A Message from our Head of School
Dear St. Philip’s Families,

I hope this note finds you well and in good health. The school year is ending on a much different note than we anticipated. End-of-year traditions, award ceremonies, and graduations have been replaced with virtual pizza parties, all-school remote movie nights, and online dance parties. While these plans have not been optimal, they have served as ways to keep our community connected. My deepest gratitude to you for your flexibility and patience as we have all made adjustments to this new normal.

As we approach the last week of the 2019 – 2020 school year, I would like to share our planning process for next school year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has given us a preliminary document that contains social distancing guidelines for schools. Using that information, we have created a f aculty and staff Return-to-School task force that is considering four different scenarios as we prepare for the 2020 – 2021 school year. Simultaneously, members of our administration and the Board of Trustees are all involved in strategic planning and predictive modeling. Although we are waiting on final guidelines from government officials, the CDC, and the Diocese of Southeast Florida, we are preparing for what we believe will be one of four options. The answers below provide additional details.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Regarding school operations, what scenarios are you considering? 

  • A. New Normal – Instruction taking place on-campus while observing health, safety, and social distancing measures
  • B. Full Remote Learning – St. Philip’s Campus is closed and all learning takes place remotely
  • C. Hybrid – Instruction that is a combination of on-campus learning and remote instruction 
  • D. Temporary Closures – A combination of on campus instruction and remote learning predicated on the identification of positive cases of COVID-19

Click here to view a draft of the re-entry plan, which includes the scenarios. (This is a working document that will be modified based on evolving medical and social distancing guidelines.)

What changes can we expect for next year?

  • In an effort to minimize physical interaction, we will decrease student movement throughout the day. 
  • We will increase the number of drop-off and pick-up areas to create a smaller number of students entering campus through the same thoroughfare. 
  • We will institute a carpool system for drop-off and pick-up. (Parents will not be able to escort their students to their classrooms.) This, too, will minimize the number of individuals on campus.
  • Temperature screenings must occur for students, faculty, and staff. We are continuing to work through this process. 
  • According to CDC guidelines, large group gatherings are not recommended. Therefore, we are not planning to offer Early Care, After Care, or Enrichment at this time.
  • All worship and Chapel services central to our Episcopal identity will occur remotely. 

Is the School planning any preemptive closures in the fall?
We are in discussions with school leaders in Florida and around the country who are considering school closures when COVID-19 cases are expected to peak. This determination will be made before the start of the School year, in August, so that all can plan accordingly.

How is the determination being made regarding how many individuals can be on campus at one time?
The Director of Technology & Facilities, along with his team, have measured each space of the physical plant. These metrics allow us to determine how we can adhere to the social distancing guidelines issued to the School by the CDC and the Florida Department of Health. 

What steps are the School taking to increase sanitization?
We are adding more hand-washing stations throughout campus. We are increasing the amount of times commonly shared areas are cleaned electrostatically throughout the day, and are being more diligent in our disinfection of all surfaces. We will institute multiple cleanings of all restrooms (after one class use), along with more frequent cleanings of commonly touched surfaces, such as door handles, telephones, desks, and shared electronic devices.

If the spread of the virus is persistent, and intermittent shutdowns are required, will there be a reduction in tuition?
No. Whether remote or on-campus, the vast majority of the School's expenses will remain unchanged. As with the vast majority of independent schools, our tuition revenue does not account for the full cost of educating your child. The remaining gap is typically bridged by contributions from the Annual Fund and the Gala. The information below is a snapshot of operational expenses required to deliver a St. Philip’s education. 

  • The largest percentage of our expenses is dedicated to personnel. We are committed to supporting our faculty and staff and minimizing the impact that personnel changes would have on instruction. 
  • Facilities and maintenance account for a portion of our expenses as well. Due to evolving hygiene protocols, we expect a significant increase in expenses, as we strive to maintain the highest levels of sanitation and cleanliness on campus. We must also consider changes to our physical plant as we consider contact tracing and points of entry and egress. 
  • There are additional fixed costs in the areas of utilities, technology, insurance, and food services. Those are necessary for the daily operations of the School. 
  • The remaining dollars are spent on professional development, curriculum, and additional classroom support. 
Any changes in these areas would negatively impact the quality of the education your children deserve. We are creating what we hope to be a temporary plan. While the world is working to flatten the curve, we will not choose mediocrity--not when it comes to instruction or your children’s health.
The well-being of our entire community is our highest priority, and we will continue to do all that we can to keep everyone safe. We are creating clear and concise policies in an effort to accomplish that goal. Our response to this pandemic requires us to work together and to be flexible, and fluid. We remain deeply grateful for your trust and confidence in all of us at St. Philip’s Episcopal School.
In service,

Jasmine B. Harris, EdD
Head of School