We hope you and your family are enjoying a healthy and safe holiday season, and that you are doing well during this period of iSelectLearning. We know this has been a challenging time for so many of our families, and we are holding all of our students, families, and employees in the Light as we navigate together this winter holiday period that can bring increased exposure to risk. 

Before heading into the winter break, we would like to provide some important updates regarding the plan for returning to our building for in-person instruction, as well as additional health and safety protocols that we are implementing to ensure the well-being of our community. 

More details about our plans can be found below, but here are the highlights:

  • Reopening Schedule: We are planning to have students in grades pre-K, K, and 1 return to the building on Tuesday, January 12; grades 2 through 8 on Tuesday, January 19; and grades 9 through 12 on Monday, February 1.
  • Testing: COVID-19 testing will be required a few days before returning to the building, and will be provided by the school. (The schedule for testing can be located in the New Health and Safety Protocols section below.)
  • Quarantining: After students and employees are tested, they must quarantine until their reentry date. More information about expectations and timeframes for quarantining of all students and employees between testing and reentry will be forthcoming. 
  • Contact Tracing: The school will provide contact tracing devices to students and all employees, which must be worn while in the building for in-person instruction. We are still in the planning process for contact tracing technology and will follow up with more details.
  • Community Stewardship Statement: A stronger Community Stewardship Statement is being drafted and will be shared with all families. We are asking that everyone in the community commit to following safety protocols in order to keep our community safe and for their child to return to school on their grade's reentry date and continue with in-person learning.

Reopening Schedule

Shortly after we made our decision in November to shift to remote learning, the city and state imposed a series of new restrictions, and we are seeing a path to a return to in-person instruction, with priority given to our youngest learners. We will resume using iSelectLearning after winter break, starting on January 4, and we are currently planning for a staggered return to our building for in-person instruction using the following schedule:

  • Tuesday, January 12: Students in grades pre-K, K, and 1 will return to the building 100% of the time, with iSelectLearning as an option for those who have requested to learn remotely. 
  • Tuesday, January 19: Students in grades 2 through 6 will return to the building 100% of the time. Students in grades 7 and 8 will return to the building 40% of the time, with remaining students using iSelectLearning when at home. (Students in grades 7 and 8 will continue to use the hybrid model with Brown and Gold groups that we used in the fall.)
  • Monday, February 1: Students in upper school will return to the building 40% of the time, with the rest of students using iSelectLearning when at home. (Students in upper school will continue to use the hybrid model with Brown and Gold groups that we used in the fall.) With the new semester starting on February 1, this start date allows teachers and students the stability and consistency of staying in iSelectLearning mode for the last week of the semester (January 19-22). Additionally, this allows students to collaborate and engage in discussions with peers from different cohorts during Social Justice Week from January 25-29, something that would not be possible in person. 

This reopening plan continues to be guided by our Quaker values and centers around prioritizing health and safety, preserving interpersonal connections, and maximizing flexibility. As was true in the fall, we are offering all families the option to choose iSelectLearning for their student if they are not comfortable with their child being in the building. Division directors would like you to please fill out this survey by Monday, December 22 (one survey per FSS student), to indicate your preference of learning mode once school returns for in-person instruction. 

As we move into the winter break, here are a few key reminders for us to adhere to so that we may ensure the safest possible return to campus in the new year:

Enjoying Winter Break Safely

We hope the winter break gives our students and employees the chance to truly enjoy the holidays with their families. 2020 has made it clear that spending time with our families is of vital importance. Yet please continue to keep the health and safety of our entire community in mind. If you will be traveling during winter break to a state with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, you must quarantine for 10 days when you return. 

Beginning Monday, January 4, we are asking all families to begin being extra diligent about following our health and safety protocols as outlined in a new community stewardship agreement which is forthcoming. By limiting contacts and exposures to others outside of their households, all students and employees are more likely to test negative. After being tested, we expect students, employees, and their families to follow best health and safety practices for reducing risk and remaining exposure-free by quarantining for those days between testing and returning to in-person school. This will help ensure that we can safely return to our building for in-person instruction as planned. Again, more details will be shared soon.

New Health and Safety Protocols

In a continued effort to maintain the health and safety of our community, we are implementing the following new health and safety protocols:

  • Ruvna daily health screenings will begin after winter break on Monday, January 4, and continue as some grade levels return to the building and others engage in iSelectLearning. 
  • COVID-19 testing will be used for all employees and students before reentry for in-person learning. 
    • Friends Select will provide a saliva polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to all individuals free of charge and we will follow up with additional details and procedures for testing.
    • All students are expected to participate in the testing provided by FSS on the following dates (more dates for testing may become available): 
      • Friday, January 8: Students and faculty in grades pre-K, K, and 1
      • Wednesday, January 13: Students and faculty in grades 2 through 8
      • Wednesday, January 27: Upper school students and faculty
    • If a student is unable to be tested on the date provided, their family will need to arrange for their own testing and provide proof of a negative test before returning to school in person. 
  • All employees as well as students will be given contact tracing devices that must be worn while in the building for in-person instruction. 
  • We recommend that you download the COVID Alert PA Exposure Notification app offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Lastly, we wanted to let you know that we recently learned about members of our community, including students and family members, who tested positive for COVID-19 while engaging in iSelectLearning. Let's hold these students and their families in the Light, and we encourage you to continue to contact Nurse Kelly if your student or member of your immediate family tests positive for COVID-19 during the upcoming winter break and beyond. 
As this calendar year comes to a close, it seems we can all look back on 2020 and feel proud that we have risen to the occasion by stretching ourselves in ways we never could have imagined--revising our approach to everyday tasks, finding creative ways to socialize with friends safely, staying connected with loved ones, rethinking our ideas about what is normal, and reevaluating what's most important in life. We thank everyone for continuing to pull together, and we are certain we'll emerge from this difficult time stronger as a community. 

Be well this holiday season!


Michael Gary
Head of School