2020-2021 School Year Reopening Plans

Dear Wye River Families,

Thank you for your patience as we plan for the beginning of what promises to be a school year unlike any we’ve ever experienced. Our plans for the beginning of the school year are evolving, just as scientists’ understanding of the virus and various government health departments’ responses to it are evolving. The Reopening Committee has done a terrific job, meeting throughout the spring and summer to formulate a plan that tries to balance the various needs of students, families, and teachers through the fall semester.

There are several caveats to keep in mind as you look through our plan:

-No single plan will make everyone happy, nor perfectly meet the needs of everyone in the school community;

-We aim to strike a balance between meeting the physical, social-emotional, and academic needs of our students, as well as the safety of our teachers, recognizing that in the face of a pandemic none of these needs can be met as well as they would be without this health risk;

-The choices we’ve made are not political one way or another, but are based on the best guidance available from the CDC and the Maryland Department of Health;

-There are many moving parts to WRUS reopening, including the need for cleaning and social distancing in common areas, classrooms, and buses;

-We need to be flexible and nimble, and willing to adjust as circumstances evolve;

-Health and safety is a shared responsibility that will require discipline and sacrifice from everyone in the school community.

In preparation for reopening, we have:

-organized classrooms such that desks are 6-feet apart

-built an isolation room where a sick student can wait to be picked up -purchased touch free hand-sanitizing stations for distribution around the school

-purchased PPE for teachers, with a some extra masks in case a student loses one -purchased touchless thermometers

-consulted with health care experts on our preparations

-begun upgrading the WRUS internet access to be faster and more reliable

-put together guidelines for operating in a hybrid model

As of today, we plan to open school in a hybrid model, with a “Blue” group and a “White” group alternating between in-person and remote attendance. The groups will be determined by the requirements of transportation social distancing and classroom social distancing.

We’re going to begin cautiously by starting the school year with each group on campus one day each week. As circumstances warrant we hope to expand to each group attending two days a week, or if necessary cut back to one day every-other week, or to move to 100% online. Regardless, online learning will be a necessary component of school this fall for everyone as we see how the hybrid model works and how well the virus is being contained. We will give as much notice as we possibly can of any changes in the hybrid model.

No student will be required to attend in-person, as we’ll continue to teach remotely for those students unable to come into the building.

For those wishing to attend in-person, Appendix B of the attached “Guide to Reopening” is a “Return to School Agreement” in which parents and students acknowledge and accept the risks inherent in returning to in-person learning. This must be signed and returned to WRUS by August 14 in order for us to finalize transportation and student groupings.

All of us have a responsibility to keep each other safe in this pandemic. Accordingly, masks must be worn by everyone at all times in the building, students and teachers must maintain social distance, and cleaning, hand-washing and sanitizing must be done at the end of each class and before getting on a bus. Students unable or unwilling to abide by these precautions will have to move to an all-online learning environment.

In addition, everyone coming into the building must fill out a “School Health Check,” each day before getting on a bus or (if privately transported) coming into the building. Anyone with symptoms should remain at home, call the school, and attend classes remotely until the Maryland and CDC guidelines are met.

Again, thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to help our kids get through this difficult time.