“Will the St. Edmund’s Academy campus be open in the fall, or will we continue with remote learning?”

In both duration and intensity, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced unexpected levels of uncertainty and chaos into the lives of children and families. The transition to remote learning this past spring required a heroic effort from everyone involved and objectively speaking our efforts have been successful.

Yet, the responsibility now to establish longer-term plans and prepare for a variety of scenarios may be even more complex.  We anticipate a future in which students may be on campus for opening day on September 1, 2020, or on campus but later than anticipated.  The safe reopening of campus will require compliance with all local and federal guidelines and will entail enhanced wellness screening, facility cleaning & zoning, and community training.  Additionally, following the Core Value to respect the needs and feelings of others, we anticipate a period of ongoing flexibility to accommodate children and families who may need to continue SEA@Home. 
 
 

List of 8 items.

  • St. Edmund’s Academy Priorities

    As a community, we choose to reaffirm our Core Values as our guiding North Star throughout the chaos. Whether St. Edmund’s Academy students and teachers are connected through screens, collaborating in person, or some blend of both, they will engage each other with these value and maintain these priorities:
    1. Uphold high academic standards for all students and monitor the degree to which we collectively and individually achieve those standards.
    2. Continue our school’s rituals and traditions to reinforce our students’ cherished place in our community.
    3. Provide the school’s nurturing environment through individual support from teachers and administrators.
  • St. Edmund’s Academy COVID-19 Response Structure

    The scheduled opening day for the 2020-2021 school year is September 1. Between now and then St. Edmund’s Academy’s leadership team will evaluate information and make decisions through the COVID-19 Response Planning Committee comprised of three Task Forces: Campus Reopening, Academic Continuity, and Strategies & Finances.
  • COVID-19 Planning Committee

    • Maintains the master COVID-19 Response calendar and objectives
    • Conducts scenario planning related to enrollment and campus accessibility
    • Supports management decision making processes and offers recommendations to the Board of Trustees when board-level decisions are required
  • Campus Reopening Task Force

    • Assures compliance with all safety regulations and standards
    • Prepares the facility for in person learning
    • Develops, implements, and evaluates policies & processes supporting community wellness
    • Oversees community-wide education and training promoting a safe environment for all
    • Ensures the school is equipped with the infrastructure, equipment, and software necessary to immediately sustain student learning and engagement through each scenario for in person learning and SEA@Home
  • Academic Continuity Task Force

    • Designs and implements processes and programs supporting the social and emotional needs of children and cultivating cross cultural competence
    • Creates a flexible and adaptable schedule assuring the continuation of SEA’s high academic standards, Core Values, and individual attention for students through varying external conditions
    • Enhances faculty support and professional development supporting effectiveness and balance through SEA@Home and in person
    • Continues the development of signature experiences for global goals and other curricular initiatives guided by the 2016-2020 strategic plan
  • Strategies & Finances Task Force

    • Establishes priorities and filters for decision making guided by SEA’s mission, core values, and strategic plan
    • Guides institutional research and internal & external communications including elevating and showcasing the school’s nurturing environment, rigorous academic standards, Core Values, and rich traditions in person and at home
    • Supports the school’s advancement efforts including marketing, recruiting, and enrollment management priorities and fundraising initiatives
    • Reviews COVID-19 related student contract & enrollment issues and HR related matters
  • Decision Making Timeline

    • Details forthcoming.
  • Next Steps

    • We will host town hall information sessions and generative discussions. Details to follow.

Campus Reopening FAQs

List of 8 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: If school reopens, will families retain the option to choose SEA@Home, the online learning plan, for their student?

    Yes. Based on early survey results, we anticipate 90% of our students returning to campus while 10% may choose to continue with SEA@Home. We will work individually with each family in making this decision and ensuring an equitable learning experience, no matter where your child is learning. Families may choose to continue with SEA@Home for a month at a time or a trimester at a time, details which have not yet been finalized.
  • Q: Are you planning to change the academic calendar (starting the school year earlier, changing winter and spring breaks, ending school later, etc.)?

    At this time, we are not planning to change the academic calendar. The overwhelming response from our family survey indicated that families would prefer to maintain the traditional academic calendar with all associated breaks. Should there be any necessitated school closures, families expressed interest in transitioning to SEA@Home for that period of time until it was safe to resume classes.
  • Q: Will SEA open campus for students in the Fall even if other schools do not?

    We will take our guidance from the state government. If it is mandated we close, we will need to be closed. However, there might be a scenario in which Pennsylvania allows schools to open but other local schools cannot meet the requirements to operate. If we determine that we can operate school safely, we will open even if other schools choose not to. Our small size provides an advantage in enabling this possibility but our students' safety will be at the forefront of all decisions.
  • Q: In what ways are you using current studies around the spread of COVID-19 in your decision-making?

    We will continue to partner with the CDC and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and use their guidelines as we make decisions around what our own processes might entail (i.e face coverings, zones, etc.). In addition, we are collaboratnig with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the Pittsburgh Consortium of Independent Schools (PCIS) with full transparency so we can ensure all students have the highest liklihood of returning to schools safely. 
  • Q: What happens if someone in the school community is diagnosed with COVID-19?

    We are working to establish zones within the school, by division and further by class/grade level. Should someone within a zone by diagnosed, it is likely that zone may need to transition to SEA@Home for a defined period of time while we reduce the risk of spread. These details will be shared in August. 
  • Q: Will you still offer Extended Day?

    Yes, we are planning to offer Extended Day and will retain the zones used during the academic day to ensure student safety. Additional details about Extended Day will be shared in August but we recognize the important service this program provides for many of our families so we are working to ensure it can continue. 
  • Q: How will the school support the social and emotional aspect of COVID-19 including treatment of those that might have been diagnosed?

    We are very aware of the stigma that may be attached to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Our Upper School teachers began the process of discussing this with students throughout the spring and all faculty will continue to workshop conversations that may arise. Our Director of Education for Inclusion and Global Awareness and Director of Social and Emotional Health are preparing to support students who may have difficulty transitioning back to a school environment, those who may be carrying the impact of time spent in isolation, or those concerned for the health of themselves and others. The social and emotional health of our students is just as important as their physical health. 
  • Q: In what ways will SEA encourage social distancing in Early Childhood, recognizing how difficult it is for children in this age group?

    Our faculty are currently working with their national associations to identify best practices at each division of the school. For Early Childhood, we have the benefit of learning from the re-opening of daycare and early childhood centers throughout the summer and expect to apply lessons learned to our own classrooms. While we do not anticipate placing students 6 feet apart in our EC classrooms, we do anticipate discussing, in age-appropriate ways, the importance of maintaining space. These classrooms will also reinforce disease prevention through hand washing and other measures. Most importantly, we will be clear with families about what they can expect from their child's classroom and we will maintain open dialogue.  
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