The School in Rose Valley is committed to the safety and wellbeing of its students and supporting the needs of its community. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact that it is having locally and globally. Keeping the needs of our students at the forefront of our thinking, we are dedicated to communicating in regular and effective ways. Toward this, we created this web page as a repository for past and ongoing communications to the community and helpful resources as we navigate this crisis together.
The School’s COVID-19 Crisis Management Team is meeting regularly to determine the best course of action and to actively support our families and staff. We are monitoring communications from the Center for Disease Control, World Health organization, Chester County Health Department, and other authorities.
2020-21 School Year
We understand that deciding whether or not to send your child to SRV this fall amid uncertainty is so very difficult, and we appreciate the complexity of the decisions that you are facing. Our goal is to provide the best information we can so that you can make the most informed decisions—and to be flexible and accommodating as you do so.
The 2020-2021 school year starts on Wednesday, September 2. We anticipate that all students will be able to attend in-person, daily, and for the whole school day. The School will reopen in a manner that allows us to be consistent with applicable state and local orders and that protects children and employees at higher risk for severe illness. We hope that the detail provided in the sections below will help you to envision the 2020-21 school year and allow you to make informed decisions about your family’s future.
Please know that we are all here to support you as we navigate this ever-changing landscape. Every decision that we make considers the mission of the school and the needs of our community. Every action that we take is to meet the cognitive, social-emotional, and physical needs of our children.
What We Know
In partnership with our Board of Trustees, we have taken great care to consider various educational changes that may be necessitated when the school reopens, and to consider how those changes may affect our school community.
What the School is Doing
We are carefully planning for a wide range of scenarios that we may encounter as we design a program tailored to the unique challenges of this coming year. Our approach is to be agile rather than prescriptive, considering the social and emotional needs as well as the physical health of our students while leveraging the considerable opportunities provided by our campus and progressive mission.
Specifically, we are:
- Using data from the second Measuring Success survey to inform decisions about the health and safety of our students and staff, assess the needs of the community, and build an engaging, responsive program.
- Meeting regularly in teams—Health and Safety, Program, and Community—to plan and prepare for the fall.
- Setting up outdoor classrooms, re-purposing buildings, and upgrading the School’s technology infrastructure.
- Investing in people and technology so that we can build on lessons learned during the COVID-19 crisis. A Health Coordinator will be joining the SRV Staff and serving on the Health & Safety Team in early July.
- Training staff throughout the summer to be able to navigate digital platforms successfully, keep students safe, and stand against racism. The staff summer reading will be Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, by Layla F. Saad.
What Students and Families Can Do
Responses to many of our families’ questions are below in the Fall 2020 Frequently Asked Questions. We don’t have all the answers yet but can share what we believe will be true at this point. We ask that you consider what has been communicated so far and if you feel that the School will not be able to meet your expectations this fall, please let us know by August 1.
What to Expect from Here
The upcoming school year will look different. Still, SRV students will continue to learn through play, pursue their own individual and collective affinities, be cared for by highly-qualified educators, and definitely still get dirty digging in the mud.
- In-Person Learning. The first day of school will be September 2 and we anticipate that all students will be on campus for the whole school day. Students will learn in “pods” of approximately ten students. A lead teacher, one specials teacher, and an assistant, where applicable, will be part of each pod, and teachers and students will remain with their pod at all times. Only the specials teacher will teach all grade-level pods within a building. The specials teacher will teach for a discrete block of weeks (e.g. four weeks) and then, after appropriate health checks, will move to another pod, eventually teaching within each pod throughout the school year. The use of shared outdoor spaces will be staggered, with cleanings in between use, and there will be no sharing of indoor spaces among pods. Students will spend as much time outdoors as possible and we are setting up outdoor structures to accommodate this.
- Digital Learning. Should Pennsylvania mandate school closure again and/or to continue teaching students who test positive for COVID-19 and need to quarantine or whose families don’t feel comfortable sending them to school, there will be a digital presence in all classrooms and students will be familiarized with digital learning. The digital presence will not be ubiquitous but sufficient for ensuring a smooth transition, should we need to.
- Distance Learning. Should the School be mandated to close, we will transition to a distance learning platform. This transition will be guided by an upgraded distance learning plan that builds on feedback, and that creates a smooth transition back to in-person learning. Because our plans envision an integrated approach, the characteristics of distance learning will be similar, whether distance learning is chosen by a family, necessitated by an illness, or required by state mandate. More specific details about those characteristics can be found in the Fall 2020 FAQs.
Fall 2020 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How are you preparing the campus?
Each of our five buildings is being repurposed so that we can maintain social distance. We are also setting up outdoor structures, installing outdoor sinks and sanitizer stations, purchasing cleaning supplies and equipment, upgrading the campus wireless infrastructure, marking paths and hallways for safe movement, creating a space to temporarily quarantine students, and installing barriers in high traffic areas such as the front office to protect staff.
What are some of the health and safety protocols?
We’ve hired a Health Coordinator and will operate with a robust health and safety plan that we will communicate to you in future correspondence. Our procedures will be consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. We anticipate that health and safety protocols will include students learning in “pods,” social distancing where feasible, temperature checks for staff and students; personal protective equipment (masks for all adults at all times and as warranted and feasible for children, depending on their age); changes to procedures for pick-up, drop-off, visiting campus, and school events; hygiene requirements for staff and students; detailed plans for addressing any community cases of COVID-19; and other precautions as deemed necessary. These protocols will be developed with more specificity by the Health & Safety Team.
How will you ensure cleanliness and sanitation?
Classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day by SRV staff and by professional cleaners every evening. The most effective and safe products, procedures, such as electrostatic sprayers, and practices will be followed. We will conduct regular deep cleaning of all spaces in addition to regular cleaning but this schedule is still being determined.
Will there be a daily health screening for students?
There will most likely be a daily on-campus health screening for students, and staff will be screened remotely and in advance and on-campus upon arrival. We are still determining the exact nature of these measures, vetting the devices that will be used, and determining which procedures will be in place.
Who are the people on the Health & Safety, Program, and Community Teams?
Health & Safety
Nava Hall, KJ Weist, Dan Tracey, Paula Grey, Byron Sherwood, and soon, the School’s new Health Coordinator.
Diane Luckman, Sunday Small, and Silvio Navarro
Rory Mannion, Stewart Calloway, Carrie Miluski, Nora Quinn, Jonathan Winder, and Sophia Toussaint-Williams
What if I don’t feel comfortable sending my child to school?
During this continued uncertain period of time, when we are learning in person, some parents and guardians may want to remain enrolled at SRV but may feel reluctant to send their children to school. We are prepared to accommodate those families who would prefer to keep their children home. Each classroom will be equipped with the technology necessary to live stream and the School will make distance learning available at all times and both asynchronous and synchronous learning opportunities will be provided to children who are learning from home throughout the school day. In addition to learning virtually alongside their peers, anchor points such as morning meetings and lunch will contribute to maintaining classroom connections for students at home.
What will distance learning look like should it be required or desired?
All of the details of the upgraded distance learning plan are being developed by the Program Team but we know that some of the elements of digital and distance learning that will exist both on campus and at home will include:
- One-to-one Apple iPad program for students and Macbooks for teachers
- Cameras that allow students at home to attend classes via Zoom and interact with the teacher and their peers
- See-Saw as a learning platform for students in preschool through second-grade and Google Classroom for students in third- through sixth.
- An emphasis on synchronous (happening at the same time) learning and online safety
- Opportunities for asynchronous (not happening at the same time) learning opportunities provided by teachers within the pod and by specials teachers outside of the pod
- The use of digital hardware and software as tools for learning and for interaction, not isolation
- Education about healthy, safe, and effective ways to use technology and supervision of its use
- Orientation for both students and parents in August
- Previews of the upcoming weekly schedule and activities sent out the week before
- Intensive training of current staff in instructional technology, including one teacher pursuing a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) through the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
How will you maintain enough space between individuals?
SRV enjoys ample space for students and teachers and we leverage the outdoors as a part of the classroom regularly. We are able to repurpose buildings so that only a few small pods of approximately ten students occupy a building at any one time. These decisions are based on a formula that allows for a six-foot radius (think of a circle) between students. The primary strategy will be to keep the pods distant from one another and the second strategy will be to rearrange classrooms and minimize materials so that students can maintain distance while working and playing in the classroom. We will teach students how to effectively distance, as feasible, through games.
How will snacks and lunch be handled and where will they eat?
SRV’s Farm-to-Fork Education program already requires students to eat in discrete groups with their teachers. We will be able to maintain this but will have to eliminate students collecting lunches and bringing them to and from classrooms, requiring the teacher to distribute lunch. Snacks will be handled in the same way. We will be able to maintain some aspects of social learning that happen through the lunch program but will have to supplement what is lost in other ways.
Will students participate in Specials?
Students will learn in “pods” of approximately ten students. A lead teacher, one specials teacher, and an assistant, where applicable, will be part of each pod, and teachers and students will remain with their pod at all times. The specials teacher will teach for a discrete block of weeks (e.g. four weeks) and then, after appropriate health checks, move to another building, eventually teaching within each pod throughout the school year. Only the specials teacher will teach all of the grade-level pods within a building. This will allow students and teachers to teach in even more interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary ways and dive deep into subjects. For example, within a particular theme or unit of study, students could engage in literacy, mathematics, science, etc. This is in line with the SRV philosophy and fits well within our curriculum design.
Will auxiliary programs still be able to take place?
We are still determining this and considering some creative solutions for the School’s auxiliary programs. First, we are planning to decide whether to run an August Mini-Camp by mid-July. This will depend on whether we feel that we can keep students safe and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The question of Afternoons and Vacation Care is somewhat more challenging and depends on whether we can staff these programs in a way that maintains the integrity of our safety protocols.
How will tuition be affected?
Our plan is to be agile rather than prescriptive. While some colleges and schools are changing their calendars and differentiating tuition in anticipation of an early winter closure, none of us has a crystal ball. We think it better to be prepared to pivot to distance learning and ensure program continuity for and personal connections with our students, rather than planning to close. We are investing in health and safety so that we can mitigate the impact of COVID-19, in staff so that we have the necessary expertise to navigate these changes, and in digital technology and infrastructure so that we can develop a program that is developmentally appropriate and engaging for all learners, and that can be quickly and easily transitioned to should the state mandate closure. Because the School’s plan will be fluid, flexible, and adaptive, we decided to not differentiate tuition in any way. We will not be issuing refunds to families who don’t wish to participate in distance learning, nor discounting tuition for distance learning. We understand that parents may not want this for their children so our goal is to be as transparent as possible about what to expect so that you can make the right decision for your family.
Is the tuition deadline still July 1, even though the school is still working through its plans for the fall?
No. Our preference is that you start and stay on track with your payments, but if before school starts you feel that the program is not going to meet your child’s needs, you can withdraw him or her and any tuition paid to that point will be refunded. If you need to take some more time to decide, we understand. Because we are now planning for our faculty and other needs based on these plans, if you decide not to have your child return to SRV this September in light of the potential changes that may be necessitated, please let us know by August 1st. If we do not receive a notice of cancellation, we will assume that you understand the changes that the school may need to make as the next school year unfolds and you remain committed to your tuition obligations.
Past Coronavirus Communications
SRV@Home Distance Learning Plan 2019-20
This document is intended as a resource for students and families as we continue to navigate this new form of learning and community building. The information included in this document does not address every question or aspect of our distance learning program, SRV@Home, but is intended to express the most important principles and standards guiding our work.