Return to Campus Plan
At the forefront of our decision-making process as we plan our return to campus is the health and safety of our students and employees. This focus is balanced with the knowledge that the best learning environment for our community is one in which students and teachers can interact face-to-face.
To that end, we have developed division-specific hybrid plans, which include both on-campus and off-campus learning. We are intentionally launching a staged return, beginning with the months of August-October so that we can continue to refine our work and respond to needs as they arise.
Our Guiding Principles
These five guiding principles inform our decision-making at every stage as we plan for a return to campus:
- We are committed to the physical and emotional well-being of our students, employees, and families, and equally committed to social responsibility and public health.
- We cannot eliminate all risk; our goal is to take reasonable steps to mitigate risk exposure and communicate those clearly, while considering local, national, and international health organization mandates and guidelines.
- We are committed to analyzing decisions based on their implications for the community’s health, the student experience, our families’ circumstances, and the financial implications for the school.
- We are committed to supporting the community through timely and accurate communications.
- For the safety of the community, decisions can change as more information becomes available.
Rationale for Hybrid Model
The hybrid model allows us to meet the safety requirements established by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) because it reduces the number of students who are on campus at one time. Critical to our decision-making in Oregon’s state guidelines Ready Schools, Safe Learners include these requirements:
- A minimum of 35-square feet of space per student within each classroom
- Requirement of maintaining 6-feet of distance between each person during activities and instruction to the extent that it is possible to do so.
This model also allows us to easily transition to a fully remote scenario should conditions within the school or county require us to do so. Instances that would require a return to all remote learning include multiple infections in the school community and/or the Oregon Governor re-issues stay-at-home orders and closes schools. All families would be notified via email should there be any potential changes being considered based on the general health status of the community.
Return to Campus: Divisional Information
Each division is designing a model that prioritizes safety and health and the quality of the experience for children, centering designs on relationships and community, and keeping our mission and progressive education tenets in mind. As we schedule students for the fall, we will do so with an eye to schedule siblings together to the extent possible. While we cannot promise this will work perfectly, it is a primary scheduling goal for all three divisions. Divisions will share further specifics in mid-July.
Beginning School: Preschool and Kindergarten
We are prioritizing on campus learning for preschool and kindergarten because remote learning is the most difficult with this age group. To best meet their needs all preschool and kindergarten students will be on campus Monday through Thursday. Fridays will be remote learning for all Beginning and Lower School students, which will allow for cross-cohort and grade-level interaction, as well as community building. Preschool and kindergarten are also two grades with many new students and families. Requirements for preschool (a licensed early childhood program) differ from kindergarten-12th grade requirements. Due to the varying requirements, the Beehive is not a large enough classroom space for all Beginning School students. Therefore, kindergarten will also use another space on campus. Specifics about the hybrid schedule, the new space usage, and homeroom information will follow in mid-July.
Lower School: Grades 1-5
The hybrid model for grades 1-5 will be based on stable cohorts, one of the state requirements. Students will be placed in single-homeroom groups that will enable daily instruction from and connection with their homeroom teachers, who will actively track their progress and engagement both during on-campus and remote days. Students will either be on campus Monday/Wednesday and learning remotely on Tuesday/Thursday, or vice-versa, with Fridays being remote learning for all students. Reducing classroom density will allow us to prioritize active, inquiry-based, experiential teaching and learning for on-campus days. Fridays will also allow for community meetings, cross-homeroom interactions, affinity group gatherings, and other division-wide activities. Further specifics, regarding the hybrid schedule, including homeroom information, will follow in mid-July.
Middle and Upper Schools
Placing students in stable cohorts is not easily accomplished in grades 6-12; we will group students when possible. The Upper and Middle Schools’ hybrid model will include a new shared schedule that facilitates half of 6th-12th graders on campus one week and off campus the next. This schedule is based on a Monday-Friday rotating model that will allow for greater continuity of learning whether students are on- or off-campus. The instructional plans will include two-week arcs that take into consideration that students are both on and off campus. The reduction in density of people will allow us to ensure generous physical distancing in classroom spaces, which is a key health component during a pandemic. Unlike this spring, students will largely follow the on-campus schedule in a way that keeps in-person and remote learning connected. More specifics about how this will work, along with the new schedule, will follow in mid-July.
New Health and Safety Measures
We continue to follow the on-going guidance from the CDC, WHO, and local medical experts on the best ways to reduce exposure to the coronavirus and other respiratory pathogens. Further details about these and other safety measures will be shared in student and employee handbooks. Specific mitigations strategies shared in mid-June include:
- Face Coverings: Students and employees will be required to wear face coverings in a variety of settings. Given local guidance for masking indoors, we anticipate students in grades 6-12 to wear masks regularly, with a recognition of the challenge for younger students to do so consistently. We will continue to follow local guidance as it evolves to inform our protocols.
- Physical Distancing: Movement on campus will be controlled and directed to reduce the mixing of students. We are analyzing classroom spaces as to how they can be best used. In classrooms, students will be seated with at least 6ft. of spacing to minimize transmission risk.
- Decreased Mixing and Density, Daily Logs: Academic schedules and classroom density will be designed to keep students in smaller, more consistent groups during the day. This, along with daily logs of student groupings, reduces the risk of transmission and allows for contact tracing if needed.
- Hand Hygiene: Students and faculty will follow a regular schedule of hand washing or use of hand sanitizer throughout the day. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout campus to ensure easy access.
- Enhanced Cleaning: Daily cleaning practices will be compliant with ODE requirements and CDC recommendations, including the types of cleaning products used and the frequency of cleaning. Special attention will be paid to the cleaning of high touch surfaces throughout the day, as well as cleaning between classroom spaces when different groups enter and exit.
- Health Screening: Families and employees will be asked to monitor their symptoms, including scanning for fever every morning and submitting information via an app. Students with symptoms during the day will be separated from other students and parents/guardians will be contacted to arrange a pick-up within the hour.
- Updated Sick Policy and Enforcement Practices: Rules regarding sick policies for students and employees will be enhanced and strictly enforced to minimize the number of sick people on campus. For this fall, ODE advises that anyone with a fever must stay home for at least 72 hours instead of 24. More details will be included in a communicable disease plan later this summer.
- Bus Service: We plan to run daily route buses, knowing this service is essential for some families. We will follow a high standard for physical distancing for all route buses.
- Food Service and Lunch: SAGE will provide lunch for purchase through pre-ordering of box lunches; self-serve options, including breakfast, will not be available. The Barn will not be available for eating or socializing given health and safety guidelines. In order to limit campus movement, Upper School students will not be able to go off campus for lunch. As always, students will be able to bring home lunches to school.
- Self Care and Well-being: Pedagogy and classroom practices will provide greater attention to student mental health and well-being to build resilience and to cope with the stress or anxiety students may be experiencing during this pandemic.
- Athletics: Athletics is an essential component of student life and wellness. We are currently working to establish guidelines that allow for safe athletics engagement in the fall that follow ODE and OSAA guidance.
- Outdoor Education: The Outdoor Education program will only offer weekend day trips, no overnights, with additional safety protocols in place.
- Before and After School Care: We know the importance of Before and After School care for many families, and we are working on plans to support families that we will share in July.
- Field Trips and Large Gatherings: All off-campus divisional excursions will be suspended. Large gatherings, such as assemblies and community meetings, will be held virtually.
- Classroom Practices: Teaching methods will be adjusted to minimize shared equipment or learning materials between students. Classroom practices will reduce the transfer of objects between home and school, as well as the touching of other students’ personal belongings. Middle and Upper School students will not use lockers or cubbies to avoid hallway congestion and possible transmission.
- Visitors on Campus: Visitors will be limited to only essential visitors (those whose engagement cannot be done virtually and/or whose engagement is mission-critical for the school). Food deliveries, both for employees and students, will not be permitted. All visitors to campus, including parents, will be screened upon arrival. These provisions will not apply to parents simply picking up children, though pick-up and drop-off protocols will be adjusted.
Responsibilities of Families and Employees
It will take all of us working together to help reduce transmission of Covid-19 and future outbreaks. We will be updating our Student and Employee handbooks to help us all adapt to new safety measures and also updating our policies on expectations for our entire community.