We aim to keep you informed of the plans we are developing and implementing at school. This page is your resource to find messages to the school community as well as useful resources and links. We continue to monitor this situation and will adjust the schedule as necessary.
Ensuring the health and safety of our students, parents and staff is paramount. As such, our decision-making will continue to be informed by local health authorities and we will follow the guidelines from Montgomery County, the State of Maryland, and the CDC .
Our COVID Preparedness Team has identified different back-to-school scenarios based on research, advice from health and educational experts, and bench-marking of other schools’ plans. We have also consulted our community, both families and staff, through surveys and integrated those survey results into our planning process. Based on our research and survey feedback, we narrowed our focus to 3 Scenarios:
- Full-time distance learning for all students
- Hybrid on-campus and distance learning - priority for on campus instruction for youngest students
- Full-time on-campus instruction for all students with modifications for new health protocols
Based on the current and evolving health conditions, it seems we are likely to implement all the different scenarios at some points during the next school year . We will therefore be guided by local health conditions as we make adjustments throughout the school year. (More information on each plan and the required health conditions is below.)
- Health & Safety - On Campus
- Scenario 1: Full-time Distance Learning for ALL students (Starts September 8)
- Scenario 2: Hybrid On-campus and Distance Learning
- Scenario 3: Full-time on-campus instruction for all students
- Distance Learning Support
- Academic Planning - Overview
- COVID-19 Data Evaluation Working Group
- Technology Enhancements for 2020-2021
For all scenarios, ensuring health and safety is our top priority. Our on-campus plans (Scenarios 2 and 3) are designed to promote safe behaviors and prevent the spread of illness:
- Physical Distancing: Students and staff will be instructed to maintain increased space between classroom desks, smaller recess groups, modified class activities, changes to student movement / circulation within the buildings;
- Face coverings worn on campus: Students and staff will receive education and training on proper use and the importance of this step. We will provide staff with several washable face coverings and a transparent face shield. We will follow guidance from health agencies about the use of face coverings at the time when our campuses reopen to students and staff. This may require wearing a mask during most school hours (e.g. not during meal times).
- Hand-washing and Hygiene: Soap and/or hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms and in hallways;
- Health Screenings: Parents will be requested to check their child’s temperature daily before leaving for school and report the temperature with the confirmation of lack of symptoms through a digital form before the students’ arrival on campus;
- Health Isolation Room: Each campus will have a dedicated room for students and staff who demonstrate COVID symptoms;
- Enhanced Cleaning: We have invested in efficient professional sanitation equipment (electrostatic sprayer machines) that will be used several times a day in all buildings and buses;
- Physical Barriers: Clear plexiglass screens will be installed in all reception areas;
- Visitor Restrictions: Continued “no visitor” policy on all campuses, including modifications to student drop-offs (to kiss-and-ride or school door only, not inside buildings)
- Campus Entry / Exit Modifications: We are still considering changes to movement and timing for students at drop-off and pick-up times. More information on this will be provided;
- School Buses: There will likely be modifications to bus and shuttle operations. We will have more information later in the summer when further guidance is provided to us by the county and state.
In the event that a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, we will cooperate with county health officials who will undertake contact tracing steps. Depending on the contacts within the school, some number of individuals may need to isolate from on-campus instruction for a period of time. This could be limited to a specific class group, to a specific grade, whole building, or whole school community, depending on the contacts in the unique situation. In this, as in all determinations, we will be following the advice of our local health authorities with whom we are already working closely. Students who are not able to attend on campus instruction due to required home isolation will have access to distance learning materials and support. Any school closure or isolation of student(s) or staff member(s) will not be undertaken lightly.
All students will utilize distance learning, but with changes from last school year. Based on our experiences from Spring 2020, and with additional planning time, any distance learning in the 2020-2021 school year would include:
- Digital access to content will be increased, based on a new eLearning platform that enhances feedback;
- Communication protocol with students and parents will be revised and improved;
- Flipped classrooms will be developed so that live online sessions can be dedicated to interactions between students and teachers (A flipped classroom is a type of blended learning where students are introduced to content during independent work, such as recorded instruction, and then practice working through it with a teacher. More info.)
- Length of online class meetings will be increased at all levels;
- Small group teaching will be encouraged as much as possible.
Sample schedules for distance learning for each division by clicking here. To read more information about key considerations that are shaping the the Distance Learning Program and schedule organization, click here for a brief overview.
Students would be permitted on campus in small class groups (approx. 10) and the overall occupancy of the school building would be reduced by about 50%. To adhere to health guidelines, students in some grades would receive instruction both in-person and online (Distance Learning) in alternating week rotations. Based on the results of the Parent Survey, as well as pedagogical studies about the learning styles for young students, we will give priority to the youngest and the most vulnerable students.
- Return to school for the TPS class will be postponed until we can reopen without restrictions; We do not believe social distancing is compatible with the social and emotional needs of 2 year old students.
- PS, MS, GS, CP, CE1, 6ème (Pre-K & K, 1st, 2nd & 6th grades): Full-time in-person instruction for students with a high need for face-to-face instruction - young learnings and critical transition years. Curriculum and class organization adapted to maintain social distancing.
- CE2, CM1, CM2, the rest of middle school and high school (3rd - 5th and 7th - 12th grades) will alternate in-person and distance learning on a weekly rotation. The curriculum will be adapted to fit the format. Math and science will have priority for on-campus instruction. Some courses will be recorded and broadcasted. Class times will be live broadcasted for students who are at home. New IT equipment will be necessary for teachers and in all classrooms.
- To implement this plan, we need to move some grade levels to different campuses:
- Bradley Campus: PS, MS and GS (K) for students under age 5
- Rollingwood Campus: GS (K) age 5 or above, grades 1 and 2
- Forest Road Campus: grades 3 through 12
Capacity considerations: This Hybrid scenario is built around capacity limitations in each school room to maintain social distancing. In order to provide on-campus instruction for more students, we are reconfiguring cafeterias, gymnasiums, auditorium and other large spaces. Additionally, we are actively pursuing options to expand our on-campus capacity and by adding modular classrooms on our Forest Road Campus. This could allow additional on-campus instructional time for more students. Some families have asked about the use of the new campus to expand current school capacity. For reasons explained below (see New Campus Update), this is not feasible.
All students would be welcomed to campus in their typical class group configurations (typically 15 - 22 students) and at their regularly assigned campus location. However, large gatherings and intermixing groups will likely be limited. Some activities might also be restricted where students would be exposed to increased aerosols (e.g. some PE activities, choral singing, etc.).
We acknowledge that some students might not be able to attend school in-person because of either their own health condition or the presence of a fragile family member in the household. Distance learning options will be provided to them.
Particular attention will also be given to the students needing learning support. The strategies considered include small group and individual support, collaboration and co-planning between teachers and specialists, learning gap assessment, digital opportunity for review and recovery, and available office hours to touch base with students. We will also provide emotional support to the SLS students and ensure personal check-ins with families and potential adaptation for the “PAP” plans.
This downloadable presentation provides more details of the academic planning currently underway. This includes academic plans that reflect new health and safety measures as well as a phased approach to on-campus learning (by grade level). This was shared with our faculty this week to receive their feedback and address their questions. A faculty and staff survey is now underway to evaluate the staff available for in-person teaching. The feedback from faculty may impact the feasibility of our hybrid scenario. A second step in this process will be a survey to you, our families, so we may better understand your intentions to attend school in person, if that option is available.
The Board of Trustees has approved the creation of a “COVID-19 Data Evaluation Working Group” to reinforce analysis and decision-making. This group will gather 5 health professionals selected from among our parent community, all working in the medical and health sector, as well as our school nurse who has been actively involved in our COVID response team since early 2020. The group’s objective is “to compile and present to the Board, the management and the community all relevant data, information and trends regarding the spread of the virus , the potential transmission of the virus, the latest recommendations from county, state and federal experts regarding the reopening of schools”. A report will be presented at each of the Board meetings while this pandemic continues and will be shared with our community.
In all of our learning scenarios, technology will play a key role. To raise the level of instruction provided for all students, and to improve the digital experience for all students, families and faculty, we are making some important investment in IT equipment and resources this summer. 4 critical need areas are being addressed:
- Give teachers the resources needed to deliver their content to students remotely and on-campus at the highest possible level. All the school’s teachers will be equipped with laptops and use a new Learning Management System platform.
- Give the students the resources needed to participate fully in our online and on-campus pedagogical offerings. Based on the feedback received in the last 3 months, it is clear that middle school students were limited by the capacities of the iPads and need a device more in line with the advanced work they are doing in their classes (full size keyboard, touch screen and stylus). We will therefore provide them with Chromebooks. Their former iPads will be used in the lower grade levels to expand the 1:1 program (to now include GS/K, CP/1st and CE1/2nd) and to replace older equipment.
- Classrooms need to be modified to allow for on-site and distance learning opportunities to happen concurrently. All classrooms will be equipped with cameras and projectors to allow live streaming.
- Provide training support to students, teachers and families to ensure their active participation and support of our program.
This plan is a long-term investment, not just designed to address the current situation. Its benefits will outlast the COVID crisis. The Board has approved the technology plan in its entirety.
Strengthening our community by supplementing the Financial Aid Fund for 2020-2021
We recognize that the current health crisis and economic condition is causing financial hardship for some of our families. We want to be there for you and support you so your children's education may continue without interruption. The Board of Trustees has therefore approved an additional Financial Aid fund of $1 million. The application process for the Hardship Financial Aid is distinct from the regular Financial Aid process. (See process overview below.)
The available Hardship Financial Aid fund will be $1 million.
Requests must be submitted using our online form (not through FACTS)
A staff committee will review all applications and maintain the confidentiality of information submitted
Hardship Financial Aid decisions will be shared with parents before the first tuition payment deadline for 2020-2021
Application, Decisions, and Timeline:
November 2020 and February 2021: Review of Hardship Financial Aid awards (updated documentation will be required)
Applications received after May 26, 2020 will be reviewed on a monthly basis for applications received by the 30th of each month starting June 30, 2020.
Supporting Documents Required with the Application Form:
2019 Form 1040
For wage earners (please submit documentation for all working parents in the household):
2019 Form W2
Most recent wage statement(s) showing decrease in income
Employer statement of decreased income, furlough or termination of employment
Unemployment claim or acceptance letter
For Self-employed (please submit documentation for all working parents in the household):
Most recent quarterly tax filings, Form 1040ES, showing a decrease in income
Any other supporting documentation related to decrease in income or additional expenses