Fall 2020

Waring's Plans During COVID-19

 

The Planning Process

LAST UPDATED: September 15, 2020

Our goal for the 2020–2021 school year has been to deliver the Waring Program in a way that is safe and consistent with the values that are the basis of Waring School and our Community. While our program this year will require different logistics and locations, we are committed to creating experiences that reflect our strong sense of community and rigorous academics that have always been at the heart of the Waring experience.

The Fall Planning Group convened for the first time in mid-June and met weekly leading up to the start of the school year. The Board of Trustees created a Covid Task Force that worked in parallel with the Administration’s Fall Planning Group.
 
We worked hard on reviewing options and developed plans for our return to school based on our guiding principles of Program, Presence and People. On August 14, we shared our leading scenario here with our community. We assure you that we are now prepared for a robust online option and be able to switch from one to the other with changing and evolving situations over the school year. The key consideration of which model we use at any given time is the health and safety of our students, staff members and families.
 
On September 8, students returned to campus for a campus trip and began classes on September 14. 

We developed a plan for our return to school based on our guiding principles with the help of medical professionals in our community who are serving on a Medical Advisory Committee. We have carefully analyzed the various risk factors of our plans (social-emotional health, adolescent development and Covid-19) and are confident in our ability to deliver our program effectively, creatively and safely in a hybrid learning plan, even if it doesn’t look like any other September in the history of the school!  
 
This webpage will provide updated information of their work over the course of the summer and for as long as is necessary in the upcoming academic year. Some of the work of the various committees is broken down into four categories below: Program & Community, Health & Safety, Facilities & Equipment, and Resource Planning. Members of both groups are also listed.

Fall Planning Group

 

Tim Bakland (Head of School)
Robine Vaneck (Associate Head of School)
Laura Bitler
Edith Fouser
Cory Grant
Jeanne Havens
Gallaudet Howard
Colleen Jenkins
Dianne Jirka
Mike Kersker

Shelley Morgan
Julie Nelson
Michelle Ramadan
Jackie Raposo
Becky Schaeffer
Francis Schaeffer
Tiffany Soucy
Joan Sullivan
Matt Taylor
John Wigglesworth

 

Board of Trustees Covid Task Force

 

Cindy Keegan (Chair)
Mary Boyd
Juanita Prescod
Mike Zarren

 

Guiding Principles

An early step in our process was to define and prioritize our goals. The Fall Planning Group has adopted the following guiding principles to help us determine how Waring will carry out its program in the Fall of 2020:

  1. Program. Design a schedule that preserves those aspects of the program that are essential to Waring:
    1. Maintain traditional academic program (with adaptations as necessary)
    2. Create inclusive and safe opportunities for relationship building across the community in academic and non-academic settings.
    3. Ensure balance between content and social/emotional well-being:
  2. Presence. Design a schedule and campus use plan that maximizes student and faculty time on campus and in person while safeguarding everyone’s health:
    1. Physical spacing and number in a classroom and thereby on campus;
    2. Staffing
    3. # in a student’s contact group (aka pod)
    4. # in a teacher’s contact group (aka pod)
    5. Consider both external and internal regulations and guidelines in determining:
  3. People. Design a schedule that is equitably accessible to all students and that builds community and relational learning:
    1. Provide a parallel remote schedule for students who cannot be on campus; 
    2. Group students (if necessary and feasible) in ways to simplify transportation to and from campus;
    3. Facilitate transportation as feasible.


Communications

Fall Schedule & Plans (August 14, 2020)
Parent Q&A (August 19, 2020)
Cohort A Assignment (August 21, 2020)
Cohort B Assignment (August 21, 2020)
Important Reminders (September 4, 2020)
Drop Off & Pick Up Procedures (September 7, 2020)

Parent Q & A - August 18

On Tuesday, August 18 at 7PM we held a Zoom Question and Answer session for parents. A recording of the August 18 session was shared with parents/guardians via email on August 19. If you need a copy of the recording, please email lbitler@waringschool.org.

 

Parent Focus Group - July 23

Thank you to all the parents who attended the Focus Group on July 23 and asked thoughtful questions. A recording of the July 23 session was shared with parents/guardians via email on July 24. If you need a copy of the recording, please email lbitler@waringschool.org.  

Health Office Requirements

(as of September 4, 2020)

MYMEDBOT DAILY SYMPTOMS CHECK APP:

  • Download and register with the MyMedBot application. This is a Covid-symptom screening application (details here) and parents/guardians must complete the daily questions each morning by 8am if that students are going to campus that day. Parents received an email on Friday 9/4 from MyMedBot with instructions to download and register. Students without the app questions completed will not be allowed at school and the Health office will call the parent to come pick up the student. 

MANDATORY QUARANTINE FOR TRAVELERS:

  • Starting August 1, based on the MA Travel Order,  all Massachusetts residents returning home from traveling, including students returning to campuses for the fall semester, must fill out a “Massachusetts Travel Form” and quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from a COVID-19 lower risk state or they can produce a negative COVID-19 test result administered no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in Massachusetts. Individuals who get a test must remain in quarantine until they receive their negative test results. 

  • Based on current public health data, those lower risk states include: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Hawaii. 

  • If Waring students plan to travel this month to a location that requires the 14 day quarantine, please plan accordingly. 

MASKS:

  • All students will be required to wear a mask to school that covers their mouth and nose appropriately. No students or faculty will be exempt from wearing a mask on campus. We recommend students wear reusable face coverings, but will have extra disposable face masks available on campus should they be needed. 

    • Acceptable face coverings include surgical or two-layer cloth masks. Bandanas or single layer masks are not acceptable.
      (Learn more here.)

  • We strongly recommend students have between 5-10 reusable face coverings for school. Each face covering should be washed after one day of use.
    (Learn more from the CDC here.)

  • Students will be given mask breaks during the day when on campus.

COVID-19 TRAINING VIDEOS:

To prepare for the changes we will be facing in the year, we are asking all students and parents/guardians to complete these Covid-19 training videos. 

Our Planning Process

Below are some details of the work that has been done, that is underway, and that will be done in the coming weeks. Although this is not an exhaustive list, we hope it provides some guidance on the components of the Fall Planning Group’s efforts.

  • Health & Safety

    Risk Assessment

    - Keeping up to date with all aspects of risk regarding Covid-19 for students and faculty coming on campus, as well as, conversely, their not being able to be together on campus.

    - Consulting the daily epidemiologic and medical information from NIH, CDC, WHO, and MA DPH.

    - As of mid-July the situation is as predicted: rolling waves of infection moving around the country in response to human behavior.
    - In Massachusetts, death and infection rates have been stable during late June and early July.

    - Collaborating with members of the Waring community in the medical field, specifically on the Board TF.

    Health Office

    - Readying a new, temporary, Health Office that includes isolation rooms in the current La Cave space to better handle the Health Office protocols during a pandemic. 

    - This space is well ventilated, has an adjacent bathroom, and a separate entrance.

    - Updating required Magnus paperwork to allow for reporting risk of COVID-19 exposure and developing additional paperwork for the fall including but not limited to daily screening checklists and student PPE contracts.

    - Working on protocols for Health Office for dealing with sick/symptomatic students and faculty.

    - Ordering appropriate amounts of PPE for the school based on state recommendations (extra disposable masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, physical barriers, etc.)

  • Program & Community

    Program & Schedule

    - Created a list of working premises that led to the Guiding Principles, above.

    - Surveyed families regarding Fall 2020 re-opening and return to campus.

    - Surveyed faculty regarding return to campus and in-person teaching as well as their recommendations for online teaching schedule.

    Camping Trip / ‘Campus’ Trip

    - There have been several meetings with Planning Group members to determine the essential aspects of camping trip that we can recreate on campus;

    - An initial meeting was held with Seniors (who traditionally play an important leadership role) to brainstorm with them on ways to envision something new and different, and yet the same.

    -Waring’s Campus Trip will include orientation programming, chances for students to get to know one another and faculty, and important time to be reacquainted with the campus in this “new normal”. All of the in person programming will take place within pods, limiting exposure to students in other groups. The on-campus programming will take place with one pod on campus Tuesday and Wednesday and the other pod on campus Thursday and Friday with a deep clean of campus taking place Wednesday evening. Since we can only safely bring half the school to campus at a time, the other two days of that week when students are not on campus they are free, since there will be no virtual component to the Campus Trip. As a reminder, all Magnus health forms must be completed before students will be allowed on campus.

    Athletics and Sports Medicine

    - Working with peer schools and professional organizations and reviewing guidelines from the CDC, NATA, ICSM, WHO, USOPC, SMAC, MA DPH, the City of Beverly, to determine the feasibility of competitive athletics in the Fall, and to consider intramural options for athletic activities. 

    - Establishing new requirements for coaches (NFHS COVID-19 Coaches and Administrators training) in addition to existing requirements (CPR/AED certification maintenance and concussion training).

    - Reviewing and updating the Emergency Action Plans and Severe Weather Guidelines for athletics to reflect COVID-19 related emergencies and concerns/changes.

    - Developing symptom checklists and COVID-19 related paperwork to ensure student safety in conjunction with the Health Office.

    - Transitioning ImPACT testing (baseline concussion testing) to an at home model.

    - Working with B&G to determine safe usage of the Gym that complies with state requirements and recommendations (locker rooms and restrooms especially).

    - Competitive inter-league Soccer and Cross Country will not be possible as we begin the year. 

    -Mike Kerkser will be providing ways for all of our students to stay active, both at home and during the 3-5PM afternoon activity slot for the on campus days. Elizabeth Gutterman is designing ways for afternoon theatre to take place in this new format as well.

  • Facilities & Equipment

    Facilities

    -  Assessing needs and preparing the campus (buildings, facilities, classrooms, grounds) with supplies, equipment, signage and staff required to keep everyone as safe as possible with regard to transmission of the coronavirus. Some updates include: motion detector light sensors (where possible), mechanical no-touch hand soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers (where possible), and mechanical foot-operated faucets (where possible).

    - Assessing the technology capabilities in our classrooms for possible online teaching from campus.

    -Assessing the classrooms in the light of the state guidelines. In particular we looked at the number of students that can fit in each classroom and how to arrange the seating in light of social distancing regulations.

    - Pursuing the possibilities that outdoor classroom spaces create for teachers and students.

    - Reviewing office spaces and classrooms and assessing the need for barriers, as appropriate.

    - Contributing to the move of the Health Office (see Health and Safety section).

  • Resource Planning

    Technology 

    - Assessing the technology needs of faculty and students at home to maximize the consistency and reliability of teaching and learning online and 

    - Creating and distributing Detailed instructions for testing Wifi capabilities

    - Investigating questions around human resources, finances and liability with regard to Covid-19.

    Professional Development and Training

    - Developing a database of professional development resources for all staff in the areas of safety, online-learning, social emotional learning, and online teaching pedagogy.

    - Receipt of a grant for additional professional development funding from a foundation to support staff in pursuing summer opportunities.

    - Organizing a Faculty Conference during our Faculty Meetings in August at which faculty will share their takeaways from summer online learning opportunities.

    - Ensuring that all faculty are prepared to use Google Classroom for their classes to help students navigate learning both in-person and online.

    - Investigating options for faculty and student training with regard to safety protocols.