First Day of School
Due to the new protocols that will be implemented this year, we will be instituting two partial days of Student Orientation prior to the first day of school so that students and educators can get acclimated to the expectations, and the Educational Leadership Team can identify areas that need to be updated, if any. Student Orientation will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, September 2nd and 3rd. Students in K-8 will be invited in on one of those two days. Ganon 3’s and 4’s will meet their teachers briefly on those days outside of students’ homes. Tots will meet their teachers outside of their students’ homes on September 10th. We are excited to welcome K-8 students back to campus for the first full day of school on Tuesday, September 8th. Ganon classes will begin on September 9th. The Tots phase-in period will begin on September 14th.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
As we have communicated, this is a high priority for our Educational Leadership Team as we develop our academic program for the upcoming year. Under the guidance of Dr. Naomi Adler and Mrs. Suzie Marder, the school is developing a plan to be shared prior to September to help parents prepare their children - and themselves - for reentering school, a curriculum related to key elements of the effects of COVID-19 on well-being, and mechanisms to monitor the social-emotional well-being of students and educators.
Schedules are being prepared to minimize potential student and educator exposure to COVID-19. The schedules are being created in a way that they can also be applied to a remote learning environment, the goal being to maintain consistency and smooth transitions. Ganon cohorts will operate like classes in a typical year with two teachers per cohort. In elementary grades, depending on the number of cohorts, a set number of teachers will rotate through the cohorts. The number of teachers that a student can interact with and the number of students a teacher can interact with will be the determining factor. PE will be taught in-person in a large area where social distancing can be practiced, or on Zoom if social distancing isn’t possible. Learning Center specialists will be working with students. Mamaroneck services will be offered in a manner compliant with NYS and the Mamaroneck District guidance. We are working on a plan for other outside providers. There will be frequent mask and movement breaks (as students will be spending most of the day in one classroom). Twice per month, school will end a little early so that teachers can meet to assess the educational program.
Co-Curricular Activities, Major Events, and Parent Evenings
There will not be any sports teams in the Fall. There may be Debate Team and Torah Bowl conducted on Zoom and there could be other inter-school online competitions developed as a result of the current situation. Specials during the day might occur on Zoom or outside. After-school activities will take place on Zoom. Large signature events such as Chag HaSiddur and Chag HaTorah will have Zoom and live components assuming the NYS guidelines allow for it. Meet the Teachers Night and Parent Teacher Conferences will take place on Zoom. There will not be any field trips planned until we can determine if we are able to travel and also maintain our protocols.
Lunch and Snack
WDS will provide lunch and snack (snacks for Tots-5th grade) and they will be eaten either in classrooms or outdoors if weather permits. We are exploring companies that prepare healthy, varied, and nut-free individually-boxed lunches for every student. There will be more information forthcoming once a vendor is secured.
As a commitment to capitalize on our campus to the fullest extent possible, the playgrounds will be used and then sanitized after each cohort’s use. Every child will use hand sanitizer before and after being on the playground.
Arrival and Dismissal
Arrival will take place from 8:00am-9:00am. Parents will be divided into 3-4 sections of 15-20 minutes each. We will bring students into school through multiple entryways. Every person entering school will have their temperature checked, and no one will be allowed to enter without having submitted a screening form. Dismissal for Ganon-8th grade will take place from 3:00PM-4:00PM (Tots at 1:00PM). On Fridays, dismissal will begin at 12:45PM. These protocols will continue to be developed throughout the summer.
Carpools will be allowed, but they must remain static, with no changes permitted. Drivers are required to take every precaution possible during the drive. Masks must be worn, windows should be open (weather permitting), and children should refrain from contact if possible. Since, for most families, car rides to school are longer than 15 minutes and there is not enough room for social distancing, if one member of the carpool tests positive for COVID-19, all carpool members will have to quarantine for 14 days, even if all carpool members have been wearing masks. Wearing masks, however, could mean that other carpool members won’t actually contract COVID-19.
District busing will follow the NYS guidelines when they are issued. We have not finalized a private busing contract yet and will update you on that process in the coming weeks.
No visitors, including parents, will be allowed in school unless there is an emergency. In case of emergency, visitors must call the office ahead of time to receive instructions.
Individual Students Learning Remotely
For students in K-8 who are either under quarantine or whose families have chosen remote learning rather than in-person learning, the classrooms will be retrofitted to enable participation in classroom learning as well as the capability to ask questions and engage in class discussions with classmates and the teacher. Students in Ganon will be invited to participate in elements of the day's learning. This is an accomodation that will be limited to COVID-19-related individuals.
If the school switches to remote learning, we will build off of the successes of our spring experience as well as incorporate the feedback we received from the parent survey. We are designing a full day in-person schedule that can be implemented at home with some modifications. The school hours, amount of instructional time, independent work time and downtime will remain mostly constant while making adjustments to account for screen-time and the teaching considerations of educators. The Ganon schedule will be adjusted. We will balance our understanding of how difficult it is for children that age to be successfully engaged on Zoom, and the burden it puts on parents, with a desire to maintain connections and routines so that returning to school will be as seamless as possible. Just like on-campus learning, our priority for remote learning will be to have a robust curriculum that strives to provide our students with a high level of engagement with both the material and their teachers. We will continue to provide parents ongoing feedback about student progress. The faculty is taking a range of professional development classes that are designed to maximize teaching in any context and under current conditions, in addition to courses that would be offered in any typical summer. Courses include: Apart Together: Strategies to Inspire Connection & Joy in the Age of Covid-19, Fairy Dust Teaching: Teaching Young Children Virtually Bootcamp, Practicing the Pedagogy of Partnership, Kagan Cooperative Learning, and many others.