Grades 1 - 12 Return to School Plans

Highland Hall Board, Faculty, and Staff members have been hard at work developing our plans for the upcoming school year.  We thank you for your patience and forbearance during this planning phase.  The following are the plans we have developed for Grades 1 through 12 based upon the information we have received to date.  We request your flexibility and understanding as we imagine that the exact operational details will continue to evolve.

These plans are based upon the health order released by LA County Department of Health dated July 10, 2020.

OUR MISSION AND INTENTION

 

Highland Hall will continue in its mission: to strive to endow each student with discernment in thought and action, a joy of learning, and a sense of wonder and reverence for life.  Towards meeting that mission for the 2020-21 school year our priorities are to:

  • return to campus for the full program of Waldorf education, emphasizing use of outdoor classrooms and making some modifications to our programming to minimize COVID-19 transmission;

  • adjust the daily schedule and school year calendar to maximize student on campus learning and address health and safety needs;

  • create flexible programming where feasible and age-appropriate to enable students to adjust to an on campus schedule and to accommodate social-emotional and health needs;

  • implement the health and safety protocols as required by governing bodies, in particular the LA County Department of Health of CA State Department of Education;

  • enhance our remote learning curriculum to support any required off campus time;

  • support documented individualized programs to meet the health and safety and learning needs of our HS students and be able to flexibly respond to evolving circumstances of our LS students and families due to this pandemic, and

  • maintain the financial viability of the school.

RETURN TO CAMPUS

  • tree kidsWe plan to open the campus as soon as permitted by LA County Department of Health and the California State Department of Health.  We will be applying for a waiver for grades 1-6 if possible.

  • Blessed by our large beautiful campus, we plan to hold classes outside to the extent feasible, and as weather and conditions permit.  We have prepared a Wish List of items and supplies needed to support our outdoor classrooms—please review and consider supporting this effort.

  • At this time, we are developing a hybrid model to best support outdoor learning in our current environment, and to enable students and families to adapt comfortably to the return to campus. 

  • If outdoor conditions or class projects require, teachers will also be able to hold classes inside the classroom, with social distancing. We have HEPA filters for each classroom (see PDF below). Teachers have already mapped the classrooms and determined capacity of each room to accommodate social distancing.

HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS

 
Face Coverings
  • Highland Hall must follow LA County Department of Health orders as to whether we can provide on campus learning, and as to what safety measures we must implement.  This order requires all students to wear face coverings at all times while on school property, except while eating, drinking, or carrying out other activities that preclude use of face coverings.

  • Highland Hall is committed to working with students to adopt to mask wearing in as healthy a manner as possible.  This may include creative activities making and decorating masks and other face coverings, scheduling periodic breaks when students are carrying out activities that preclude face coverings, and holding supportive conversation about wearing them. 

  • The order allows the school to adopt alternative protective strategies for students who have IEPs who cannot use or tolerate cloth face coverings.

  • Teachers in the early grades may use a plastic face shield with a tucked in drape below the chin as a substitute for a cloth face covering.

  • Respiratory hygiene will be supported by limiting activities when indoors, and through regularly scheduled outdoor activities which can be conducted in a socially distant manner and allow for movement and activities that preclude face coverings.

 
Illness
 
  • School staff and students are required to stay at home if they are not feeling well, or if they are potentially at risk of COVID-19 exposure, until testing has confirmed that it is safe to return to school. Our teacher substitution budget is increased to better enable faculty to stay at home as needed.

  • Our drop-off process will be modified to enable parents to complete a daily health check confirmation for their child. Our faculty and staff will also be completing a daily health confirmation prior to arriving on campus.  Faculty and Staff will be equipped with touchless thermometers to confirm both student and faculty wellness as needed.

  • Employees who are not feeling well during the school day will be asked to go home immediately.  Employees over the age of 65 and in high risk categories will be assigned work from home whenever possible.  We will also enable as much remote working as possible for our staff and faculty, including conducting all faculty meetings on zoom.

  • Students who report or appear to not be feeling well will be separated into an isolated, supervised location. Parents must be prepared to pick up their child during the school day in the event this occurs.

  • All confirmed COVID-19 cases in our community will be reported to parents whose students share the same school environment as those with confirmed illness.

  • Families of middle and high school students are expected to report COVID-19 illness in their households.

 
Social distancing
  • Parent and visitor access to the campus will be minimized, giving first priority to the parents of our younger students, as well as the needs of new students to adjust to the school.

  • Our front office will be limited to one visitor or student or employee entering at a time.

  • Students and faculty will be scheduled to utilize a consistent classroom as much as feasible and avoid different student groups mixing in the same environment. If a classroom change is necessary, classroom surfaces and fixtures will be cleaned prior to a new group of students utilizing the room.

  • Bathrooms will be limited to one person at time inside, and the exterior doors will remain open to maximize ventilation.

  • Class schedules will be adjusted to create limited social groupings.

  • In the elementary and middle school grades, specialty class schedules are shifting to a block rotation to minimize the number of teachers with whom students are working.

  • In the high school, we are looking at several options and possibilities to minimize potential for transmission in mixed-grade classes.

  • Recess times will be staggered and locations adjusted to minimize the number of students on the yards.

 
Hygiene
  • Hand hygiene will be supported through scheduled hand washing breaks, staggered to minimize the number of students needing bathrooms at the same time.

  • Additional outdoor hand washing stations have also been purchased by the school. We will also make hand sanitizer available to students and staff at key locations around campus where there is no sink or portable hand washing station available.

  • For those classrooms with interior sinks, teachers will supervise students washing hands at regular times.

  • A cleaning and disinfecting schedule will be implemented following LA County’s Order. This includes disinfecting common areas and frequently touched objects in those areas (tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, etc) at least three times daily. 

  • We will minimize the use of shared objects wherever possible and clean such items before passing them between users.

  • Teachers will schedule separate bathroom times for their classes. Teachers will limit one student inside bathroom at a time.

MODIFICATIONS TO PROGRAMMING 

  • On campus food preparation will be reduced. Our Grades 1-12 students may still purchase prepared meals through Totpot.  Unfortunately, the Treehouse will not be selling snacks during this time and off-campus food ordering will be limited.

  • Sports program will be adjusted to select activities which reduce possibility of COVID-19 transmission and permit social distancing.  Commitment and fees will be required in advance.

  • Per the Order, there will be no choral singing or chanting.  We will substitute other musical education for our choral program, which may include use of drumming and our wonderful handbells.

  • The orchestra program will be relocated as necessary to permit a distance of at least 6 feet between musicians.

  • Per the Order we will not conduct group field trips, though our faculty may recommend pedagogically based activities for your children to do outside of school.

COMMUNITY FESTIVAL CELEBRATIONS

  • As with our end of school year plays, graduations, and assemblies, we will be working to creatively recognize our school community events and festivals. The Order does not allow in person school-wide events, plays and assemblies.  However, we will find ways to engage in events that continue to provide important ritual and yearly rhythms for our students, as well as pedagogical meaning that resonates with our curriculum. 

MODIFICATIONS TO SCHOOL SCHEDULE

 
Drop-off/Pick-up
  • Classroom lineup positions for grades 1-8 will be clearly marked for students, to minimize student congestion at their classroom doors.

  • The end of school day protocol will be modified to minimize exposure risks. Students will remain with their class, under the direct supervision of their teacher, until picked up by parents.  Parents will remain in their vehicles to meet their child in the traffic circle. 

  • After School Care will only be available for students who are preregistered. There will not be any drop-in after care.

 
Scheduled Make up Days
  • The school has scheduled ten additional potential “make up days” during the school year, to make up for lost on-campus days, as needed throughout the school year. Specific “make up days” are indicated on the school calendar (first few days of traditional Thanksgiving and Winter breaks, last few days of February and Spring breaks). Please review these as they may truncate the usual vacation pattern to which our families are accustomed. 

REMOTE LEARNING CURRICULUM

  • Various adjustments to the remote learning curriculum are being made based upon end of year survey feedback. In the Lower School, Faculty will be increasing scheduled class programming time, with a supervised balance of online and offline experiences.

  • Teachers are exploring additional apps and tech tools to enhance student engagement and connection as developmentally appropriate and as suitable for the curriculum.

  • For the health of our community, we are encouraging students who do not feel well to stay home. We also recognize that students may be subject to quarantine periods intermittently throughout the year, and that there may be students with social-emotional needs that are best supported with reduced campus time. Our Faculty will be making best efforts to support learning continuity in these individualized situations. We are exploring flexible scheduling to best support such scenarios.

FINANCIAL VIABILITY

  • We recognize that parents necessarily increase their involvement in their child’s education when we shift to a distance learning format, especially in the younger years.

  • We also recognize that almost all of our faculty and staff are fully employed when delivering a remote program, in order to support parents, to provide learning continuity and/or to meet course credit and graduation requirements (in the high school).

  • In an effort to maintain the financial viability of the school and recognize the burden of remote learning on parents, we are offering the following Tuition Credit Program for extended, County Department of Health mandated remote learning. While we have calculated floating days to make up for short term school closures, Tuition Credits will be offered after 30 consecutive days of closure. These are not cash refunds, but credits for current or future costs, granted at the end of the school year.

    • ECC families: 70% tuition credit.

    • Grades 1-3: 35% tuition credit. 

    • Grades 4-6: 10% tuition credit.

    • Grades 7-12: no tuition credit.

flowersExtension of re-enrollment commitments

The contractual enrollment date has been extended from June 1 to August 1 to avoid tuition obligations as set forth in your contract. Therefore, if you elect to cancel re/enrollment by August 1, your re/enrollment deposit and fees will be credited towards future re/enrollment in 2021-22.

After August 1, we will be finalizing hiring and staffing decisions based upon our enrollment commitments. For withdrawal notices from August 1 though September 14, 2020, our contractual terms will apply, which state that your tuition obligation will be a 25%of the Tuition Total of the school year.  After September 14, parents who have enrolled in the Tuition Refund Plan may participate in that program according to the contract.

Our school will continue to make our best effort to meet our current families’ tuition assistance needs which for many are especially acute at this time.  Families have two weeks after receiving their tuition assistance grant notification to withdraw their enrollment without penalty. 

From time to time we may be forced to make a significant faculty or programming change to accommodate our COVID-19 situation.  If we are required to make a significant faculty or programming change, such as to a lead or class teacher, you will have two weeks after that adjustment has been made to withdraw your enrollment without tuition obligation penalty.

heartQuestions and concerns:

 

Pedagogical, curriculum, school schedule, distance learning:
Ken Lavner, klavner@highlandhall.org

School Operations and Hygiene Protocol:
Cara Lisco, clisco@highlandhall.org

Financial matters:
Rebecca Lirette, rlirette@highlandhall.org

 

This publication represents the work of the Board of Trustees, and almost all faculty and staff at Highland Hall.  We are especially grateful for everyone's extra care and effort to help us meet the demands of this pandemic.