Fall 2020 Re-Opening Plan

Lessons Learned and Looking Forward

The spring 2020 semester taught us all many new skills! We were faced with adversities none of us could have predicted. Among the most valuable lessons we learned were perseverance and resiliency. We came together as a community and supported one another through the struggle of navigating the online learning environment.

We weathered the spring 2020 semester and all its curveballs knowing we still had our work cut out for us. This summer, USchool administrators and faculty have prepared and planned for the possibility of returning to an online learning environment and for a safe return to in-person instruction.

The product of that work is this plan, which is centered on spending as many days as is possible together in the USchool building. We created this plan with guidance from The University of Tulsa, the University School Medical Advisory Committee, the University School Faculty Advisory Committee, and following recommendations from the CDC, the Tulsa Health Department, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Goals:

  • Protect the health and safety of our school community, including students, employees, and families
  • Adhere to our mission of challenging gifted students with a dynamic curriculum in a nurturing academic environment
  • Continue to provide the unique USchool educational experience
  • Rely on authoritative sources, such as the CDC, local health department, The University of Tulsa, and our own Medical Advisory Committee to make changes as are warranted
  • Provide frequent communication about any changes or new implementations in response to the changing environment

 

2020-2021 Calendar

First Day of School – Unless circumstances change, our first day of school for students will be Wednesday, August 19, 2020.

School Holidays

In order to minimize exposure due to travel and to get as much instruction completed in the first semester as possible, we will not have a Fall Break for this school year. However, we will have some days designated as “No School” days during the semester. We will also be ending the fall semester a week earlier than we had originally planned.

Please note: Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held via Zoom.
Information will come from your child(ren)’s classroom teacher(s) closer to time.

Physical Distancing and Health/Safety Measures

  • Additional hand-washing stations are being installed in commons areas so that handwashing can be more efficient
  • Hand sanitizer stations are being installed throughout the building
  • Provide individual bottles of hand sanitizer for each staff member and student
  • A “sickbay” area is being created so that any students who become ill during the day can be isolated from other students and staff (This area will be supervised by a staff member)
  • Classrooms are being set up to provide spacing of at least 6 feet between desks and/or students at tables
  • Each grade level class will be divided into two groups, each of which will have a separate home classroom – More details will be provided as the plan continues to evolve
  • Students will remain in their home classrooms, and specialty teachers will travel to these rooms to provide instruction, thus minimizing contact among individuals
  • Drop-off and pick-up procedures are being modified to allow for more physical distancing of students
  • Student temperatures will be taken at drop-off each morning
    • Students with a temperature higher than 100 degrees will not be allowed to attend school in person.
  • Access to the school building will be restricted, and only students and staff members will be allowed in the building
  • Should the need arise for a substitute teacher, we will choose them from a small group of previously identified candidates
  • Potential visitors will be required to make a request to visit and must be approved in advance by University School administration
  • All person who enter the University School building will be subject to all policies and protective measures currently in place by both University School and The University of Tulsa
  • Non-compliance with these policies will result in the individual’s removal from campus

Family Health and Wellness

  • Families will be asked to take students’ temperature each morning before school. If students have a temperature of 100 degrees or above, have COVID-like symptoms or have been exposed to COVID, students should be kept at home and the school should be notified.
  • Visitors limited: Parents will be asked to use drop-off lanes and to not walk their students into the school or to enter the school building. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved in advance by school administration.
  • All students will be required to bring and wear face coverings to school each day.
  • Face coverings will be required for all USchool personnel as well as any visitors or volunteers.
  • In the case of a confirmed COVID-19 case in the USchool building, administration will determine the appropriate course of action at that time in consultation with the health resources at our disposal (detailed on page 1 of this document).

In-person Instruction Additional Details

In order to best accommodate our plans for physical distancing and to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19, the following changes to in-person instruction at USchool will be implemented for the 2020-2021 school year:

Recess & Time outside

We know that children need to move and play! We have carefully created playground schedules that will allow for small groups to have recess at least one time each school day.

Students will also have PE outdoors as often as the weather will allow.

Air Circulation

Current recommendations from the CDC suggest that increased air-circulation is beneficial in further minimizing risk. We will provide fans for classrooms and when conditions allow, we will open courtyard doors to allow for fresh air circulation.

Smaller Class Cohorts: What Does That Mean?

We are fortunate to have the space within our school building to be able to divide each class into two smaller cohorts. The majority of the cohorts will be within classrooms, however there will be three cohorts that will be in commons areas. The commons areas will be furnished with appropriate tools for teaching. We will also install divider walls to help reduce sounds and distractions from the hallways.

We do plan to regroup the cohorts on occasion so that students can socialize and learn with the other children within their grade level. More details about grouping will be communicated closer to the beginning of school.

Lower School – Additional Details

Some of the specific steps being taken in the lower school (Early Childhood – Primary 3) include:

  • Redesign of classrooms to maximize physical distancing
  • Increased routine cleaning of manipulatives and other physical objects used in the classroom
  • Emphasis of good hand-washing procedures
  • Hand sanitizer stations in each classroom/commons area
  • Students will be directed to enter the building through a specific door to minimize contact with others
  • Families will be assigned to specific drop-off lanes in advance of the first day of school

Parents are asked to use their assigned drop-off lanes and not to walk their child(ren) into the building. We know this may cause some concern for parents of preschool-aged children, but please be assured that we have experienced, caring teachers who are skilled at easing the anxiety of young children. In the event of a severe case of anxiety that cannot be relieved, we will contact parents.

We recognize that, for students in preschool and kindergarten (EC, EP, and P1), wearing a mask may be a significant challenge. It is for this reason that we recommend you begin mask training with your child(ren) now, to get them used to wearing a mask for the duration of the school day.

The school day times for lower school students are as follows:

Grades Dropoff Times School Starts School Ends Pickup Times
EC, EP and P1 8:45-9:00 a.m. 9:00 a.m. 2:45 p.m. 2:45-3:00 p.m.
P2 – P3 8:15-8:30 a.m. 8:30 a.m. 3:15 p.m. 3:15-3:30 p.m.

Upper School – Additional Details

Some of the specific steps being taken in the upper school (Intermediate 1 – Older Intermediate 8) include:

  • Redesign of classrooms to maximize physical distancing
  • Increased routine cleaning of desks, tables and other surfaces
  • Emphasis of good hand-washing procedures
  • Hand sanitizer stations in each classroom/commons area
  • Students will be directed to enter the building through a specific door to minimize contact with others

Parents are asked to use the drop-off lanes and not to enter the building.

We recognize that, for students in upper elementary and middle school, wearing a mask may be a significant challenge. It is for this reason that we recommend you begin mask training with your child(ren) now, to get them used to wearing a mask for the duration of the school day.

The school day times for upper school students are as follows:

 

Grades Dropoff Times School Starts School Ends Pickup Times
INT-1 and INT-2 8:15-8:30 a.m. 8:30 a.m. 3:15 p.m. 3:15-3:30 p.m.
OI-5 – OI-8 8:15-8:30 a.m. 8:30 a.m. 3:30 p.m. 3:30-3:45 p.m.

Pickup of Siblings
Families with students in multiple grade levels have the option of making one drop-off and pick-up based on the times of the oldest student. Younger siblings in that family may attend before or after care until the beginning of their school day or until the end of their oldest sibling’s school day at no additional cost. Parents with be given the opportunity to sign up for this option during registration in August.

Flexible Learning Options

Even when University School is fully open for in-person learning, we recognize that some students may not be able to come to school for a variety of reasons relating to COVID. We will provide live-stream or recorded video access to most school classes for these students. This option will allow these students to keep up with the daily schedule.

Classrooms will have updated technology, including video cameras and microphones, which will allow a more interactive experience for students learning from home. If students who are not ill choose to participate in this online experience, attendance and participation will be mandatory. Technology assistance during class time and/or the school day is the responsibility of the student and/or parent. Teachers and other school staff will only be able to provide assistance outside of regular class times. When possible, classes may be recorded so that students who are ill or unable to participate live for other unavoidable reasons will be able to access learning.

More information about the option to attend USchool online will be available during back-to-school registration at the beginning of August.

Delivery Platforms – We are working to streamline the process of accessing online learning and minimize the number of platforms for families to manage. More details will be provided before school begins.

Extended Day Program

Our plans for allocating staff and changing classroom layouts to allow for physical distancing present us with extra challenges in running our Extended Day Program (EDP). Our goal is to be able to provide before and after school care for families for whom this is essential due to parents’ job requirements. 

EDP Hours

We are aware from reviewing survey data that there is a great need among our parent-base for EDP. Decisions are still in progress and are being based on the need to keep students physically distanced, recommendations that grade level groups should not be mixed, and limitations of staffing.

More information will be available soon.

Clubs

Clubs will not be offered in-person this year. More information about the possibility of online clubs will be available during registration in August.

Reopening: Plan At a Glance

  • The first day of school is Wednesday, August 19.
  • Face coverings will be required for all students, staff, and visitors
  • Classes will be split into small cohorts to accommodate physical distancing
  • Families will be assigned to use a particular pick-up/drop-off lane and entrance/exit to accommodate physical distancing
  • Most classes will either be broadcast live or recorded for students who are unable to attend school in-person
  • USchool will provide an iPad for each enrolled student to use for in-person and/or online learning.
  • Students will have their own supplies at their own designated seats and will not use communal supplies.
  • USchool will not offer Friday pizza or daily milk
  • Microwaves will not be available for student use
  • Families will be given the option for their child(ren) to attend school in-person or online (More details about this option will be released during registration in August)

The situation with COVID continues to change rapidly. As such, University School will continue to make changes to this plan as recommended by The University of Tulsa, the Tulsa Health Department, the CDC, and the USchool Medical Advisory Committee.

As changes to this plan are made, they will be distributed to all USchool stakeholders.

Last updated July 13, 2020