2020 Fall School Reopening Plan
July 30, 2020
Goshen Friends School is planning to re-open its doors for the 2020-21 school year on August 24, 2020. However, we continue to monitor the public health situation in our area. Increases in community spread of Covid-10 may require us to change our plans. This would be done to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff. Please stay tuned to this webpage for updates.
General Re-opening Information
At this time, Goshen Friends School is planning to begin our new school year full-time and with all students present on the days they are scheduled to attend. We are able to do this because we can achieve 6 feet of social distance, whether we are outside (which is what we will plan to do as much as possible) or inside (where we have ample room to accommodate all children who are currently enrolled). Our first day of school is Monday, August 24, 2020.
It is important to note, however, that we would not re-open on August 24 if state and local public health officials determine that infection rates in our area have increased to a level where re-opening is not safe. This would of course include a scenario where the governor orders schools to close or issues another stay-at-home order. We are staying abreast of all developments on many levels, including local school districts, and will continue to follow the recommendations from the Chester County Health Department and the state departments of health and education.
A general overview of next year’s schedule can be accessed here. This overview explains how the school will proceed in the event that school is closed any time during the 2020-21 school year. Please note that if we cannot open as planned on August 24 (for example, due to a state closure or high infection rates), we will delay our start date to a time when opening is safe and allowed. In this scenario, school will simply be closed until further notice, with no distance learning offered to begin the year.
Health and Safety Plan
The school’s Health and Safety subcommittee has completed the school’s Health and Safety plan, which has been approved by the school’s General Committee. This plan is based on a template created by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and includes the school’s protocols for cleaning and disinfecting, monitoring student and staff health, social distancing and face coverings. Goshen’s new procedures are based on guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Chester County Health Department.
We consider the school-home connection to be a partnership where the common goal is to protect all members of our school community. We appreciate the support of all – students, parents, extended family, teachers, staff, General Committee members and friends of the school – in the carrying out of these procedures.
We are asking families to consider that the precautions you take in everyday life will ultimately help protect the people your children connect with at school each day. While your child is enrolled in any program at Goshen, we respectfully ask that you:
* Keep abreast of and avoid travel to regions or cities with high rates of infection. The CDC currently advises that Americans should not travel internationally.
* Please note that the Pennsylvania Department of Health is recommending that travelers should quarantine for 14 days after visiting certain states that are reporting high rates of infection. Click here for more information.
* Before coming onto campus, report to the Head of School at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have traveled recently to "hot spots", if you have traveled internationally or if you or anyone in your family is suspected of having or has tested positive for COVID-19.
* Follow the state order for wearing a mask when in public.
* Avoid large gatherings, especially those held indoors or when social distancing is not possible.
As it has always been, if you, your child or anyone else in your family is sick or seems to be getting sick, please do not bring him or her to school. We have developed a screening tool for families to review prior to coming onto campus every. Upon arrival, we will ask you to report on the results of the screening tool. We will then take the temperature of everyone in the car. If anyone in the car has symptoms of illness or an elevated temperature, the entire group will be sent home.
Goshen Friends School will plan to be outdoors as much as possible in the coming school year. When weather permits, children will spend their entire mornings outside, going into their designated classrooms only to use the bathroom and in the event of inclement weather (for example, heavy rain, stormy conditions, bitter cold, high winds, extreme heat, ice). As the weather gets colder, we will continue to be outdoors as much as possible, but will be prepared to move indoors when necessary.
There are many advantages to being outside. It is much easier to achieve a minimum of 6 feet of space between people, and research shows that the coronavirus is diluted in fresh air. But there are other benefits. Children need fresh air and exercise. Being outside sparks their creative spirit, curiosity, sense of wonder, and desire to explore.
This pandemic has brought about many changes, but in this case, it has presented us with an opportunity to be innovative. To that end, the teachers will be working closely throughout the year to adapt our curriculum to the great outdoors. We have 10 beautiful acres at our fingertips, with several designated areas (stations) for classes to rotate through each day.
As the school year gets closer, we will offer more direction for families on how to support the new routines. For example, every child will need to keep a seasonal change of clothes and outer wear at school. So as not to bog the children down with things, and to eliminate the handling of personal belongings, we are asking families not to send their children to school with backpacks this year.
According to the order, face coverings are required when people are "outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet from individuals who are not members of their household," and "in any indoor location where members of the public are generally permitted."
Everyone coming onto our campus – parents, students, teachers and staff, and other visitors – will be required to wear a face covering. The state offers answers to questions regarding the order here.
As we will be outdoors as much as possible, we anticipate children will not need to wear their face coverings for duration of the day. However, there will be situations in which students will be required to wear a face covering:
...in car line, at drop-off and pick-up. Face coverings will be stored in a labeled, individually marked bag when not in use;
...when going inside to use the bathroom;
...when going inside to avoid inclement weather;
...when teachers determine that 6 feet of social distance cannot be maintained, whether indoors or outdoors.
In an abundance of caution, we have cancelled all community events at Goshen Friends School at least for the first half of the year. As the situation evolves, we will re-evaluate our calendar and add or subtract events as needed. This was a difficult decision, as the social connections between students, families and staff are vital to our mission. Please be assured that this was decision borne from our commitment to the health and welfare of all in our community.
Here is a calendar of events for next year. We will update it as needed and share it on our website and in the Goshen Weekly e-newsletter.
A few calendar highlights:
There will be no formal orientation to start the school year. However, new students will have an opportunity to meet their teachers one-on-one or in small groups during the 2 weeks leading up to the first day of school. These dates have not been determined, and will depend upon the schedule of our teachers who are awaiting schedules for their own children. Thank you for your understanding, and please look forward to those dates and times in separate email.
Because students will stay with their classmates full-time and not mix with students from other classes, at this time, we are not planning to hold any school day collaborative events (All-School gatherings, Friendship Feast, Fiesta, etc.). We hope to add some back into the calendar if it is safe later in the school year.
We have left several events in the calendar in the second half of the school year that we may have to cancel if necessary. They include:
Valentine’s Dance Party
Friends Day Spring Concerts
Clothesline Art Show and Potluck Picnic
End-of-Year Picnic at East Goshen Park
Due to recommendations to keep classes separate from one another, there will be two major changes in our Extended Care program next year:
- No morning care will be offered
- Lunch Bunch and later care will be offered on designated days to specific classes. The days will be designated according to demand.