Stratford School Unveils its Plan for Fall 2020
Stratford School is excited to welcome students back for the upcoming school year with safety in mind and plans for a flexible learning environment.
We have established priorities aligned with our school’s mission and goals for students, created a return-to-school plan, and have built out support systems for several contingency plans. Here’s an overview of our plans to reunite in the upcoming school year:
What are Stratford plans for reopening and how will you keep students safe?
Last March, when schools closed on short notice and in response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 health crisis, Stratford School teachers and curriculum specialists pivoted within days to a distance-learning model. We developed a rich array of online learning experiences and modified schedules in response to feedback from our students and parents.
It is in our spirit of always improving that we approach the upcoming school year. Although we are fully planning to return to campus, we recognize HOW we return will likely be different. As such, we have designed flexible models around plausible scenarios to respond to external conditions and regulations. Recognizing that some of these scenarios will again require remote instruction, we have improved our distance-learning capabilities and are training school leaders and teachers to perform well given a wide-range of situations. We cannot predict how the school year will play out, but we are prepared to engage, nurture, and inspire our students, whether they are in our classrooms or their living rooms.
Our Return to Campus model features plans for three possibilities, allowing us to respond quickly to circumstances in our own school community as well as changes in local, state, and national policies:
- Traditional School: On-site instruction, in the event there are NO capacity limitations
- Hybrid Schedule: A mix of traditional school and coordinated distance learning to accommodate on-site capacity limitations required for safe-distancing and stable-grouping regulations.
- Fully Online: Option designed for parents who are reluctant to send their children back to an on-campus environment in the fall.
What does a fully online approach look like?
First and foremost, fully online options will be an extension of our school, our campus community, and our teachers. Children enrolled in this program will still feel a primary connection to Stratford School, as they will be taught by Stratford teachers and they will have the opportunity to participate in virtual campus events throughout the year. From our Early Childhood Education to K-8, Stratford’s fully online programs are academically aligned and paced with our traditional on-campus learning experiences.
What will a hybrid schedule look like?
Ensuring students have a consisent connection with their teachers while engaged in on and off campus learning is a critical component of a successful hybrid schedule. In Stratford’s hybrid schedule, students will be divided into two group schedules, A and B. Each group of students – A or B – will be on campus two or three days per week. On weekdays when students are not on campus, they will be learning from distance learning plans (DLPs) designed and managed by their teachers.
How will you handle social distancing, hygiene, and cleaning schools?
Stratford School is committed to providing a rich and varied learning experience in a safe and healthy environment. We will be implementing modifications to campus operations based on guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, and local regulations, as they apply, in order to safeguard our students, parents, faculty, and staff against the spread of COVID-19.
General Health and Safety protocols include
- Daily Health/Temperature Checks
- Safe Distancing & Small, Consistent Groups
- Increased Sanitation, including frequent handwashing and disinfecting high-touch surfaces
- Following state and local guidelines, face-coverings will be required for staff and students.
Stratford is prepared to abide by any modifications and/or further requirements as needed.
How will you handle events, athletics, extracurricular, and after school activities?
Early on, Stratford moved to hosting parenting workshops, open houses, campus tours, activity playdates, to name a few, to a virtual model. With the new school year, we will continue to host a variety of virtual events to engage our community. Considerations for student and staff safety, as well as local regulations, will play a pivotal role in what and how we plan our future on-campus activities.
How will you support students socially and emotionally?
Stratford School is resolved to do everything it can to safely reopen our campus because we believe that doing so is in the best interest of our students.
While distance learning is an effective methodology when done well and when health and safety conditions leave no other option, it is not an ideal long-term substitute for the interpersonal, social, and emotional benefits of traditional school.
In the development and deployment of distance learning plans, our highest aspiration was to provide continuity and connection for our students – a sense of normalcy that comes from daily interactions among teachers and students. Daily connections, even if virtual, will continue to be built into all distance-learning and hybrid schedules. In this period when we must use social distancing, social-emotional learning is more relevant than ever.
Onward with Optimism!
As communities begin to open back up, it is important to be mindful of potential messages around COVID-19 that may be confusing to children. Introducing proactive, age-appropriate discussions about how school might look different when they start the new school year are important topics in which to engage and develop as information evolves. This continued focus around what we do know about the virus and sharing the things that are within our control can help build confidence, and a level of comfort, in our children.
And, as we plan for the upcoming school year, we are driven by the mission and vision that inspires us as educators in the first place, and we are reinvigorated by the creativity and inventiveness unleashed in response to these extraordinarily challenging circumstances. We will begin the school year grateful for the opportunity to teach and to learn as we move onward to an excellent future!
To learn more about Stratford School or to schedule a personalized virtual tour go to stratfordschools.com.
By: Jeanne Huybrechts, Chief Academic Officer & Allison Wilson, Senior Director of Curriculum and Innovation, Stratford School