Dear Richmond Waldorf School Families,
Over the past three months, Richmond Waldorf School has taken many steps to address the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on our school. The role of school leadership is to make sound decisions for our school’s long-term sustainability. To do this, we gather input and feedback from our constituents so that we can make informed, thoughtful decisions during this uncertain time.
The Board, Finance Committee, Department Chairs and Administration Team (Enrollment, Finance, Director of Administration) have worked diligently to listen to our families, understand what our students need, and address the needs of our teachers and faculty. Below we have outlined our plan for reopening the campus for the 2020-2021 academic year, and look forward to having dialogue and discussion regarding these decisions in our forthcoming focus groups next week.
2020-2021 Calendar - Important Dates
- Early Childhood classes will begin on Monday, August 24, 2020.
- Grades 1 to 8 classes will begin on Monday, August 31, 2020.
- The last day of school is scheduled for June 11, 2021, but dependent on make-up instructional days, there may be an extension of the academic year. This could include both inclement weather and self imposed, incident-specific COVID-19 closings.
- A decision will be made regarding extension of the school year no later than May 15th, 2021.
- If an extension is necessary, the school year will continue no later than July 2nd, 2021.
- Final revisions are being made to the calendar, and we will publish the new calendar on Monday, June 15th. Make up days will be noted on the calendar.
As we prepare for the upcoming school year and the prospect of continued distance learning, we have differentiated between
, RWS will begin Distance Learning for all students. Distance Learning days will be counted as instructional days, and families are expected to participate based on each program’s overview (links below).
If there is an
, and we must deep clean and sanitize the school due to confirmed COVID-19 cases within RWS, then we will not have distance learning on those days. These incident-specific closures are similar to a Snow Day, and no distance learning will take place. Instead, we will make up these closures using the identified make up days on the calendar. An incident-specific closure will be announced by the Director of Administration.
Distance Learning and Tuition Rates 2020-2021
RWS has made the following decisions regarding the concept of a “discount” for times when distance learning is in place due to a state-mandated closure:
Grades 1 to 8
No tuition discounts will be offered for the education delivered to grades students during Distance Learning. Our teachers will be providing an improved virtual classroom experience for delivering Waldorf education that maintains the children’s daily schedules and learning. We are committed to delivering quality academics in an artistic and engaging format. Please see the
Beyond the Classroom Overview
Grades 1 to 8 Expectations
for parents and students. Additional information, such as specific schedules and expectations around online classes will be released soon.
Distance Learning will be initiated in the event of a state-mandated closure. Distance learning days will be counted as instructional time, and attendance will be taken.
If school is closed for incident-specific reasons, such as a COVID-19 case in the RWS community, we would close for a period of time to deep clean and sanitize, and use make up days to offset. Make up days will not be used to offset distance learning time in the grade school. By May 15, we will announce if we will extend the academic calendar for students.
Early Childhood (Pre-K and Kindergarten)
We are utilizing our academic calendar to maximize in-person learning for Early Childhood students. This includes beginning EC classes one week early, on August 24. We will also use end-of-year make up days to the fullest extent possible, up to 3 weeks, to offset time if school is closed, but no Distance Learning was offered. These make up days will be noted on the school calendar in a blue text.
We are proud of what our teachers are offering online for the youngest children in our school. As we prepare for the upcoming school year, we’ve created an improved program with more frequent class meetings and student-teacher interactions. However, we know that the pedagogy for Early Childhood emphasizes social, emotional, and physical development through unstructured play experiences in addition to teacher led activities. We also recognize that for children in the Early Childhood program, there are developmental differences and programmatic limitations when in a remote environment.
Early Childhood Tuition Discount Terms & Conditions
The Finance and Administrative teams have worked in collaboration with The Board of Trustees to approve a Discount Policy specific for Early Childhood in 2020-2021, that is outlined below. The policy was developed to address student and parent needs while taking into account budgetary requirements to continue programs, staff salaries and operations.
- In order to account for uncertainty from COVID-19, the School has affirmed the following:
- 3- and 5-day Early Childhood classes will participate in an improved Distance Learning program when there is a mandate to close schools.
- We will begin Early Childhood classes one week early on August 24. We have also built 20 additional “Make Up” days into our calendar that can be used as instructional days, depending on the timing of COVID-19 closures.
- Make Up Days will be counted towards the school calendar and are intended to provide the social benefits of the Waldorf environment. We may also reduce some breaks, such as Spring Break, and/or add up to 3 additional weeks of school from June 11 to July 2.
- By May 15, we will know whether we are extending the academic calendar for EC students. These days will offset the days that Distance Learning is not offered.
- If we have lost more than 4 weeks of in-person instructional time by the end of the school year and make up days, we will offer a 30% discounted tuition rate, capped at 8 weeks’ tuition. The discount will not be calculated until the end of the school year, as our goal is to offer a full program and utilize our calendar to work around incident-specific COVID closures.
- Refunds can be credited to the 2021-2022 school year, received as a check back to the family, or given as a tax-deductible donation to the school.
Tuition Agreements & Contractual Terms
Richmond Waldorf School’s operating budget is 96% tuition based. We are a small school and run on a strictly planned budget, so preparing for an unknown school year is a challenge. We must finalize our budget for next year ASAP, which means we need your enrollment commitment to ensure we set realistic expectations. Given this unprecedented situation, we have created the most lenient policy possible regarding a family’s potential withdrawal from RWS. Below are the approved timelines for withdrawal, in the event a registered family decides not to return to Richmond Waldorf School for the 2020-2021 year.
All enrollment is final as of the first day your child attends school (August 25 or 27 for EC, August 31 for Grades) with the exception of new student probationary periods.