Reopening Updates

Dear Families:

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. 

 

With gratitude, 


Carrie

Dear Parents:

As we all look for silver linings through this pandemic, a big one for me has been connecting with so many parents through our parent coffees. Since I started at WEDS in 2002, partnering with parents has always been a highlight of my work and I look forward to continuing parent coffees someday when we return (and actually serving you coffee!) 

Summer: We Have Plans! 

As we planned for, Mayor de Blasio announced that schools would continue to operate through distance learning. Our Summer Director, Emma Yovanoff, is working to roll out a new Virtual Summer Learning Program that continues to encompass our Summer Learning Curriculum and brings in as much fun as possible through this new platform. We have flexibility in mind for our children and families.  If you are interested and have not filled out our survey—you can find it here. You can also email her directly here.

Reopening in the Fall

Our team is gearing up to reimagine and prepare for scenarios so we can fill our halls again. We know it will not be simple but we know that we have the best recipe to make this work—a team that specializes in critical thinking, problem solving,creativity and collaboration. We’ll work on this all summer and share our plans when we have more certainty. In the meantime:

  • Please consider rallying behind our benefit to raise funds for COVID Emergency Fund.  We are anticipating all of our technology needs and supplies for our reopening plans.
  • We want to make sure we are helping any family that may need extra flexibility or any support. Click here to fill out a financial help survey. It will be confidential and go directly to Andrew Barnes. 

Memorial Day 

We will continue to observe this National Day to celebrate our Veterans. I hope you can unplug and take a much needed break. 


With gratitude, 

Carrie

To our wonderful WEDS Community:

Governor Cuomo announced today that schools would remain closed through the remainder of the school year. For the past 35 years, being a SAFE HAVEN has always been at the heart of  mission. “Together We” will make this great sacrifice as a public health effort to save lives and continue to keep safety at the forefront of our program. I want to remind you-we are not stuck while we are at home-we are connected through a community of the most loving and committed people. We have evolved so much since March 13th.  WE WILL ONLY GET BETTER … STRONGER … MORE UNIFIED.

There is nothing like a West End Day School Spring Semester. We know how to celebrate our amazing children and that will not be compromised. Plans for our school play are underway. Nothing will stop us from ending the year with our traditional awards ceremonies.

To our graduating families I want to say this: we understand the loss this means for your family. We feel it too. I have arranged a graduation parent coffee to discuss all of our options. We will have a graduation ceremony when we can all join together again and we’ll make it our biggest celebration yet. Don’t forget, we are strongly committed to alumni celebrations and reunions with both students and families.

I send you my love and my confidence that we only continue to step up during this time. I am grateful for and remind myself everyday, we will all be back together again.

With love,

Carrie