Dear LFS Families,
At yesterday’s meeting of the combined Health & Safety/Covid Steering Committee, we decided that LFS will welcome back all students for full-day, on-campus learning beginning on Monday, March 15.
This was not an easy decision, as the committee wrestled with imperfect choices and with a wide range of feedback and perspectives from all of you and from all staff members. In the end, while we acknowledged challenges associated with any option, we felt that having the children back for full-day, on-campus learning as soon as possible was in their best interests. While our specialists have done amazing work teaching their afternoon online classes, the challenge of fully engaging children from their homes has been difficult to overcome. We’ve seen diminished engagement and enthusiasm with our afternoon classes generally across all grades.
While the virus is still active, advice from government officials of all levels, and from the medical establishment, supports bringing children back for full-day school. This presumes that health and safety protocols are in place and that all members of the community are in compliance. We feel that together this year we have been able to maintain safety through the separation of children into their small cohorts as well as through daily health screening, mask wearing, distancing, filtering/ventilating of classrooms, frequent cleaning of spaces, and hand sanitizing/washing. We are proud that we have not had one case of COVID traced to our on-campus work with children, and we’re looking for that safety streak to continue by staying vigilant through the rest of this school year.
We anticipate using the same “RTC” (Return to Campus) daily schedule that we employed in the fall, but we’ll take a few more days to review that before distributing a final version to you. Lunch and snacks will continue to be eaten outdoors for safety, and specials classes will increasingly be taught outdoors as the weather allows. Specials teachers, as you may remember, cannot be indoors across the multiple cohorts that they teach. So when the weather doesn’t permit it, specials classes will be zoomed into the classroom.
We know that every transition that we have had to make this year has created challenges for families and for teachers. So we are hopeful that this is the LAST transition that we will make this year … and that this full-day, on-campus plan will take us through the end of the school year. No one has a crystal ball related to this virus, but that is certainly our intention at this point in time. We hope that remaining in split day mode next week will give you
time to adjust your family’s routines accordingly in advance of March 15.
Thank you for your patience and flexibility during these historically challenging twelve months, for your understanding that every family’s situation and perspective is unique, and for your appreciation of the challenges we’ve faced here at LFS given our staffing model, campus, and resources. Thanks also for your participation in last week’s parent survey. I’ve never seen higher participation rates on a parent survey in my 20 years of school leadership! I particularly appreciated that so many of you expressed your trust in our decision-making, even when you may not have agreed with each of our choices as we’ve navigated our way through this pandemic.
I feel deeply inspired by and grateful to the LFS teachers and assistant teachers. They have stretched themselves in new and sometimes uncomfortable ways as they’ve adapted to the pedagogical, technological, and safety demands of each mode of instruction throughout this unusual year. Establishing and maintaining daily and weekly routines has been hard to come by, and none of this has been easy. My colleagues’ commitment, dedication, and willingness to collaborate and problem-solve stand out. Fortunately, with warmer weather and vaccinations on the way (and already happening for some staff), at least some of our COVID-related challenges are beginning to abate. Finally, I also want to thank all members of the Health & Safety/COVID Steering Committee for participating in this difficult decision-making.
Please continue to be in touch as we move through this next transition. I look forward to seeing your children on campus all day … and to regaining another measure of normalcy.
Thanks so much. I know none of this has been easy.