Hello Academy families and welcome to the 2021-2022 school year!
New families should plan to join us on Tuesday, August 31 at 5:30 pm for our New Family Orientation. At this point, the plan is that it will be in person, with a Zoom component for families that would like to participate remotely. The orientation will last for an hour, and it will be followed by our All School Ice Cream Social.
The All School Ice Cream Social will be on Tuesday, August 31 from 6:30 - 7:30 pm outdoors at the school. The rain date will be Wednesday, September 1, at the same time. This is a great opportunity for you to connect with other families and with teachers, for students to reconnect with friends and make some new ones, and for us to welcome the new year in the best way possible - with ice cream sundaes.
The first day of school is Wednesday, September 8. We usually start the day after Labor Day, but we are waiting one day this year to honor the observance of the Rosh Hashanah holiday by many members of our school community. For our long-time families who know that we have, in the past, visited a camp for a long day on the first day of school, we are not going to do that this year - we will have workshops, fun activities, and games during the first week of school. Students will have an opportunity to get to know each other and to get used to the school routine. Regular classes (we won't be in pods this year) will begin the second week of school. We will have our after care program as usual - the school building will open at 8 am and close at 5 pm, and students are welcome to stay after school until 5 pm. The after care program fee is included in tuition.
Class schedules will be sent home later this month. Students will be able to pick electives during the first week of school, and a list will be sent home to families in advance of what the options will be.
School supplies (who doesn't love school supplies!) that are needed will vary by school division. Lower Middle Schoolers need only to bring a backpack with pens and pencils, hand sanitizer, and a change of clothes to keep at school. Transitional Middle Schoolers and Upper Schoolers will need an organization system - this could be a binder (I really like the zip up binders for this) with notepaper and folders for each class. It could also be single subject notebooks and folders in matching colors - students will have six classes each day. The key is to have notepaper and folders and a way for students to quickly find the area for the subject they need. Students will also need a pencil bag or box with writing implements and hand sanitizer. All students should bring a reusable water bottle to school - they can bring it back and forth or leave it at school (it should be labeled with their name). You do not need to purchase textbooks. Your books and materials fee covers textbook purchasing, which we will do from the school.
Everyone will need to be masked indoors in the fall. I hope that, with increasing vaccination numbers, this will be able to be safely lifted as a restriction very soon. However, we have many students at the school who are still too young to be vaccinated, and the delta variant is very contagious and is able to be spread even by those who are vaccinated. This is not what we were hoping for, but it is, unfortunately, necessary. There will be an online option for the fall - it will be mostly asynchronous with some opportunities for joining classes live.
Teachers at Ann Arbor Academy must be vaccinated, and I hope that all of our eligible students have been vaccinated as well. I may send out a poll in the next few weeks to get a sense of how many of our students have been vaccinated, which will help me better gauge when we might be able to safely lift the mask restriction in the coming months. Due to the way the vaccine authorization is currently set up, there is not a vaccine mandate for students at this time. However, when the emergency authorization becomes a regular authorization, all students will need to be vaccinated or have a medical waiver approved by the county health department.
The good news is that we will be able to have parents and guardians in the building in the fall, unlike last year. All visitors will need to mask up, but it will be nice to be able to see people in person! Family events such as workshops and coffee hours will be in person when possible, but will always have a virtual component for families that can't make it in or are uncomfortable with in person events.
I look forward to seeing you all very soon!