Dear Shaker Road School Families,
Wrapping up 2019-2020
We are putting together the final pieces for the 2019-2020 school year. What a year it has been. We take great pride in what our Shaker community has accomplished this year, particularly considering the unprecedented challenges we faced. Hopefully you follow SRS on social media to watch how much our community has accomplished. We were able to quickly pivot and adapt. Though not perfect and never better than being together in school, it has been remarkable how we preserved the best of education and community. It has not been easy on any of us, so a sincere thank you to teachers, support staff, parents, and most importantly the students. A screen free summer will be well-deserved.
In the next two weeks, we will complete classes, but we still have a full week in June before school breaks for the summer. In addition to a busy academic enrichment schedule for the week, we have a few celebrations to enjoy. On June 1, we will recognize the accomplishments of our middle school students at the annual Student Recognition Ceremony. Unlike a traditional awards ceremony, students are recognized for a wide range of accomplishments. On June 2, we will celebrate with our kindergarten students as they graduate to first grade. On June 4, we honor this special 8th grade class at graduation and also say goodbye to our 9th grade class. These students are heading to great schools next year, and we expect great things from them.
Moving Forward 2020-2021
We are still waiting for more details from the Governor’s office regarding Shaker’s summer session, “Camp Shaker”, but we plan to enjoy a beautiful and safe summer with fun and games on campus. Tutorial and music lessons are also available. I hope to see you here at SRS by mid-June.
We know you have questions and concerns about returning to school in the fall. As this situation is an ever-evolving, the following information is preliminary and will likely change some in the coming months. More concrete details will be shared during the summer and as the school year approaches. The goal of this email is to provide you with our current thinking and planning, as we prepare to start the year in school on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Again, this is to provide you with our current thinking, and so you know we are working hard to be back on campus in September.
Student Health and Safety
Health and safety precautions will be of paramount importance beginning the school year. To prevent community infection of Covid-19 at SRS, we will follow best practices for physical distancing, cleaning, and sanitation as outlined by the CDC, WHO, and in compliance with state and federal regulations. We regularly attend webinars from these organizations and our accrediting organization (New England Association of Schools & Colleges) and communicate with other school officials to share plans for reopening. We are quite fortunate to have many parents with medical expertise who continue to be invaluable as we manage this fluid situation. We will utilize all resources available to us in our planning and preparations.
Academic and School Life
As has occurred in schools that have reopened in other countries, our current planning includes, whenever feasible, further reducing our already small classes to maximize the physical distance among people on campus. Students in all grades will likely have designated desks not used by others and remain in their classrooms much of the day. “Specials” teachers (i.e. art, music, Spanish, library) will travel to classrooms instead of students traveling to them. Students will also eat lunch in their classrooms, if unable to eat outside, for as long as necessary. Large indoor school gatherings will unfortunately not occur until it is safe. Fortunately, with our expansive campus, we have opportunities to be outside and remain a safe distance from others. We are also planning to utilize space differently on campus. For example, the auditorium could become two classrooms if necessary.
Arrival and entry to school will also be different with daily wellness checks upon arrival. We are working on plans for safe curbside drop-off and continue to acquire additional equipment (e.g. thermometers and masks) for student, faculty, and visitor use. Cleaning and sanitation of classroom spaces, hallways, bathrooms, and other locations will increase significantly and occur throughout the day. School personnel will receive additional training to ensure proper cleaning and sanitation. Routine behavior will also change significantly. Students will be required to wash and sanitize hands frequently, possibly wear masks, and remain physically apart. The details of these requirements will be shared with you before school reopens in September, as they continue to be updated by the CDC and other organizations.
Our goal is to provide a full educational, co-curricular, and social experience for students considering the restrictions demanded by the Covid-19 crisis. We have learned a lot this spring and are prepared to quickly pivot again should the need arise. All plans include a “hybrid” model, allowing students to remain at home and receive the academic curriculum offered in school. Initial steps to achieve this include moving computers from the Technology Lab to classrooms to enable students to be “present” in class from home. Additionally, the faculty and administration will spend considerable time during the summer months examining this spring’s remote learning experience to make changes and improvements to in-person, hybrid, and remote learning. We have appreciated the feedback we have received and will consider all information as we adapt and improve our practices.
Extracurricular Activities and Athletics
We are also working on plans for fall athletic and club experiences should team sports and activities not be available or safe. Students will be polled for ideas and preferences during the summer months. Though traditional fall sports may not be possible, though we hold out hope, we have many options for fun and healthy activities on our campus, including golf, running, hiking, and maybe mountain biking. Middle school fall trips likely will not happen this year, but alternatives will be offered during the second week of school to provide similar curricula and experience. Again, we will provide more information in the coming months.
Family cooperation will be key to our ability to remain in school and be healthy and safe. Our Parent & Student Handbook will be updated to include guidelines and expectations considering the Covid-19 crisis. Because we will not be at school on nights and weekends, we must all continue to be careful to keep the community safe and well. We thank everyone in advance for taking this situation seriously.
As we all know, this is a fluid situation. It seems that age old best practices remain, like washing hands and maintaining physical separation. Other practices, including when and how to use masks, continue to be investigated and debated. We will continue to follow the changes and adjust as necessary to protect everyone in the community.
Have a wonderful and healthy summer. We will be in touch in the coming months as we learn more details and finalize planning for the fall. I look forward to seeing you soon.