Here are answers to your questions
FAQs Regarding COVID-19
Will my child have to wear a mask?
We do not plan to require masks for children on campus, unless we are legally mandated to do so. We will strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines when on campus and classrooms and shared space will be wiped down and disinfected between classroom bubbles. Of course, children can wear masks if their parents prefer.
What is a learning “bubble”?
A learning bubble is a small (5 or less) group of children who are consistently grouped together for in-school learning. This bubble concept allows us to properly exercise social distancing while still allowing for social interactions and peer relationships. It also enables us to contain any potential COVID-19 case to each bubble, thereby foregoing the necessity for a full class or school closure.
Are all children suitable for this learning environment?
No. We understand that online learning is not ideal, yet in our current position it is the most ideal for offering stability and structure. You know your child best and only you know if your child has the temperament to succeed through online learning. For younger children, supervision at home will be necessary at times, to ensure they are keeping up with projects and offered the hands-on assistance that is often needed in classrooms with younger children. That being said, our small class size offers the personalization factor and inherently provides more teacher-student interaction even in an online setting. Our teachers are innovative and enthusiastic, and are spending the summer working on developing a program that will support academic excellence through our online forum. However, not all children are well suited for virtual learning, and we look to you to determine if this is a program in which your child can thrive.
Will tuition change?
No, tuition will remain the same. As our cost per student has not diminished, we are unable to transfer any savings onto our families. In order to ensure on-campus safety, as well as offer a boutique educational experience with both live online courses in small groups as well as extremely small in-school options including life skills, social/emotional workshops, and opportunities for safe social interactions, we will not be changing the tuition price. Our teachers are working harder than ever and creating innovative methods of education and they deserve to be compensated as such. All previously made tuition agreements will remain the same. If you applied for funding through our donor program, that too, will remain the same. Our tuition is an all-inclusive fee and includes school supplies as well.
Does a parent/adult need to be present to guide students through the day?
Every child is different and has different capacities for online learning. For younger children, while MTA will provide all necessary projects, adult involvement might be required to assist the children at home. Older children should not need adult assistance during online lessons.
Will the afternoon “bubble” learning consist of in-person and online students at the same time?
It may, however, it will depend on enrollment and parental preferences. Our goal is to keep them totally separate, but that will be based on how many children are online and if they are of comparable academic levels.
Is this the school model going forward from now on?
No. This was developed out of necessity in order to provide answers in a world full of questions. We are not of the belief that virtual learning is the ideal method, however, we believe that it is the most ideal option for this coming school year. We all hope and plan to be on-campus for the 2021-2022 school year.
What if I don't have the appropriate computer/bandwidth?
As this program is structured as an online educational forum, it is imperative that families have a device per child as well as the appropriate internet connection to support virtual learning. Please check with your internet provider to ensure that your children can have uninterrupted access to their classes.
Will there be a dress code?
Yes, we ask that children arrive to all online and on-campus classes in proper MTA dress code.
Will my children be tested to determine progress?
Will my children be tested to determine progress? Yes. Children third grade and on take the standardized IOWA test twice per year. Once at the beginning and once at the end to determine progress. The children are constantly accessed by the teachers, utilizing varied practices (i.e. oral questions, written questions, assessment of written work and project accomplishments). With small class sizes and even smaller bubbles, our teachers recognize and work with each individual child’s skills and needs. This enables the children to not only develop a relationship with each teacher but also allows for greater academic and social/emotional growth without the need for the teacher to frequently test the children in formal ways.
What will happen if a child or family is diagnosed with COVID-19?
MTA Online Plus allows for all academic skill-based classes to proceed as normal on our online forum regardless of COVID-19 or anything else that could cause learning disturbances and classroom/school closures throughout the year. The Plus part of the program could potentially be temporarily switched to mandatory online classes for individual “bubbles” should that become necessary. The purpose of limiting the bubbles is to ensure that most children/families will be unaffected by any COVID-19 cases and consistency and stability can be maintained to the fullest extent possible.
What is the “Plus” Program?
The Plus Program is the afternoon portion of the day and can either be attended in person or online. Based on parental comfort and preference, it allows for the children to have semi-private, small group (“bubble”) classes with their teachers while adhering to social distancing guidelines. It also incorporates our enrichment courses, allowing children to get hands-on experiences while socially interacting with their peers. For parents choosing to attend the “Plus” part of the program online, the children will still have their “bubble” classes online, as well as any enrichment courses that can be participated in through an online forum. Due to the nature of our enrichment courses, there will be some classes (e.g. swimming, gym, etc.) that cannot be completed online.
Will my child still be eligible for Step-Up for Students, McKay or Gardiner Scholarship Programs?
Yes, as of right now, the state has approved remote learning for scholarship students for the Fall of 2020. We expect this to be an evolving situation and will monitor accordingly.
Do you offer tuition assistance? What if I can't afford the full amount?
We do not offer tuition assistance; however, we do offer a donor scholarship program. If you are interested in receiving more information and hearing about our donor program, please contact the school office.
Can I pick and choose when I want my child to come to the afternoon program?
We ask that parents choose whether or not their child will be attending the Plus program in-person or online. Teachers need to be prepared with materials and each child is carefully accounted for to allow for proper social distancing. To do this, we ask parents to make a consistent decision. Of course, illnesses or travel could result in an absence, and we understand that. Should you decide to begin online and later feel comfortable making the switch to in-school for the Plus portion of the afternoon, we ask that you contact the office so we can make the proper arrangements.
Will you consider re-opening to a full day of in-school classes if a new vaccine suddenly comes out in the middle of the year?
No. As our focus is on ensuring stability and structure, this is a year-long plan. We do not intend to modify it mid-year, regardless of a vaccine unless mitigating factors require us to do so.
Is this open to students out of the local area (e.g., out of state)?
Yes, this schooling model can be made available to out-of-state students who would obviously opt for a fully online program without taking part in our Plus on-campus programming. We limit class sizes both for online and on-campus options, to ensure that each child can maximize their academic and social/emotional potential.
Will there be a handbook that includes expectations for online learning?
Yes, upon registration parents will receive our handbook that details both on-campus as well as online learning expectations.
Will the school require homework in addition to the online work?
MTA Online Plus maintains the same philosophy as always. Home is family time, and school is for school work. While running an online program definitely blurs the lines between school and home, we strive to provide a full array of academic and skill-based courses that will take place wholly within the framework of the online classes and in-person bubble lessons. Of course, we look at each child individually when educating them, and if a child needs more work or extra practice, parents will be contacted so the work can be arranged. Otherwise, MTA Online Plus generally maintains a no-homework policy.