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. Over the summer of 2020, Richmond Waldorf School assembled a Task Force to address our needs for health and safety, program and pedagogy, communication, community, and financial health. We decided to open for on-campus learning in August for the 2020-2021 year and created policies to enable a safe return to campus. Our vigilance, planning, and networking with other schools and bodies continues as we navigate the 2020-2021 school year. We also recognize the inequities this pandemic has amplified for families to obtain quality education for their children, and encourage any family who may be drawn to the Waldorf approach to inquire about enrollment opportunities.
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 – Desks are spaced at least 6 feet apart from one another. Our large windows are opened to increase airflow as well as upgraded HVAC filtration when learning indoors.
- Outdoor Learning – 7 new outdoor learning spaces have been created across campus for students in all grades to use.
- 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.
- At-Home Learning – Students and families not ready to return to campus can opt into At-Home Learning, our online curriculum program for Grades 1 through 8. Teachers use Google Classroom for asynchronous and synchronous instruction for both core academic subjects and the specialty program.
Health and Safety Policies and Procedures:
- Masks – 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.
- Mandated Closures and Distance Learning – In the event of another state-mandated closure, Richmond Waldorf School is prepared to transition back to a distance learning program for both Early Childhood and Grades 1 through 8. Google Classroom, synchronous, and asynchronous content with a full offering of core and specialty programs would take place.
- 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.
- Make-Up Days – 20 make-up days have been identified in the event of an incident-specific closure. Richmond Waldorf School will make the determination if the school calendar will be extended in order to meet the required instruction hours.
- Google Classroom Task Team – A Task Force of teachers and administrators worked over the summer to improve the consistency of content and organization in our Google Classrooms. We support our At-Home Learners as well as provide training and support to teachers to manage and maintain their Google Classrooms.
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 October 29, 2020 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 Enrollment Coordinator for the latest updates.