Jamie's Update: SGS Planning for the Fall

June 30, 2020
Dear SGS Community,
Happy early 4th of July!  I hope you and your families are able to enjoy the upcoming weekend and safely enjoy captivating fireworks.  June has been a busy month with preparations for the new school year.  Our Task Force and Working Groups have met and produced recommendations for the coming year.  We are still in the process of completing the final document and guidelines as we establish our SGS plan to address the nuances of this pandemic situation.  The ability to be nimble and flexible as well as mitigating the risk of spreading the COVID-19 Virus to keep everyone safe add to the complexity of our overall planning.
Overview of the SGS Re-Opening Plan
While the situation continues to be fluid in our region and state, based on the guidelines, restrictions, etc. currently in place, we feel confident in our ability to offer in-person school to start the year and meet the needs of students that are unable to participate on campus.  Our primary goals: 
• Establishing relationships between students and teachers to start the new year.
• Establishing classroom processes and routines that can carry over to Distance Learning (DL) as needed.
• Establishing the essential learning objectives for each grade level and subject. 
• Creating and enforcing the elements of a safe learning environment while mitigating the risks of the COVID-19 Virus.
What to Expect
There will be a “new” normal in the way we operate in most areas.  The working groups took what we experienced and learned in the spring during DL 1.0 along with input from a multitude of resources in addressing the issues that were identified. 
• When school starts, students will be expected to wear masks, wash/sanitize hands, and social distance at six (6) feet.  Classrooms and learning spaces will be set-up to establish the spacing, but students will also need to take on responsibility between classes, during lunch, and at breaks.  We will also be communicating new safety procedures including, but not limited to, entering and exiting buildings, as well as movement within and between buildings and spaces on campus.
• School employees and students will need to adhere to guidelines for personal health before coming to school. (Health guidelines are established by the CDC, DOH, and SRHD.)  
• We anticipate Lower School classes operating primarily in grade level cohorts.  Students in grades 6-12 will also be attending classes mainly by grade level, but there is more movement in these larger grades with student schedules.
• Technology integration will continue to be prioritized within the classrooms as teachers and students utilize a more streamlined platform of tools and establish classroom expectations.  The school is also updating from cable to fiber to increase internet upload speeds and overall reliability.
• Teachers are engaging in a variety of Professional Development opportunities this summer to be better equipped to address teaching in this complex model.
• Clarified expectations and norms for the community (Students, Teachers, Parents, Administrators, etc.) will apply equally in-person and in the DL 2.0 model.  These roles and responsibilities were outlined with the intention of making clear what is expected of each of us, so that everyone can learn and work together as a community and in line with our school’s core values. 
• Large gatherings (Friday Morning meetings, Monday Meetings for MS/US, etc.) will be on hold until we better know the situation in September.
• Transportation and busses – Currently, bus guidelines will require masks, window ventilation and social distancing when it allows.
What Is Still Developing?
• Start of School Activities – Each division will be developing a playbook for the start of school and prioritizing the needs of the students.
• Daily Schedule – As part of the need to have a transition plan from in-person to DL, we are creating a daily schedule that will allow for a more seamless transition to DL 2.0 if needed.  This is primarily a focus for the MS/US since LS classes are self-contained.
• We are identifying alternative teaching spaces that will accommodate “larger” classes and social distancing requirements.  Our campus and facilities will allow creativity in this area. 
• Athletics and Activities – Initial guidelines have been published by the WIAA in conjunction with the DOH.  This plan is tied to the state’s re-opening phases, so there is uncertainty based on how the COVID-19 virus responds and the impact to athletics and activities for 2020-21. 
Updates will continue in July and August as we approach the start of the school year.  We will also be sending out the Back to School mailing the first week of August.  
Thank you and enjoy your summer.
Jamie Tender
Head of School