As we wait for more clarity from NYS officials, I am going to share with you our emerging plans and considerations throughout the summer. As we look towards the 2020-21 school year, our priority is offering an all day, in school instructional model as much as we can safely do so.
Let’s start with how we are planning:
- As a start, we have created a COVID-Task Force that includes our administrative team, trustees and two parents who are medical professionals. Within our Task Force there are subcommittees full of WEDS faculty.
- We will draw from our creative problem solving model that is always embedded in every fiber that makes us West End Day School (WEDS).
- You can expect us to continue to prioritize the health, wellness and safety of our community and follow the guidance from health and government officials, coordinate with peer schools and local districts, and consider the individual and unique needs of our school community.
What is likely next year:
My approach at this time is to share scenarios at the larger-scale level that are clear and straightforward. Until we are closer to the start of school, planning is going to evolve and I’d like to focus on the main ideas and we’ll get into the details once we have more certainty.
Reopening plans will include:
- Morning health and safety checks--e.g. temperature taking
- Reimagining our entire space for social distancing
- New drop-off and pick-up procedures
- Limiting “cross-exposure” by keeping specific groups of children together and no large events/groups (of course we will creatively reimagine them and use technology when possible)
- Hiring of a school nurse and reconfiguration of nurse space with PPE measures and training
- Handwashing and hand sanitizer stations throughout the building
- So far, every scenario will incorporate a FULL DAY for our students (due to our size and space-we are NOT looking at alternative schedules or reduced hours other than staggered arrival/dismissal)
Opening with modifications/hybrid models:
- This is the most likely scenario for the start of school
- A low-density/small size classes designed to reduce any possible cross contamination
- We envision this plan will have multiple layers that involve more tightly limited versions and we will spend the summer researching the degrees of contamination, sizing and contact capabilities for faculty.
- The hybrid component of this model will give us flexibility to allow students who cannot make it in the ability to participate in class from home. Each class will have a smart 360-degree camera so our students are able to see everything happening in the classroom from home.
Distance Learning Model:
- We like to consider this a last resort but know we can rely on this option if we have a local spike in COVID cases.
- We have learned a great deal this Spring and have created an incredible team of faculty that is going to design a robust distance learning program.
- We will be better prepared to offer a full day of distance learning and at the same time, address ‘‘zoom fatigue”
- Our goal is to provide a more central classroom experience (one main link) for our students and of course continue our therapies individually and through dynamic classroom groups
What families need to do now:
- I have created a mandatory reopening survey for parents. This needs to be completed by Thursday July 2nd.
- Schedule your child’s annual physical examination asap. We are required to have an annual physical and no child will be allowed to return with a past due physical.
- Please bear with us on our upcoming calendar. Although we follow our own independent calendar, it would be ideal to have the BOE calendar for various considerations (such as bussing). We will keep you posted.
- Continue to monitor school communications and ask questions/comments along the way. I’ll give you the best answers I can.
I look forward to sharing with you more news as we hope to return home to WEDS.