Our first day of school is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. We will be offering daily in-person instruction. As a licensed early childhood program, we are encouraged by the state of Washington to remain open and offer in-person classes given the importance of early learning and considering all of the strict health and safety protocols licensed programs already are accustomed to managing. At this stage of your child’s life, social-emotional development and language acquisition is vital to well-being and health. An in-person classroom setting that is managed safely will provide children with these crucial developmental experiences.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advocates for in-person instruction for Pre-K and Kindergarten. There is evidence regarding COVID-19 in children and adolescents, including the role they may play in the transmission of the infection. The current data indicate that children 10 and younger are less likely to be symptomatic and less likely to have severe disease resulting from COVID-19 infection and while more research is being done, preliminary findings suggest that children may be less likely to become infected and to spread infection. For more information please see: American Academy of Pediatrics COVID-19 and Return to School.
As a private school, we do not face many of the operational challenges as do public schools: the difficulty to safely manage larger class sizes, mixing children on a school bus, mixing in hallways and common areas of a school building, and regular mixing of middle and high school students as they change classrooms teachers through the day to attend different subjects. For these reasons, some school districts have chosen a remote learning model this fall, while many private schools, particularly those providing early education, are able to safely remain open.
Since May 2020, we have been offering in-person classes and following our COVID-19 Operating Plan
We are able to operate safely by managing smaller numbers of students within our self-contained and spacious classrooms. We keep children grouped together with the same teachers, and prevent students from mixing with other classes within the school building and on the playground. All of our classrooms have external doors so that students can enter and exit directly into/out of their classroom so we strongly advise that families arrive on time and use our drop off and pick up will be conducted curbside by each classroom’s own teacher.
All of these additional health and safety measures we have put in place limit the risk of a possible school-wide transmission as each classroom will be operating independently. We will continue to operate this way in the fall, and we are paying close attention to the health and safety recommendations from public health and following the guidance from the Department of Child Youth and Families who license our school.
What happens if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19? If we have a confirmed case of COVID-19, we will work closely with Public Health to determine the length of closure (2-14 days) and to determine whether it is safe to operate unaffected classrooms based on the specifics of the situation.
Is there an option for remote learning? Our focus is primarily on in-person instruction as the best way for children at this age to learn but we have provided a remote learning option using our SMS Google Classroom for enrolled students during non-school days.
Is Before School/After School and Clubroom being offered? We have temporarily suspended these additional services, however, we are assessing the needs of currently enrolled students and may be able to offer a modified version of our after school program. We anticipate being able to offer these services again in their normal form in the future when Public Health allows the mixing of students.
Will you still offer STEAM classes? Students interested in joining our STEAM/Montessori combination will attend full days as a standalone class taught by Ms. Kimble and Mrs. Ward.
Janet Villella and Hilary Prentice