Dear Aidan Families,
This week, the Reopening Task Force recommended to the School’s Board of Trustees that Aidan Montessori School open with a Hybrid Learning Program. Under the Hybrid Program, Aidan will utilize alternating pod groupings of Primary and Elementary students to reduce the number of people on campus each week. The Board last night unanimously approved this recommendation and the school will move forward with its preparations to reopen its doors for in-person learning on November 9th.
The Decision-Making Process
The decision-making process focused on three things:
1. The Public Health Situation
The Reopening Task Force is tracking multiple metrics from multiple sources. The rolling 7-day average of new cases is a metric that we have weighed the most heavily. As this number goes down, most of the other metrics respond. As new cases decrease, the availability of testing increases, testing turnaround time decreases, available hospital beds increase and more. Over the past few weeks, the rolling 7-day average has been on a relatively steady downward trend, and we believe this trend will continue into November although we will continue to monitor the situation closely.
2. The Standard of Care
This refers to the “standard of care” that is informally set when other organizations or individuals behave in certain ways. In our case, government officials and, more importantly, public schools had declared the public health situation to be unsafe for children to return to schools. This was also true of the majority of our independent school peers. The standard of care has changed over the past couple of weeks with both public and independent schools announcing plans to bring students back to campus at an appropriate time.
3. The Readiness of the School
As you are likely aware, the School has had a Reopening Plan in place for quite a while now. We have new windows, HEPA filters, and box fans that have been calculated to refresh the air in the building at high rates. We also now have a full-time School Nurse. We have plans in place for physical distancing, personal protective equipment, hand washing, and the disinfecting and cleaning of materials and the building.
Our operational readiness, coupled with considerations around current health metrics and recent changes in the standard of care, gives us confidence to announce our intention right now. We will continue to track public health in the lead up to November 9th, and will inform you immediately if this plan should change.
Once we begin to welcome students back to the campus, our operations may still be impacted by any changes in public health and community metrics. For example, we may need to quarantine a pod or close down for a deep cleaning should COVID-19 affect our community in one way or another. Our dedicated team has spent many hours creating an action plan to address the issues above. We have worked very hard to learn more than we ever could have imagined about this virus and how schools have succeeded and fallen short in their responses to it. We feel that these lessons put us in good stead as we take these steps forward together.
Family Attendance Survey
To help us prepare for our Hybrid Program opening in November, we ask that each family click the button below to complete a quick survey. Please complete one survey per child by no later than Friday, October 16. This will allow the School to make any adjustments to pod groupings prior to their announcement on October 21.
Reopening Information Meetings & Dates
In order for your family to feel comfortable to return to in-person classes at Aidan under the Hybrid Learning Program, we will be providing you with several opportunities to learn more about the school’s plans and how best to prepare. Please be on the lookout for invitations and mark your calendars for virtual meetings that will cover the logistics of opening the building as well as the academic program that you may anticipate. These meetings will be recorded and available following each session.
Wednesday, October 14
- 7:00 PM: Community Zoom with the Reopening Task Force to review our recently released Reopening Handbook and to discuss the logistics of opening the building. (RTF Community Zoom Meeting Link)
Wednesday, October 21
- 8:00 AM: Pod groupings and schedules will be sent to families via email.
- 7:00 PM: Lower School Teach-In for families with Ms. Merkel. This session will focus on the Academic program, schedules, pods, modifications, etc. (Lower School Zoom Meeting Link)
- 8:00 PM: Upper School Teach-in for families with Mr. Purse. This session will focus on the Academic program, schedules, pods, modifications, etc. (Upper School Zoom Meeting Link)
Friday, November 6
- Non-teaching day for teachers and staff to finish setting up their rooms and prepare the building for students' return. There will be no virtual classes on this day.
Monday, November 9
- Aidan Montessori School re-opens using its Hybrid Program.
In addition to the above, we have a series of videos planned, especially for children, so that we may all start to envision the differences that we will all encounter in this new iteration of our beloved school. Leading up to reopening, there will also be discussions and instruction for children during their online classes. Once in-person learning begins, classes will start with daily lessons and reminders about safe practices.
This year has been one for the books. The rollercoaster of stress, sorrow, challenge, exasperation, and – sometimes – successes is like one I’ve never experienced. Our community is a strong one, and I cannot wait for us to begin reconvening again, on any level. Together with your help and participation, we look forward to a successful and safe opening of Aidan’s school doors.
We look forward to sharing more of our plans with you in the coming weeks.
Head of School