and safety, will be required to keep their children home to learn virtually for the remainder of the school year. Please understand that these measures are necessary to keep our community healthy, and to allow our Health Office to focus on tracking illnesses to assess COVID risk prevalence.
  • How is the school improving room ventilation?

    How is the school improving room ventilation?
    We are upgrading our ventilation and HVAC and ventilation systems across campus. We have conducted extensive preventive maintenance on each building’s HVAC system to ensure everything is working properly. In consultation with HVAC experts and peer independent schools, we are enhancing our filters from MERV 8 to MERV 13. We are adding two HEPA Filters to the new Health Office isolation rooms and are assessing if we need to get an additional filter for the main Health Office. We are working to maximize air change per hour for each building and classroom space by increasing outside air intake and decreasing relative humidity. We will recommend that classroom windows remain open, and we are installing screens on any windows that do not already have them.
  • Will Ranney require masks for students?

    We will require masks for all Lower, Middle and Upper School students as well as faculty and staff, where feasible. Based on changing guidance, we will, in fact, require our youngest learners in Early Childhood and Lower School to wear masks. Our faculty will be working with children to understand the importance of mask use, understanding that this will be a challenge for our youngest students. This policy is based on the latest recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the New Jersey's Governor's Office. We will strictly limit parents' and visitors' access to buildings on campus, and of course, any visitors admitted will be required to complete a health screening and wear masks.
  • Will there be times when students are allowed to take off their masks during the day?

    We will require masks for all students, faculty and staff while on campus. Exceptions to this policy include when students are eating (in small groups, sitting 6-feet part) or when physically-distanced outside. We are building in time to the schedule for students in all divisions to have time to be able to get outdoors, whether during recess for Lower School or during flex / recess time for the upper grades.
  • What type of mask should my child wear to school?

    According to Johns Hopkins, both fabric and disposable surgical masks help prevent against the spread of COVID-19. Thicker, more densely woven cotton fabrics are best. Look for masks made with at least two layers of fabric. The fewer tiny holes you can see in the fabric, the better it will work to filter droplets. Masks should cover the child's nose and mouth without large gaps. The mask should also have ear loops or ties so your child can adjust it. For people who wear glasses, look for a mask with a bendable border at the top so you can mold the mask to fit the bridge of your nose. Overall, the best masks are ones that minimize the possibility of droplets passing through while ensuring you can still breathe properly.

    A recent Duke Study evaluated the efficacy of a range of face masks in filtering expelled droplets during speech. Neck gators and bandanas were found to be wholly ineffective. CDC guidelines stipulate that masks with exhalation valves or vents do not prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others. Therefore students may not wear neck gators, bandanas, or masks with valves. 

    We require that masks do not feature inappropriate language or images.

    We also ask that you wash cloth masks on a daily basis.
  • Can my child wear a face shield instead of a mask?

    The CDC does not recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks. A face shield may provide additional protection in cases when another person is not wearing a mask, but we will require all students to wear masks. Students and faculty are welcome to wear face shields in addition to masks if they would prefer to do so. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • How will Ranney accommodate social distancing requirements?

    Ranney is fortunate that our small class sizes and spacious campus allow our school to be flexible in responding to this global pandemic. We have analyzed the capacity of every classroom and space on campus to determine the maximum number of people that can be allowed in that space with social distancing (minimum 6 feet apart). Given sectioning of classes, we are also taking the step of expanding classrooms, particularly select classrooms in the Lower and Middle Schools. We will schedule classroom use such that maximum class size (i.e. all students enrolled in the class) for each class can fit safely into the scheduled space. Last year, the average number of students in each classroom, across divisions, was 12.5. Some classes are much smaller than this and will be able to fit comfortably in smaller classrooms. Larger sections will require larger spaces. As a result, many classrooms or larger spaces (e.g. Panther Hall, Paulus Library, Searle Library) will be repurposed as classrooms. Based on survey results, we know that at least 10% of our students are already planning to participate in distance learning. So while we are planning classrooms based on the total class enrollment, we also anticipate that on any given day some portion of the students will be learning remotely.

    We are re-envisioning lunch delivery; students will eat in small groups rather than in dining halls. Large gatherings will continue to be held in a virtual format. Our many outdoor spaces, including our new Outdoor Learning Pavilion and Garden, will allow faculty and students to engage in classes outside. We will strictly limit shared student resources. We will also have signage posted throughout campus reminding students to practice social distancing and proper hygiene.

  • How will students walk through halls between periods so that they are socially distanced?

    Throughout the day, we will stagger class release times for Middle and Upper School students to minimize traffic in hallways during transition periods. We will institute one-way hallways with clear signage, and we are exploring use of outdoor sidewalks to make the one-way expectation practical for students in MS and US. Middle and Upper School locker pods will be off limits. Students will not be assigned lockers for the year and they will have to carry their belongings with them throughout the day. Lower School students will have access to lockers, but access times will be controlled. Lower School grades will have designated rest rooms and will each have their own "neighborhood," allowing hallways to be traversed by different grades in and out of the building. We will monitor this system and make adjustments as necessary.
  • How has Ranney enhanced its cleaning/hygiene protocols?

    We have engaged BioProtectors to disinfect the entire campus with a deep clean in mid-August. BioProtector employs electrostatic spraying of disinfectant and proprietary antimicrobial coating products to prevent COVID-19 from attaching to surfaces. We are planning a second cleaning during Thanksgiving break. We are also expanding the hours of our daily cleaning service. We will provide sanitization stations throughout campus and students at all grade levels will be reminded to regularly wash their hands.
  • How much protection will masks, social distancing, and sanitization protocols provide to my children when they are on campus?

    COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. To prevent transmission of COVID-19, individuals should continue social distancing, wear masks, and wash their hands frequently. Masks are meant to protect other people in case you are infected because they limit the projection of coughs and sneezes into the air. Because the virus can live on surfaces for a period of time, we will frequently sanitize high touch surfaces including classrooms and bathrooms. While the BioProtectors’ electrostatic spraying product aims to prevent COVID-19 from adhering to surfaces, we will take every necessary precaution to additionally sanitize surfaces on a daily basis. Despite all of our best efforts, we may not be able to prevent transmission of COVID-19 within our community, but we will make every effort to limit this possibility and we ask families' partnership in helping us to do so.
  • Will parents and visitors have access to campus?

    Buildings will be strictly off-limits to parents and other visitors during the day. We welcome opportunities to meet virtually with parents. In the rare occasion that a parent or visitor would need to come to campus for a meeting in person, we will require them to complete a Health Certification. For the foreseeable future, we will not have large indoor gatherings. Events like Back to School nights and other parent meetings and sessions will be held virtually.
  • What steps can I take to protect my child(ren)?

    The same preventive measures that are advised for the flu are advised for COVID-19:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Please keep your child(ren) home when they are sick so that they do not expose other children to illness.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze into your elbow. If it is necessary to use a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
    All families are reminded to follow Ranney's Sick Policy (see below) when making attendance decisions.
  • How is Ranney monitoring COVID-19?

    The COVID-19 Task Force, which includes the Medical Advisory Board, has been closely following developments related to COVID-19 through  Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the World Health Organization (WHO), the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. State Department, International SOS(iSOS), and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH). We are also consulting with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS) to follow best practices and align ourselves, where appropriate, with our peer schools. In addition to the School's COVID-19 Task Force's monitoring of federal authorities' advisories, our School Nurses are in close contact with our local Health Departments to remain apprised of the latest recommendations.
  • Who is on the Ranney Reopening Task Force?

    The Ranney COVID-19 Task Force includes members of the Board of Trustees, Medical Advisory Board and Administrative Leadership. 
    Board of Trustees
    Bob Chandler, Chair
    Joe Guiliano, Vice Chair
    Medical Advisory Board
    Dr. Shamina Dhillon, Chair
    Dr. Ramil Bhatnagar
    Dr. Seth Dinowitz
    Dr. Meg Fisher
    Dr. Amy Goodman
    Dr. Niraj Govil '85
    Dr. Sunita Mann
    Dr. Janine Sanderman
    Dr. Brian Torpey
    Dr. John Griffith, Head of School
    Dr. Greg Martin, Assistant Head for Academics and Head of Upper School
    Chuck Zalewski, Chief Financial Officer
    Jennifer Collins, Chief Advancement Officer
    David Ketcham, Head of Middle School
    Dr. Andrea Danial, Head of Lower School
    Natalie Gorman, Director of Athletics
    Chris Landosky, Director of Operations
    Dan Moller, Director of IT
    Tara Kardum, Health Office 
    Sara Zavorek, Director of Marketing & Communications

Ranney School

235 Hope Road
Tinton Falls, NJ 07724
Tel. 732.542.4777

Our mission is to nurture intellectual curiosity and confidence to inspire students to lead honorably, think creatively, and contribute meaningfully to society. Learn more.