1: Start of School- Fall 2020
The Gardner School of Arts & Sciences is prioritizing in person learning. We know that students learn best when connected to a community, and we believe that starting the year with a focus on relationship building, community connection, and social and emotional well being is important for our students and teachers to have a strong start to the school year. While we know we could shift to hybrid and remote learning models throughout the year, the connections we make at the start of the year will allow for these transitions to go smoother and learning to continue to happen.
Gardner can open in the fall with all students on campus while remaining compliant with state guidelines. That said, if the Department of Health determines we need to return to remote learning for a period of time due to an outbreak, we are required to comply with the order.
Current requirements are that K-8 students and staff should maintain a distance of 6 feet. For our EC program, it is recommended to increase distancing, while understanding the challenges of doing so with young learners. We will be re-organizing classroom spaces and using our outdoor areas as needed to provide for safe spacing and teaching students to observe physical distance in fun, age appropriate ways.
Current guidelines require K-12 students, staff, and visitors in all schools in Washington to wear masks. We recognize the need to strike a balance between safety and social-emotional well being, and our teachers can support students’ comfort in the classroom. Our plan provides children and staff with regular mask breaks while maintaining physical distancing. Wearing a mask does not take the place of physical distancing, and both are currently required by the guidelines for K-8 students. These requirements will remain in effect until updated by OSPI and DCYF.
No, per DCYF requirements, preschoolers will not have to wear masks. If a family would like their child to wear a mask or a face shield in the preschool classroom, our teachers will support this in a positive way. Preschool teachers are expected to wear masks.
At this point, masks are required for K-8 students in all Washington schools. Students will need to provide their own masks, have enough to wear a clean one each day, and need an extra at school in case one needs to be replaced. The Gardner School will provide masks in the event of occasional forgetfulness, but we suggest families find cloth masks to fit their child and personalize them in a way that makes the child feel comfortable wearing it. Later this summer, we will provide examples of options that have worked well for other families, as well as videos and educational support to help your child get adjusted to wearing a mask before school starts. If your family has found success with a particular style or brand, we welcome your feedback so we can share with others!
While procedures and policies are changing in response to COVID-19, our dedication to creating a school environment that celebrates the individual, while creating a sense of community on campus, remains. Our commitment to creative, child-centered, and progressive education influences all decisions made for the school, including our return to campus plans. We will continue to communicate with families throughout the summer, and are creating several ways for families to access information and updates. Stay tuned!
All staff, faculty, and students will be required to complete this daily symptom check prior to their arrival on campus. Symptoms include any of the following: cough, fever over 100.4 degrees, and shortness of breath. Additionally, close contact with anyone suspected or confirmed COVID-19 must be reported. Staff will provide ongoing monitoring for visible signs of illness during drop-off and throughout the school day and will take appropriate action if necessary. More information about how the daily symptom check can be completed will be shared as soon as we have the protocol outlined.