2020 Reopening Plans
Our highest priority is the health, safety, and social-emotional well-being of our students, families, faculty, and staff. All our decisions are built on this, including our commitment to remaining flexible and responsive to our community’s needs as circumstances and recommendations change.
We know our students best thrive when they can learn in the company of peers and teachers. If we can reopen school in a way that supports the health and safety of our community, we know our students will benefit from the effort. Whatever form this may take, we will continue to deliver the Park experience – academic excellence and joy in learning, strong teacher-student relationships, and a committed, caring community.
Community is central to everything we do at Park. With this in mind, we have worked hard to help Park families remain at school despite financial hardship brought on by global pandemic. And, through our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are committed to making Park a place of belonging for all, working together to support racial equity and anti-racism.
Flexibility and the ability to listen and learn – as a community and as individuals – are the core strengths that will make us stronger as we move forward together.
Our Plan: Reopening with a Hybrid Program
Park’s reopening plans are grounded in guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Center for Disease Control, and The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and are underscored by our four guiding priorities:
Preserving the health and safety of our whole community
Supporting community connectivity
Affirming our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism
Delivering Park’s mission through our excellent and innovative academic program
Clustering: To safely return to campus, Park students and teachers will be divided into clusters, keeping subsections of the community isolated from one another to protect the health of the group. Clustering will shape all aspects of the school day from the moment students arrive until the moment they are picked up at the end of the day.
Park’s cluster system, in conjunction with mask wearing, physical distancing, and proper hygiene, severely limits how we use space and time, and how we build our academic schedules. Based on our research, judgment, and the inherent constraints that preserve health and safety, The Park School will reopen with a hybrid schedule for the 2020-21 academic year.
PreK – Grade 5:
Four Days on Campus/All Remote Wednesdays
Community safety depends on our successful commitment to maintaining the integrity of our grade level clusters. While we can confidently contain our PreK through Grade 5 students within their clusters and superclusters without meaningful loss to the program, we believe the challenge of operating in a fully masked, socially distanced way for five consecutive school days is too much for younger students to manage. Teaching remotely on Wednesdays also allows the School to thoroughly clean the facilities, purposefully evaluate the state of health and safety in the School and surrounding community, and give students and teachers a break from the restraints that are inherent while operating in the COVID context.
On Wednesdays, students and teachers will follow a synchronous schedule focused on core curricular content areas and providing space for social-emotional learning and connection.
Remote learning will provide the freedom to work without worrying about masks and physical distancing – a break we believe is essential to our students’ well-being.
Grades 6 – 8:
Two Days on Campus/Three Days off Campus
While PreK – Grade 5 classes are built on a homeroom model that naturally supports the integrity of our cluster system, the academic experience for Grades 6 through 8 requires students to be taught by multiple teachers across the full array of disciplines.
In the hybrid model, half the students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 will learn on campus two days a week — either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday — and remotely the other three days. Because only half the students in each grade will be on campus at a time, those students who are on campus will have the ability to move around the building more safely and teachers will be exposed to fewer students each day. Additionally, critical programs such as World Language, advisory, Growth Education, and student clubs and other activities, which require teacher and student mixing, can happen remotely in the hybrid model.
Students will be assigned an AB schedule (on campus Monday, Tuesday) or a CD schedule (on campus Thursday, Friday), and will follow the same synchronous schedule when they are off campus that they would have followed on campus.
All Remote Wednesdays
Campus Cleaning and Evaluation
With all students and teachers PreK–8 remote on Wednesdays, our Facilities Team will be able to thoroughly clean the building, while Park leadership reviews community health data and evaluates safety measures on campus. In addition, the Wednesday schedule will allow teachers and students to keep their remote teaching and learning tool kits sharp, in preparation for the possible need to shift to an all-remote program in the future.
Preparing for Multiple scenarios
The uncertainties surrounding public health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic will require that our community be prepared for a variety of possibilities. We believe we will be best prepared for new challenges by remaining flexible and adaptable as the situation dictates. While we cannot predict how the coronavirus will continue to impact our community, we will be able to move between a hybrid, remote, and perhaps a fully in-person model while maintaining as much continuity and challenge in the academic program as possible.
The School will be actively monitoring the progression of the disease at the state, county, and local levels as well as within our Park community, and we will make appropriate changes that meet our multiple guiding priorities.
Daily health management
All community members must complete health attestation before morning arrival
Expanded offices for health services
Increased nursing support 8 a.m.–6 p.m. daily
Isolation and contact tracing protocols in place for individuals who become ill
No visitors, including parents, allowed in building
Frequent handwashing for all community members
Improvements to Facilities
Increased cleaning throughout the building and playgrounds
Upgraded air filters and increased frequency for new filters
Touchless water bottle filling stations
Touchless hand sanitizer stations
New signage to indicate clusters and movement
Tents to support teaching and learning happening outdoors
16 students or fewer per classroom cluster
New individual desks to maximize social distancing in classrooms
Movement through building limited by grade-level cluster
Separate grade-level entrances and hallways
Designated by cluster
Limited occupancy at all times
Touchless soap dispensers
Snacks and lunches will be safely packaged and delivered to clusters
Variety of options to support vegetarian diets and food allergies
Pre-packaged lunches will use biodegradable materials to reduce environmental impact
Multiple pick-up and drop-off locations on campus, based on grade level
School-wide consistent start and end time
Currently evaluating whether school provided transportation will be offered
ASP will take place in the Main Building to keep grade-based clusters intact
Enrollment will be capped by grade
If ASP cannot take place, deposits will be fully refunded
Based on our research, judgment, and the inherent constraints that preserve health and safety, we have decided to reopen The Park School with a hybrid schedule.
Before school opens, a few tips to help your children know what to expect.