Return to Campus FAQ - 2020-21

What are the new scenarios and terminology that will help my family understand the learning landscape this year?

Scenarios:

  • On-campus Learning - referring to our Full and Hybrid Learning scenarios with all or a partial attendance of students on campus. 
    • Full - All students in LS;  in MS/US, students who elect to attend classes in person
    • Hybrid - All students in LS; ⅔ of MS/US students who elect to attend classes in person
  • Distance Learning - off-campus learning for all with the exception of PreK and Kindergarten

Terminology:

  • Concurrent Learning - distance learning that occurs simultaneously side by side with in-person instruction on-campus. Students at home will attend class via Zoom with the Owl technology, where they are engaged through listening and responding to lessons and discussions. All students have the same work expectations.  
  • Synchronous Learning - teachers and students meeting together at the same time, in person, or virtually
  • Asynchronous Learning - instruction or learning that doesn’t take place at the same time for each student
  • Simulcast Classes - the live streaming of class sessions from campus to remote locations (homes) via Zoom and Owl camera technology
  • Physical Distancing - Maintaining at least a 6 foot separation between people at all times. 

 

What factors does the school consider when making decisions? 

The health and safety of our community remain our highest priorities and inform all that we do.  We continue to be informed by:

  • The Utah Department of Health
  • The CDC
  • The Utah School Nurses Association
  • An advisory committee that includes local infectious disease and epidemiologists physicians
  • The local landscape of COVID cases, state color codes, and public and independent schools. 

 

What will learning look like in the fall?

Waterford has planned for three scenarios that can be viewed here - Waterford will return to learning on August 31 in either the full on-campus learning scenario (with safety and health protocols), the hybrid learning scenario, or the distance learning scenario. 

 

How does the hybrid model work?

In the hybrid scenario, all LS students who elect to, will remain on campus with safety protocols in place (e.g.,  6 feet of physical distance in every classroom,  masks, hand-washing, etc.)

In the MS/US hybrid learning scenario, we will maintain 6 feet of physical distance in every classroom. To accomplish this physical distancing, we can accommodate 1/2 of the students on campus at a given time. We will divide the students into two groups, and each group will have rotate through two days on campus and two days off campus. 

On the days when students are off-campus, they are expected to join the class concurrently via Zoom. They will be visible in the classroom on a mounted TV screen, and will be able to see all in-person participants through the Owl camera, which responds to speech and rotates to focus on the speaker. The technology will allow students at home to participate in discussions with the full group and in smaller breakout rooms. The goal is for instruction to be continuous, with class sessions fully engaging the students on campus and off campus at the same time.  

 

Can students or families choose between on-campus learning and concurrent learning from home when we are in the hybrid scenario?

Yes. Learning will be based on student engagement, as opposed to physical presence. Attendance will be taken of students both on-campus and at home. Waterford has equipped each classroom to simulcast all lessons to accommodate concurrent learning for students who wish to learn from home. While we believe that in-person instruction best achieves our mission’s objectives, with the health and well being of our community in mind we want students to choose the option that is most comfortable for them. 

 

Can you share what an average day will look like on-campus for students in the full scenario?

We have worked to develop schedules and groupings that help students and teachers stay healthy as well as maintain program integrity. Specifically LS students will stay in grade level “pods” to minimize mixing with large numbers of other students. We have also worked to staff in ways that minimize the number of adults to interact with each “pod.” LS students will begin their day in their homeroom class with a morning meeting, and will follow a typical schedule with core subjects. To minimize mixing, students will attend Specialist classes in 2-week blocks, rotating to each Specialist class over the course of the year. The exception is PE, which continues in each grade level throughout the year so that students engage in consistent physical activity. Students will not be sharing supplies and will have individual supply kits for homeroom and Specialists classes. Pods will play together at recess in designated zones, and will eat lunch in their individual classrooms and outside when possible. Every day will end with a closing circle, which promotes reflection and community, preparing students for a calm and positive dismissal.   

In MS/US we will follow a new Blue/Gold day schedule. The traditional 8 Waterford blocks will meet on alternating days, 4 on Blue days followed by 4 on Gold days. The blocks will be longer (75 minutes, instead of 50 last year), and the passing time between blocks will be longer (15 minutes, instead of 8). The longer passing period will allow for physical distance while students exit classes and move to the next period. It will also allow time to disinfect the tables and desks between classes. Each day will start with a Morning Meeting (formerly Homeroom and Advisor Groups). Students will be guided to have lunch outdoors whenever possible, and in inclement weather, classrooms will be open with maximum capacity of each room noted to maintain physical distance. Teachers will be out and about helping to reinforce important safety protocols, such as mask-wearing and physical distance. 

 

What are morning meetings?

Students will start the school day in small meeting groups to take attendance, hold virtual assemblies, and speak about topics, questions and concerns that students might have. These meetings are meant to create a consistent support group, and a place to receive important information for the day. Morning meetings provide a safe environment, cultivate a sense of trust, allow all students to feel valued, and prepare students for the day's events. 

 

How will group projects, such as reading groups and science labs be handled? Will students still work together during the next year?

Students will still be able to work in small groups and in hands-on learning opportunities. Teachers will plan lessons and activities that allow for physical distancing while supporting student engagement and learning.

 

Will any classes take place outside?

Yes! While weather and technology access may limit some outdoor instruction, we will facilitate as many outside classes and other activities as possible outside.  

 

What will the arts look like?

LS students will have specialists in intensives and will have the same number of hours in visual arts, music, and dance as in previous years, though we will set the schedule to minimize mixing of specialist teachers across grade levels.

In MS/US, the arts will continue in a manner similar to the academic programs. All teaching and rehearsal spaces will be equipped with Owl cameras to facilitate concurrent learning from home for students off-campus. Visual arts students will have individualized kits of supplies. Music ensembles will divide into smaller groups and spread out throughout the 800 building for enhanced spacing. Choirs will make use of outdoor spaces as much as possible, and will spread out to achieve 10+ feet of physical spacing. Culminating musical performances will be streamed live. Visual art exhibits will use both online and on-campus venues to display student work. Dance and Theater classes will use masks and physical distancing. Plays will likely include an extra performance to accommodate smaller audiences. All arts spaces will be disinfected after each class. 

 

How will sports continue in the MS/US? Will athletes be able to practice together and what will the guidelines be?

Yes, we will continue to follow UHSAA guidelines where possible regarding participation in athletics this fall. Here is Waterford’s Return-to-Play Protocol

 

How will students safely have lunch? 

LS students will eat in their classrooms or, weather permitting, outside in pods. Whether in classrooms or outside, students will eat at a safe distance from one another, which will allow them to safely take off their masks. 

In MS/US, students will be given designated areas where they will more safely be able to eat lunch, outside and inside. When the weather is good all MS/US students will be asked to eat outside. US students choosing to walk off campus for lunch are required to wear masks and follow physical distancing as guided by our policies.

 

How will you manage passing times between classes for MS/US?

Slightly increased passing time will be important for faculty to sanitize and wipe down surfaces. Based on data from the CDC, brief interactions, even within 6 feet, are low risk. Students and faculty will be masked during transition time—further reducing risk. 

 

How will you manage recess?

Each LS pod will have a designated outside “zone” during recess time, supervised by playground monitors as is typically our practice. Time outdoors is considered a lower risk activity, and students will have an opportunity for a mask break during outside play (although students can opt to keep their masks on).    

 

Will students be required to wear school uniforms when they are home during the simulcast experience?

Students are not required to wear uniforms when they are learning concurrently from home. However, they will be visible to their classmates at school and they should be dressed appropriately in a way that signals their readiness to learn.

 

How does distance learning impact Preschool and Kindergarten?

Yes. Under Utah state’s “Day Care” provision, our youngest learners in PreK and K will be able to remain on campus if we move to distance learning. For children whose families have opted for them to remain home, concurrent learning will be available, helping them stay connected with their classmates and teacher, and progressing within the curriculum.   

 

Will there be recordings of all the classes and will they be stored so students can watch later? 

Classes will be simulcast for that those who need or choose to learn from home can do so concurrently. Recordings of classes may be requested on an individual and as needed basis.

 

What safety measures have you taken or will be in place?

We are following the CDC Guidelines for Schools. All students, faculty and staff will wear masks and maintain 6ft between one another. Prior to arrival on campus each day, students, faculty/staff, and visitors will be required to complete a health screening to be logged in an app that will be tracked by our school nurse. We have installed visual markers and signage that will provide reminders about distancing, masks, max occupancy, and other important hygiene habits. We will teach and practice healthy hygiene with all students, and hand sanitizing stations have been installed in key locations across campus. Where reasonable, we have installed plexi shields.We have outfitted all bathrooms with touchless faucets and towel dispensers and have installed hands-free, foot-operated door openers to allow for doors to be opened and closed with a foot. Our cleaning and disinfecting routines have been increased, and all student surfaces will be disinfected in between each class. Our HVAC system has been upgraded and fresh air flow has been significantly increased in all classrooms, and all classrooms will have HEPA air filters. We will conduct as many classes and/or activities outside as possible. We are also exploring UV disinfection. 

 

What are the factors that might compel us to close campus and move to distance learning for all?

We will continue to rely on advice from the Utah Department of Health, the CDC and our advisory group as well as pay attention to the local landscape and prevalence of positive test cases. We are also working to track data about child transmission. We consider all relevant information as we determine if closure is a necessity.

 

MASKS AND OTHER SAFETY PRECAUTIONS:

Will masks be required? 

Yes, anyone on campus will be required to wear a mask inside any school building and if they are less than 6ft apart outdoors. Please refer to our Face Covering Guidelines. We are working out exceptions and protocols for specific classes (world languages, choir, theater, etc) that may need visibility of the students’ and teachers’ mouths. In cases where masks are exceptions, physical distancing will be required, and groups may be smaller. Parents/guardians are asked to supply masks for their child that are well-fitting and comfortable. We encourage younger children to practice wearing their masks before our return to school.  

 

Will there be a uniform mask option and will it be sold at the store? 

There will not be a uniform mask requirement—we leave the selection of color and style of mask to families, students and members of our community, however, masks should be free of writing or slogans. We will have masks available for purchase at our school store, the RavenZone, in both youth and adult sizes. If you would like to purchase a mask or any other items from the school store, please reach out to camihaderlie@waterfordschool.org

 

How will a PreK or Kindergarten student be able to follow the  6 ft distancing goals?

As with learning any routines, our youngest students learn by watching those around them and will respond best to clear expectations and gentle reminders throughout the day. Resources and early observation show the youngest students are indeed able to practice distancing and wear masks.   

 

Will there be additional cleaning and disinfecting of desks and table tops?

Yes. In LS, teachers will be provided with cleaning supplies to wipe down surfaces frequently. In MS/US, teachers will wipe down the desks during the extended passing time and prior to the next class arriving. We have built in longer passing periods to make sure teachers have ample time to do this effectively. 


 

HEALTH AND PROTOCOL AROUND COVID-19 POSITIVE TEST RESULTS:

Will Waterford conduct regular health screens and temperature checks?

Yes. Prior to arrival on campus, students, faculty/staff, and visitors will be required to complete a health screening each day to be logged in an app that will be tracked by our school nurse. Please refer to our COVID-19 Response Plan: Health and Safety Measures. Should they have a temperature or any other COVID-19 symptoms, students should remain at home. Should the School deem it necessary, a child may be screened during the school day if they present symptoms, and in the presence of a temperature and/or symptoms, we will ask the parent/guardian to pick the child up from school.    

 

What is the policy when a student or teacher tests positive for Covid-19 within the community? 

Please refer to our COVID-19 Response Plan: Health and Safety Measures.

 

What is the policy if there is a positive Covid test result in the household of a student or teacher? 

Please refer to our COVID-19 Response Plan: Health and Safety Measures.

 

If a student is physically unwell at school, is there a place that the student will be able to isolate? What are the protocols around student illness developing on campus?

Please refer to our COVID-19 Response Plan: Health and Safety Measures.

 

What protocols will be in place for student’s mental health and wellbeing?

It is as important that children feel emotionally safe as well as physically safe. Each day, LS teachers will hold Morning Meetings and Closing Circles that focus on building a community of trust and support, while developing social-emotional skills. Similarly, the MS/US will also begin each day in a Morning Meeting with the goal of starting each day in a calm and caring environment. Morning Meeting cohorts represent a small and informal community of support for each student and are led by faculty mentors.

Dr. Boller, LS Counselor and Dr. Johnson, MS/US Counselor, will be meeting with each grade level to focus on emotional well being. They are also available to meet individually with students or parents. Students or families can schedule appointments with Dr. Boller or Dr. Johnson for resources resources and guidance here:  

https://calendly.com/annaboller

https://calendly.com/msuscounselor

 

What will visitor access look like during the school year? Will parents or other visitors be allowed in the building, and under what protocols? 

During a time when we are collectively striving for our students to be on campus, additional adults in buildings increase risk for our student and faculty community. We ask that parents do not enter buildings and remain outside if they must be on campus. If you need an exception, please reach out to nancydurrant@waterfordschool.org in the LS and bethhamideh@waterfordschool.org in MS/US.

 

How will the school preserve medical privacy and at the same time share information about COVID positive cases in families and classrooms? 

Please refer to our COVID-19 Response Plan: Health and Safety Measures.

 

If a parent has a higher risk job—either working on the frontlines with COVID patients, traveling frequently, or high frequency of interactions—will their children need to take any extra precautions in order to attend school?

We encourage any parents who are concerned to speak with their health provider. Further questions can be directed to our nurse at katherinestokes@waterfordschool.org.

 

How will LS drop-off and pick-up work? Will parents be allowed to walk children inside?

We ask parents to drop-off their LS children outside in designated areas. As always, teachers will assist with our PreK and Kindergarten students at our West drop off/pick up entrance.  At this time, parents are not permitted to walk their children inside the building, or pick them up inside the building. 

 

MISCELLANEOUS:

What will the bus schedule and riding look like?

Buses will run on the same schedule, as noted in our parent portal, but we will ensure enough seats for students to occupy one seat, or two in each seat from the same household. Students will be required to wear masks. Buses will be disinfected between each bus ride.

 

Will there be management of student compliance around physical distancing and mask wearing?

Yes, in MS/US, during passing periods, teachers will move into hallways to help remind students to maintain physical distance and to wear masks. Waterford’s Deans are working hard to develop specific protocol to maintain a healthy community. Additionally, in compliance with state recommendations, we will have clear signage to remind students. Similarly, in LS clear signage and reminders from teachers will help students remember and comply with our goals of physical distancing and mask wearing. 

 

Will teachers be available for additional support and help? 

Yes, LS teachers will be available for additional help and support students throughout their day, and during designated times before school. As always, we welcome parent communication with their child’s teacher if there are concerns. 

In MS/US, teachers are planning to be available for consultation from 7:50-8:20 every morning. Additionally, as is always the case, students may reach out to teachers to set times for additional support after school hours. 

 

Are teachers preparing for the possibility of online school/distance learning in the fall?

Yes, all Waterford School teachers engaged in a four-week intensive professional development course that will make them stronger teachers both in on-campus instruction and online. The training focused on ways to support student engagement in an online environment, different assessment strategies, and intentional course design to support online learning.

 

How are you planning for back-up scenarios with special consideration as it relates to substitute teachers in the event of teacher illnesses? 

We have added to our pool of substitute teachers to ensure that we have coverage in the event of teacher illness. We will continue to build our substitute teacher pool throughout the year.  

 

Will tutoring continue and will tutors practice physical distancing and wear masks?

Yes, tutoring will continue. Based on the success of online tutoring over the spring and summer, we plan to continue the majority of tutoring sessions in a similar format beginning in the fall. The majority of MS/US tutoring will be done via Zoom to make the tutoring experience consistent as students will be rotating off campus on a regular basis. A small number of tutors will be working on campus wearing masks at a 6 foot distance from the student.