Scenario Planning for the 2020-2021 School Year

(Posted 5/21/20)

Dear Sheridan Families,

It’s hard to believe we are just two weeks away from the end of the school year. The past three months have been a whirlwind as we have joined together to support our students and each other. This is certainly not how I had hoped to close out our year together, and I hope you all find small ways to mark the end of this incredible school year and celebrate the beginning of the summer. I know I will miss being able to wish you a very happy summer in person. 

As we head into the holiday weekend, I know many of you have next year on your mind. I want to take a moment now to provide as much information as I can, even though much remains unsettled. What I can tell you with certainty is that we are committed to providing a challenging and joyful educational experience for our students next year and and to preserving and supporting our community in every way that we can.

Returning to School: Four Scenarios

The 2020-2021 school year will begin on September 8th as planned. Currently, we are developing comprehensive plans for our return to school based on four different scenarios. Our priority is doing everything we reasonably and safely can to hold school in person for as much of the year as possible

Our scenario planning is guided by the following assumptions: 

  • The local DMV area will continue to be affected by COVID-19 into the 2020-2021 school year
  • Government regulations and health agency recommendations may, at times, impose operating restrictions
  • Every aspect of our school, including our physical campus, our academic calendar, daily schedules, programming, and social habits, will require modifications based on guidance from national and local health officials, such as physical distancing, wellness checks, masks, frequent disinfecting of classrooms, and intermittent transitions to distance learning
  • Because we will not be returning to a pre-COVID “normal” for some time, our program and operations will need to be flexible and prioritize strong teacher-student connections
  • Each scenario may need to be modified to accommodate new guidelines. 

The four scenarios against which we are planning include: 

Scenario A: All Together

Scenario A is to welcome all of our students, faculty and staff back to our campus on September 8th. Spaces, schedules and procedures would be reimagined to accommodate social distancing and other health and safety requirements, and every member of the community would follow specific health precautions in accordance with local and federal guidance and best practices. Examples of possible requirements include temperature checks and hand sanitizing before entering the building, mask-wearing, eliminating or reducing shared materials, modifying lunch delivery, expanding cleaning protocols and more. 

Scenario B: Blended Learning 

In this scenario, some community members  may not be comfortable returning on September 8th, or families may be in quarantine/isolation for periods of time during the year due to circumstances related to COVID-19. To meet the needs of students in these cases, classrooms would be equipped with cameras and the students would be provided with learning materials to allow them to remain connected to their class and to complete their work from home.

Scenario C: Staggered Scheduling

While our hope is to achieve social distancing in the classroom with all students on campus every day, we’re planning for the possibility that government guidelines may change to require us to have fewer students on campus at one time. To prepare for that scenario, we are exploring alternate schedules that allow our students to rotate on and off campus at different times (e.g. alternate mornings and afternoons or days of the week). 

Scenario D: Intermittent Distance Learning

In our fourth scenario, we are preparing for the possibility of a spike in COVID-19 cases in the local community that forces us to close our campus and immediately shift to distance learning. We have been grateful for your feedback throughout these past few months and will incorporate it as we continue advancing and enhancing our distance learning to be ready for the times when it may be needed to ensure the continued health and safety of our community. 

As we continue our planning, we will keep you updated. In addition to the regular summer communications that will be sent to you by email on June 15, July 15 and August 15, we will announce any decisions we make as soon as possible to keep you informed. Regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in on September 8th, we will be ready to welcome your family to the 2020-2021 school year with confidence and joy! 

I hope you and everyone you love stays well and that you enjoy this holiday weekend. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.