Coronavirus Planning Update — 3/13/20

Dear Sheridan Parents,

First, thank you for your support and patience as we navigate circumstances that are unprecedented for our school and our larger community. A fellow head of school shared three wishes written by one of her students that I hope can serve as a guiding force for all of us during these uncertain times: “May you be calm, may you be safe, and may you be kind.”

REMOTE LEARNING PLAN

Today, our faculty and staff are meeting to collaborate on learning delivery plans for each grade, gather materials to send home, and receive training as needed on systems that will be used for remote learning. On Monday, they will spend the day preparing lessons and readying them for online delivery.

On Monday evening, you will receive an email from Lower School Head Kelly Nelson and/or Middle School Head Jay Briar with a detailed description of the remote learning plan for your child. Remote learning will begin on Tuesday, March 17th, and continue until noon on Friday, March 20th, when we will break for Spring Break. While we continue to hope that we will return to Sheridan immediately after Spring Break, if our campus remains closed remote learning will begin again on Monday, March 30th.

To help you plan, below are some logistical details we can share now:

  • Each day’s learning plan will be posted to the respective grade’s classroom blog by 8am every morning. In addition, an email with the plan will be sent to all parents (and to students in Grades 5-8) at 8 am.

  • The daily learning plans and what they encompass will be different for each grade. In general, teachers are doing their best to provide assignments and activities that:

    • Move forward the learning goals of the class

    • Include varied, fun, creative, and kinesthetic activities

    • Provide opportunities for collaboration and group work (Middle School)

    • Reflect our awareness that families will be navigating challenges at home based on work schedules, child care, elder care and myriad other concerns

    • Follow the already-established class schedule (e.g. if the class has science on Tuesdays and Thursdays, science work will be assigned on Tuesday and Thursday)

LEARNING MATERIALS AND LAPTOP DISTRIBUTION

We are asking every family to send one parent or caregiver (with a backpack or a totebag) to Sheridan TODAY between 3pm and 6pm to pick up: 1) a learning packet for your child and 2) if in Grades 3-8, a Chromebook and charger. We are strongly advising students to use their school-issued Chromebook since it will allow us to provide better technical support as well as the school’s content filter and other online supervision.

When you arrive at school, you will be directed to your child’s homeroom to pick up their materials. Please help us limit the number of people in the school and honor recommendations for social distancing by sending only one person to the classroom to pick up your child’s materials and leaving the building immediately afterwards. We are more than happy to answer any questions you have about our closure or distance learning by phone or by email.

If it is impossible for you to come to Sheridan today between 3pm-6pm, please contact me to make alternative arrangements.

PUBLIC LIBRARY ACCOUNTS

If you or your child does not have a public library account and you have the ability to go to your local public library in the next day or so to establish one, we encourage you to do so. Generally you need to appear in person and show identification to establish an account. Even if the public libraries close, an account will give your child access to a wealth of resources such as e-books, instructional videos and other resources your child’s teachers may recommend they use.

CONFERENCES

Conferences previously scheduled for today will be held by phone on Thursday, March 19th at the same times as the conferences you had scheduled (e.g. if you were scheduled for a Math conference today at 2:00pm with Brian Ceci, Mr. Ceci will call you at 2:00pm on Thursday). We recognize this may not work in every case and will be reaching out to the affected families by Tuesday to confirm what is possible.

Families in Grades K-4 who have not had a conference yet, please note that you will receive your child’s Literacy Continuum in the learning packet that you pick up today. Your child’s teachers will review the continuum with you when they speak with you on Thursday.

FOOD SERVICES

Later today, local school authorities in DC, Maryland and Virginia are expected to provide locations for food services for families who are affected by school closures. Sheridan families are eligible to participate in these free meals programs and we will share the locations of designated distribution centers in our next communication, after the locations are announced.

FACULTY AND STAFF AVAILABILITY

In general, our academic staff will be available by email between 8:30am-4:00pm on normal work days. If during our closure period, an issue arises that requires a meeting with your child’s teachers or staff, we will work with you to arrange a time to meet by phone or videoconference.

Our operational staff will also be available by email or phone throughout our closure. On Monday, you will receive a “Who to Contact” email that will provide you with a list of Sheridan staff and the best way to contact them if you have questions that fall outside of academics and learning, such as billing, tuition, health reporting, etc…

PLAYGROUND ACCESS

Sheridan’s Playground will continue to follow its normal opening/closing hours, however we are seeking guidance on whether further restrictions are necessary, based on social distancing recommendations. For the time being, the playground will be available for use between 6pm-7:30pm on weekdays and between 8am-7:30pm on weekends. If circumstances or guidance changes and we close the playground, we will let you know.

ILLNESS NOTIFICATION

Even though Sheridan’s campus is closed, please continue to notify Sheridan nurse Annie Wilcoxen if you or any member of your family is experiencing concerning symptoms or has had known exposure to COVID-19.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

We will continue to update you by email throughout the coming days. We also are working on communications to provide you with suggestions and resources for navigating some of the issues that may arise as your children learn from home, including healthy social interactions, stress management, supportive friendships, school and parental monitoring of electronic devices and cabin fever!

You can also find key information on the Coronavirus page of our website, which is accessible on the front page of the website and through the Sheridan app.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by email or by phone at 202-507-7741.

Warmly,

Jessica