Dear Sequoyah,

I have been so moved by the strong sense of community I've felt at both the K-8 All School Meeting and the Wednesday Morning Meetings at the high school. Even though we are physically apart, it means so much that we are still able to come together to support one another and celebrate the work of our students. I look forward to seeing you at some of the events remaining as we finish up the school year.  I would also like to thank you for the tremendous outpouring of support and appreciation you have shown to our teachers. I am privileged to work with such a creative and dedicated group of educators. 

As I mentioned in my previous email I have formed, in collaboration with Sequoyah's Board of Trustees, a COVID-19 Task Force to better help us plan for the 2020-2021 school year. To aid in this process, we have created small working groups, each assigned to a specific area and reporting to the COVID-19 Task Force. These structures are enabling us to engage in scenario planning for a range of possibilities, including a full return to campus, continued distance learning or a hybrid of both. The working groups are also looking at how these scenarios affect students across all age groups so we may better serve students' needs. 

They are as follows:
  • Health & Safety  is charged with designing and continually updating how learning and operations should commence based on current health and safety guidelines from federal agencies, state and local government, and medical and scientific resources. They will inform scenario planning for both learning and operations. They will design and continually update the policies, procedures and precautions to ensure the health and safety of our entire community.  
  • Teaching & Learning  is charged with ensuring that the approach and execution of teaching and learning fulfills the school's mission and meets reasonable parent and faculty expectations, regardless of the vehicle or format dictated by health and safety guidelines. They will consider and support students' social and emotional wellness across all age groups. They will examine assessment and reporting, including how to make on-campus and remote learning more seamless. They will work to strengthen mental health support and structures. They will determine what K-8 and high school events and gatherings will look like online or on campus. They will define objectives for remote learning and suggest best practices for online-courses.  
  • Faculty & Staff  will examine how we are supporting the wellness and confidence of our faculty and staff. They will make determinations as to how we are using available staff to fill new roles and needs, and how we deliver teaching and learning that fulfills Sequoyah's mission and meets reasonable parent and faculty expectations, regardless of the content delivery method dictated by health and safety guidelines. They will design workforce policies and work-from-home guidelines.  
  • Campus Operations  will ensure the buildings and grounds are maintained and modified to meet health and safety requirements, including guidelines for social distancing. They will ensure that Sequoyah is equipped with the infrastructure, equipment, and software necessary to immediately execute a high quality response to various teaching and learning scenarios (i.e., all on campus, all remote, and hybrid). They will plan for any necessary changes to the provision of tech support to students, parents, faculty, and staff. They will ensure that our field studies, PE, sports, SIP, and auxiliary programs are responsive to the changing situation and find adaptations or alternatives to our pre-COVID practices, where possible
  • Finance & Legal  will ensure that school administration and trustees are aware of the options for maintaining good financial health and take necessary actions to ensure financial sustainability. They will make determinations regarding tuition, indexed tuition and fees. They will act in alignment with the Health and Safety working group recommendations to develop and update policies, procedures and handbooks. They will determine if new training is required, and will monitor policy/law changes at federal, state, and local level. They will engage in multi-year scenario planning and Advancement. 
  • Communication & Events  will draft regular and proactive communications to the Sequoyah community, including alumni. They will plan or adapt standard school events to build and nurture community while considering health and safety. They will work to ensure parent support and engagement and ensure that Sequoyah continues to recruit, screen, and accept students while educating families about the process and navigating any changes. They will be responsible for all internal and external communications.   
The COVID-19 Task Force   will coordinate work across all working groups and make decisions and recommendations based on input/proposals from those groups. Feedback from stakeholders such as parents, students and teachers will be critical to planning and implementation. The Task Force will be reaching out to all concerned as we move through the process. Please see the graphic below for a visual of the framework we will be using:



I will have more information for you in the coming weeks as we dig deeper into the planning process, but I felt it was important to share with you now the structures and systems we are putting into place. The health and safety of our students and community remains my highest concern.


Sincerely, 
Josh







       

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