For the last three weeks, I have been serenaded by the sounds of children splashing about in the pool. This soundtrack fills the air with joyful noise that helps carry our community back to school in September. It’s clear our campers are elated to be back on campus, and our staff is demonstrating that distancing and disinfecting do not preclude learning, exercising, and relating to others. The Summer Program staff show that we can create and run a healthy and supportive environment and continue to deliver our mission-based Montessori program at all levels. School this fall will be different, but it will still be full of joy, purpose, and compassion.
Our response team has been hard at work throughout the summer, preparing our environment for a healthy fall return. In the spring,
we outlined the phases
of re-opening school from Phase 1, which is 100% distance learning, through phase 5, when all programs are running, and restrictions have been lifted. We are looking forward to welcoming our students back to campus on September 9th, where we will be opening the school in Phase 2. We will be vigilant in assessing the data as our community transitions and moving through the phases with caution as public health data improves. This August, you will be receiving detailed information on your child's return to Bay Farm in the Fall. In the meantime, we want to share some of the work we have been doing as we prepare for a wonderful 2020-2021 school year:
- We hired a full-time School Nurse who will be our main point of contact between the health department and our community as it continues to mitigate and be vigilant around COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. The School Nurse will dispense, log, and keep all medicines up to date for every student, be the primary contact for families regarding any health-related issues, and work with our staff to create a health and wellness curriculum for our students.
- We have organized a full Google classroom suite with a centralized curriculum and assignment management, dedicated logins to students ready in the event we have to move to distance learning.
- We are working on a Technology support system to be available as needed.
- We have created a Technology borrowing library to support those who do not have home equipment in the event of distance learning.
- We designed and implemented a strict morning, mid-day, afternoon, and evening cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting schedule.
- We hired a fully licensed and bonded cleaning crew to deep clean campus each evening.
- Our Data and Compliance systems team has made great strides in making forms/paperwork/payments more straightforward for our families.
- We are in progress updating our re-opening policies per CDC, and state health guidelines.
- We have a working relationship with Dr. Hsu, an attending physician and associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Boston University Medical Center.
- We will release our Parent Handbook Update in August with outlined COVID policies. These policies will include topics such as: what happens if a student or teacher tests positive, pick up and drop off procedures, mask policy, physical distancing requirements, sanitization and hand washing policy, and much more.
- We have created a Student Health Intake Daily that will be required each day.
- We have designed and implemented a strict Disinfection Schedule for Materials and Manipulatives. Materials/Manipulatives will be single-use, per use by a child.
- Our goal is to maintain as much of our standard programming as possible.
- Each individual classroom will be scheduled for additional outdoor learning periods.
- In Phase 2, we will be offering Music, Art, Spanish, Agriculture, and The Shop.
- Students will not be traveling to special classes. The specialist teachers will visit the classrooms after following strict disinfecting practices.
- Agriculture will take place outside as much as possible.
- All staff will undergo Professional Development on Technology, Distance Learning, and safety protocols regarding COVID.
- We prepared our programming, at all levels, for on-line distance learning if it becomes a necessity.
- We have closed all congregate spaces for the 2020-2021 school year, or until public health data supports a return to larger group activities.
- We converted the faculty room for 2020-2021 into the nurse's office and isolation room in case of illness.
- We refinished the ELI lobby.
- We refinished the music/drama room for use as an additional space to ensure proper physical distancing.
- We placed four 20x20 foot tents strategically on campus for outdoor classroom use.
- We will have a newly refinished Middle School.
- All classrooms will be set up for maximum physical distancing with prompts.
- All windows and doors will remain open throughout the day to ensure maximum ventilation.
- Our heating/cooling systems are set to vent in the fresh air.
- We purchased essential PPE needed for each classroom, including masks, hand sanitizers, gloves.
The First Week of August:
- Check your mailbox for your Back to School Packet. This will include important information on what to prepare for and a glimpse of what your student's typical school day will look like for the fall.
- The packets will also include a 2020-2021 Parent Handbook that outlines all of the new policies related to COVID-19.
- We encourage you to review this information as a family in preparation for what to expect.
In the Second/Third Week of August:
- We will be hosting Virtual Town Halls with each level.
- It will enable families to connect directly with others in their program level and provide you and opportunity to ask questions relating to the Back to School packet information.
If you have been on campus this summer you’ll notice our signs read, Safe, Smart, Sure to communicate that we are doing everything necessary to provide a well-planned, clean, and organized experience for our students, teachers, and staff. You can be confident that our entire team is dedicated to doing the same for all of our community when school re-opens in September.