Dear parents and interested families:
 

Right now, PCWS is expecting to open in September, and we are pleased to present below our best thinking so far: four scenarios that describe what that would look like. As we get closer and closer to reopening, we will refine and revise the details as necessary.
 

Our Commitment -- Potomac Crescent Waldorf School is committed to the goal of returning to as much in-person instruction as is safely possible for all students during the academic year 2020 – 2021. Under the current challenging and unpredictable times, we aim to remain adaptable and to ensure the best education and care possible for all the students and families we serve. This document is intended to clarify -- to the extent possible given the evolving COVID-19 epidemic and changing official guidance -- what a return to in-person or other alternative scenarios would look like for families and staff at PCWS in September 2020. We rely on the guidance from the State of Virginia “Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools” and the CDC as a basis for our decision making.

VA Phases and Overall Implications – Under the announcement by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (June 9, 2020), Northern Virginia moved from Phase One to Phase Two guidance for the reopening of its schools on June 12, 2020. It is encouraging that Governor Northam has also expressed optimism that Virginia schools may operate under Phase 3 guidance by Fall, 2020.

PCWS scenarios linked to phases – Based on the above guidance and developments, PCWS currently proposes four scenarios for reopening its doors in September. We present these scenarios below, linking them to the Virginia “phases” that inform each scenario. Note: these scenarios could change depending on the status of the COVID-19 epidemic and further changes in VA State/CDC recommendations.

Scenario One (In-Person Learning) – Our optimal scenario
 

Under Virginia Phase 3 Guidance, in-person instruction would be permitted for all students, with social distancing and other recommended mitigation measures. Under Scenario One, PCWS would offer in-person instruction for all children,

with:

  • Staggered outdoor drop-offs and pick-ups with daily temperature and health checks

  • Class sizes limited to no more than 9 students with limited intermixing

  • Limits of no more than 50 at gatherings with social distancing (6 feet) whenever possible

  • Enhanced hygiene and regular cleaning of classes (toys, surfaces, etc.)

  • More time for handwashing, cleansing and disinfecting before/after classes

  • Distance learning for enrolled students/families that need to stay home

  • An isolation waiting room for children who become ill during the day

  • Face coverings in accordance with the latest public health guidance

  • Emphasis on remote tours for visitors

Scenario One: specific, additional guidance for Grades includes:

  • Face covering when 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained (ie; when a teacher needs to point out a correction on a student’s work, etc.)
     

Scenario One: specific, additional guidance for Early Childhood (EC)

  • The Early Bird Program as usual

  • No drop-ins for Early Bird and Afternoon Program

  • More Forest Days for mixed age kindergartens (ie; up to two-thirds’ time at parks)

  • Mixed age kindergarten siblings will be in the same class

  • Afternoon Program children will be kept together as much as possible in morning classes

  • No Parent-Child classes at start of year; remote discussion groups on parenting topics to be offered

  • Teachers to prepare a remote learning curriculum in case a transition to remote learning is necessary and for families that need/choose to remain home

Note: We do not expect EC children to wear face coverings or to maintain six feet of physical distance, but we will mitigate exposure by reduced class size, increased outdoor time and modified activities that have included holding hands.

 

Scenario Two – Mixed Approach 

 

Under Phase 2 Guidance, in-person instruction would be permissible for preschool through third grade. Therefore, PCWS would offer mixed, in-person and remote instruction to Grades students. In-person instruction would be offered to EC students with flexible approaches based on enrollment and status of the epidemic. All Scenario One mitigation measures would be followed. In addition:

For Grades – PCWS would:

  • Offer in-person instruction for Grades 1-3, 8:30 a.m. till 12:30 p.m. or if possible, full day

  • Offer some specialty classes remotely (or outside + remotely)

  • Explore pursuing a variance from the State Superintendent for Grade 4 to be offered in person. If a variance cannot be obtained, Grade 4 would be offered remotely.

 

Note: Half-day Grades instruction would reduce risk of transmission in the event such risk increases significantly.

 

Early Childhood (EC)

  • PCWS Scenario Two Guidance would be the same as that for Scenario One, with additional adjustments made as required due to changes in the epidemic and/or official guidance.

Scenario Three – Remote Learning 

 

VA Guidance stipulates that, under a return to Phase One, remote learning is the dominant form of instruction. So:

  • PCWS faculty would design flexible, innovative, remote curricula for Grades and EC, with a mix of traditional Waldorf instruction and special projects/curricula designed appropriately for each child’s developmental level.

  • The VA Guidance also allows for in-person day care. Therefore, PCWS would explore the option of offering in-person day care for children under age 13, with mitigation efforts such as those outlined above.
     

Scenario 4 – “Business as usual” 

 

A return to “a new normal,” under future, “Beyond Phase Three” VA Guidance and CDC recommendations, would include resumption of full, in-person instruction and extracurricular activities.

 

 

We welcome your questions and comments and look forward to further discussion of these important scenarios. Please write to: info@potomacwaldorf.org