Phased Return-to-Campus Plan Approved
Sept 22, 2020
Dear Rochambeau Families,

I hope you are doing well and smoothly and safely making your way into the fall season. 
After reviewing the re-opening proposals prepared by Rochambeau’s management team, the Board of Trustees has made the decision to begin a phased re-opening of our school’s campuses.

The re-opening will begin with the Nursery School and Elementary students in a full in-person or hybrid in-person/online mode. For now, the full-time distance learning program will remain in place for Secondary students (please see additional information below). Distance learning will also remain in place as an option for preschool and elementary students whose families elect to maintain this program.
The Board’s decision was informed by several key criteria:
  • Health Data: The local, state, national and international health metrics and report from COVID Data group.
  • The Maryland State Department of Education guidelines confirming a hybrid reopening for schools would be permissible under the current health conditions.
  • School Resources and Needs: A sufficient alignment of our school’s resources (classroom spaces, new health procedures, availability of teachers, technology innovations) and needs expressed by families, especially at the Primary grades.
  • Montgomery County Recommendations: The guidance advising private schools to remain closed expires on October 1.
We recognize that the return to in-person instruction is not without some measure of risk for students, families, teachers and our wider community. We understand that each family will make their own decision about whether and when to participate in on-campus instruction. We will do our part to minimize health risks by following the health guidelines from Montgomery County, State of Maryland and CDC. 
This decision will be implemented as follows :
At the Nursery School

  1. We will offer a phased in person reopening for PS, MS and GS classes with an in-person daily schedule of 9 am to 12:30 pm.
  2. Afternoon instruction for MS and GS students will take place in distance learning mode.
  3. Distance learning will remain an option for MS and GS students who prefer it. Students will continue to receive live instruction from their teachers. The new schedule will run in reverse from the in-person schedule, so that French will be offered in the afternoon and English, Flsco, SLS and other asynchronous work in the morning.
  4. PS tuition will be reduced by 50% to reflect the shortened school day.

At the Elementary School

  1. In-person instruction is confirmed for CP/1st grade and CE1/2nd grade (including Immersion classes) with potential adjustments based on the available capacity and resources.
  2. A hybrid reopening (alternating one week in-person and one week online) will be offered to CE2/3rd grade - CM2/5th grade levels.
  3. A full-time distance learning option will remain an option for all elementary students. For CP/1st grade and CE1/2nd grade, at least one teacher for each grade will be dedicated to distance learning so that the current schedule will be maintained. (Additional teachers would be assigned based on the number of students enrolled in distance learning.) For CE2/3rd grade - CM2/5th grade, students will participate in their assigned class through live-streaming from their teachers and will continue to have access to office hours for additional support.

At the Secondary School

During the initial re-opening phase, the secondary school will remain on full distance learning mode though we WILL be introducing sessions on campus for students in exam grades (11 and 12) to conduct lab experiments. In the coming weeks we will continue to work to extend in-person instruction to secondary students (middle and high school). To be achievable such a reopening will require increased availability of teachers for on-site instruction and significant additional manpower for classroom supervision (i.e. additional staffing and/or volunteer support). To ensure health and safety compliance and small student cohorts, the level of needed supervision hours likely exceeds 800 hours/week i.e. the equivalent of 40 additional full-time persons every week. 
Reopening Phases
The safety of our students and personnel is paramount in our approach. We are committed to ensuring proper implementation of the key safety rules in place and new on-campus procedures (correct use of masks, social distancing, hand hygiene, enhanced cleaning, etc.) at all times of day, and maintained with vigilance over time. We also want to make the return to campus as smooth as possible for our students who we recognize have been out of school since mid-March, may be new to our school, or may be moving to a new campus location. This is an important transition and we are dedicated to making it successful.
Our phased return to in-person instruction for the Nursery and Elementary schools will therefore take place according to the following schedule :

Phase 1: October 5th
  • Bradley Campus: PS and MS
  • Rollingwood Campus: CP (including CP and CE1/CE2 Immersion classes)
  • Forest Rd Campus: CE1

Phase 2: October 26th

  • Bradley Campus : GSA
  • Rollingwood Campus: GSB and GSC
  • Forest Rd Campus: CE2 (alternating A / B weeks - assignments by mid-October)

Phase 3: November 9th 

  • Forest Rd Campus: CM1 and CM2 (alternating A / B weeks - assignments by mid-October)
The Next Steps
  1. Grade-Level Meetings: Rochambeau’s Academic team will be hosting a series of town hall meetings over the next several weeks, starting with Phase 1 grades (PS, MS, CP, CE1) on Friday, September 25. These meetings are intended to provide sufficient information so that families can make a decision regarding their child’s return to campus. You will receive a separate message with the meeting link and registration.
  2. Family Survey Response: Only if you have not already done so, we request that you complete the Family Survey with your selection of In-Person or continued Distance Learning. For families of PS, MS, CP and CE1, your reply by Sunday, September 27 is essential. Families without a response recorded will continue in the Distance Learning program. 
  3. Back-to-Campus Packages: Before the start of in-person instruction, families will receive additional information regarding the drop-off and pick-up instructions, specific class organization, new Daily Health Questionnaire and other health protocols, Assumption of Risk and Waiver of Liability form, and other information.
  4. Selection of In-person or Distance Learning: We recognize this is an important and perhaps even a difficult decision for some families. And we understand some families may need the flexibility to change their mind later down the road. While returning to the Distance Learning program will always be possible, opting for an in-person/hybrid mode along the way will be conditional on the in-person capacity, as each cohort is limited in size.
  5. Transportation Questions: We continue to work with our staff and within the guidelines for school buses provided to us by the State of Maryland to determine the feasibility of our bus fleet operations. We know our capacity will be significantly reduced, but we hope to meet the needs of the families who express their transportation needs through the Family Survey.
A Community Commitment
We are happy to finally begin the reopening of our campuses. To make a sustained campus reopening feasible it will be critical that we work together to ensure the safety of all our students and staff. This has to be a community commitment. Rochambeau will therefore implement and enforce strict protocols to be followed by employees, students and parents. 

As we continue to plan for the next phases of campus reopening, we are committed to continue to work with the Faculty and Parents' Association to seek the necessary additional resources and resolve the complexity of the secondary students’ schedules while maintaining stable student cohorts. 

I am looking forward to seeing those of you who will return to campus soon and to our continued online connections as well. I thank you for your kind attention and continued spirit of collaboration as we work through this time of uncertainty together.
Kind regards,
Hélène Fabre, Executive Director