October 30, 2020
Dear Families,
I hope you had a restful fall break and are staying healthy. Before I go further, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the recent acts of terrorism in France, expressing my shock at the brutal killing of teacher Samuel Paty and then the knife attacks in Nice. In our community, freedom of expression and humanism are central to our values, and I am proud that education in these values is at the heart of our teaching mission. A delegation of Rochambeau teachers and students represented our school at a memorial service last week at the French Embassy in Washington, DC, and in the coming weeks our 6th - 12th grade students will be discussing and reflecting on these tragedies in their History, Geography and Philosophy classes. Today we face these difficult events with a message of solidarity and support to our teachers, students and families. We remain committed to the education of well-informed citizens and to the safety of our school campuses.
The primary purpose of my message today is to review with you what was accomplished in the past weeks and give you some perspective on what is coming up next.  
October: Reopening of our Campuses
On October 5th, we started the phased reopening of our 3 campuses for in-person instruction. Since that date, we have welcomed 309 students back to our campuses. All the school staff was thrilled to see our students in the flesh, and it was a shared pleasure. The return to campus was implemented in compliance with our health and safety protocols. The reopening was successfully achieved thanks to a great collective discipline, with some small operational adjustments. We have had two cases of students with symptoms consistent with COVID. One case has already tested negative and class resumed in person within a few days. The other student is still awaiting test results.
So far, the following grades have returned to campus:
  • Bradley Campus: PS, MS, GS
  • Rollingwood Campus: GS, 1st grade and Immersion classes
  • Forest Road Campus: Grades 2, 3 and 6 routinely, and 12th graders for lab classes once per week. 
Today we see 3 instruction modes are currently being used in our school. We have of course the distance learning that has been in place since the Back to school, the in-person instruction for students of the grades named above, and finally, since October 26th, the hybrid mode with faculty teaching simultaneously to students present in the classroom and students connected online from home.

This new hybrid step involves adapting teaching practices, using new equipment, and implementing new software. I acknowledge that it’s not an easy transition, and I want to warmly thank our 3rd and 6th grade faculty for their adaptability and flexibility in this new phase. We are once again in unchartered territory.
In October we also resumed transportation services with about 52 students being transported daily from home to school and back. The number of routes will increase as additional students return to campus. 
November: Grades 4, 5, 9, 10 Back on Campus
As already announced, on November 9th we will welcome our 4th and 5th graders. The students who choose in-person instruction will be part of rotating groups in a 3-week cycle, each student spending 2 weeks on campus and 1 week at home.

Based on the success of the previous steps, we have also continued to work with secondary school faculty to extend the return to campus to additional grades. We are happy to confirm that 9th and 10th graders will be welcomed back to campus in November (date still to be confirmed) with a weekly rotation (one week in school, one week at home). 

Additionally, we anticipate some grades of high school students will be able to take Bac exam test practice on campus if they wish to do so. More information on this will follow.
Information meetings will be organized for all the families of the above-mentioned grades in the coming days in order to present the details of the organization and address all your questions.
What's next?
Our plan is to expand our of offering on-campus instruction for additional grades. We are first targeting the remaining Middle School classes (7th and 8th grades). As we have explained in previous communications, the main challenge in welcoming back to class the High School grades is the high level of cohort mixing resulting from the “spécialités”, options, languages classes, which the CDC strongly recommends against.  

On another front, we will resume the work to develop our next School Strategic Plan with the community. I will be providing you with details soon. Simultaneously, Proviseur Xavier Jacquenet will lead the Projet d’Etablissement project.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your patience and collaboration in this new transition phase. 

Kind regards,

Hélène Fabre, Executive Director
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