Learning During COVID-19

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. Throughout 2020 and 2021, RWS assembled a task force to develop best practices for our school related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  
As we continue to navigate a constantly evolving climate, 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. Our Director of Administration has implemented a detailed mitigation strategy that our faculty, staff, students, and parents adhere to. 

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  HVAC air filtration has been upgraded to kill viruses in the air. 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:

  • Vaccination:Richmond Waldorf School strongly encourages all community members (students, staff, and faculty) to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when a vaccine becomes available to them. Employees are required to either provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or agree to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.
  • Symptom Monitoring -Students, families, and employees are required to check temperatures and symptoms at home before coming to school. Anyone with a fever should not attend school until cleared to return. Temperature checks are required for students at morning drop off. If a student develops a fever at school, the student will be sent to the Front Office for a confirmation, and the family will be called for pick up.
  • COVID-19 Testing: Expectations of COVID-19 testing, including recommended time-frames of testing, are provided in detail to address different scenarios for exposure where testing is either required or recommended. Antigen-based and PCR-based testing are both considered adequate methods of testing for COVID-19.
  • Mask Use – Everyone age 2 years and older, regardless of vaccination status, is required to wear a mask inside the building except when eating, drinking, or sleeping. 

    To mitigate the potential for any class-wide quarantines triggered by the CDC’s definition of close contact, employees and students are required to wear masks outdoors whenever at least 6 feet of social distance is not able to be maintained.  Since a significant portion of the RWS student body is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, outdoor masking remains an important mitigation strategy. Following changes in the level of community spread and vaccine availability this protocol will be revisited and updated in accordance with current VDH/CDC guidance (link).  

Contingency Plans for the Learning Environment:

    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 a quarantined student or students, or multiple positive cases within a designated area of the school, the Director of Administration may determine that a class or individual student must temporarily transition to distance learning while in quarantine. RWS is prepared to deliver a distance learning program for Grades 1 through 8 to maintain continuity in instruction until the class can return to campus. 

Decision Makers:

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.

If you have questions or want to learn more about Waldorf education, get to know us better through our video tours and submit an inquiry on our Visit Us page.

This page and the policies outlined within were updated on November 22, 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.