Little Flower School will reopen starting with a blended learning model consisting of four days of on campus learning and one day of home learning each week. The plan includes extensive measures to help reduce the risk of staff or students contracting the coronavirus and accommodations for members of the school community who cannot participate on campus due to medical reasons. Flexibility is built into the plan to help staff and families can efficiently and effectively shift to full distance learning if required due to individual or collective health conditions or changing government guidelines.
- While our primary focus remains the health of our staff members and students, we remain committed to our core mission. The faith formation, the love of learning, and the socialization needed to help our children learn how to live in love and service to others are all severely compromised when we are not on campus together.
- Some form of on campus learning was the pervasive preference of our school community. On a reopening survey, 91% of parents and 85% of staff members indicated a preference to reopen fully or partially on campus. Based upon this input, and after weighing the risks and benefits associated with a careful re-opening of campus, the Little Flower School Advisory Board affirmed the blended learning and safety plan described in this summary of the plan.
- Little Flower is in a financial position to reopen our campus while affording our staff and students extensive layers of health and safety precautions.
- Little Flower’s relatively small size allows us to reduce risk by keeping students in the same cohort of 9 to 15 students all day and every day, with very few exceptions. Students do not need to mix in larger groups on buses, in hallways, or in the cafeteria.
- Applying multiple layers of recommended health and safety precautions - All students and staff will wear cloth face coverings in the building. Primary work tables and all student desks will have clear plastic shields. In grades 1 - 8, desks will also be arranged at least 6 feet from each other. We will hire additional maintenance staff so that bathrooms, classrooms, and dining spaces can be regularly cleaned and disinfected before, during, and after the school day. Extra face coverings, soap, and ample hand sanitizer will be ready for staff and student use. Students in K - 8 will not share school supplies. Parents, visitors, and volunteers will not be permitted in the building without the principal’s permission.
- Employing staggered arrival, dismissal, and lunch schedules - Students will arrive and depart in four bands over the course of forty minutes allowing for appropriate distancing and for daily wellness and temperature screening of each student and staff member. Students will eat with their teacher and their cohort either in their classroom or in an outdoor assigned space.
- Utilizing a cohort model - By adapting building use, teaching assignments and instructional groupings, we are able to place each student in a school “bubble” of 9 - 15 students called a cohort. Teachers will rotate to cohort rooms in most grades. The master schedule has been adjusted so that very small numbers of students will ever be in the hallways. The fifth grade will be learning in temporary classrooms set up in the Parish Hall.
- Longer blocks and fewer subjects - Students will have long blocks of their major subjects - Reading, Math, and Religion. Because of our commitment to minimizing risk and the challenges associated with moving 100’s of children through common learning spaces (art room, tech lab, music room, library, and gym), students’ schedules will include much less of these subjects. Impacted staff will shift roles.
- Making arrangements for some outdoor learning, breaks and outdoor lunches - There are plans to put a large tent up in the quad and to arrange for outdoor discussion circles. Teachers will share these spaces for outdoor classes, learning breaks, and eating outdoors.
- Working diligently to help our community to follow guidelines outlined by the CDC, the Archdiocese of Washington (ADW), and Maryland’s Office of Childcare (OCC). The administration, the operations manager, and the maintenance lead meet regularly to collaborate on ways to help implement the most updated recommendations and to prepare for a safe campus opening.
- Adjusting our usual schedule for school liturgies - Since our temporary school schedule will not permit us to attend Mass together at 8:15 or on first Fridays, we have rescheduled our school liturgies for 10:00 on Tuesdays. This will allow us to attend Mass together biweekly and to still meet the safe capacity guidelines for Little Flower Church.
- Preparing for a quick shift to an enhanced home learning model if required by individual circumstances or by governmental health mandates. We will be implementing the role of a home learning coordinator who will be able to manage the learning needs of a limited number of students. This teacher will use a range of resources and strategies to create individual plans to connect children to the learning occurring in the classrooms. All teachers will develop “go-packs” for each grade level to be used at home for 2 to 5 days of instruction if government officials temporarily close the school or any portion of the school to engage in contact-tracing of a positive COVID case. Middle school “go-packs” will be entirely digital. Go-packs for younger grades will be a blend of digital and paper resources. Before school starts the teachers will also prepare an enhanced plan to support home learning in the case of a longer closure. The enhanced plan will include more synchronous (together with) and asynchronous (recorded and shared later) time with teachers, a greater emphasis on faith formation, common platforms, a coordinated school-wide schedule, and more clarity about feedback and grading than was offered in the spring. During on campus time, teachers will work to prepare students for working productively and independently at home.
- Ensuring that all staff and students are educated about COVID-19 and informing all members of the Little Flower Community of their role in reducing risk in our school community. Students and staff will complete required pandemic awareness training appropriate for their age. Core staff will be trained to respond to a Covid case at school. Students will learn about low risk ways to play at recess.
- Each grade band will have their own orientation day during which we will welcome new students,orient students to new procedures, and practice routines.. Campus will open for all grades together on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.
Sixth, Seventh, Eighth
Tuesday, September 1st - full day
Third, Fourth, Fifth
Wednesday, September 2nd - full day
First and Second
Thursday, September 3rd - full day
Friday, September 4th - dismissed at 1:00
Friday, September 4th - PreK students and their parents will be invited to a Classroom Sneak Peek to meet their teachers and see their classrooms.
- Students will be on campus on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Students will learn at home on Fridays while teachers plan and the building is deep-cleaned. The core instructional day will be 8:30 am - 3:30 pm. Students may be assigned by family groups to come slightly earlier or leave later due to the staggered arrival and dismissal schedule.