Providing a quality education during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for schools across the globe. To provide the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual needs of each child and to care for the health and wellbeing of the community as a whole has created a new challenge. In the Summer of 2020, RWS assembled a task force to develop best practices for navigating the 20-21 school year, and we are proud to have had such a healthy and successful school year, with no COVID transmissions occurring in our community, and continuous instruction for our students.
As we enter the 21-22 school year, COVID-19 continues to evolve and our Task Force continues its work to stay up-to-date on changes as we navigate the 2021-2022 school year, variant strains, and vaccination. This virus continues to evolve, and our school is committed to implementing, adapting, and upholding our policies based on the guidelines of CDC, VA Dept of Health, and VA Dept of Education.
While we know that COVID-19 will continue to impact our community for the foreseeable future, we have been inspired by the resilience, dedication, and creativity of our teachers, administrators, parents, and students to rise up in these uncertain times.
Changes to the Learning Environment:
- Socially Distanced Classrooms& Cohorts – Desks are spaced at least 3 feet apart from one another. Our large windows are opened to increase airflow as well as upgraded HVAC filtration when learning indoors. Each classroom is defined as a ‘cohort’ that stays together throughout the school day. Cohorts will avoid intermingling of students as much as possible.
- Outdoor Learning – Outdoor learning spaces across campus will continue to be utilized for program instruction, mealtimes and other meeting times.
- Re-Thinking Shared Supplies – Academic and artistic supplies are provided to each student and stored individually.
- Reimagining Group Learning – Group learning activities like circle games, plays, etc, have been modified so that children are maintaining social distance and yet still experiencing the hands-on movement and activities that enrich their learning.
Health and Safety Policies and Procedures:
- Testing before School Starts – Prior to the start of the school year, all students and staff are required to take a PCR test within 5 days of the start of school, August 26, 2021
- Universal Mask Use – All students, faculty, and visitors must wear a mask when on campus. Masks are removed only if outside and social distancing can be maintained. Face shields are provided to faculty.
- Temperature Checks – Parents should ensure their child does not have a temperature of 100.4 degrees before arriving each day. Staff will check each child’s temperature from their vehicle each day upon arrival.
- Hygiene and Handwashing – We’ve increased our hygiene for regular, frequent hand washing and sanitizing in all classes and offices. We’ve installed no-touch faucets in the bathrooms, and have moderated the flow of students and staff in hallways during transitions.
- Cleaning – Staff frequently sanitize high-touch surfaces throughout the day. We’ve also worked with our janitorial staff and cleaning supply companies to ensure CDC guidelines are followed for products, as well as increased cleaning of classrooms, bathrooms, and common areas. UV wands also assist in killing germs such as viruses.
- Limiting Visitors and Parents in Building – All visitors complete a health screen before arrival and wear masks. Parents are not entering the building for pick-up and drop-off. We’ve transitioned regular community gatherings and festivals to the virtual realm.
- Symptom Monitoring – We collectively agree to monitor our own symptoms and our family’s symptoms for possible signs of COVID-19 exposure. Illnesses are treated seriously and students are asked to not come to school when feeling ill. A negative COVID test may be required in some instances to return to school for on-campus learning.
- In the event of multiple positive COVID cases in a class or in the school, it may be determined that one or more classrooms need to be closed while staff/students are in quarantine. RWS has prepared the following contingency plans for academic instruction in the event of a classroom closure. The Director of Administration will determine when it is necessary to enact a Contingency Plan and communicate with the community as soon as possible if a change occurs.
- Incident-Specific Closures – Should Richmond Waldorf School determine that we need to close school for a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, we will consider this incident specific. In this instance, time off will be non-instructional time and lost instruction time will be made up via designated make-up days on the calendar.
- Temporary Distance Learning -– In the event of multiple positive cases within a designated area of the school, the Director of Administration may determine
that a class must temporarily transition to distance learning while in quarantine.
RWS is prepared to deliver a distance learning program (Google Classroom,
synchronous, and asynchronous content) for Grades 1 through 8 to maintain
continuity in instruction until the class can return to campus.
AWSNA=Association of Waldorf Schools of North America;
CDC=Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
SAIS=Southern Association of Independent Schools;
VCPE=Virginia Council for Private Education.
This page and the policies outlined within were updated on August 13, 2021 and may change subject to circumstances. More information about our COVID-19 policies can be found here. While we strive to keep this information as up-to-date as possible, you can always speak to the Director of Administration or Administrator for the latest updates.