COVID Planning for the 2020-2021 School Year

Kaitlyn MacDonald

Dear Sparhawk Community,

We hope that you are all well and that you have been having as restful a summer as is possible during these challenging times. We miss your children. Now that some of us have begun to return to campus, there is such a pull to work with and watch your kids grow and thrive here! 

Planning for the 2020-2021 school year is our entire focus this summer. We know that MA plans to release more detailed guidelines than they did in June, and we are looking forward to receiving those. Here is what the DESE has released so far: MA DESE Guidelines

We know that the state is prioritizing in-person instruction, but has asked schools not to release any final plans until August. We have also learned that this pandemic can change week to week.  Sparhawk is cognizant that these are extraordinary times that require simultaneous and scrupulously detailed planning for a variety of scenarios. As such, we are planning for several possibilities. 

On-Campus Instruction

1. We are ordering and building tented and semi-permanent open-air classrooms to allow for outdoor teaching. 

2. We are writing protocols for students, staff, and parents for entry and exiting campus. 

3. We are ordering PPE and other health supplies in compliance with the CDC.

4. We are working with an HVAC company to ensure our ventilation systems are of the highest quality and in strong working order. 

5. We are working with our cleaning crew to create new protocols and plans for the much more extensive cleaning regimes that a Pandemic requires. 

6. We are ordering additional security systems, including cameras, lighting, and PA systems.

7. Our teachers are further  enhancing their curriculum to ensure that we can continue to have hands-on, experiential education outdoors and at a distance.

8. We are building an outdoor amphitheater to allow for distanced community gatherings. 

 

Distanced Instruction

1. Our staff has been thoroughly analyzing the lessons we learned from our online program this spring.

2. We are building schedules that meet the needs of our students to keep them engaged, feeling integral to their group and supported as individuals if it is necessary to do any distance learning.

3. We are assessing communication plans to be sure that parents and students are getting feedback in a timely and instructive way to help students move forward academically.

4. We are assessing and choosing technology platforms that will best serve our students across the age groups. 

Hybrid Instruction

1. We are planning for and ordering the technology necessary to allow for students to be "in" class from their home in the event someone is exposed to Covid-19 and must quarantine or does not yet feel safe to return to campus for in-person instruction. 

These are not easy decisions before us. We must weigh the health and safety of all of our community members. In seeing the experiences of other schools and camps that have reopened, we know that there is risk involved and we are making every effort to plan for every possibility. We love our Sparhawk and it is more than a school;- it is the people within it. It is our job to ensure that we provide the best possible education with the least amount of risk to those we hold so dear.

We wish it were different. We wish that we could assure you that a physical return to Sparhawk in the fall is guaranteed and will be normal. The directors will write to you soon with more detail in the coming week. However, what we can tell you is that our goal is to bring our community back together. It is our hope to be on-campus and also to know that we will all be healthy and safe. We are building plans with the intention of being able to do that. In the event that we must remain online together, we are working to build the best possible platform for our students.

 

Take Care,

Kaitlyn