University Prep ReOpening Plan 2020-21
August 6, 2020 Update
Based on the recent rise in cases in King County, UPrep will begin school online this fall. The first day of school will be on September 2, and classes will be online until October 5. At that time, if the regional data and the guidance of state and local health officials indicate it is prudent, we will switch to the hybrid schedule, which divides classes into blue and green sections and has students coming to campus on alternating days. Families will, of course, have the option to keep your student(s) home to continue with online learning.
University Prep is monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation carefully while taking proactive and prudent measures to try to ensure the health and safety of every member of our community, in accordance with the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the King County Department of Public Health, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other health officials. Our decisions are based on facts, science, and medical information, as the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and families is our priority. Decisions about UPrep’s reopening are made by the school’s COVID Task Force, a group of administrators and staff led by Head of School Ronnie Codrington-Cazeau. The group is working closely with faculty and staff to ensure high standards of health and safety.
Our goal is to return to campus for the 2020–2021 school year in a healthy, risk-mitigated manner with new routines and safety protocols in place. We are guided by our mission to develop each student’s potential to become an intellectually courageous, socially responsible citizen of the world. Whether online or in person, we will strive to accomplish this mission by modeling integrity, respect, and responsibility in all that we do.
Our teaching and learning framework is guided by the following organizing principles: on-campus learning as a priority; synchronous learning as a priority; consistent, division-specific schedules; consistent instruction across subjects; increased small group learning opportunities; and online learning as an option for the immunocompromised or for those who otherwise cannot come to campus.
To make this happen, we must provide a safe-learning environment for all students by adhering to the following health and safety protocols: all persons entering campus will be required to complete a wellness screening; all persons will be required to practice social distancing while on campus; all persons will be required to wear cloth masks or face coverings; all persons on campus will be required to observe handwashing, hand-sanitizing, and hygiene protocols; enhanced cleaning/sanitizing and ventilation protocols will be in place; UPrep will observe state guidelines on group gathering limitations; UPrep anticipates that there will be shifts during the year from online to hybrid learning, as warranted by the Seattle-area health data and guidance from the King County Health Department.
All of us in the UPrep community will need to remain flexible and collaborative and have a growth mindset to navigate this school year. We all remain steadfast in our desire to provide a highly academic, creative, and inclusive learning experience for all of our students, whether we meet online or in-person.
When to Keep Your Student Home
Keeping the UPrep community safe is a shared responsibility. This cannot be overemphasized. There are many external risks beyond our control, but we can mitigate preventable risk by keeping students home if they are not feeling well. This plan is designed to err on the side of caution with regard to health, allowing students to continue the pace of teaching and learning from home. No students will be pressured to come to school if there is any concern that they are not well. Please familiarize yourself with the guidelines for when to stay home for general health and wellness, as well as during COVID-19.
Teaching and Learning Online
UPrep has tremendous autonomy and responsibility to decide what to teach our students. Our teachers have a lot of practice determining what students most need to know to prepare for college and life. Last spring, as the world suddenly changed, UPrep teachers adapted their courses in powerful ways. Our teachers quickly assessed what parts of the planned curriculum they could deliver as originally designed, what they needed to teach with substantial modification, and what course material they needed to throw out and replace with new material. The results were original and relevant. Teachers in subjects such as biology, history, and statistics immediately incorporated lessons about COVID-19 and its global impact into their courses. And teachers in performance-based subjects such as physical education and music developed incredibly creative ways to overcome physical distance.
Our transition to emergency online learning during spring 2020 provided valuable insight about how we can most effectively honor our mission and create opportunities to expand our approach to teaching and learning. This summer, all UPrep teachers engaged in professional learning to support them in modifying their courses to be rich, engaging, and effective when delivered online. Topics included:
Engagement through student goal setting and meaningful topics
Participation using breakout groups and other online apps
Social and emotional health in online learning
Assessment through projects and presentations
Learning through physical activities that reduce screen time
Clarity for where to find resources and how to complete assignments
We have two schedules for the 2020–2021 school year: one for online learning and a hybrid schedule for bringing students back to campus in smaller groups. The schedules are designed to easily flip back and forth from online to in-person learning, depending on the virus infection rates. When it is safe to be on-campus, the model prioritizes students taking classes with their teachers.
First Day of School and the Master Calendar
The first day of school is Wednesday, September 2.
We currently plan to maintain the 2020–2021 Master Calendar, with no change to holidays and breaks. Events such as concerts, plays, and community events may be altered or canceled. Decisions regarding events will be made as early as possible. We remain hopeful that conditions will improve and allow in-person events to resume. All changes to the Master Calendar will be shared with you via the Thursday all-school email.
Students will be able to browse the UPrep library individually or in socially-distanced small groups. UPrep will require all students to put holds on books, which will be provided to them at a required pick-up time. When books are returned, they will be quarantined for three days, and then cleaned and reshelved for future checkout.
The Commons Cafe will continue to offer breakfast, lunch, and snack items for purchase when students are on campus. However, in order to minimize contamination via high-touch areas, all items, including hot foods and salads, will be freshly prepared but pre-packaged for grab-and-go service. All self-service areas that are not grab-and-go will be closed. Students may also bring their own brown bag lunch. However, students may not leave campus during lunch. Lunch tables will be sanitized between uses. Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles that can be refilled at touchless refilling stations throughout campus. Regular drinking fountains will be closed.
On Tuesday, July 28th, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) announced a revised four-seasons sports calendar for the 2020–2021 school year for Upper School sports. More detailed information on the revised calendar and the four seasons matrix can be found on the WIAA WEBSITE, which includes tentative season dates. University Prep will continue to work with the WIAA, our leagues (Upper School and Middle School), our district, our community partners, and public health officials for more guidance on a safe return to play. We anticipate more information to be shared in the coming weeks from the WIAA, and we will continue to update our Pumas on the latest information as we approach the beginning of the school year. If you have any questions, please reach out to Da’Mon Perry (Middle School) and Rebecca Moe (Upper School).
Traveling to and from school is an important aspect of our reopening planning for the school year. Thank you to all of the families who responded to our June transportation survey regarding our Metro bus service we provide in partnership with Lakeside. We are working to find solutions for families who indicated that the Metro bus was critical to their student’s ability to travel to campus. King County Metro, who partners on our custom bus program, has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Aug. 3, the custom bus program is not available for the fall. We are in constant contact with Lakeside and Metro as the situation develops, and hope to start running the buses as soon as safely possible. We will prioritize service for families who have no other way to get their students to and from school. We are looking at alternative transportation options for families, such as coordinated carpools, routes using Metro’s regular bus service, and light rail. Andy Richardson, our transportation manager, will be working to help families access these options. We appreciate your flexibility through this challenging year, and hope to return to full operation of our custom Metro buses for the next school year.
Mental Health and Wellness
The pandemic has been challenging for everyone. The UPrep counselors and the social emotional learning coordinator are available to provide students with emotional and mental health and counseling support. Similar to last spring, they will continue to collaborate with faculty and staff on early identification/warning signs of students who may be in need of support.