We are pleased to report that our two month in-person EC summer classrooms have been such a healing experience for families (and faculty) as our campus has been filled with the happy sounds of children again! Summer camps have finished for the season and we are looking forward to welcoming new families and faculty to the BVWS community!
In crafting our Fall Reopening Plan, BVWS has worked with parent feedback provided through Spring Surveys and many conversations; faculty feedback on remote learning; and Health and safety requirements.
Recently the State announced that schools may open on campus if our County Positivity (five-day average percent positive of tests) rate is below 5%. Currently, Boulder County reports a 3.4% Positivity (and have been below 5% since the end of May).
As long as the test-positivity rate remains under 5%, our first day of school will be on campus on:
- Wednesday, August 26th for 1st- 8th grades
- Thursday, August 27th for preschool and kindergarten.
The main question that we are working to answer with this planning is “What will the return to school be like for our students?” As we have stated in our last few communications, we are committed to offering full days, and full weeks of school instruction on campus, whenever it is possible. And we are working to ensure that our students will be the least affected by the changes we need to make. This means that where possible adults will carry the extra work and care so that, while following best safety practices, students will have the opportunity to learn, play, socialize, and enjoy their childhood.
As you read through these plans, please remember that, as we all are aware, things can change quite rapidly. As we receive community input and get more guidance from the health departments, our understanding and planning will develop. We are working as a coordinated group of faculty, staff and Board to be ready for whatever is needed to operate the school safely and warmly this fall. Updates on BVWS Reopening Page: https://bvwaldorf.org/reopening20/
Start Date and Calendar: Our first day of school will be Wednesday, August 26th for 1st-8th grades and Thursday, August 27th for preschool and kindergarten. BVWS will be working with our previously published 20-21 School Calendar. However, this year we will be working with a more flexible calendar of days off and vacation weeks. In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak that requires the temporary pause of in-person learning, we may be rearranging our school days and breaks to maximize schedules.
In early summer, we had sent out our 4-phase BVWS plan and this has been the basis for our faculty and administration planning since the Spring. (The Early Childhood version contained 3 phases.) Now as we approach the final 3 weeks of vacation, while we have a spectrum of plans, we would like to present a much more streamlined two scenario approach to the school year. This is in line with the Colorado’s State Guidelines. Colorado has three levels of Covid response: Stay at Home, Safer at Home, and Protect Our Neighbors.
Early Childhood: Our state licensed Early childhood program works with different expectations that the school-aged programs, as it is considered part of “essential services” in response to our current circumstances. While the EC program is an important part of the whole school, it operates under a license that is separate from the grades school program. WIth that distinction and the unique support it provides, we will have the ability to be working closely with our licensing and health advisors to respond to incidents of potential exposure on a case by case basis. EC programming will operate under State Licensing guidelines Safer at Home or in Protect Our Neighbors AND in Stay at Home level, unless directed otherwise by local Health Department officials.
Please refer to the EC Reopening webpage: https://bvwaldorf.org/ec2021/
Grades 1st -8th: Our Independent 1st – 8th Grade programming will operate following the CDC, State and Dept of Ed. guidelines.
- Scenario 1 -On Campus: BVWS will operate in-person programming when the State is in Safer at Home or in Protect Our Neighbors. With our small class sizes, we will keep all students in small groups, also known as cohort pods, or at BVWS, classes.
In person Learning with parallel Home-Learning Options – We know that there are students who will not be able to return to campus when the school is open and in-person classes are in session. Faculty are taking these students into consideration and working on ways to allow them to keep up with weekly lessons and what additional support and connection would look like for these students and their families.
- Scenario 2 -Off Campus: When the State is in Stay at Home level, BVWS Grades will operate in Distance Learning mode.
Refinements to Distance Learning (for the Grades): We learned a great deal from our Distance Learning experience in the spring and appreciate the input and feedback we received from the community. Common themes included the desire to minimize remote learning and increase connections among all members of our school community while balancing safety.
As we prepare for possible periods of off-campus learning in 2020-21, we are rethinking our distance learning in terms of Interconnected Learning to emphasize our focus on maintaining and building the connections between the teachers and students, the teachers and parents, the students with their classmates, parents within their children’s classes, and the whole school community. Teachers are creating lesson plans and class rhythms structured with more connections to increase the engagement of students should periods of distance Learning be required. If Distance Learning were to be required, students would:
- Primarily use Google Classroom from home computers to access their lessons.
- Be able to pick up physical material weekly.
- Expect to receive daily meaningful feedback regarding work submitted – or follow up if not received
- Be able to meet in person for socially distanced, possibly in small group, or one-on-one for academic or social needs (depending on health guidelines)
- Continue to observe remote, class-specific curricula celebrations (adhering to health guidelines)
During any distance learning periods, parent support will be important in order to help children be as independent as is possible. Teachers will schedule regular frequent parent evenings (for grown-ups to stay connected and support each other) in learning pods.
Here is more information on the COVID-19 Safety Protocols in place for the Fall 2020.
COVID-19 is a global crisis affecting everyone. While we did not choose for this to happen, it is how we respond that matters! There are reasons that we all choose Boulder Valley Waldorf School for our children. Many of those reasons have to do with the qualities of the education – warm and child-centric. Due to the current pandemic, we are confronted with a school year that will look very different. This is true for all of the schools in Boulder County. It is important to ask ourselves what is the real heart of BVWS? We believe it is the relationships forged between the children, their teachers and each other as they engage with meaningful experiences. Next year we, like all of the area schools, will face ongoing challenges. Through those challenges, our class teachers will continue to guide, love and cherish your children.