COVID-19 Response

A Message From Our Head of School

With hope and optimism, we embrace the 2020-2021 school year in the midst of a global pandemic.  This year may put numerous challenges in our path, yet our mission to serve children remains steadfast.  Although we all must agree that we cannot mitigate all risk for our students and families, the school will take comprehensive steps to offer the most safe and successful reopening that we can.

All parents are reminded that the success of our school must be a community effort.  We need to support and take care of one another.  We count on parents to follow our guidelines and require their children to do the same.  If we put the needs of the greater community above our own, we are truly living the character keys of Grace and have a much better chance of success and continued good health as we reopen our school. 

God bless Grace,

Patti Culbreth, Head of School

 

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2020-21 School Year: A Hybrid Model 

After careful planning and consideration, Grace Episcopal School reopened as scheduled this fall with several new safety protocols in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic. School is in session Monday through Friday from 8:30 am-3:15 pm. Grace parents were given the choice to send their child back to the classroom or elect to participate virtually with a distance learning plan. Our top priority remains to provide students with a safe place to learn and grow.

Grace stands ready to pivot to distance learning for an individual, a cohort or the entire student body if required by public health officials and/or the Governor to move to virtual learning. We will follow best practices from distance learning in Spring 2020. Our Distance Learning Plan is meant to be developmentally appropriate and attempts to balance screen time with independent assignments. Students and teachers connect through whole class, as well as small group and individual, Zoom lessons and class assignments are primarily submitted using Seesaw and Google Classroom platforms. Teachers also encourage time for healthy physical activity, wellness, and social interaction through virtual platforms with their peers. In the event we need to learn remotely at any point during the 2020-21 school year, we will strive to meet the needs of our families and students in these transitions. We believe the key to success is communication between parents and teachers.  

What are the “new safety protocols”?
In order to support the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, we will follow all CDC guidelines and have instituted several new protocols to include:
 
- Mandatory mask wearing for all students, faculty and staff
 
- Faculty/Staff/Administrators practice social distancing to the maximum extent possible while still allowing for the care of children
 
- A change to drop-off and pick up, “carpool lane style” in lieu of the daily handshake line with Mrs. Culbreth
 
- Temperature checks upon entry and throughout the day for students, faculty and staff
 
- Rearrangement of classrooms to keep desks distanced 6 feet apart, according to CDC guidelines
 
- Cohorts/smaller group sizes

      a. Preschool and Junior Kindergarten classes operate as a “pod” system which allows for approximately 5-6 children and an adult in a classroom area. Our Director of Early Childhood Programs interacts with each pod to oversee a developmentally appropriate plan for curriculum and activities. 

     b. Each individual classroom in grades Kindergarten through 5th Grade serves as an individual cohort.

- Ample time outside with the area broken into zones for safe play and smaller numbers

- Parents and any outside visitors are not allowed to enter the building at this time 

- Use of outdoor space as classroom options (amphitheater, etc.)

- Multiple breaks in the day for handwashing and sanitizing 

- Greater surface cleaning throughout the day by our Maintenance Director

- Evening professional cleaning of all rooms, desks, chairs, toys

Current parents should refer to the “Hybrid Model” School Handbook for further details and protocol information on Grace’s COVID-19 Reopening and Mitigation Plan.  

 

We are here for you. All faculty and administrators can be reached via email. Please refer to our faculty and staff directory for a complete list of email addresses. Head of School, Patti Culbreth, welcomes your questions and feedback and can be emailed directly at pculbreth@graceschoolalex.org

God bless you and stay well!

 

Resources:

Alexandria Health Department https://www.alexandriava.gov/Health

American Academy of Pediatrics https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/

Center for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html

Recover, Redesign, Restart:  Governor Northam’s Plans for Virginia Schools http://www.doe.virginia.gov/support/health_medical/covid-19/recover-redesign-restart.shtml

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Events

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Monday, Nov. 23, 2020 - Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

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Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 - Friday, Jan. 1, 2021

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Monday, Jan. 18, 2021