Home Fall Reopening Plan
As we chart a path toward opening school in September, we remain committed to providing a safe environment where dynamic and engaging learning thrives. Health and safety is at the forefront and we are planning to reopen campus to students for in-person instruction when we are permitted to do so based on state and county guidelines. While no one can say with certainty what will happen during the upcoming school year, we’ve been preparing for a range of scenarios with the assumption that we will encounter a complex, evolving school year and that we must be able to shift with it.
Governor Newsom’s briefing on July 17 outlined new guidelines about reopening schools. Specifically, he announced that California schools—public and private—may only reopen under specific conditions. The school must be located in a county that has been off the state’s watch list for 14 consecutive days. The state’s watch list evaluates counties on their COVID-19 severity—based on disease transmission, hospitalization rates, and hospital capacity. Alameda County is currently one of 32 counties on that list, and distributed this communication regarding school opening this fall.
Park Day will begin the 2020-21 school year activating our upgraded Distance Learning model which reflects new guidelines and incorporates survey feedback from the spring. We are committing to distance learning through the end of September and will continually assess Alameda County’s mandates as they are announced.
We are currently planning to launch the school year on September 2 in distance learning mode and will remain so until Alameda County is off of the Monitoring List for 14 consecutive days and infections are trending downward. We have been in close contact with Alameda County regarding the possibility of securing an elementary waiver to bring students to campus.
On August 3, the California Department of Public Health unveiled the process for elementary schools to request a waiver to resume in-person instruction in counties on the state’s coronavirus watchlist. One of the application requirements is that school leadership consult with “all parent and labor organizations” (or school site staff) prior to submitting an application. Park Day School is committed to this process and is beginning work as of this publication. However, as of August 6, “the county health officer is not accepting any waivers to open elementary schools.” View ACOE website link with most up to date information.
We are planning to start school beginning September 2nd, We plan to distribute Chrome Books and other teaching materials August 26-28. These days will also provide an opportunity for students to connect with their teacher outside on our campus. All students and families must come to campus wearing a face covering and observing safe distancing.
By this time in the early summer, we would ordinarily have published a full calendar of events for the following year, including plays, concerts, class trips, and assemblies that families could plan around. This coming year, with all of the variables we cannot control, is making it impossible to publish such a calendar with confidence in its accuracy. Please have patience as our planning and calendar evolves as more information and guidance from Alameda County Public Health Department is available. We will keep you updated regularly as to what events will happen on campus or virtually, or if something is canceled. For now, and knowing they may change, please use these Key Dates as a guide.
When permitted by Alameda County, we are planning for a return to campus in stable cohorts. Decision making will be based on guidelines from local public health officials, State guidelines, Alameda County’s recent School Reopening Guidance, and CDC recommendations, including physical distancing in the classroom, facial coverings for staff and students, expanded cleaning and health protocols to minimize risk of infection, and screenings for illness. We have been working with epidemiologists at Capsid Consulting to refine and improve our plans.
We recognize that we can only manage the safety procedures for the daily operations on the Park Day campus. The success of our plan to have all students learning on campus depends upon our families and community upholding their social responsibility to remain vigilant, adhering to the health and safety orders of our county.
It is important for our school community to recognize that our plan to protect student and staff health is two fold:
We plan to provide regular and transparent updates to our community as local, State, and Federal recommendations evolve over the summer. We will be in touch with families in August with more finalized plans.
Prior to re-opening campus, we will require each family to complete the COVID Parent Acknowledge Risk form.
We are continually updating our health and safety policies and practices, with guidance from the California and Alameda County Departments of Health, the Alameda County Office of Education, and the CDC. We know that many of these changes are inconvenient and may take adjusting to, but all were made to keep our community safe.
To be successful, we’ll need our students and employees to share the responsibility of keeping our campus community healthy and safe, to be alert for symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19 and if feeling unwell in any way, to stay home.
Face Coverings and Other Protective Gear
Health Screening and Testing for Students and Staff
Healthy Hygiene Practices
Staff Training and Family Education
All staff and students will be trained and families will be educated on the application and enforcement of our plan.
Physical distancing between individuals in classrooms and about campus will be the new norm. We have made many changes to our facilities to promote health and safety of our staff and students.
In the event a member of our community is diagnosed with COVID-19, or if anyone in your household, or anyone who has had close contact with your student, is diagnosed with COVID-19, please contact our Public Health Liaison, Cassandra McCraw, email@example.com, immediately. In the event a possible case of COVID-19 is detected within our School community, we will do the following (in accordance with the Alameda County Office of Education confirmed case protocol):
Criteria for school re-entry will be updated as we receive revisions from the public health agencies.
Once we are permitted to reopen the school will switch to Distance Learning per State guidance if more than 5% of staff and students test positive, and/or and if/when:
Students will be in stable cohorts that will remain separate for ease of contact tracing in case of infection. Cohort sizes will be determined by state and county guidelines, and may include additional restrictions by the school as determined best for student and staff health and safety. Our plans minimize movement of students to different classrooms, with educators typically coming to the homeroom classroom to teach instead. We will also utilize our beautiful campus by using separate outdoor learning spaces. Teachers will be able to teach a limited number of different cohorts as long as health guidelines permit.
The teachers carefully consider social dynamics and learning needs of each student. There are two cohorts in each grade K-5, and three cohorts in each grade 6-8.
If your student has specific needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic and shelter at home experience that may be unknown to the school, please email the Lower School Director firstname.lastname@example.org, or Middle School Director email@example.com, with the additional information.
We have designed and are ready to implement three operating scenarios to meet varying conditions.
The on campus model is modified to allow for physical distancing and to meet County guidelines. Varying technological supports allow families who choose to keep their students at home to participate in distance learning. Cohort sizes are determined by state and county guidelines.
Lower School: We are planning two stable cohorts per grade, grades K-5. Cohort groups were announced in August. Students will use their homeroom classrooms and remain with their primary teacher, while specialist teachers will come to the classrooms or teach in outdoor spaces. We intend to utilize the outdoor space on our beautiful campus as much as possible, and have planned over 15 outdoor classroom areas with seating spaced 6 foot apart.
Middle School: We are planning three cohorts per grade, grades 6 – 8. Cohort groups were announced in August. For health and safety, students will stay in their assigned classrooms each day and faculty will come to them. During the course of the week, cohorts will be in a limited number of classroom spaces, and classes will be held outdoors when possible.
Accommodating Students Who Need to Stay Remote: Some families will choose to keep their students home because of health concerns, and some students may need to quarantine at home. It is likely that we will experience a positive case of COVID-19 in our school community. In these cases the school will utilize our Remote Learning tools to support their learning. To provide scaffolding and support, in the first weeks of school, students will receive instruction on using their designated platform for remote learning.
The Hybrid Model involves a sustained program of instructing stable cohorts both on campus and remotely. This would become necessary if the County requires or the school determines that we need to reduce student density on campus for safety reasons. Alternate schedules have been developed for this possibility, and teaching and learning will utilize Distance Learning tools.
An upgraded distance-only learning model was designed based on survey feedback and will also reflect new guidelines. We will launch Distance Learning instruction if / when:
Lower School: Our Distance Learning schedule is aligned with the developmental needs of each grade level. Based on feedback from our family surveys, we are prioritizing synchronous learning, smaller group instruction, and/or 1:1 check-ins.
Middle School: Our Distance Learning schedule is very similar to our on campus schedule, which makes it easy for us to toggle between the two. Based on feedback from our family surveys, we are prioritizing synchronous learning, smaller group instruction, and/or 1:1 check-ins.
We have been working to improve our technological solutions for our students when learning remotely.
Once we are able to return to campus, we will assess individual student needs by grade level and cohort to determine what the After School Activities Program (ASAP) may look like. We will update families as soon as possible and are exploring possible ways to offer after school programming with the same stable grouping cohorts from the school-day programming.
Field Trips and Overnights: Unfortunately, all overnight and field trips are on hold until health guidelines change. We are developing ways for students to bond and get (re)acquainted at the start of the year.
Community Gatherings & Special Events: All school-sponsored in-person events will be canceled or held in an online format, if possible. Once restrictions loosen, in-person events will be determined on a case-by-case basis with strict adherence to Alameda County Department of Public Health guidelines.
We know every family will be making a choice about what best meets their family’s health and educational needs this upcoming year. We are dedicated to making sure that all Park Day students are provided with meaningful, age-appropriate instruction and opportunities for social connection, whether they are at home or on campus. Because our staff and teachers will be working full time to deliver this program and our school will incur increased costs for campus improvements, individualized curriculum and materials, we will not be offering a modified tuition scale for families who choose distance learning.
For families weighing enrollment during COVID please refer to your enrollment contract in sections 5, 6, and 7 to review tuition obligations and dates. Families whose financial circumstances have been significantly impacted due to COVID are encouraged to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how to apply for financial aid through the school’s supplementary emergency fund.
State Guidebook for Reopening Schools
In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California
Alameda County School Reopening Plans
California Dept of Public Health COVID-19 INDUSTRY GUIDANCE: Schools