Dear Students and Parents,
I am pleased to write that we will move forward with our transition to Orange mode on Tuesday, September 29.
As a reminder, Orange mode generally will have students in the Blue cohort on campus Mondays and Tuesdays and students in the Gold cohort on campus Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesday will remain as a flex day. Due to the professional day scheduled for Monday, September 28, the first week will have Blue cohort students on campus Tues/Wed and Gold cohort students on campus Thurs/Fri. Separate emails from the divisions went out earlier this week regarding cohort assignments.
New Virtual Opt-In Form
As mentioned previously, we have reset all previous virtual learning requests, and families wishing to have their student(s) remain virtual on September 29 will need to reconfirm this option by filling out a new Virtual Opt-In form for each child in the Blackbaud portal.
Starting Sept 29, all virtual students will be expected to study from home and refrain from any in-person, school-related activity. Students selecting virtual mode will be expected to remain virtual through October 30. At that point, we will give students an option to return to on-campus learning and all other in-person school activities. The form is due at 9am on Tuesday, September 22.
Families wishing to have students transition to Orange mode do not need to fill out this form. Families that previously indicated they would like their student(s) to study virtually but have since changed their minds do not need to fill out the form either. All previous virtual requests have been deleted.
For families still on the fence about returning to campus, I will host a Zoom call at 7pm on Monday, September 21, to discuss the school’s COVID preparation and answer questions regarding health and safety.
Recommitment to Healthy Behaviors
With the transition to on-campus classwork, this is an appropriate time to review school protocols and expectations regarding COVID. You will find them on our CA: United website. There is a lot to digest in these expectations, so I’d also like to summarize a few of the really important points as we prepare to gather together again.
- (Wear) Wear your mask, properly.
- (Wait) Be mindful of your distance to others, and when you are closer keep those instances purposeful and brief.
- (Wash) Keep your hands clean, and don’t touch your face.
- Don’t come to school if you are unwell.
- Understand and follow self-quarantine protocols – and remember that healthy behaviors need to extend beyond your time at school.
There is a lot behind these five key recommendations, but if you follow each of them it is most likely that you will stay healthy and you will keep others healthy as well. Let me unpack them a bit further.
1. (Wear) Wear your mask, properly. Mask wearing is the most important mitigation technique for you and us. Your mask needs to fit properly, snug on the sides and over your nose and mouth. If it fits well, you will be less like to do #3, as well.
2. (Wait) Be mindful of your distance to others, and when you are closer keep those instances purposeful and brief. It is impossible to expect that we will always remain six-feet apart when on campus. Distance will be easiest to maintain when we are sitting in class or during meals, but when we are moving or doing certain activities there will be times when we will be, by necessity, closer together. This is OK, but we should be deliberate during these times and return to distancing when the movement or activity is complete.
3. (Wash) Keep your hands clean, and don’t touch your face. In addition to spreading germs via spray from our noses or mouths, we can also spread the virus by touching our eyes, nose or mouth. In the same way that masks help keep us safe when we are closer together, not touching our faces is the best way to slow the spread when we interact in an environment (school) where we have to touch common objects. Cleaning protocols can help, but sanitizing/hand washing and not touching your face is the best way to keep us all healthy.
4. Don’t come to school if you are unwell. We recognize that the morning wellness checks are not perfect. There are plenty of asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19. However, people who are unwell not only could be spreading COVID but any number of other common illnesses that could weaken the immune systems of friends and colleagues. This will become even more true during the coming cold and flu season. People need to complete the morning wellness check and remain home when ill.
5. Understand and follow self-quarantine protocols – and remember that healthy behaviors need to extend beyond time at school. As much as it might feel at times that our lives revolve around school, this pandemic has reminded us how interconnected and big the world truly is. As we’ve seen numerous times this summer, all the good work of healthy behaviors at school could be jeopardized by one unhealthy gathering in the evening or weekend. In the same vein, if you are exposed via a family member or friend, understand and respect the self-quarantine protocols (which you will find on the CA: United site). Our school nurse, Emily Hawhee, is a wonderful resource and is happy to talk through any questions.
We are excited about this new phase. We will have to be patient as we adjust to some of the trade-offs to hybrid learning, but it will be wonderful to have activity resume in our classrooms once again.
Please enjoy your weekend, and do join me for next Monday’s Zoom call (https://caryacademy.zoom.us/j/93975179469) if you have any questions.