Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021

Page created by Melvin Wood
Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
  Introduction                                                  p. 3
  Important Dates to Know                                       p. 3
  About COVID-19                                                p. 4
  About Our Approach                                            p. 4
  Guiding Principles                                            p. 5
  Re-Opening Process                                            p. 6
  Instruction Model & Campus Status                             p. 7
  The Important Role of Families & Community Expectations       p. 8
  Health and Safety Measures                                    p. 10
  The Ways We Live Together                                     p. 12
  School Wide Events & Activities                               p. 15
  Communications                                                p. 16
  The Academic Program                                          p. 18
  Teaching and Learning                                         p. 19
       • Early Learning Center - Preschool - Kindergarten       p. 21
       • Lower School - Grades 1 - 5                            p. 22
       • Upper School - Grades 6 - 8                            p. 24
  School Finance                                                p. 26
  Appendix                                                      p. 27

Renbrook School                                             Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
INTRODUCTION                                                                                                           3

  The emergence of the novel coronavirus pandemic in late 2019 and its global spread through early 2020 forced
  Renbrook, like other schools around the world, to reevaluate nearly every aspect of its educational practices.
  Consistent with our mission, we sought to keep relationships at the center of our efforts to deliver an engaging,
  student-centered experience in which, despite the “distance” we continued to “bring learning to life” every day.
  Across the School, teachers, staff, parents and students have demonstrated extraordinary resilience in adapting to
  new and often challenging conditions. As health conditions improve in Connecticut and businesses and schools
  prepare to reopen, we look forward to once again welcoming students, faculty and staff back to our beautiful
  campus. We understand that this transition back to school may come with concerns and complexities, and we are
  committed to reorienting your children to the new school year in the safest and most supportive way possible.

  July 17 		         Back-to-School Plan - Version 2.0 shared with community followed by Virtual Parent Coffees
  August 20 		       Release of Back-to-School Plan - Version 3.0
  August 21		        Virtual Parent Coffees
  August 24 		       Faculty and Staff report to campus
  September 1 & 2    Student Orientation
  September 3        First Day of School

Renbrook School                                                   Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
ABOUT COVID-19                                                                                                              4

 COVID-19 is a virus spread from person to person, primarily from respiratory droplets or, less often, by transferring
 virus from surfaces and objects to mouth, nose or eyes. While many aspects of the virus are not yet understood,
 the most effective measures against transmission are quarantining and contact tracing for those who are infected,
 as well as social distancing and frequent hand washing for the general public. The Centers for Disease Control
 and Prevention (CDC) and Connecticut State Department of Health also recommend face coverings when indoors.
 Additional guidance for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 at home and in school settings is available from the CDC.

 Renbrook recognizes that the ideal teaching and learning environment is one in which students and teachers
 are able to interact with each other face-to-face. We also recognize the vital importance of creating a campus
 environment that addresses the health and safety concerns of our students, faculty and staff. Our Return to Campus
 Plan seeks to do both, providing a roadmap for our community to follow in the months ahead. This plan represents
 the thoughtful work of four Board Task Force Groups and several working committees of faculty and staff from
 across our campus working in close collaboration with school administration. It is a plan that invests heavily in the
 critical levers of a safe return to campus, including a robust set of stringent health and safety measures. It is also a
 plan that is designed to allow the school to adapt to the changing conditions of the pandemic and still provide for
 the continuous education of our students. At all times, we will calibrate our school operations and teaching to public
 health conditions. While it is difficult to predict the ways in which our current health context might change in the
 future, one thing is constant – our steadfast commitment to the ongoing growth and learning of our students. Across
 the school, our dedicated faculty and staff are redoubling their efforts to prepare for the new school year. We cannot
 wait to see your children again, and we look forward to a healthy and successful year ahead.

Renbrook School                                                     Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
GUIDING PRINCIPLES                                                                                                             5

   Renbrook has defined four guiding principles that help to inform our decisions as we return to campus. These
   principles speak to our Mission and Vision. They are also aligned with what we have learned from our experience
   with distance learning this spring and the feedback from our families.

   Renbrook’s highest priority is the health and well-being of our community. We have established a plan and protocols
   that will work to protect the health and safety of all of the individuals in the Renbrook community, including our
   employees, students, as well as vendors and visitors to our campus. In keeping with the Centers for Disease
   Control and Prevention (CDC), Connecticut State Education Guidelines, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and
   Department of Public Health recommendations, we have outlined a plan that will allow for a safe return to campus.

On-Campus Instruction
   Renbrook recognizes that the optimal learning environment for children is one in which they are learning from their
   teachers and fellow students in person. We also recognize the value of the unique role our campus plays in the
   education of our students. To the best of our ability, and in accordance with official health guidelines, we will seek to
   provide as much on-campus instruction as possible for all students every day.

Academic Coherence and Excellence
   Renbrook believes in the pursuit of academic excellence in any context and that a continuous educational experience
   is vitally important to achieve this end. While health circumstances may necessitate certain changes or restrictions
   to student life, our ultimate goal is to support our students’ learning and development as seamlessly as possible.

Flexibility and Adaptability
   Renbrook recognizes that any plan that we design to respond to external health conditions must be flexible and
   able to adapt to circumstances beyond our control. Our overarching goal is to create a continuous learning structure
   that is durable enough to adapt to possible future coronavirus infections while still allowing us to maintain as much
   on-campus instruction as possible.

Renbrook School                                                        Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
     Renbrook has established a task force committee which is working diligently to develop a re-opening strategy that

     allows for flexibility, transparency, and prioritizes the health and safety of our community. We are currently preparing
     the physical campus to support students in the fall of 2020; however administration recognizes that this is a fluid
     process. Below is an outline of the processes we are following for both re-opening and potential future closure.

              In consultation with the Board of Trustees’ Health and Safety Task Force and the Connecticut
             Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Plans for Re-Opening, Renbrook is able to meet the
                                       highest level of health and safety guidelines.


                                                 As a family, you have determined
 The State of CT has                                                                                                 On-Campus
                               YES              that the combination of controlled             YES
 lifted the mandated                                                                                                  Learning
                                                   local COVID conditions and
school closure order.
                                               Renbrook’s ability to execute safety
                                                 procedures warrants your child’s
        NO                                             safe return to campus.

                                                                                             Your family should contact Renbrook
                                                             FURTHER                        to discuss these concerns and explore
 Distance Learning                                                                           our Concurrent Learning Plan, which
                                                                                              includes synchronous engagement
                                                                                                 and asynchronous videos and

  Renbrook School                                                         Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
INSTRUCTION MODEL AND CAMPUS STATUS                                                                                                        7

                               Green                    Yellow*                     Orange                             Red
                             Contained                   Low                       Moderate                            High

                                                                           Isolated COVID cases within
   Level of                Normal Operating          Controlled case
                                                                          the school with corresponding     A critical number of students
                            Circumstances              presence in
  Community                 pre-COVID or             Hartford County.
                                                                              individual students, class      and faculty in isolation or
                                                                            cohorts (houses), or grade                quarantine.
   Spread                    post-vaccine          (current conditions)
                                                                             level (village) quarantines.

                                                                           Affected individual students
                                                                              engaged in concurrent
                                                                                                             Lower and Upper School:
                                                                                                              Full Distance Learning
  Instruction               Live, on-campus
                                                  Live, on-campus with
                                                 program modifications Affected houses or villages will
                               instruction                                                                     Early Learning Center:
    Model                                         for health and safety. engage in a Distance Learning          Available on campus
                                                                           (fully online) teaching model
                                                                                                               in-person instruction.
                                                                          for the 14-day duration of the

                                                                                                            Lower and Upper Schools:
    Campus                                        Open with health and     Campus remains open with
                                                                                                               Early Learning Center:
    Opening                      Open              safety protocols in     elevated health and safety
                                                                                                            Open for interested families
                                                         place.                protocols in place.
     Status                                                                                                 with heightened health and
                                                                                                             safety protocols in place.

* Yellow Status is considered our likely opening circumstances.

Renbrook School                                                             Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
THE IMPORTANT ROLE OF FAMILIES                                                                                               8


 All members of our community share a responsibility to our health and safety policies and procedures listed in this
 and future communications to help keep students, staff, and faculty safe. We ask that all Parents and guardians review,
 sign, and commit to the Renbrook Community Covenant.

 By enrolling your child at Renbrook, we engage in a shared covenant around the following commitments:

 •   Follow Federal, State, and Local Orders: All families are expected to adhere to the directives of applicable federal,
     state, and local government health departments, including the CDC, regarding social distancing in public and other
     measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

 •   Student Illness: If your child is sick, you should keep them home from school. Absentee policies will be relaxed,
     and students will be supported if illness prevents regular school attendance.

Renbrook School                                                      Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
THE IMPORTANT ROLE OF FAMILIES & COMMUNITY EXPECTATIONS (cont.)                                                                 9
  •   COVID-19 Testing and Notification: If a student or employee has a COVID-19 infection or exposure to someone
      with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, specially trained school officials will support the Department of Public Health’s
      (DPH) efforts for contact tracing and enforcing quarantining of those infected and their contacts. We will follow the
      protocols set forth by the DPH. Please refer to Guidance for Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios in Connecticut
      School Districts for the specific scenarios of when members of our community will need to quarantine or isolate.
      Our Concurrent Learning Plan will support continuity of learning from home during quarantine periods.

  •   Visitors to Campus: We prize our partnership with families, and we will re-double our efforts to communicate
      during this unique year. In order to limit the spread of illness on campus, we must limit parent and family visitors
      and require that all visitors wear masks when entering buildings. We ask that parents remain in their cars for pickup
      and drop-off, and when entering the building is absolutely necessary, make an appointment and wear a mask. We
      will work harder to ensure we maintain a strong school-home partnership through phone or email correspondence
      and through our many social media channels.

  •   Travel: Please avoid unnecessary travel and in particular, we ask that you minimize travel in the two weeks before
      school starts. In keeping with the State of Connecticut guidelines, if you or your child has traveled to a state listed
      in the Regional Travel Advisory, you are required to quarantine for 14 days.

  •   Face Masks: Please send your child to school with two face masks every day. Teach your child how to properly
      wear and remove a face mask. Fabric masks should be laundered daily.

  •   Hygiene: Reinforce good hygiene practices at home, especially the importance of frequent hand washing.

  •   Students’ Personal Items: Limit the items your child brings onto campus each day and refrain from sharing objects
      such as school supplies. Please see Supply Lists distributed in Life @ the Brook.

  •   Medical Forms & Emergency Contacts: Parents must complete and submit all required student medical forms prior
      to the first day of school. Parents must provide at least two emergency contacts who are able to pick up your child
      from the School within one (1) hour of receiving a call from the School if your child presents with a temperature or
      becomes ill during the school day.

Renbrook School                                                       Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES                                                                                                   10
 The health and safety of our community is our highest priority. The following is a list of safety measures that we are
 planning to put in place.
 The Big Five:             The following five health and safety strategies constitute our best efforts to minimize the
                           transmission of illness at Renbrook.
 1. Face Coverings: Evidence of the importance of face coverings (i.e., masks) in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 is
    clear. We will begin the year with a conservative approach to face coverings asking all students, faculty, and staff
    to wear a mask when indoors:

    •   Students in grades 1 through 8 will be required to wear face masks in class and when traveling outside of their
        classroom: in hallways, in bathrooms, and when in close proximity to other cohorts of students.

    •   NEW ELC Guidance: When indoors and when working closely with others, we will work toward students’
        consistent use of masks in the ELC. Recognizing that this may be difficult for our youngest learners, we will take
        frequent mask breaks, conduct class outdoors as frequently as possible (when students can shed their masks),
        and use plexiglass dividers indoors to shorten the amount of time our youngest students will be masked. We
        will lead with patience as we develop habits and gauge our students’ ability to use masks properly, and we will
        discuss unique individual circumstances and revisit our protocols as the year progresses.

    •   All Renbrook employees will wear masks throughout the school day except when necessary for unique
        instructional circumstances (when dividers, face shields, or distancing will be employed), when outdoors
        observing six (6) feet distancing, or if employees are alone in a small office space.

    •   Mask breaks will be allowed throughout the day – during these times students must be at least six (6) feet apart.
        Breaks last no more than five minutes.

    •   At this time, we are basing our definition of acceptable masks on CDC guidelines. Masks must cover the nose and
        mouth to maintain effectiveness; be secured to minimize the need to adjust frequently; and be made of a solid
        cloth material or other suitable solid material. Masks do not need to be medical grade. Commercially produced or
        homemade face coverings are acceptable for compliance. Gaiters, muffs, bandanas, or other porous materials are
        not allowed.

    •   Visitors to the building will be required to wear masks.

Renbrook School                                                      Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES (cont.)                                                                                         11

 2. Physical Distancing: Movement on campus will be controlled and directed to reduce the mixing of students. In
    classrooms, students will be seated with six (6) foot spacing to minimize transmission risk.

 3. Cohorts and Decreased Mixing of Students: Academic schedules and classroom use will be designed to keep
    students in smaller, consistent groups during the day. This will reduce the risk of viral transmission and allow for
    discrete cohorts to quarantine in the event of infection without requiring that the entire campus close and shift
    to distance learning. In our lower grades, we will build cohorts around classrooms, called “Houses”. In the Upper
    School, where mixing is an inevitable part of subject-area specialization, cohorts will be focused by grade, called

 4. Hand Hygiene: Students and faculty will follow a regular schedule of hand washing or use of hand sanitizer
    throughout the day. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available in every classroom and outside building entrances
    to ensure regular access.

 5. Outdoor Learning Experiences: Outdoor learning spaces have been developed to allow teachers to conduct
    classes outside as frequently as weather allows. Children should wear weather-appropriate clothing and parents
    should complete the Sunscreen and Insect Repellent Form if they have special requests.

Renbrook School                                                     Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
THE WAYS WE LIVE TOGETHER                                                                                                     12

 Pickup and Drop-off: We will use a variety of assigned entry points to minimize student-mixing. We have listed
 specific locations for the morning and afternoon by grade. Upon arrival at the designated drop-off location, students
 will be greeted by members of the faculty and staff who will take each student’s temperature while students remain
 in their vehicles. Click here for full Arrival and Dismissal Procedures.

 •   Preschool (PS), Junior Kindergarten (JK), and Kindergarten students should be dropped off at the Foley Family
     Parking Lot (Foley Lot) and enter the ELC from the main entrance. In order to minimize the spread of illness, we
     ask that ELC parents refrain from entering the building. ELC parents should remain in their cars and drop their
     children off at the circle at which time Renbrook faculty and staff will help each child enter the building, hang
     their items in their cubbies, and enter their classroom. If it is necessary for a parent to enter the ELC, they should
     contact their child’s teacher or administrator ahead of time, wear a mask, and sanitize their hands upon entering.
     Pickup will take place at the circle of the Foley Lot and ELC teachers will bring children to their family cars.
 •   Grade 1 through Grade 4 students should be dropped off at the Upper Crossover, and students should pass
     through the Bat Walk and enter the Nelson Building. Pickup will also take place at the Upper Crossover.
 •   Grade 5 students should be dropped off and picked up at the first Lower Stedman entrance.
 •   Grade 6 students should be dropped off at the Upper Crossover and proceed through the Bat Walk, through the
     Quad, directly into the Grade 6 Hallway, and into the Math Center. Pickup will take place at the Upper Crossover.
 •   Grade 7 students should be dropped off and picked up at the last Lower Stedman door (near the Makerspace).
 •   Grade 8 students should be dropped off and picked up at the Upper Crossover. They should enter the second
     set of doors in Heather Commons.
 •   Before School Care students should be dropped off at the Upper Crossover to enter the first doors outside
     Upper Stedman and proceed into the dining room for Before School Care.
 •   After School Care students will be picked up at the Upper Crossover with full pick-up procedure details to come.

 Additional Safe Classroom Practices: Teaching methods will be adjusted to minimize shared equipment or learning
 materials between students. Classroom practices will reduce transfer of objects between home and school and
 sharing of other students’ personal belongings.

Renbrook School                                                       Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
THE WAYS WE LIVE TOGETHER (cont.)                                                                                        13

 Enhanced Cleaning/Disinfecting: Daily cleaning practices will be compliant with CDC and DPH recommendations,
 including the types of cleaning products used and the frequency of cleaning. Special attention will be paid to the
 cleaning of high touch surfaces throughout the day.

 Temperature Taking: All students, faculty, and staff will have their temperature taken upon arrival on campus in the
 morning. Students will have their temperatures taken again at mid-day.

 Self-Care and Well-Being: Pedagogy and classroom practices will provide greater attention to student mental
 health and well-being to build resilience and cope with the stress or anxiety students may experience. See specific
 explanations under “Teaching and Learning by Division” below.

 Lunch: Lunch will be delivered to grade level “Villages” with servings for each “House” or class of 8-12 students
 distributed by the teacher. Self-serve options will not be available. A menu will be published on the SAGE Dining
 page of our website, and teachers will facilitate student orders on a weekly basis. Families should contact their
 child’s Division Director with specific dietary restrictions.

 Music: In the ELC and Lower School, music class will be held in classrooms, and our teachers will employ a variety of
 music-making devices to deliver the curriculum. Singing will be minimized with older students and scheduled in large
 and/or well-ventilated spaces. Modifications will allow fifth grade band students to continue to play instruments in
 small groups.

 In the Upper School, we will allot blocks of time for a combination of music and study hall to allow music teachers
 to schedule small groups of chorus and band students at a time. We will hold these classes in our largest spaces
 (Stedman Auditorium and Greene Auditorium) to allow for spacing of students greater than 12 feet apart.

 Transitions: In order to minimize the possible transmission of illness, we will seek to avoid as much as possible
 transitions between classes that mix our cohorts of students. In both divisions, teachers will travel to student
 classrooms as much as possible. In the Upper School, full grade levels are contained in their own hallways with
 designated bathrooms and entry and exits to the outdoors.

Renbrook School                                                    Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
THE WAYS WE LIVE TOGETHER (cont.)                                                                                          14

 Health Center: The Nurse’s office and treatment area will be moved to the Kindl Cottage to allow for separate
 spaces for an office, main treatment/waiting area for students with non-COVID related symptoms, and separate
 isolation/sick rooms for students presenting with COVID symptoms. The isolation space includes a separate entrance
 allowing for access to the space from the exterior of the school.

 Assemblies and Large Group Meetings: Upper and Lower School and All School assemblies will be adjusted in
 favor of virtual meetings. Divisional assemblies will continue to be led by Grade 5 (LS) and Grade 8 (US) students, but
 they will be broadcast via Zoom. Large, indoor community gatherings will be postponed until it is safe to do so.

 Dress Code: We believe a student’s clothing should fit the learning modalities of a common school day. Under
 normal circumstances, more formal attire reflects our typical learning mindset. However, in a year where outdoor
 learning will figure prominently in a student’s day, comfort and rugged dress will serve students best. To facilitate
 ease of movement, for the 2020-2021 school year we’re adding options to the dress code.

 Recess: Recess will continue to be an important part of our students’ day to provide opportunities for exercise and
 socialization. We will attempt to separate grade level “Houses”, but some safe, outdoor mixing of cohorts may occur.
 Students will not be required to wear face masks outside but must be socially distanced by six (6) feet.

 Field Trips: All off-campus field trips will be suspended for the fall, and we will reevaluate conditions in the winter
 and spring for our signature class trips.

 Before School Care: Renbrook will continue to provide before school care on a limited basis in the Dining Rooms
 beginning at 7:00 am. Students will be asked to observe six (6) feet distancing and wear a face covering in order to
 preserve the integrity of our cohorts. Pre-registration will be required. Register by August 28, 2020.

 After School Care: Renbrook will continue to provide various after school care options. The Dining Rooms will
 be the home base for these programs, and additional classrooms will be used when necessary. We will employ a
 combination of masking, social distancing, and outdoor play to prevent the possible transmission of illness. Pre-
 registration will be required for all students by August 28, 2020.

Renbrook School                                                       Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
SCHOOL WIDE EVENTS & ACTIVITIES                                                                                            15

 Our school-wide, divisional, and Parent Association events and activities are valued components of a Renbrook
 educational experience. We will make every effort to hold as many events and activities as possible, with modifications
 to conform to our health and safety measures. In some cases events or activities may have to be canceled or
 rescheduled. Please visit the calendar on our website regularly as this will be the most up to date resource. Changes
 to planned events will be announced in Life @ the Brook or via communication from division heads.

                    Orientation: Student and Family Orientation will be held on September 1 and 2 as
                    outlined in Life @ the Brook. A new format this year will allow for smaller groups on
                    campus so that social distancing can be maintained.

                    Parents’ Night: Parents’ night events will be in an online format in September. More
                    information will be provided closer to these events.

                    Parent Association Book Fair: The Parent Association has teamed up with RJ Julia
                    Independent Booksellers to offer an all-new, virtual book fair experience.

                    School Photos: The Parent Association has contracted Coffee Pond Photography
                    for this year’s school photos. All students will have an individual photo taken with
                    appropriate social distancing. Class photos will not be taken this year.

                    Fall Sports: Interscholastic sports will be replaced with intramural sports this fall.
                    The traditional Fall Sports Day will not be held this year.

                    Alumni Events: Our alumni are an important part of our community and we treasure
                    these relationships. We will hold virtual events this year to stay connected.

Renbrook School                                                   Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
COMMUNICATIONS                                                                                                         16

 Renbrook School is committed to continuing to provide transparent and regular communication with all members
 of the community. To that end, the following communication channels will be utilized to communicate information
 throughout the 2020-21 school year:

 Head of School Pushpage: On occasion, parents will receive pushpage emails from Matt Sigrist on topics of a timely

 Renbrook Parent Communication: Families can also access important information any time by going to the Parent
 Resource Board on the Renbrook School website, To access, simply click on myRenbrook in the
 upper right-hand corner of any page on the Renbrook School website.

 Library Catalog & Website: The library site is managed by the Director of Library Services & includes the catalogue

 Social Media: Join our Facebook fan page: Follow us on Instagram: @renbrookschool.

 Life @ the Brook: Life @ the Brook is our bi-weekly e-news filled with news, important information on upcoming
 events, links to forms, and more. Watch for a new issue every other Thursday. Archives can be found on the Parent
 Resource Boards.

 Renbrook School Website: Renbrook’s website can be accessed at

 Renbrook School Summer Adventure Website: Can be accessed at

 Student Messages: Messages for students can be called in to the Front Desk at 860.236.1661.

 Hot Line: Call 860.231.2257 for weather-related updates on closings, delays, late starts and early dismissals.

Renbrook School                                                    Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
COMMUNICATIONS (cont.)                                                                                                   17

 SchoolMessenger: In the event of a delayed opening, school closure, early dismissal or school emergency, our
 automated SchoolMessenger system will be used to notify parents. Depending on the situation, automated calls to
 parent home and cell phones, and/or text messaging may be used. Please note: every parent will receive an email
 request to opt-in to this system in the fall. This will also be available in Life @ the Brook.

 Non-Weather-Related Notifications: All non-weather-related notifications will be sent to the contact email provided
 to the school, along with the Renbrook School website, the School Hotline, the Parent Resource Board, and social
 media depending on the content of the non-weather-related notification. Emergency notifications will also be sent via
 SchoolMessenger for individuals who opt in to the system.

 Snow Days, Inclement Weather & Closings: Information on weather-related closings, late starts, and early dismissals
 will be posted on the Renbrook School website, television outlets listed below, the School Hotline, 860.231.2257, and
 sent via SchoolMessenger for individuals who opt in to the system. Updates are made as needed at 6:00 a.m. and
 noon, in most cases.
      • WFSB Channel 3, Fox 61, and NBC Connecticut list Renbrook weather-related information. Please check these
         sources for information before calling the Front Desk Receptionist.
      • When Renbrook opens late due to weather conditions, there will be no Before School Programs.
      • When Renbrook closes early due to weather conditions, there will be no After-School Programs.
      • The administration makes every effort not to close school except to protect Renbrook families from
         treacherous road conditions, which are often worse on Avon Mountain than in other areas.
      • In the unlikely event that students miss more than five days of school due to closings, alternative measures
         will be considered by school administration.

Renbrook School                                                   Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
THE ACADEMIC PROGRAM                                                                                                         18

 Renbrook’s academic program is grounded in powerful relationships that propel a student-centered learning
 experience animated by our passionate faculty and staff. We bring learning to life through a commitment to
 traditional academic skills with innovative approaches to teaching and learning.

 Our return to in-person instruction is a priority. We believe the Renbrook experience is best delivered in person,
 in our engaging classrooms, labs, and outdoor learning spaces in proximity to classmates and our teaching staff.
 Our health and safety efforts featuring social distancing and learning cohorts will not alter our approach to these
 most important elements of life at Renbrook. In fact, we believe the ways we serve our students in response to this
 pandemic align with our best efforts to deliver our mission:

    Cohorts: Guidance from public health organizations indicate that limiting students’ and teachers’ interactions
    to “cohorts” with social distancing (six (6) feet) can help mitigate the spread of illness. In preschool through first
    grade, cohorts will have a maximum of 10 students, and grades 2 through 5 will have a maximum of 14 students
    in each cohort. The Upper School has established full grade cohorts, limiting the entire grade’s movements to
    one hallway with designated bathrooms. We have decreased our class sizes to no more than 14 students, and we
    have made every effort to limit exposure beyond that group. Smaller groups will allow our teachers to know our
    students well and closely monitor consistent safety measures.

    Outdoor Learning: With abundant hiking trails, three playgrounds, multiple athletic fields, high and low ropes
    course, a pond, and diverse spaces, outdoor learning has long been a staple of a Renbrook education. With
    scientific evidence clearly indicating decreased transmission of the coronavirus outdoors, we are working
    diligently to prepare spaces, train faculty, and incorporate outdoor learning into all subject areas.

    Technology and Blended Learning: We have purchased 2 in 1 laptop/tablet devices for students in kindergarten
    through grade 5 to allow for a seamless transition between in-person and distance learning and a consistent
    device landscape. We have added Wi-Fi capacity for common spaces and outdoor access to the Internet on
    certain parts of campus. While we will incorporate tech tools into the curriculum to expand blended learning
    opportunities, we remain committed to a healthy balance of screen time and traditional learning tools

Renbrook School                                                     Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
TEACHING AND LEARNING                                                                                                     19

 MODES OF DELIVERY – The method by which we will engage our students will be determined by local and
 Renbrook community health conditions, and we will make every effort to remain in school to deliver live, in-person
 instruction. Concurrent Learning may be required for individual students who are either sick or in quarantine, and a
 distance learning plan will be employed when full classes or grades are in quarantine. A new 1:1 device program in
 grades K-5 will help to make this learning experience as seamless as possible.

    Live, In-Person Instruction: We plan to begin the year welcoming students back to campus with the above health
    and safety precautions in place. We expect these efforts to mitigate the spread of sickness without affecting the
    learning experience.

    Concurrent Learning:
      Early Learning Center: The Concurrent Learning Plan in the Preschool and Junior Kindergarten is designed to
      advance a young child’s learning in key domain areas who must quarantine while the rest of the class learns
      in person. The Concurrent Learning plan will provide a daily, live virtual meeting (15-20 min) that will parallel
      the in-class Morning Meeting (which may include a read aloud, songs, and rhymes). There will also be daily
      learning activities posted for PS and JK students to work on with someone in their home to further develop
      key development domains such as early literacy and mathematics, science, art, music, fine motor, and special

       Lower School: The Concurrent Learning Plan is designed to advance a child’s learning in key content areas
       who must quarantine while the rest of the class learns in person. This plan will also be available for families
       who don’t feel comfortable returning to in-person instruction for a period of time.

       The plan will provide live connection via Zoom to the class’s Morning Meeting each day and a live session
       with a Virtual Teaching Assistant (TA). The Virtual TA will prepare pre-recorded instructional videos for math,
       reading, and writing, as well as practice assignments for those lessons.

       For students who have opted into long term Concurrent Learning, we will provide live access to additional
       class time when possible.

Renbrook School                                                     Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
TEACHING AND LEARNING (cont.)                                                                                             20

     Upper School: Students will follow their classes over the Microsoft Teams platform for live video content. All
     handouts and teacher-generated materials will be uploaded to myRenbrook before the start of class. Students
     will be provided opportunities to collaborate with classmates both on-campus and at home.   

     If there is a period of time when faculty cannot engage over video conference (e.g. a science class meeting at
     the pond or on the campus trails), faculty will upload supplemental materials to the class page on myRenbrook.   
     Standards of conduct, grading, and course expectations will be the same for students engaged in concurrent
     learning while in-person learning is in effect. Small modifications may be made to special area classes (e.g. art,
     music) to aid access to these programs.  

     A student and their advisor will be the main points of connection for home-school collaboration. A weekly
     meeting to monitor progress will take place either as part of, or in addition to, daily advisory time.

  Distance Learning:
     Small-Group Quarantine: It is possible that individuals may contract an illness outside of school and may
     need to quarantine for a period of time. If contact tracing efforts indicate that a small group of students and
     staff were exposed to the illness, larger groups may need to quarantine. We will employ distance learning
     strategies to maintain academic progress using a combination of synchronous (live) and asynchronous
     (independent) engagement.

     State Mandated School Closure: While our preference is to keep our campus open and maintain in-person
     instruction, conditions may require we close campus again for our Lower and Upper Schools. These include a
     state-mandated stay-at-home order or a critical mass of student or staff infections at Renbrook. Instruction will
     pivot to distance learning emphasizing live engagement while maintaining academic progress.

     Early Learning Center: Recognizing the challenges of distance learning for our youngest learners, we are
     planning to keep our Early Learning Center open as Connecticut state law allows. Staffing will be modified to
     serve both the learning needs of students in person and at home.

Renbrook School                                                   Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
TEACHING & LEARNING BY DIVISION                                                                                         21

 Early Learning Center (ELC) – Preschool, Junior Kindergarten, and Kindergarten
 Kelly Bird, ELC Director

   Renbrook’s commitment to play-based, early childhood education remains stronger than ever. As such, when
   students join their new teachers and classmates on campus in the fall, they will do so with all necessary health
   and safety procedures in place while maintaining a joyful, engaging learning environment.

   Student Support: Social-Emotional Learning in the early childhood years is critical for helping young children
   understand and manage their emotions, feel and show empathy for others, establish healthy and trusting
   relationships, and make safe choices. COVID-19 has further elevated the need for teachers to pay close attention
   to their students and establish strong connections. There is a need to create supportive, responsive learning
   environments that ensure students can thrive when they return to school. This involves acknowledging and
   addressing the complex ways in which they experienced the past six months. Early childhood counseling services
   will occur in whole-group general lessons, small group activities, and when needed, one-on-one sessions with the
   possibility of outside referrals.

   A Priority on In-Person Learning: Young children learn best through active play. During the time of COVID-19,
   distance learning is not the best manner to support Preschool, Junior Kindergarten, and Kindergarten growth and
   development. On campus, in-person programing will be a priority throughout the 2020-2021 school year.

   As per the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) and the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), early
   childhood centers can remain open during times when primary school students are moved to distance learning.
   We feel on-campus learning for our Preschool, Junior Kindergarten, and Kindergarten students is crucial to their
   continued growth and development, and we are preparing to provide uninterrupted in-person learning.

   During this time the ELC will follow the health and safety guidelines outlined by the CDC, the OEC, and CAIS.
   In an effort to minimize exposure and illness, children will be placed in Houses of ten or fewer students. We will
   follow strict guidelines around the frequent disinfecting of surfaces and materials, hand washing, and the use of

Renbrook School                                                   Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
TEACHING & LEARNING BY DIVISION (cont.)                                                                                 22
   Outdoor Teaching and Learning: Nature-based programing has always been a part of Renbrook’s early childhood
   programs. We are privileged to be on a 75-acre campus full of nature trails, wildlife, a pond, and outdoor spaces
   conducive to exploration and discovery. All ELC classes will spend as much time as the weather permits outdoors
   in order to support the health and safety of its students and teachers and capitalize on outdoor learning.

   Lunch: Families should continue to pack lunches for all students in Preschool, Junior Kindergarten, and
   Kindergarten and adhere to the guidelines detailed in the Family Handbook.

   Specials: Specialists will travel to the students in their classrooms to help reduce student movement. Physical
   education is an exception where students will travel to outdoor play spaces or the gym during inclement weather.

 Lower School: Grades 1 through 5
 Julie Schlossinger, Lower School Head

   Renbrook’s Lower School provides engaging, student-centered learning opportunities, often differentiated for
   each child’s unique developmental stage. More than ever, our attention to each child’s learning needs will be
   essential to use formative assessments to address learning gaps that may have arisen and inform instruction to
   meet individual needs.

   Student Support: School closure and social isolation have affected Lower School students. Trauma-informed
   practices, which include placing student reactions into context, employing thoughtful interactions, emphasizing
   relationship building, promoting predictability and consistency, giving supportive feedback to reduce negative
   thinking, recognizing strengths, and fostering a feeling of safety will all be employed to support our students’
   social-emotional health.

   The counseling program in the Lower School will provide proactive education and prevention and, when
   needed, intervention. Counseling activities teach knowledge, attitudes, and skills students need to be successful.
   Additionally, the Lower School Counselor will conduct small group check-ins, one-on-one counseling, facilitate
   family support, and make referrals to outside agencies.

Renbrook School                                                   Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
TEACHING & LEARNING BY DIVISION (cont.)                                                                                     23

  Schedule: The Lower School schedule for the 2020-2021 school year will provide teachers and students flexibility
  in order to utilize the outdoors as often as possible and to ensure ample time to delve into units of study and
  project-based learning.

  Technology: Each Lower School student will be issued a Lenovo laptop with inking capability for the 2020-
  2021 school year. This one-to-one program will allow teachers to integrate technology into all subjects and
  help students develop important tech skills in support of learning. Additionally, should the school need to close
  campus, students will bring their devices home to participate in distance learning.

  Cohorts: We will be using the terms “Villages” and “Houses” to describe how we have organized students and
  teachers to minimize mixing of students. For grades 1 through 5 there are two Villages organized by hallway - one
  in Nelson and one in Lower Stedman. There are thirteen Houses that reflect individual classrooms.

  Specials: Lower School specialists will travel to the students in their classrooms to help reduce student
  movement. Physical education is an exception where students will travel to outdoor play spaces or the gym
  during inclement weather.

  Student Materials and Supplies: Students will be provided individual supply kits in order to reduce the sharing of
  materials. The kits will live in backpacks hung on the back of each child’s chair. In the event that a child, class, or
  the entire division needs to move to distance learning, students will bring their supply backpacks home with them.

Renbrook School                                                   Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
TEACHING & LEARNING BY DIVISION (cont.)                                                                                 24

 Upper School: Grades 6 through 8
 Kara Ashley, Upper School Head

   The Upper School teaching and learning program differs from that of the Lower School in that a student’s day
   is “decentralized” to a large extent. Students travel to a variety of classrooms and engage different teachers for
   each subject.

   Student Support:
   Advisory: Each Upper School student is assigned to an advisory group that meets daily. A student’s advisor
   monitors and supports each student in their academic and social growth throughout the school year, both on
   campus and during periods of distance learning. With a unique return-to-school this fall, advisory time has been
   expanded and will be an integral component of helping students meet the changes and challenges of this school
   year. A student’s advisor serves as the primary contact who is available for conferences and other meetings
   throughout the course of the school year.

   Counseling: Upper School students have access to a counselor who can help them navigate issues that may
   emerge as part of growing up. The Upper School counselor may hold small affinity group meetings throughout
   the year where students can connect over a common shared identity or interest. Counseling support is available
   both in-person and during periods of distance learning.

   Cohorts: Upper School students will be organized into groups by grade level called “Villages.” Each Village will
   have a designated hallway with dedicated restrooms and entrances to minimize indoor contact with other grade
   levels. Within each Village, students will have a home base in their advisory group “House.”

   Schedule: Upper School core academic classes will meet on a block schedule. Longer periods will give students
   a chance to take a deeper dive into topics, facilitate project-based learning, expand the use of outdoor learning
   spaces, and allow for more teacher-supported practice during class time. Should Renbrook change to distance
   learning at any point, the block schedule allows more flexibility for a balance of synchronous and asynchronous
   learning, increased access to teacher support, and reduced screen time during the school day.

Renbrook School                                                    Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
TEACHING & LEARNING BY DIVISION (cont.)                                                                                  25

  Sports: Renbrook values athletics as a healthy part of a balanced life. Participation on sports teams teaches the
  values of sportsmanship, fair play, teamwork, and perseverance. A modified athletic program will be offered for
  the 2020-2021 school year that provides a variety of intramural and noncompetitive options on campus, and, as
  the year unfolds, we will evaluate the possibility of returning to interscholastic sports. As they have in the past,
  students can opt out of a sports season, and they should complete this Sports Selection Form. Please complete a
  new form for each Upper School student in your family.

  Arts and Other Specials: Specialist teachers will travel to Upper School classrooms to deliver classes in art,
  music, STEAM, Life, Learning, & Leadership, Secondary School Seminar, and Upper School Foundations. Grade-
  level music blocks will allow for flexibility in grouping ensembles.

Renbrook School                                                  Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
SCHOOL FINANCE                                                                                                               26


 The year ahead comes with the possibility that all or a portion of our program may need to be delivered remotely.
 Since most school costs are related to personnel and maintenance of our facilities, a shift to remote instruction does
 not relieve the school of significant expenses. Where some savings are realized in a remote learning environment,
 resources are shifted to cover enhanced cleaning and compliance requirements. We are confident that, if forced
 to close, our remote learning program will serve the educational needs of our students better than any alternative.
 The technology team, School and Division Heads, faculty and staff are prepared with a program that provides
 consistency, engagement, and support for students of all grade levels.

 For our youngest students in the Early Learning Center, we understand that a remote program comes with
 challenges and changes to routines that are unique to this age group. It is our intent to be able to continue the in-
 person learning for this age group consistent with the guidelines set forth by the Office of Early Childhood.

 Tuition Refund Plan

 With many aspects of the program and school year uncertain, and with tuition commitments being fully non-
 refundable, we suggest that all families consider subscribing to the Tuition Refund Insurance Program which provides
 a 60% pro-rated refund upon voluntary withdrawal from school, after at least 14 days of attendance. There is a 100%
 pro-rated refund if the withdrawal is for a qualified, medical reason. This plan is available to all enrolled families if
 elected prior to the opening of school. The cost of the plan is 1.7% of tuition. If families have any doubt about staying
 with our program for the entire year, we strongly encourage consideration of the Tuition Refund Insurance.

 For more information contact Eileen Grabowski in the Business Office.

Renbrook School                                                     Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
APPENDIX                                                                                                        27

 Insect Repellent and Sun Screen Permission Form

 Renbrook Childcare Registration for ALL Students Preschool - Grade 8 - Includes Before and After School Care

 Renbrook Community Covenant

 Renbrook Sports Selection Form

 Arrival and Dismissal Procedures

 Dress Code

 Guidance for Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios in Connecticut School Districts

 Renbrook Family Handbook 2020-21

 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

 Connecticut State Education Guidelines

 Department of Public Health

 Regional Travel Advisory

 Renbrook Calendar

Renbrook School                                                  Back-to-School Plan 2020-2021
You can also read