Dear Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs Community,
I hope you are all beginning to enjoy the rhythm of summer days with warming sunshine, thunderous rain showers, and family adventures.
This past Monday, we received the general guidelines from the New York State Department of Health (DOH) for reopening NYS schools. We are still awaiting specific guidelines for independent schools to be released by the Board of Regents. The faculty and staff have begun a serious undertaking to provide the state with the required documentation needed to reopen in the fall, as well as the practical work needed to reopen our facilities.
We know you are waiting for our plans and protocols and they have been in the works, even as we have awaited the guidelines from NYS. We are also certain that we will need your help. We are preparing for cleaning stations, outdoor classrooms, delineated entrance and exit procedures, daily temperature checks and health surveys, as well as diligent monitoring of community percentages of COVID cases that the government will use to determine whether or not schools can open and remain open. In either case, we will be prepared to fully open our campuses for all students, or shift to our best practices of distance learning through Educating Beyond the Classroom, if mandated by the state.
We are required to submit our plans to NY State by July 31. As soon as we have our documentation in place we will share it with you in a new COVID protocols handbook. Each branch is calling a branch specific parent meeting to give you insight into our ongoing plans. Help may be needed to create outdoor classrooms, purchase additional supplies, develop our plans, or support the technological needs of opening our spaces to students in quarantine or who cannot attend school for medical reasons. Unfortunately, the state has not yet designated any amount of monies available to independent schools for this purpose. We have officially entered the “all hands on deck” phase.
In light of this new phase for our school, we are concurrently undergoing a period of reimagining our identity as a Waldorf School in Saratoga Springs in 2020. Our collegium has widened to include more faculty and staff members, new faculty chairs are stepping in, and in addition to our current study of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, we have committed ourselves to reexamining our culture, methods of offering teacher support and development, as well as the overarching governing structure of our school in the year ahead through study, conversation, and collaboration. As our process of study becomes more clear, we look forward to involving parents in aspects of this work.
We will hold a second Zoom Town Hall meeting on Thursday, Aug. 13, at 6:30 p.m. New York State has informed us that our Reopening Plan will be approved between Aug.1 and Aug. 7 and we plan to share it with you at the Town Hall meeting. In the meantime, please be in touch with your branch chair with any questions.
Faculty Chairs for each branch and their contact information is as follows:
• Early Childhood Chair:
• Lower School Co-Chairs:
• High School Co-Chairs:
• Collegium Chair:
Stay Safe as you enjoy the summer and we will see you next week at the branch meetings.