2020 School Reopening Resource Guide

Message from Head of School

Dear Whitby Families,

The safety of Whitby students, our faculty, staff, and administration is our number one priority. I am confident that by implementing best practices and following the guidelines from federal, state, and local government, that Whitby is ready to welcome our students back to campus for in-class learning on August 26, 2020.

Our Reopening of School Plan focuses on safety and modes of instruction. As we have learned since last March, the pandemic creates its own schedule and pathway. We must be prepared at all times to maintain the highest levels of safety for our community. Simultaneously, we know that the operating assumptions we believe are valid today can be different in the coming months. We will change and adjust as needed, keeping safety as our guiding principle.

We have made every effort to be comprehensive in our planning. There are always questions as we embark on a new school year, especially this year, with different procedures and protocols, so please do not hesitate to contact me with your concerns (jcreeden@whitbyschool.org).

Please remember what is not changing – the Whitby spirit and the entire community's dedication to continuity of learning and meeting the social-emotional needs of our students, their families, faculty, and staff.

All the best,

Jack Creeden, Whitby Head of School

Addendums

September 2, 2020

Mask Wearing: If a student cannot wear a mask for a diagnosed medical condition, the parent must contact School Nurse Carol-Ann Ball (caball@whitbyschool.org) to discuss. A student who cannot wear a mask during the school day will transition to our Online Modified Learning program.

September 1, 2020

Hand Sanitizing. Continuous hand sanitizing and hand washing is critical to keep the community safe and healthy. If your child has a sensitivity to the school's hand sanitizer product, they can bring their own bottle to school. If after speaking with the school nurse it is determined that your child cannot use hand sanitizer products, then the child must be vigilant in washing their hands throughout the day.

Birthday Treats. We will abide by the protocol of no outside food. Therefore we cannot allow families to provide treats for the class. Teachers are planning other ways to celebrate birthdays for all students.

August 31, 2020 Updates

Mask Wearing: Masks are now required for Primary 1 and Primary 2.

Multi-Child Drop-Offs. If you have children in both Primary and Lower School, both children can exit the car at the Primary drop-off area and a staff member will direct the Lower School student to the Renaissance Hall entrance. Middle School students can exist the car at either location but they must walk to the MS entrance.  They cannot use the Primary or LS entrances.

Late Arrivals/Early Dismissals. After 8:10 a.m. all students need to enter the school at the main entrance (Renaissance Hall) and sign-in at the reception desk. Early dismissals will also need to be done from the reception area. You can pick-up your student at the main entrance. This does not apply to the first few weeks of Stepping Stones.

Education Program Scenarios

During the 2020-2021 School year, we expect to toggle between several different teaching models. Our faculty have intentionally designed curricula and lessons to allow for the smooth transition between these models. Outlined below are four current teaching modes.

In-School Learning

We will start the school year with in-class learning. Our faculty, staff, and administration have been working diligently since June to create a safe and healthy environment while holding to the principles of a Montessori and IB education. 

Distance Learning

All School Distance Learning

We anticipate that there may be a COVID-19 resurgence locally, regionally, or statewide that will require us to close Whitby and move to our Distance Learning Program (DLP).

If and when directed by State or local authorities, Whitby will transfer to a distance learning model. We have learned a great deal from our distance learning classrooms this past winter and spring. The Whitby faculty is committed to a process of continuous DLP improvement, including participation in distance learning classes this summer.

CLICK HERE for an overview of our learnings from the Spring DL program. We will apply that knowledge to an improved distance learning model for the 2020-2021 school year.

Cohort Distance Learning

If a student and/or faculty member who is part of a cohort tests positive for COVID-19 while Whitby is doing In-School Learning, the entire cohort will immediately move to distance learning. Please refer to the Whitby Protocols for COVID-19 Scenarios document for detailed information

Early Childhood Care

Alternative to Distance Learning: Early Childhood Care – Fall/Winter SS-PR2

If and when directed by State authorities, Whitby will transfer to a distance learning model for all students in SS – Grade 8. For SS-PR2 students only, Whitby will offer an alternative to distance learning in the form of an early childhood care center.

For those families who have chosen to participate in the Whitby Early Childhood Care Center, there is an in-person program, five days a week 8:00 AM–11:30 AM and 11:30 AM - 2:45 PM (for students who are in Extended Day). The Center is led by regular Whitby Montessori Children's House (WMCH) faculty.

The Whitby Early Childhood Care Center will operate under the guidelines of the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood Guidance for Child Care During Covid-19, published May 29, 2020.

The following health and safety requirements must be met:

  1. Staff must use face coverings at all times. Children in a child care environment and those with medical conditions are not required to wear a mask.
  2. Groups must be no larger than 10 children at all times.
  3. The ratio for preschool is 1 adult to 10 children.
  4. Toddler classrooms must have no more than 8 children under the age of 3 and must maintain a ratio of 1 adult for every 4 infants/toddlers.
  5. Temperatures of staff and children must be taken before entering the facility.
  6. Enhanced cleaning and disinfection must be regularly completed.
  7. If possible, child care classrooms shall include the same group each day, and the same teachers shall remain with the same group each day.
  8. Drop-off and pick-up times may be staggered to limit contact with and between parents as much as possible.
  9. All staff and children will be required to be screened for any observable illness, including cough or respiratory distress, and to confirm temperature below 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. The Center will have intensified cleaning and disinfection efforts, including all flat services and toys.
  11. Sick children and staff will be required to stay home. 

If you have questions about the program or would like additional information, please contact Pamela Chapman (pchapman@whitbyschool.org).

Modified Online Learning (MOL)

We recognize that some families have concerns about their children returning to in-person instruction, and we have created a Modified Online Learning (MOL) program to address that need.

Starting on August 31, 2020, we will offer MOL for those families who do not feel safe returning to school. If you have not registered or would like to know more, please contact Pamela Chapman for Children's House or Simone Becker for Lower School and Middle School students.

Repopulating Campus

Cohorts & Classroom Configurations

Safety is the number one priority for opening this fall. Returning to in-person classes is based on the operating principles below that are informed by federal, state, and town guidelines, plus input from our faculty and staff.

  • Social-emotional well-being of the entire learning community
  • Social distancing in smaller groups to minimize transitions & contact
  • Small cohorts of students
  • Assigning teachers to cohorts as possible
  • Zoning of cohorts
  • Outdoor classes and recess, whenever possible 

Please CLICK HERE for the Scheduling 2020: Guiding Principles presentation.

To maintain zones and promote social distancing, sections of the school have been color-coded (SS-Red, Primary-Blue, LE-Orange, Grades 3/4-Yellow, MS-Green) and hallway floors marked with distance markers and indicators for traffic flow. 

Arrivals & Departures

Students will enter and depart school based on their cohort to minimize contact with other cohorts. If you have multiple children attending Whitby, please drop off and pick-up each at their assigned entrances.

  • Stepping Stones: Entrance by the Library and the nurse's office
  • Primary: Brent Oval Entrance
  • Lower School Grades 1-4: Renaissance Hall/Main Entrance
  • Middle School: Door nearest the gymnasium

Afternoon Pick-up

As parent cars begin to arrive, students will be called out individually from the classrooms. This process will minimize contact between students and other cohorts when leaving school. Siblings, just like in the morning, will need to be picked up from their respective areas.  

Carpooling

We advise against carpooling unless students are in the same cohort to reduce cross-contamination between cohorts (please keep masks on while in the cars). We understand that for some this may be a necessity, so we ask that you consult with School Nurse, Carol-Ann Ball for advice (caball@whitbyschool.org)

Late Arrivals

All students will go to the Main Entrance, and the Receptionist will let them in. If needed, the student will be escorted to their classroom. 

School Visitors & Gathering

Only students, faculty, and staff/administration will be permitted to enter the building. We also ask that parents exit the campus after dropping off their children and do not gather as a group on campus.

Lunch & Snacks

Each student will bring their lunch and snacks to school each day. We have suspended outside catering to reduce direct and indirect contact with non-cohort persons. Please NO FOODS THAT NEED TO BE REHEATED. If you want your child to have a hot meal at lunch, please heat the food at home and put it in a thermos. If we allow for all students to reheat food, then the entire lunch period would be taken up by reheating, not eating, plus reduced time socializing.

After School Programming

Keeping students in their cohort while providing proper after school programs is not possible if we are to keep our students safe and healthy. There will be NO AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS (WECCP & Electives) for the first six weeks of school. We will assess the situation after that period and decide if modified programs may be offered.

All students (except Children's House) will be dismissed at the end of the school day, which is 2:55 PM (Refer to page 5 with information about student pick-up.)

Health, Safety & Containment

The health and safety of the Whitby Community are dependent upon our collective behavior on- and off-campus. Our sincere hope is that our students, families, faculty, and staff will take personal responsibility for abiding by travel restrictions within and outside the U.S. We request that you maintain 6-foot social distancing, abide by the State of CT mask-wearing guidelines and avoid participating in large social gatherings. Remember, #whitbytogether.

Daily Health Check

We require that parents assess the health of their children and other family members each morning before the children enter school. Please be honest in answering these questions. If your child cannot attend school for a period of time, please be assured their learning will continue.

Faculty and Staff/Administration are required to answer these same questions each day and follow the same procedures.

If your child does not meet the criteria listed on the next page, please keep him/her at home and follow the policies in the Whitby Protocols for COVID-19 Scenarios.

Questions to Ask Each Day

  • Within the last 14 days has the student traveled to a CT-designated affected state list or traveled outside the U.S.?  

o   If YES, your child will not be permitted to come to school until after the 14-day state-mandated quarantine. Testing may be required on the advice of a physician 

  • Has the student or a direct family member been in self-quarantine or in isolation as requested by a medical professional or local public health official in the last 14 days?
    • If YES, your child will not be permitted to come to school, and testing is required. 
  • Has the student or a direct family member been within 6 feet of a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes? This is considered Direct Contact. 
  • In the last 48 hours, has the student had any of the following symptoms 
    • fever > 100.4 without taking any fever-reducing medications
    • cough
    • shortness of breath
    • chills, sweating
    • muscle aches
    • sore throat
    • loss of smell or taste or change in taste
    • headache
    • diarrhea
    • unexplained fatigue 

If answering YES to any of the above questions, the student and faculty/staff must remain home, seek medical evaluation, or quarantine for 14-days if travel-related. A physician's note is required for any COVID or non-COVID illness and absence greater than five days.

healthlist A printable version of the Daily Checklist is available: Small or Large.

 

 

Health & Hygiene

Hygiene

  • Proper hand hygiene must be followed by all students, faculty, and staff/administration. Hand sanitizing is required upon entering or reentering school, and hand-washing/sanitizing will be required in the classroom.

  • Hand-sanitizing stations are located throughout the school property.

Hand-Washing

The protocol is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you do not have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer (60-95% alcohol-based per CDC recommendations).

Always wash hands or use hand sanitizer:   

  • Before eating

  • After using the bathroom

  • After you cough or sneeze

  • After playing outside or doing activities with shared equipment

  • Whenever you enter the classroom

  • When you return home from anywhere

  • Whenever the teacher designates

 Cough/Sneeze Protocol

  • Cough or sneeze into an elbow, or use a tissue that should then be thrown in the trash can. Follow up with proper handwashing or use of a hand sanitizer.

Masks

  • Students, faculty, and staff/administration should come to school wearing masks from home. Students will not be permitted into school without a mask. Disposable masks will be available at door entrances in the morning, and each classroom will have a supply.

  • Masks will be worn by all Primary 1 – Grade 8 students with scheduled and socially distanced mask breaks at certain times during the day, inside and outside the building.

  • Whitby does not require a specific type of mask. Bandanas and neck gaters are not permitted.

  • Face shield and eye protection are not required to be worn. Parents may send their children to school with these additional safety devices. We would expect the parents to talk to their children about how to properly wear the devices and keep them sanitized during the school day.

Resources

Water Bottles & Access to Water

The use of personal water bottles is required so that they are taken home each day for washing.

  • Bottles will be refilled at water fountains and bottle refilling stations.

  • Students will be unable to drink from the fountains.

 Bathrooms

  • All toilets have been outfitted with lid covers. Signs are posted to remind students and adults to lower the lid before flushing.

  • Hand-washing signs are in all bathrooms.

Campus Cleaning & Sanitizing

Classroom Cleaning Schedule

  • Teachers will clean and sanitize table surfaces throughout the day, along with frequent hand-washing. There will be a final cleaning of all surfaces and shared devices after students leave the classroom for the day.

  • The evening cleaning team will thoroughly clean all areas of the school (classrooms, public areas, gymnasium, etc.) that include daily mopping or vacuuming of all floor surfaces and thorough cleaning and disinfecting of all bathrooms.

    • For more detailed information about cleaning and sanitizing protocols, please contact Tom Coleman, Director of Facilities (tcoleman@whitbyschool.org).

HVAC System           

  • Filters have been upgraded to high-quality MERV 13.

  • Filters are being replaced more frequently.

  • The system has been modified to bring in more fresh air, more frequently.

 Copiers

  • Disposable gloves are available at each copier station.

In-Class Health & Safety

  • COVID supplies will be available in each classroom, which includes extra masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and bottles of liquid sanitizer for faculty to use to wipe down surfaces during the day. Students are required to bring their personal supply of materials (pens, rulers, etc.) to school. Materials will be stored in containers and/or in classroom cubbies.

  • Teachers will clean and sanitize the classroom during the day.

  • Shared devices will be properly cleaned and sanitized after each student's use.

COVID-19 Symptoms & Containment

Whitby Protocols for Responding to COVID-19

These guidelines show different instances and the actions that will be taken based on testing results: when it is safe to return to school, the impact on the cohort and in-class teaching, and how we will communicate. It is important to understand that we cannot predict every scenario. Be assured that Carol-Ann Ball, our School Nurse, will assess each instance and work closely with the Greenwich Department of Health to determine the best course of action to ensure the Whitby Community's health and safety.

CLICK HERE to access the guide for details for how Whitby will respond when a student, faculty, or staff member shows symptoms and/or has been exposed to COVID-19.

Covid19_scenario summary


Non-COVID Illnesses

  • All symptoms of illnesses at Whitby will be assessed on a case by case basis, as usual.  If a child is coughing or there is an abundance of mucous production, the child's parent will be contacted and asked to pick up their child and bring him/her home. 
  • Fever above 100.4 will require immediate dismissal. If there are seasonal allergies, then we would require a note to that effect by the physician. 
  • During the time of a pandemic without a vaccine, we are expected to be more vigilant in assessing signs/symptoms of illness.  We would expect the same of parents.

 Health Office Protocol Changes

  • At this time, we would expect all minor health issues in the classroom to be assessed by the teacher first, before the child comes to the Nurse's office. For example, a minor paper cut would require washing and a bandage, which can be done in the classroom, preventing any unnecessary hallway traffic and travel outside the cohort. 
  • All teachers are trained in CPR and first aid and will have bandages available. The teacher will inform the nurse if the student is on his/her way to the Nurse's office.

Campus Shutdown

We anticipate that during the school year, the state may require schools to close due to a resurgence of COVID-19 statewide, regionally, or locally. In that case, we are well prepared and will immediately move to Distance Learning.

Will we ever close Whitby while other schools are open? The answer is yes. We will continually monitor the health of our school population by examining the number of students attending school in-person, the number of faculty-staff out, the number of positive tests in our school, the time of the year, and the level of positive tests in Greenwich. There are multiple factors we will review with the Department of Health to make these decisions. Should we decide to close the campus, parents will be notified immediately, and we will transition to Distance Learning.

Communications

Whitby is committed to complete transparency and will communicate quickly to parents regarding students, faculty, or staff members who have left campus because of symptoms or exposure to COVID-19.

We ask for the same level of transparency from parents by alerting us to COVID-19 exposure within your family and by answering the Daily Health Questions before coming to school.

Communication Process

  • The parent of the student with symptoms will be called immediately.
  • A notification email will be sent to cohort classroom parents, and a separate email sent to all parents and faculty/staff.
  • For staff and faculty, alerts will go out to the entire Whitby community.
  • Additional communications will follow as needed.
  • The names of students, faculty, and staff members will be kept confidential.

Resources

Whitby Contacts

  • HEALTH: Carol-Ann Ball, School Nurse, caball@whitbyschool.org
  • SANITIZING & CLEANING: Thomas Coleman, Director of Facilities, tcoleman@whitbyschool.org
  • GENERAL QUESTIONS & COMMENTS: Dr. Jack Creeden, jcreeden@whitbyschool.org

Downloads

  • Daily Health Checklist: Small or Large versions
  • Whitby Protocols for Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios
  • Scheduling 2020: Guiding Principles presentation

CDC

State of CT 

Town of Greenwich Health Department

 Local Testing Centers

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