Melissa Soderberg, Head of School
March 16, 2020

Dear Columbus Academy Families,

I hope each of you is getting a bit of rest during our spring break, despite the fact that news cycles continue to tell us how we, as a collective in our communities, are going to help to control the rapid spread of a virulent virus.
 
Thank you for your sacrifice of allowing us to have a professional development day on Friday, March 13. It was exceptionally productive. We have access to some of the most comprehensive advice about online learning through our own relationships with Global Online Academy, our connection to American schools in Seoul and Shanghai, and our regular good resources from multiple professional education associations, and we are ready to commence online learning for all of our students.
 
Therefore, the schedule for Columbus Academy will be:
  • Now through March 29 -- Enjoy your Spring Break!
  • March 30 -- We will begin to roll out online learning for every grade. Students and parents can expect a continuum, from establishing connections on March 30 to full scheduled learning by Friday, April 3.
  • April 6-17 -- We will continue online learning with the hopes of returning to campus on April 20 (the news, of course, is rapidly changing around us and we will update our timeline as new information is available to us).
Regarding spring sports, all of the school's athletic facilities are closed until April 6, when we tentatively will allow practices and seasons to resume according to current guidelines established by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
 
You will be hearing from divisions soon about how the schedules will work and what you can expect as a family, but I thought I would give you a broad overview of how online learning works.
 
1. There are two fundamental methods of online school.
 
Synchronous learning : students and teachers are able to speak together, often through a video platform, in real time. Lower School, as recommended by all experts in the field of online learning, will not be using this method for course instruction. There will be times made available for individual students/parents to talk with their individual teachers in real time (more from division heads about that).
 
Asynchronous learning: students work on assignments, watch videos, write papers and projects and create videos and projects on their own as assigned to them.
 
2. Online learning involves parents.
 
No matter the age, parents will need to be more involved in what their children are doing than they may be (or than we would expect them to be) during regular school. Most importantly, you will need to read all that is sent to you.
 
Each child will be following a daily schedule, and their day will comprise of roughly 2-4 hours of involvement with school each day depending on many variables including age, schedule and assignments.
 
Students involved in support services, music, PE, art and all other co-curricular activities will have those pieces laced into their day as well.
 
3. Connecting will be one of the most important aspects of success in online learning.
 
It's just spring break, and we already miss our students! Divisions will be sending you all sorts of helpful tips and expectations about how students will create a learning, productive atmosphere at home during their work at school. Teachers will be creating "office hours" -- sometimes during the day, sometimes after dinner -- during which students can have real-time contact with their teachers through email and/or Google Meet.
 
We have created a special COVID-19 Updates webpage which gathers all our information on one site.
 
This is lots of information, but we wanted to get it in your hands as soon as possible. There is no expectation of work needing to be done over break, even if you are requested to pick up materials from school or see any assignments posting on Google Classroom. As hard as all this change is, in some ways I really can't wait for our students to see some of the wonderfully creative, sweet, thoughtful and funny things their teachers have in store for them!
 
You will be hearing more from me and each division head over break, but in the meantime hug your wonderful children tight, get everybody out for a walk in nature, and bring out those jigsaw puzzles for some really good family time. The ways we work to personally flourish now can be some of the most valuable training for life our children may ever have.
 
My best to all of you,
 
Melissa
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