Below is a copy of a letter shared to 2020-2021 Fay School Parents, Staff, and Board of Trustees on June 24, 2020 in regards to Fay's planning, thinking, and ability to safely welcome back our students to in-person learning in August.
Dear Fay Family,
We write to share our optimism in our ability to safely welcome your child back to in-person learning and leadership development through emotional intelligence in August and to re-open the lines of communication since our May 28 Fay Flyer. We have been working tirelessly to identify and determine all viable paths forward as we plan to safely open, because we want nothing more than to resume your child’s education on Fay’s green and spacious campus. We also share our sincere appreciation for your continued patience during this time of unprecedented fluidity and heightened anxiety.
Looking ahead to mid-August, two principles guide our planning, and we must carefully balance them:
- Keeping students, faculty, staff, and families safe
- Optimizing your child’s learning environment
Two months ago, the landscape of education was in a very different place than it is today. Two months from now, the landscape of education will likely be in a very different place than it is today. In the Fay Flyer circulated on April 23, we outlined three foundational scenarios that we would build upon to welcome your child back to in-person learning and leadership development. Since that Fay Flyer, a plethora of new information and valuable insight concerning the re-opening of schools and businesses have emerged. We expect that over the next two months, we will need to adjust our plans to align with new information and updated health guidelines.
The daily emergence of new and important information coupled with shifting health guidelines continue to make it exceedingly difficult to present any final plans at this time. However, we will introduce more detailed plans as we move closer to August 1 so that we all have time to digest and adjust to new procedures and protocols. These more detailed plans will have the benefit of a clearer understanding of our August environment and the most up-to-date health guidance.
Since April 23, we have been carefully fleshing out a Tiered System to frame how the 2020-2021 school year may look. We will base the decision to move from one tier to another on the available guidance from the CDC, Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health, and the Texas Education Agency in real-time. It is likely that throughout the year your child will learn in each of the below tiers as we balance our two guiding principles (outlined above). Of course, we hope that we are always able to stay in Tier 1, 2, or 3.
- Tier 1: Your child and All Staff are fully on campus with minimal safety precautions
- Tier 2: Your child and All Staff are fully on campus with moderate safety precautions
- Tier 3: Your child and All Staff are fully on campus with maximum safety precautions
- Tier 4: Your child and All Staff are partially on campus with maximum safety precautions and small groups rotating between in-person and remote learning
- Tier 5: Your child is engaged fully in remote learning with only essential staff allowed on campus
Fay’s COVID-19 Task Force and our Health and Wellness Sub-committee, a committee comprised of current parents and medical professionals, have begun the process of collaborating to update and create any necessary policies and procedures that will aid in your child’s safe return to Fay. The following list is a small sampling of the topics on which these two groups will focus:
- Arrival and departure procedures
- How students will move through campus
- Sanitation and cleanliness protocols
- Restroom precautions
- Specials classes and lunch
- Use of outdoor spaces and recess
- Required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff and students
- Adaptations that the daily schedule might need
- Innovations in the Academic Continuity Plan from our June Term
In addition to the above areas (and many others) where we will evaluate current policies and procedures, we are also working on leveraging answers to the following questions:
- I understand that no school can protect my child 100% from exposure to the coronavirus, so how will The Fay School leverage the abundance of outdoor hallways and porches/balconies to keep my child as protected as possible in ways other schools typically cannot?
- Will my child benefit from how nearly every Fay classroom has a door that opens to the outside?
- How will The Fay School’s small class sizes and its sole focus on early childhood and elementary impact my child’s ability to learn in-person for longer than other schools?
- How will The Fay School leverage the fact that my child and teacher can move to different parts of the campus almost entirely outside?
- How will Fay use the outdoor sinks that already dot the campus for routine hand-washing?
- How will Fay’s Intent To Return Forms look and will it ask families to pledge to stay socially distant?
- How can parents help support The Fay School?
As members of the Leadership Team and the COVID-19 Task Force have walked through campus to visualize what the answers to these questions might look like, we have begun to explore the potential of having as many grade levels as possible remain physically isolated from the other grade levels during the day. The physical set-up of our campus potentially allows us to offer this. Our campus set-up also provides for nearly every grade level to have its own grade-specific bathroom. If we can achieve this scenario, or close to it, then the decision to ever move to remote learning might only be grade-specific in the event of a positive test for COVID-19.
Please be on the lookout for a Re-opening Fay Survey as we get closer to the beginning of August. Your input and ideas will be valuable as we strive to balance the varied needs of our community with our two guiding principles (outlined above). If you have specific feedback to share at this time, please use the Feedback Form found in My Portal.
We are optimistic about re-opening The Fay School for your child to in-person learning and leadership development. While some of our operations will look and feel different, safely building and educating your child into a future leader of the world will remain at the core of every decision we make during the upcoming school year.
Morgan B. Scoville, M. Ed.
Head of School