Fall Campus Re-opening 2020/2021
July 17, 2020
Dear Woodlawn Community,
Earlier this week, Governor Cooper directed all schools that plan to have students on campus to enforce mandatory six-foot social distancing in classrooms and shared spaces, as well as mandatory usage of Personal Protective Equipment (for example, masks). At the present time, this applies to all students, as well as all employees and adults on campus. As the public health situation continues to evolve, we will adjust these policies based on directives from state and local public health authorities, the Center for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and recommendations from our school’s Health & Wellness Advisory Board.
We will require mandatory health screening of all people who come to campus, including temperature checks and symptom-based questionnaires before being allowed to exit vehicles. Accordingly, we will not allow any non-essential visitors on campus, nor will our children travel off campus for field trips.
Based on the regulations pertaining to social distancing, we will reduce the teaching sizes of our classes by creating small cohorts of students in each grade. In our smaller classrooms, this will enable us to safely and effectively teach cohorts of 8 to 10 students at a time. In our larger classrooms, we can safely and effectively teach cohorts of 10 to 12 students at a time. We will, of course, make ample use of our outdoor spaces. However, there are times when extreme weather conditions (high heat indexes, winter wind chill factors, heavy rain, thunderstorm warnings, high winds, etc.) will not permit outdoor classes.
Taking all these things into account, our plan for a safe and successful school year is built around:
- Grades K – 6 being on campus, five days per week.
We know our youngest learners have great need of the foundational learning skills that are best acquired in structured, teacher-directed classrooms.
- Grades 7 – 12 on campus 50% of the time.
Learning may include the ability for students at home to join live classes meeting on campus using secure log-ins.
- K – 12 core subject classes will be recorded using cameras focused upon the teacher and accessible only to Woodlawn families using password-protected, secure Woodlawn websites. This will benefit all students, on-campus and online.
Using technology and increased investments in student support, K – 12 students who are at home for any reason – due to illness, for example – will be able to engage in schoolwork from home. They may enter core classes “live” and utilize recorded lessons. They will have online access to learning resources and scheduled access to teachers for extra help.
A frequently asked, very important question: Why can’t Woodlawn have every student, K – 12, on campus every day?
Mandatory social distancing in classrooms and the need to create smaller cohorts for health and wellness prohibit classroom populations of 14-16 students, and we cannot always rely upon outdoor teaching spaces due to varying weather conditions.
As the public health situation changes, will Woodlawn’s plans change?
Yes, if the public health situation improves, we will bring more and more of our students on campus every day.
We have developed a robust plan to safeguard the health and hygiene of all:
- Electrostatic deep cleaning of all classrooms and shared spaces every night.
- Multiple cleanings of bathrooms and high-touch surfaces throughout the course of the school day. This year, a janitor will be on duty throughout the school day, in addition to our nightly cleaning.
- Teacher-directed handwashing for all students throughout the school day.
- Increased supervision of recess as well as staggered schedules using our small cohort system.Our Life Sports teachers are creating menus of safe, fun games and activities for students during Life Sports classes, recess, and recreation times.
- We are committed to offering our Middle and Upper School students safe, high quality afterschool programs that build skills, improve physical conditioning, and offer our students the opportunity for fun and the socioemotional benefits that are such an important part of athletics.
At this point, we do not know if interscholastic competition can be safely and effectively managed by the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association and all its member schools. When we know the NCISSA guidelines, our Woodlawn Health & Wellness Advisory Board and senior leadership team will evaluate those plans and determine what best serves the needs of our student athletes.
I am grateful for the hard work, ingenuity, and dedication of our teachers and administrative team. They are investing countless hours this summer to develop the best possible plans for supporting the learning needs of our students, create programs and activities that foster the social and emotional health of our students, and provide the safest possible learning environment on our campus, one that prioritizes the health and wellbeing of every member of our Woodlawn family.
I am grateful to you, our parents, for your understanding, support, consideration, and patience as we work to navigate these complex challenges and rapidly changing conditions.
With kind regards,
Head of School