Friday Letter: June 5, 2020
Dear WDS Friends and Families,
I wanted to give an update on progress being made on our plans for the 2020/21 school year. We are awaiting official health and safety guidelines from the state of NY, but are able to draw on CDC guidelines, as well as on other state’s plans to get a sense of what our school day will look like.
The truth is, the more we have learned in this exercise, the more we see that Woodstock Day School is uniquely set up to address many of the challenges we will face. Make no mistake – campus life will look different. It would be unfair to gloss over that reality. But we have acres of outdoor space to utilize for outdoor classrooms. The requirement of limiting class size is already one of our bedrock philosophies. And many classes are already divided into separate buildings.
The work we’re doing to plan for fall sometimes feels slow-going, but it’s deliberative. We are drawing from the most relevant, credible resources, and are proceeding thoughtfully. It’s clear that our teachers and staff are up to this challenge – they were able to completely re-envision our school experience in a few days in March. Now we have a little more time to sort out what worked and what needs more thought.
Of course, as we all know, world events can change everything in a single moment. We are working to be prepared for any contingencies.
Some highlights of progress this week:
- The task force has been working in a Google Classroom, which has allowed us to become familiar with the platform and begin considering best practices for integrating it into each classroom. Any integration of a virtual classroom will look differently, clearly, across grade levels. Our goal is to use technology meaningfully, thoughtfully. Not as a necessary evil, but as a supplement to learning.
- We welcomed Jackie Kellachan to the task force in the Health and Safety working group. She is not only an expert in outbreaks who has worked with NY State DOH and NYC DOH, but she is also a former 10-year member of the WDS board of trustees. Her expertise and input will be invaluable.
- We have continued gathering information and sifting through resources. We have attended virtual conferences and meetings. We are connecting the dots.
I will continue to keep you updated as much as possible. And, in the meantime, feel free to peruse the CDC Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Child Care Programs, HERE.
Stay well and make happiness a habit.
Head of School